This degree is a challenging, critical introduction to two disciplines key to understanding human life, culture and society in the past and present. It enables you to explore contemporary cultural issues from an historical perspective.
Why study BA History & Anthropology at Goldsmiths?
- You'll have the opportunity to gain precious industry-standard experience and apply your academic skills within the workplace through our History at Work placement scheme
- We offer something different and exciting – we use innovative, interdisciplinary approaches to history and anthropology, and will encourage you to explore issues, controversies and themes rather than chronological periods
- 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 departments are large enough to provide a wide range of modules, but small enough to let you get to know other students and staff
- 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
- Our graduates have gone on to work for the UN, World Bank, NGOs, law companies and CSR consultancies
Contact the department
Modules & structure
Taught jointly by the Departments of History and Anthropology, this programme emphasises a creative engagement with processes of social change and cultural interaction. You also examine the history of past societies (non-Western and Western) through a culturally informed framework. You'll be introduced to debates surrounding the nature of evidence, the role of memory, cultural representation and interpretation, and the use of oral, literary and visual sources. You'll also have the opportunity to apply your academic skills within the workplace, through our History at Work scheme.
Level 4 introduces you to key methods and perspectives in history and anthropology. You'll also learn about the role of ethnography by focusing on the linguistic and cultural groupings of a particular region. In addition, you'll pick another history option.
You take the following modules:
|Introduction to Social Anthropology||30 credits|
|Anthropological Methods||15 credits|
|Concepts and Methods in History||30 credits|
You also take one of the other first year 30-credit History modules.
At Level 5 you investigate ‘classic’ theories and key anthropological texts on religion, magic, myth, ritual, morality, symbolism and belief, and you’ll explore interactions between changing economic and political structures in modern life via ethnographic examples.
You take these three Anthropology modules:
|Anthropology of Religion||15 or 30 credits|
|Anthropology and the Visual||15 credits|
|Politics, Economics and Social Change||30 credits|
You also take 60 credits' worth of modules in History from an approved list, 30 credits of which may be a Group 2 module.
During your third year you take:
- An individual project that consists of independent, interdisciplinary study supervised by staff from both departments. Assessment by: dissertation
- A choice of History and Anthropology options
The core module for Level 6 is Anthropological Approaches to History:
Anthropology has for a long time had a troubled relation with history. The scientific racism of the 19th century was replaced in the beginning of the 20th century with ahistorical, site-specific studies. But with time, history became an issue again – the growing interpenetration forced by colonialism, and capitalism and the world wars questioned the assumptions of radical cultural difference on which synchronic studies were based. Inevitably, history and historical change has become the heart of anthropological theory. A number of questions and dichotomies on historical continuities and changes have emerged, both at a theoretical and an empirical level: the relation of structure and agency; the place of consciousness and historicity in relation to historical events; the formation of a global culture versus the persistence of local cultures; the meaning of terms such as ‘modernity’, ‘capitalism’ and the ‘West’.
You also take a combination of option modules from both departments to the value of 75 credits. Anthropology option modules include:
|Level 6 options||Module title||Credits|
|Anthropology and Gender Theory||15 or 30 credits|
|Anthropology and the Visual II||30 credits|
|Anthropology and the Visual: Production Course||15 credits|
|Anthropology of Art I||15 or 30 credits|
|Anthropology of Art II||15 or 30 credits|
|Anthropology of Health and Medicine I||15 or 30 credits|
|Environmental Anthropology||15 or 30 credits|
|Indian and Peasant Politics in Amazonia||15 or 30 credits|
|The Anthropology of Rights||15 credits|
|Anthropology of Human Animal Relations||15 or 30 credits|
|Psychological Perspectives in Anthropology||15 credits|
|Borders and Migration||15 credits (UG) 30 credits (PG)|
|Learning from Social Movements||15 credits (UG) 30 credits (PG)|
You may choose to take a Special Subject History module from a wide range of subjects offered not only at Goldsmiths but also by history departments throughout the University of London. Special Subject modules offer in-depth study using original historical sources.
Each module unit is examined at the end of the year in which you've taken it, using either written exams, practical projects, a dissertation, or coursework; all modules contribute to your final result.
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.
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
International Baccalaureate: 33 points overall with Three HL subjects at 655
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 year 0 (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.
We accept a wide range of qualifications equivalent to the ones listed above. This includes:
Access: Pass with 45 Level 3 credits including 30 Distinctions and a number of merits/passes in subject-specific modules
Scottish qualifications: BBBBC (Higher), BBC (Advanced Higher)
European Baccalaureate: 75%, preferably including History
Irish Leaving Certificate: H2 H2 H2 H2
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 6.0 with a 6.0 in writing and no element lower than 5.5
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.
History at Goldsmiths is ranked 11th in the UK for the quality of our research*, and in the world's elite**
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
**QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017
Anthropology at Goldsmiths is ranked: 1st in the UK for effective teaching* 6th in the UK for the quality of our research** 30th in the world for this subject area***
Investigate a variety of fascinating areas that have real relevance to modern life.
As a department we’re interested in pushing the discipline forward. We’re known for pioneering new fields including visual anthropology and the anthropology of modernity. And we tackle other contemporary issues like urban planning, development, emotions and aesthetics, and new social movements.
Find out more about the Department of Anthropology.
*Guardian University Guide League Tables 2017
**Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings
***QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017
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.
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:
- Independent learning
Find out more about these learning and teaching approaches.