The programme can be undertaken full-time (three years across three levels) or part-time (four to six years across three levels). You take a total of 360 credits, 120 credits at each level.
In your first year, you will take the following two compulsory modules.
|Year 1 Compulsory Modules
Historical Perspectives introduces and explores ‘historiography’, this being the history of the study of the past and the writing of history. Spanning a period from the Renaissance to the present day, the module examines key methods, theories, approaches, and writers so as to provide an introduction and orientation to the development and evolution of academic history.
As academic history continues to develop, topics on the module will be updated in line with new perspectives. Core topics will be from a selection of the following:
- Antiquarian and Humanist approaches to history
- Leopold Ranke and ‘Rankean’ ideas about history
- Historical Materialism and Marxist interpretations of history
- Annales school techniques such as ‘Total History’ and ‘Microhistory’
- Gender as a category of historical analysis
- Sexualities as an area of historical research
- Post-colonial and non-colonial histories
- Global History and challenges to Eurocentricity
- Postmodernism and ‘truth’ in history
- The History of Medicine and Medical Humanities
- The History of Emotions
- Black British History
Reading and Writing History
Reading and Writing History
This module provides guidance on how to develop and perfect the skills students need to write an undergraduate-level history essay. An emphasis is put on the centrality of problem solving and critical thinking, demonstrating how essays should be used as vehicles to explore academic debates. Students learn skills specific to the discipline of history, such as identifying primary and secondary sources, evaluating their suitability and analyzing them to answer historical questions, as well as those necessary for academic work in other disciplines and for employment, including relevant referencing techniques, planning to meet deadlines, analyzing data, making a clear argument, using relevant technologies in research and presentation of data, working in groups and making oral presentations.
For deep learning to take place, students practice the skills they have learnt by completing a series of structured tasks that contribute to a summative essay engaging with a specific historical problem. They will receive feedback on each stage of the process, enabling them to develop and improve their skills. The module is taught with a narrow focus on the lived experience of a defined group of people during a specified historical period (for example the working life of South and East Londoners in the mid-Nineteenth Century) depending on the expertise of the member of staff running the module. Some sessions concentrate on the knowledge required, others on how to apply this knowledge to solve a given historical question.
The module also provides specific guidance on the preparation for history examinations.
You will also take one of the following modules or two History modules are chosen from a list approved annually by the department.
Global Connections: the violence and exchanges that shaped the modern world
Global Connections: the violence and exchanges that shaped the modern world
This module explores the multiplicity of contacts which have shaped the last half millennium of global history. Empire and religion, commerce and colonialism, race and space, and disease and healing all drove and moulded the encounters between distant cultures that created our modern world. This module explores some of these global connections, from trade and the exchange of goods and ideas, to practices of violence and resistance. The module will introduce students to core and emerging debates and approaches within the field of global history.
The module will contain five four-week blocks on various topics within modern global history. The History department will publish a list of five blocks each year, from at least the following:
- Germany’s African Road to the Holocaust
- Global Sports and the African Diaspora
- The Ottoman Empire in European History
- (De)Colonising Enlightenment Political Thought
- Mosquitos, Microbes and Empire
- Latin America and the World Market
- Travellers, Stories, Materials and Knowledges across Eurasia
- Colonialism, Anti-colonialism and Resistance in the Middle East and North Africa
This module introduces students to a range of historical controversies in order to engage them in a critical manner with competing perspectives on a range of different issues and events. The module will contain six three-week blocks on various sub-disciplines within history, including, social, cultural and political history, across different periods and geographic areas. Throughout, it will focus on work on historiography, considering issues such as: the influence of issues contemporary to authors on their writing; the impact of authors’ politics and/or wider values system on their work; the evolution of controversies over time; and theoretical explanations of controversies. In addition, it will take a comparative approach to controversies, with student assessment including an option to compare two historical controversies or to analyse one controversy in more depth. Lectures and seminars at the beginning and end of the module, and at the point of handover from one block to another, will discuss comparative themes. The History Department will publish a list of six blocks each year, from at least the following:
- Acts, Identities and the Origins of Homosexuality
- The Causes of the Russian Revolution
- The Greatest Whodunit in History: Who Caused the First World War?
- The Decline of the Liberal Party in the UK and the Rise of Labour
- Guilty Men? British Appeasement Policy and the Causes of the Second World War in Europe.
- The Ballot or the Bullet? Civil Disobedience in 1960s Protest Movements
- Revolutionary Movements in Latin America in the 1960s and 1970s
- Fire in Babylon: The New Cross Fire and the Black People’s Day of Action
- The Unnatural Disaster of Hurricane Katrina
You will also take 60 credits of modules from a list approved by the Department of Politics and International Relations.
You have a free choice of modules to the value of 60 credits from a list approved annually by the Department of History. Some modules, worth 30 credits, run for 20 weeks across the autumn and spring terms and other modules, worth 15 credits, run for 10 weeks, some running in the autumn term and others in the spring term. You also take the Modern Political Theory module and have a free choice of modules to the value of 30 credits from an approved list provided by the Department of Politics and International Relations
Up to 30 credits can be a ‘related studies’ module taken in another Goldsmiths' department and up to 30 credits can be a University of London Intercollegiate Group II module from a list approved annually by our partner institutions. Partners include Birkbeck; King’s College London; Queen Mary; Royal Holloway; University College London.
