IB: 33 points overall with Three HL subjects at 655
3 years full-time or 4-5 years part-time
History is a relevant, dynamic, fascinating, and important field of study which, at Goldsmiths, is approached in creative, innovative, and exciting ways.
History - the study, analysis and understanding of the past - is as important today as it has ever been and it continues to make vital contributions to how we comprehend and interact with the world around us.
Understanding past societies fosters emotional intelligence and allows us to appreciate the diversity and adaptability of human life. Understanding our pasts can help us to shape our futures and, crucially, help us shape those futures intelligently, insightfully, fairly, and with compassion. History is here and now as well as being there and then.
Students studying History at Goldsmiths have a great deal of choice over what to study, beginning with options in Year One. Our geographic scope covers Europe (including significant British expertise), the Americas, Asia and Africa. Chronologically, we have a strong focus on early modern and modern history, while also covering earlier periods.
We are pioneers in Black British History, Queer History and histories of sexualities, non-traditional military history, the history of emotions and senses, medical humanities and histories of medicine, histories of religion and dissent, histories of politics and power and histories of peoples and places.
The way we approach the study of History extends beyond the textual, with material culture, visual culture, oral history, and spatiality informing our research and our research-led teaching.
As part of the wider University of London, our students can take some subjects in their second and third years at other colleges including Birkbeck; King’s College London; Queen Mary; Royal Holloway; University College London. This means that History students at Goldsmiths have all the benefits of being in a department which is small enough to get to know them as individuals, while also having the opportunity to take options from a vast range of options.
Why study BA History at Goldsmiths?
- We are exciting and challenging: our innovative interdisciplinary approaches to the subject encourage our students to approach and explore the past thematically rather than chronologically and we venture into issues, areas and topics that are often overlooked.
- We are global: our international body of staff research and deliver modules covering a wide geographical range including Asia, Africa, the Americas, the British Isles, Eastern and Western Europe, and the Middle East.
- We excel in what we do: our academic staff are nationally and internationally recognised award-winning experts in their fields, they are at the forefront of research excellence and research-led teaching.
- We put you first: our students are always our top priority and our staff are excellent educators who foster independent and progressive thinking in challenging but supportive environments.
- We broaden minds: history stimulates critical and analytical thinking and, at Goldsmiths, we also encourage creative and imaginative thinking that takes our students beyond the traditional boundaries of the subject.
- We think about your future: alongside intellectual and personal development we equip our students with the skills and experience they need to progress into a rewarding career. This might be through our History in Practice work-placement module or through other career-orientated opportunities and forms of assessment.
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Professor Alex Watson.
What you'll study
For 2020–21, we have made some changes to how the teaching and assessment of certain programmes are delivered. To check what changes affect this programme, please visit the Programme Changes page
The programme can be undertaken full-time (three years across three levels) or part-time (four to six years across three levels). You take 360 credits in total, 120 credits at each level.
You take the following compulsory modules in across the autumn and spring terms. In the spring term, you will also choose two 10-week option modules from a list approved annually by the Department of History.
See the full list of year 1 option modules.
|Year 1 Compulsory Modules||Module title||Credits|
|Global Connections: the violence and exchanges that shaped the modern world||30 credits|
|Historical Controversies||30 credits|
|Reading and Writing History||15 Credits|
|Historical Perspectives||15 credits|
You have a free choice of modules 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.
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.
You undertake a Special Subject module, worth 60 credits, that includes a dissertation and runs for 20 weeks across the autumn and spring terms. You can choose to undertake your Special Subject module at Goldsmiths or you can choose a University of London Intercollegiate Group III Special Subject module from a list approved annually by our partner institutions. Partners include: Birkbeck, King’s College London, Queen Mary, Royal Holloway, University College London.
You also have a free choice of modules to the value of 60 credits which can include both 30-credit and 15-credit modules. Up to 30 credits can be a ‘related studies’ module taken in another Goldsmiths department.
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 understanding 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.
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 - 13% scheduled learning, 87% 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 - 44% coursework, 56% written exam
- Year 2 - 100% coursework
- Year 3 - 74% coursework, 26% written exam
*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.
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
We accept the following qualifications:
International Baccalaureate: 33 points overall with Three HL subjects at 655
Access: Pass with 45 Level 3 credits including 30 Distinctions and a number of merits/passes in subject-specific modules
Scottish qualifications: BBBBC (Higher) or BBC (Advanced Higher)
European Baccalaureate: 75%, preferably including History
Irish Leaving Certificate: H2 H2 H2 H2
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.
Given the range of students that the programme is designed to attract, applicants may be asked to attend an interview, where the following criteria are evaluated:
- reasons for applying to study this particular degree
- reasons for applying to Goldsmiths
- background knowledge/expectations of the discipline(s)
- intellectual potential and analytic skills
- ability to express ideas verbally and engage in debate
- motivation to complete the programme
Performance at interview can alter the usual criteria for entry on a case-by-case basis.
We also accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.
If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 6.0 with a 6.0 in writing and no element lower than 5.5 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for degree-level study.
Fees & funding
Annual tuition fees
These are the fees for students starting their programme in the 2021/2022 academic year.
From August 2021 EU/EEA/Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for 'Home' fee status. EU/EEA/Swiss nationals will be classified as 'International' for fee purposes, more information can be found on our fees page.
- Home - full-time: £9250
- Home - part-time: £4625
- International - full-time: £17050
It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time if you require a Student Visa, however this is currently being reviewed and will be confirmed in the new year. Please read our visa guidance in the interim for more information. If you think you might be eligible to study part-time while being on another visa type, please contact our Admissions Team for more information.
If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.
In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.
There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments. Please check the programme specification for more information.
Equipping graduates with the flexibility, skills, and confidence needed to achieve their ambitions and ensuring that all students have clear opportunities to develop within, and beyond, their curriculum (through, for example, work placements and overseas study) are essential components of this degree programme.
History is a very transferable degree and the Department of History at Goldsmiths has an excellent pedigree in providing careers-orientated opportunities for students.
A wide array of transferable skills is acquired throughout the programme. All modules foster skills in: effective reading; critical analysis and evaluation; assessment of arguments, ideas, and evidence; independent thinking and working; academic writing within a specified word-limit; group-working and collaboration; designing and delivering presentations; and creating a wide variety of outputs and materials. Students learn how to: effectively manage their time and their timetable; meet deadlines, to sensibly and pragmatically schedule time and activities; present themselves with self-assurance and confidence. Information and resource management skills are developed and honed as part of wider research processes and a wide range of library and IT skills are also delivered.
Links with employers, placement opportunities and career prospects
The department establishes and fosters a range of partnerships with some of the leading historical and cultural organisations in London and beyond, including the Black Cultural Archives, the George Padmore Institute, English Heritage, Historic England, Historic Royal Palaces, the Horniman Museum, the National Archives, and Queer Britain.
Students on the BA History programme can choose to undertake the Department of History’s work placement module, History in Practice. The module runs for two terms and, in the first term, students prepare for their placement through a series of classes and workshops on public history, museum studies, and working in archives and libraries. Students also choose their placement partner and visit them to identify and plan the activities they will be undertaking during their placement. The placement itself takes place in the second term of the module and consists of one day per week at the placement partner. Students continue to be supported throughout by the module convenor and, at the end of the module, are assessed on the work they have undertaken with the placement organisation.
In addition to the resources provided by the programme and by the department, the Goldsmiths Careers Services offer significant support to students as they pursue their career, with general support in such areas as preparing a CV and interview skills, as well as bespoke events that work in partnership with the degree programme.