Navigation

BA (Hons) History

  • UCAS
    V101
  • Entry requirements
    A-level: ABB
    BTEC: DDM
    IB: 33 points including three HL subjects
  • Length
    3 years full-time or 4-5 years part-time
  • Department
    History

Course overview

History helps us to understand how the world came to be as it is now and to understand why people behaved as they did in the past. That can help us shape our own futures. At History's core is the story of the diversity of human life.

Why study BA History at Goldsmiths?

  • You'll have the opportunity to gain precious industry-standard experience and apply your academic skills within the workplace through our placement scheme
  • We offer something different and exciting – we use innovative, interdisciplinary approaches to the subject, and will encourage you to explore issues, controversies and themes rather than chronological periods
  • The geographical range of our modules includes Asia, Africa, Eastern and Western Europe, and the Middle East
  • We think that you'll enjoy your time in our small and friendly department: we make our students our top priority; you'll work with staff who are enthusiastic researchers as well as being excellent teachers, many being recognised as international leaders in their field
  • The department is large enough to provide a wide range of modules, but small enough to let you get to know other students and staff
  • History at Goldsmiths could well be the best three years of your life so far – and will help to open up even more exciting doors in the future
  • The degree will give you access to a wide range of careers by developing your critical, analytical and communication skills; we help you think beyond the traditional boundaries of subjects in ways which employers really value
  • Through your degree, you'll learn to solve complex problems, think critically and creatively, and communicate with clarity

If you are an international student and you don't meet the entry requirements for this programme, you may be able to apply for our BA History with International Foundation

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Erica Wald

Modules & structure

Overview

The structure of the history degree is flexible. In your first year you take core modules that introduce you to the discipline, and then in your second and third years you're free to choose all your preferred options (subject to timetabling constraints).

You may decide to specialise in medieval, early modern, or modern history, or choose a variety of periods to suit your interests. With the advice of your personal tutor, you can create your own pathway through the degree programme. You also have the opportunity to take modules at other University of London institutions – including over 60 'Special Subjects' covering just about everything.

Level 4

Our focus is on intellectual and religious history, political history, cultural history, the history of identities, medical history and research relevant to the Centre for the Study of the Balkans. All teaching after the first year is research-led. We adopt a broad approach to the study of the past, which emphasises ideas and concepts, narratives and analysis, the study of time, and the use of visual as well as documentary resources.

Module title Credits
  Dictators, War and Revolution 30 credits
  Religion, Peace and Conflict 30 credits
  Self, Citizen and Nation 30 credits
  Concepts and Methods in History 30 credits

Level 5

You take modules to the value of 120 credits from an approved list, one of which may be a Group 2 module from a large list of topics taught either at Goldsmiths or in other University of London history departments. 

See the full list of Level 5 modules

Level 6

You take modules to the value of 120 credits:

60 credits from the approved list

one History Special Subject worth 60 credits

The Special Subject is chosen from a list of approximately 40 topics taught either at Goldsmiths or in other University of London history departments. These departments include Birkbeck, King’s College, Queen Mary, Royal Holloway, the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies, and University College London. 

See the list of Level 6 modules and information on Special Subjects.

Credits and levels of learning

An undergraduate honours degree is made up of 360 credits – 120 at Level 4, 120 at Level 5 and 120 at Level 6. If you are a full-time student, you will usually take Level 4 modules in the first year, Level 5 in the second, and Level 6 modules in your final year. A standard module is worth 30 credits. Some programmes also contain 15-credit half modules or can be made up of higher-value parts, such as a dissertation or a Major Project.

Download the programme specification for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Entry requirements

A-level: ABB
BTEC: DDM
International Baccalaureate: 33 points including three HL subjects

At Goldsmiths we offer innovative and challenging degrees in history, as well as a stimulating environment amongst a diverse and exciting community of students. Many of our students have achieved very high A-level grades, and that is reflected in our standard A-level offer.

But above all we're looking for potential students who can demonstrate the range of skills, talents and interests necessary for this work, either through traditional A-levels or otherwise. We believe that all able students of whatever age and background who have the ability should have the chance to study at Goldsmiths, and we actively encourage applications from students with a wide range of relevant qualifications, especially the access diploma. We also offer a foundation year for students who need more preparation and experience before embarking on the BA. This is a longstanding commitment and practice. Consequently, over many years, a large number of our students have come from non-traditional backgrounds.

If you're interested in applying to Goldsmiths, whether you're currently studying or have been out of education for some time, we'd be delighted to hear from you. If you'd like further advice or have specific questions, please get in touch with the Admissions Tutor listed above.

If you are an international student and you don't meet the entry requirements for this programme, you may be able to apply for our BA History with International Foundation

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of qualifications equivalent to the ones listed above. This includes:

Access: Pass with 45 Level 3 credits including a number of distinctions/merits in subject specific modules
Scottish qualifications: ABBBC (Higher), ABC (Advanced Higher). Preferably including History
European Baccalaureate: 80%, preferably including History
Irish Leaving Certificate: A1 A1 A2 B1

If your qualifications are from another country, find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us. 

For this programme we require:

IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.5 in the written test and no individual test lower than 6.0)

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for degree-level study.

Read more about our general entrance requirements

Department

History at Goldsmiths is ranked 11th in the UK for the quality of our research**

History

History at Goldsmiths isn't just a sequence of events - we study the past thematically as well as chronologically.

You will be taught by research-active, publishing historians whose wide range of expertise across different periods and many countries will help you to explore the diversity of past human experience through themes like madness, medicine, revolution, religious beliefs, identitities and the body.