See the full list of year 2 History option modules
|Year 2 Compulsory Module
Modern Political Theory
Modern Political Theory
On this module, you will be introduced to several major thinkers in the modern history of political thought. It will begin with those individuals usually taken to be the founders of the modern discipline such as Machiavelli, Hobbes and Locke, moving on to explore the eminent critics and defenders of the Enlightenment and European capitalist modernity such as Rousseau, J.S. Mill, Hegel, Marx, and Arendt, and culminate in an examination of two leading figures from the Global South, namely, Gandhi and Fanon. In the process of reading these thinkers’ seminal texts, we will tackle key themes and concepts addressed in their writings such as republicanism, sovereignty, justice, human nature, natural rights, liberty, property, democracy, equality, citizenship, revolution, alienation and violence.
In addition to providing students with an introduction to a series of thinkers who have decisively impacted the way we understand politics today; the module will lay out a more critical vantage point on what is conventionally taken to comprise the “canon” of Western political thought. Assessing thinkers such as Locke, Mill, Hegel, Marx and Arendt through a “decolonial” lens, it takes seriously those issues which have often been neglected and overlooked in the study of the history of modern political thought, such as slavery, settler colonialism, patriarchy and gender, race and racism, as well as imperialism and domination. This “decolonial” approach to modern political theory aims to recast the classic thinkers of Western political thought in a new light, as well as place them in conversation with thinkers from the Global South who for the most part have been either ignored or intentionally excluded from the discipline.
You complete a 30-credit dissertation project and then have a free choice of modules to the value of 90 credits. You can elect to choose 60 credits from the Department of History and 30 credits from the Department of Politics and International Relations or, conversely, choose 60 credits from the Department of Politics and International Relations and 30 credits from the Department of History.
As part of their History credits, students can elect to take a 60-credit Special Subject module (including dissertation) or a 30-credit Special Subject module (excluding dissertation) from a list approved annually by the Department of History or from a list of University of London Intercollegiate Group III Special Subject modules approved annually by our partner institutions. Partners include: Birkbeck, King’s College London, Queen Mary, Royal Holloway, University College London.
See the full list of year 3 and Special Subject History modules
The programme is cumulative and progressive, with knowledge and skills building on previous years and growing year on year. Basic skills and competencies are delivered in the first year which sets the broad agenda for the programme as a whole. In the second year, the modules contain increasingly challenging and demanding material which provides the foundations for the significant independent scholarly work required and undertaken in the final year.
Teaching may be delivered in the form of lectures and seminars or other forms of contact time such as extended seminars, workshops, field trips, and film screenings. Lectures introduce subject specific skills and understandings and provide the basis for discussions, activities, group work, and debates. Seminars linked to lectures provide a space for further exploration of the lecture topics and materials and they reinforce the knowledge gained from the lectures and from independent reading and studying. Seminars also involve field-trips and site visits to relevant places including museums, galleries, archives, and sites of historical interest.
Throughout the programme students are taught to critically engage with the inter-relationship between history and Politics. In the final year, this interdisciplinary knowledge, understanding, skill, and experience is tested through the compulsory dissertation project. The variety of theoretical and empirical material throughout the programme, covering a wide range of topics, periods and regions, provides students with the opportunity to pursue their own interests while examining and interrogating the linkages between the two disciplines. Under close co-supervision, students develop a substantial and sustained individual project in which they form and present their own critical arguments in an extended format. In the context of this joint degree, students are required to produce a genuinely interdisciplinary piece of work that reflects their abilities to analyse and assess historical evidence, their awareness of political ideas, methods, and concepts, and a knowledge of relevant empirical work and debates in each discipline.
Lecturers also make themselves available for tutorials either during their Consultation and Feedback hours or by appointment. These provide opportunities to ask questions about modules and their content, to receive support and guidance on independent work, and to receive feedback on submitted work.
The following information gives an indication of the typical proportions of learning and teaching for each year of this programme*:
- Year 1 - 13% scheduled learning, 87% independent learning
- Year 2 - 13% scheduled learning, 87% independent learning
- Year 3 - 11% scheduled learning, 89% independent learning
How you’ll be assessed
A wide and innovative variety of different methods are used to assess learning, these include essays, reviews, source analyses, blogs, videos, walks, presentations, exams, and dissertations. Some modules are assessed by portfolios of coursework, or by a combination of coursework and an examination. Others are assessed by long essays or dissertations on topics approved with the tutor. Assessments vary in length according to the type of assessment and/or level of module.
Assessment supports student progression across the programme, as assessments in the first year aim to measure a set of baseline skills and competencies which are enhanced, deepened and broadened in subsequent years. Lecturers return assessments and provide useful and constructive feedback in a timely manner so as to ensure that students learn from the feedback and have the opportunity to improve subsequent work.
The following information gives an indication of how you can typically expect to be assessed on each year of this programme*:
- Year 1 - 69% coursework, 31% written exam
- Year 2 - 81% coursework, 19% written exam
- Year 3 - 100% coursework
*Please note that these are averages are based on enrolments for 2019/20. Each student’s time in teaching, learning and assessment activities will differ based on individual module choices. Find out more about how this information is calculated.
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. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.