History modules


History modules in Levels 5 and 6

This is an indicative list of modules available in Year 2 and 3. The majority of modules run on alternate years and are dependent on staff availability. 

Two terms – 30 credits

Module title Credits
Mediterranean Encounters: Venice and the Ottoman Empire, 1453-1797 30 credits
Early Modern Global History c. 1490 to c. 1780 – A World in Crisis 30 credits
Visual and Material Culture in Early Modern Europe 30 credits
Modern South Asia: Body, Society, Empire and Nation c.1600-1947 30 credits
Modern South Asia: Body, Society, Empire and Nation c.1600-1947 30 credits
Bodies and Drugs: A Global History of Medicine 30 credits
Empires in Comparative Perspective 30 credits
Black and British: A Long and Varied History 30 Credits
Minorities in East-Central Europe: Coexistence, Integration and Annihilation, c.1870-1950 30 credits
The Central Powers in the First World War, 1914-18 30 credits
War and Memory in the Balkans and Eastern Europe since 1914 30 credits
The Global Cold War, 1945-1991 30 credits
The USA in the Era of the Vietnam War, 1954-75 30 Credits
History Work Placement 30 credits
Media, Culture and Empire in Early Modern Venice 30 credits
Life in the Trenches: Perspectives on British Military History, 1914-18 30 credits
Postcolonial London: Migration, Race and Culture 30 credits

One term – 15 credits

Module title Credits
Global History of Buddhism 15 credits
Global History of Medicine 15 Credits
Early Modern European Philosophy 15 credits
History of Asian Medicine: From Manuscripts to YouTube 15 credits
Topics in Early Modern Visual and Material Culture 15 credits
Slavery and Emancipation in the Americas 15 credits
Walking Through London's History 15 credits
Landmarks in London History 15 credits
My Hero? Heroism, Commemoration and Public Memory 1750-1950 15 credits
Nationalism and Unionism in Ireland, 1798-1998 15 Credits
London's Burning: Social Movement and Public Protest in the Capital, 1830-2003 15 credits
Black British Activism & Citizenship in Transnational Perspective 15 Credits
Austria Hungary in the First World War, 1914-1918 15 credits
The Spanish Civil War: Politics, the Military, and Culture 15 Credits
Occupation, Collaboration and Resistance in Europe in the Second World War 15 credits
Making Black British Histories: Community, Preservation and Public History 15 Credit
Queer History Through Film 15 Credits
Homosexuality and Capitalism 15 credits
The Vietnam War and US Presidential Politics, 1954-75 15 credits

History special subjects

Some degree programmes allow you to choose a History Special Subject/Group 3 module; please see the individual degree descriptions for details.

You have access to the resources of all of the colleges of the University of London when you select a Special Subject from approximately 40 available across the University. These span a range of subjects, allowing you to access the expertise of the largest concentration of university history teachers in the country.

The Special Subjects are based on the use of original sources in detailed study, which further develops your skills of understanding and interpreting historical evidence. They are worth 60 credits and count for half of the third year’s work. The availability of modules offered may vary from year to year.


The Department of History offers the following Special Subjects:

Media, Culture and Empire in Early Modern Venice

This special subject explores the dialectical relationship between culture and empire in early modern Venice. Drawing on the history of information, visual culture, and critical imperial studies, it examines how Venetian colonial expansion in the Mediterranean shaped popular culture and communication at home and how, in turn, metropolitan media fuelled empire-building overseas. Addressing a blind spot in comparative imperial history, the module goes beyond standard images of Venice as ‘the most serene republic’ of merchants to highlight the constitutive impact of empire on Venetian politics, society, and culture. It considers how ordinary Venetians consumed empire in their daily lives and how different institutional forces, social practices and sites of knowledge influenced how they thought, felt, and talked about their city’s distant dominions. The module brings alive the entangled histories of Venetian colonialism and domestic politics and culture via a rich array of primary sources, including archival documents, newsletters, printed maps, histories, novels, poems, travel accounts, paintings, and antiquities.

Healing, Magic and Mindfulness on the Silk Roads

While the history of medicine is usually taught focusing primarily on either ‘western’ or ‘eastern’ traditions, this course will focus on transmissions of knowledge along the Silk Roads. More than just routes on which missionaries, travellers and merchants moved between east and west Asia, the Silk Roads has become a metaphor for east-west connections. This module will analyse the term “Silk Road”; look at how knowledge moved along the Silk Roads; discuss some narratives of medical history; look at what led to the archaeological expeditions of the Silk Roads, and deal with a few case studies of interactions between “east” and “west”: during the Mongol era, in the court of the Russian Tsar and current day uses of mindfulness.

The module will include a visit to the British Library to see some of the Dunhuang manuscripts and meet with some of the International Dunhuang Project staff.