You'll be thinking about the way history is informed by a wide range of other subjects and how knowledge of the past can help you to understand the world we live in today.

Find out more about the Department of History

**Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings

Learning & teaching

On this degree you'll attend lectures and seminars where you'll hear about ideas and concepts related to specific topics, and where you'll be encouraged to discuss and debate the issues raised. This will enhance your academic knowledge of the subject, and will improve your communication skills.

But this is just a small proportion of what we expect you to do on the degree. For each hour of taught learning in lectures and seminars, we expect you to complete another 5-6 hours of independent study. This typically involves carrying out required and additional reading, preparing topics for discussion, or producing essays or project work.

This emphasis on independent learning is very important at Goldsmiths. We don't just want you to accept what we tell you without question. We want you to be inspired to read more, to develop your own ideas, and to find the evidence that will back them up. Independent study requires excellent motivation and time management skills. These skills will stay with you for life, and are the kind of that are highly sought after by employers. 

Learning and teaching on this degree will take place through:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Independent learning
  • Presentations
  • Assessments
 Find out more about these learning and teaching approaches

Skills & careers

Degrees in history and combined subjects develop your critical and analytical skills, your ability to express ideas clearly and your expertise in gathering insights from a range of subjects. Historical research enables you to gather and select from a range of materials – literary and visual. It teaches you to write with imagination and clarity.

Former students have forged careers in journalism and the media, museums and galleries, the Civil Service, teaching and research, law and the commercial world, but the skills learned are also applicable to many more industries and roles.

History at Work

History at Work is an exciting and innovative new initiative which offers some second and third year students taking History single and joint honours programmes the chance to apply their academic skills within the workplace.

Students spend one day a week over one term undertaking a project within a museum, archive or library: places which collect, process and present the 'raw material' of history. These organisations include the Wellcome Library, Royal Pharmaceutical Society, London Transport Museum and the V&A Museum of Childhood.

The project might involve archiving, conservation, building an exhibition, or developing a public engagement project. Students will be invited to apply for places on the programme each February. It should give students a great chance to test out their career ideas, develop skills and increase their employability.

You can read more about career options after studying History on our Department of History careers pages. Find out more about general employability at Goldsmiths

Student profiles

Tom Murtha

"It is a cliché I know but Goldsmiths was a life changing experience."

As the Chair of housing charity HACT, Tom is passionate about supporting those in need and ensuring the housing sector is doing everything it can to support communities.

“I was raised in social housing and my family had been homeless,” explains Tom. “I have always believed that a decent house and a good education are essential if we are to increase life chances and opportunities of those in need. So I was extremely lucky to find a job that enabled me to work in an area that was important to me and to give something back to those in need. To put it simply, to help others help themselves.”

He has worked in housing and care since completing his studies at Goldsmiths in 1976. “I was the first of my family to go to university and I had no idea what to expect. It is a cliché I know but Goldsmiths was a life changing experience. I would not have missed it for the world. I met many wonderful people from very different backgrounds many of whom are still friends.”

Having earned his degree in History, Tom stayed at Goldsmiths to study for his teaching qualification. Initially planning to be a teacher, Tom moved to Leicester and ended up becoming a community worker instead, working with people on the margins of society. He has since worked in the social housing sector for the last 30 years, where his roles have included running one of the largest housing and care organisations in the country.

Tom has also been passionate about pushing the diversity agenda. “One of the achievements I am most proud of is after the civil unrest in the inner cities in 1981, I helped to introduce the issue of equality and diversity to the housing sector when there was still major discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, disability and sexuality.” He has gone on to serve on a number of national committees, focusing on regeneration and diversity.

He sums up his drive and passion for the career path he has followed: “The thing I enjoy most about my job is the opportunity to make a difference to the lives of people and communities, and to give people back their dignity. I have worked with wonderful and inspirational people who genuinely transform lives and communities. We spend a lot of time at work and it is important to find a job that you can enjoy and is rewarding. I was lucky enough to do that.”

Lisa Byrne

"My degree has been extremely useful; just like studying history, journalism is all about investigating stories."

"I loved my time at Goldsmiths. Although a large part of it was spent socialising in the hallowed halls of the Students’ Union, I did enjoy the lectures. Coming from York, I’ve always loved history, which was why I chose to study the BA in History. However, the degree has also been extremely useful. Just like studying history, journalism is all about investigating stories. Since leaving OK! at the end of 2012 I’ve become a freelance writer, and I’m still involved in celebrity culture. Like most of Britain, I’m totally obsessed with celebrity. It’s prozac for the masses!"

Henny Braund

"Goldsmiths drove my interest in social history."

"I studied from 1982, which coincided with a great time of change in the UK that certainly drove my interest in social history. Highlights from my time here were making some life long friends through a brilliant social life, and hearing the Blues Brothers play at the Students’ Union. I was passionate about campaigning, about trying to make a difference, raising money for the miners strike at various gigs, and protesting outside the Department of Education about their plans to stop the student grant! 

My role as Chief Executive at Anthony Nolan (a pioneering charity that saves the lives of people with blood cancer) is to steer the organisation, ensuring we set ambitious objectives that will enable us to continue to grow. Our ultimate aim is to provide a matching donor for every person who needs one and I hope that this will be a reality in the future.

Being part of a charity that literally saves lives every day is fantastic and it is a real privilege to have the chance to lead such an organisation. If I’m having a challenging day, I only have to take a look at our most recent annual review or spend some time looking at the posts on our Anthony Nolan facebook page and twitter, to see the difference we make every single day. Meeting patients is always inspiring and enormously humbling as they have battled against the odds so courageously."

See more profiles for this programme

Fees & funding

Related content links

University statistics for this course