Radicalism during the English Revolution, 1641-1600

This course examines arguably the most turbulent period in all English history: 1641–1660.  These years were marked by the rebellion in Ireland; bloody Civil Wars in Britain; political, religious and social radicalism; regicide; eleven years of republican rule; and the de facto restoration of the monarchy. One would think that by now there is nothing new for historians to learn about the English Revolution, that all the important issues have been resolved.  Yet the opposite is true, for there remains a lack of consensus as to the causes of events, the manner in which some of them occurred and their significance. Even the name is in dispute.  Moreover, whereas class and ideological conflict once seemed a plausible explanatory tool, it has been a major achievement of the so-called revisionist interpretation of early modern England to shift the emphasis away from tension towards consensus and contingency.  One outcome of this approach has been the attempted marginalisation of radicalism during the English Revolution.  Thus prominent figures within what might be termed the canonical English radical tradition (itself largely a twentieth-century historical construction) have been regarded as unrepresentative of the conforming, traditionalist, uncommitted majority; their extreme opinions apparently advocated for only a brief period of their lives; their influence upon society supposedly exaggerated both by panicked political elites and skilled propagandists preying on fears of property damage or cautioning against introducing religious toleration and its corollary, moral dissolution (abhorrent beliefs begat aberrant behaviour).  Similarly, conventional forms of popular protest such as food, enclosure and tax riots were reduced in scale and scope and drained of radical ideological content. Instead, these incidents were presented as sporadic, uncoordinated, locally specific, largely bloodless and sometimes richly symbolic examples of conservative disorder. Whatever your opinion, you will get ample opportunity to formulate your arguments, thus adding your own distinctive contribution to these ongoing debates.

Mughals, Munshies and Mistresses: Society and Rule in Early Colonial India

As a social and cultural history of the ‘Company Raj’, this module will explore the transition from Mughal rule to British colonial rule in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It will examine the interface between ‘Indian’ forms of rule and ‘European’ and what it meant to be each at this time. We will discuss Indian rulers, intermediaries and collaborators in the context of how each shaped early colonial rule in areas of law, education and revenue. We will then turn our attention to a series of contemporary social debates: on the family, sati, education, widow remarriage and social ‘vices’ in order to gain a fuller understanding of this dynamic period in Indian history.

Ireland's First World War

Ireland’s engagement with the First World War was profoundly connected with the politics of the day and the development of the Irish Revolution. Memory of the conflict remains live in today’s politics, with the war playing a central role in unionist identity formation and expression, and nationalist attitudes continuing to change. Meanwhile, the history of Ireland’s First World War is intimately connected to two wider contexts.  First, there is the wider United Kingdom’s war and the way that is remembered through the influence of popular culture. Images of slaughter, mud and poor leadership dominate a public view which thinks of the lucky few who came back, even though fatality rates were around 12% of those who served.  Second, in relation to national identity, Ireland’s war can be compared to the experiences of other parts of the British Empire.

This module is focused on the day-to-day experiences of Irish soldiers in the British army. It also considers connections between the war and wider Irish politics, including the development of the Irish Revolution.  Meanwhile, the experiences of Irish units are used to access wider academic debates on the performance and development of the British military in the war, and on popular memory of the war.  Battalion war diaries are the core sources, recording the detailed movements of battalions once they had finished training. They provide both much detail and often, vivid description with the main focus being on eleven Irish battalions (1st, 2nd, 6th, 7th, 8th & 9th Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 1st, 2nd and 9th Royal Irish Rifles, 6th Connaught Rangers, and 7th Leinsters) which are central to the module convenor’s books Belfast Boys and Dublin’s Great Wars.  These diaries will be used as one way of judging the accuracy of popular memory of 1914-18, which is so deeply rooted in popular culture. However, a wide range of other sources is used including historical artefacts, poetry, television and individual letters/diaries.  One seminar takes place at the Imperial War Museum in order to consider wider UK contexts of Ireland’s war.  There is strong academic support and encouragement for research in other archives.  An optional residential visit to key Western Front sites takes place at the end of the module.  Students make a contribution to the cost of that visit, with the rate published alongside the publication of options each year.


  • The Age of Plague: Disease, Medicine and Society in Western Europe, 1348–1665
  • Later Medieval London, 1450–1560: Community, Politics and Religion
  • France, 1774–1794: Reform and Revolution
  • Family, Society and Culture in Britain 1832–1918
  • Popular Culture in American History, 1870 to the Present
  • Literature, Culture and Society in Britain, 1914–1945

King’s College London

  • Alexander the Great
  • Augustus: Power and Propaganda
  • The Norman Conquest of Britain
  • The Origins of Reformation in England
  • Women and Gender in Early Modern England
  • Caribbean Intellectual History, c1800 to the Present
  • British Imperial Policy and Decolonisation, 1938-64

Queen Mary

  • Religion and Gender in Europe, 1450–1550
  • Victorian Intellectual History
  • The French Civil War

Royal Holloway

  • Heresy, Crusade and Inquisition in Southern France, c1140–1300
  • When Kings were Gods: Early Modern Islamic Political Ideas
  • Migration, Identity and Citizenship in Modern Britain
  • Berlin: A European Metropolis from Kaiser to Kohl
  • The History and Historiography of the Holocaust Politics and Society in Palestine from c1900 to 1948
  • School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London
  • Ivan the Terrible and the Russian Monarchy in the Sixteenth Century
  • East and West through Travel Writing: The Limits of Division in Eastern Europe Monarchs and the Enlightenment in Russia and Central Europe
  • Urban, Culture and Modernity: Vienna-Prague-Budapest 1857-1938
  • Mass Culture in the Age of Revolution: Russia 1900-1932

University College London

  • The Assyrian Empire
  • Religions, Law and the Papacy in the West: from the Christian Roman Empire to the Frankish 'Roman' Empire
  • Voyages and the Imagination in the Middle Ages
  • Great Britain and the American Colonies, 1760-1776
  • Living the Empire: Metropole and Colony in the 1830s Modernity and Modernism 

Related study

Some programmes allow you the opportunity to take a related study as part of your degree. This means that you have the opportunity to choose an option module offered by another department (for example, from English and Comparative Literature, Politics, and Visual Cultures).

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