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BA (Hons) History

Take an exciting and dynamic approach to learning history. On BA (Hons) History, you relate your understanding of different periods to the present day, as well as to other contexts and times. We challenge you with big questions, and engage you actively in historical processes and method. We use archives and living history to make sense of the past, and its fundamental place in our present and future.

old photos laid out on a wooden background

From the dawn of homo sapiens right up to the present day.

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Full-time Part-time

Entry requirements

Three A-levels at grades CCC or above

Or BTEC triple grades MMM or above

Or Access 23-45 D/M with min 6D

And GCSE English Language at grade 4 or grade C or above

UCAS points 96

UCAS code HIS1

UCAS institution code P63

Duration Three years full-time or up to six years part-time

Course Summary

History is full of danger, excitement and mystery. This innovative BA (Hons) History degree at Marjon allows you to cross space and time, looking at how big events, myriad forces and influential people have shaped the world we live in. On this programme, you will answer questions such as these: What were early humans like, and how are we like them still? What is the legacy of ancient civilisations? How have humans changed the natural environment? How have war and rebellion impacted on social, political and cultural change? 

History is best understood when different periods, people and experiences are related to one another, thus giving us a deeper understanding of our present. This programme takes a broadly thematic approach to learning about history, in which students forge links in space and time, gaining a greater insight into their own world and experience. Modules are designed to provide thematic coherence and they are threaded together to build on learning through engagement with primary and secondary sources in a critical and academic way.

The programme takes a broad and progressive approach to learning history in which students can help shape the curriculum content, selecting areas of interest that can be explored collaboratively, and then built on over time to develop specialist skills and knowledge. Whilst guided by the expertise of tutors, who can ensure focus on learning outcomes, students are proactive in co-constructing their learning. So, if you have a interest in the Cold War, for instance, that will link to our Rebellion, Revolution and Conflict module. You're interested in the Space Race? Great - let's build on this knowledge in our Innovation, Science and Technology module. You want to know more about the history of Ming China? No problem - this fits in to our Ancient to Contemporary module.

The programme fosters students' intellectual growth through experiencing history in context: opportunities are embedded in all three years for students to visit local and national places of historic interest in order to engage fully with their subject. You will develop a range of invaluable skills, enabling you to become sophisticated in your knowledge of history and historical method. Work-based learning in Year 2 and Year 3 will give you experience in a range of areas in the history, heritage and education sectors, whilst also preparing you to become a skilled and confident professional in whatever field you choose to go into. 


Why this course at Marjon?

Study the broad and rich history of the past in a way that helps you understand the complex world you live in

Politics, religion, society, culture, identity, human stories - this is a degree that has it all, and gives you insight into the diverse nature of human experience

Become an historian in the truest sense, asking questions and unearthing history from archives through research, creating your own exciting interpretations of past eras and event

Learn about how the history of south-west England is inextricably tied up with world history - explore the local area through field work study, discovering the secret, hidden treasures of Plymouth and the local region

Co-construct your learning, bringing your own interests to the fore - whatever these are, there is room to grow and nurture your love of specific periods, themes and places

Develop all the skills you need to make a success of yourself as an historian in the future; from digital archives to museum management, scope out your future through supportive experiential learning opportunities

Modules for this course

Course Snapshot

You begin your history degree with the grand narrative of human history. Your first modules address these big questions: where did people come from?; how did communities, societies and civilisations emerge and develop?; what have been the distinguishing features and achievements of humans through the ages?; what were the factors that enabled us to flourish as a species to become what we are today? We also introduce you to critical theory, and how Marxist, feminist and postmodern perspectives (among others) enable us interpret history. Into year 2, among other modules, you undertake a placement in a history-related industry and begin to develop your research skills through archival research and a short independent study. In the third year you hone your skills as a researcher, completing a unique research project. Through our third year themes of power, politics, religion, thought and environmental change, you consider the complexity of human existence and the myriad forces that make us who we are.
Miles Smith - Course Leader

1st Year

Early Human History
Human history begins a long time ago and this module provides you with an immersive introduction to who we are, where we came from, the forces that shaped early human experience, and also how this is relevant to us today.
Ancient to Contemporary
From the ancient civilisations to the present day, this module allows you to explore the great sweep of human existence over thousands of years. Picking out key people, places, events and experiences, we create a narrative that enables you to make sense of the forces that have made the world what it is.
Historical Theory
To fully get to grips with history, we need to understand the critical perspectives of historical study. This module seeks answers to questions about the nature of history, the purpose for studying it, and the myriad ways in which history is written and interpreted.
Innovation, Science & Technology
In this first theme-based module, you begin to reflect on the forces, drivers and impacts of change and development in science and technology. Cross space and time to reflect on patterns of cyclical history and juxtapose different periods and peoples to make meaning about innovation in our world.
Narrative and Biography
The stories people tell can be a revelation about the past, and in this module you consider the nature of biography, and how shared stories and experience can problematise traditional and formal modes of representing the past. This module asks: who does history belong to?
Mapping History
Explore a range of critical historical ideas, including power, empire, politics, diaspora and emigation, reflecting on how historical change impacts on representations within maps.

2nd Year

Working in the Past
This first work placement module acquaints you with the possibilities within the history sector for work. Engage throughout the year in development of personal and professional attributes, culminating in work-based learning experiences. These experiences can be in a range of areas within the history and heritage sector, and may include, for instance work in museums (in curation, archives, education), or in education (supporting learning, hosting events).
History as Enquiry
Building on your knowledge of theoretical perspectives, this module introduces you to the world of research. In an ever-changing digital world, in which there are almost unlimited sources and resources, how do historians take on the challenging task of enquiring into the past? Learn about their methods and methodology in this module.
Through the Eyes of Others
History can be revealed to us in many ways, and the values, attitudes and perspectives of people who lived at different times are nowhere more evident than in the cultural artefacts associated with a period. In this module, investigate the relevance of literature in defining our understanding of the past.
Archives and Artefacts
History is a hands on subject and in this module you develop practical knowledge and understanding of collections and materials preserved for historical enquiry, and what the vision and values are of those who have preserved them. We'll explore the Marjon Archive for a full experience...
Rebellion, Revolution & Conflict
Across geographical space and through time, people have shown enmity towards one another. How do we account for this? What are the factors that contribute to the seemingly insatiable appetite people have had to do one another harm? Is all war bad? This module allows you to forge links thematically to uncover some of the answers to these big questions.
History Studies
Using the skills, perspectives and knowledge you have developed, this module provides an opportunity to engage in a critical, independent study. What area or areas of history interest you? How can you investigate these? What is your purpose? How will you interpret or shape your own historical narrative?

3rd Year

Honours Project
Bringing all your learning to fruition, this year-long project gives you total freedom and scope to identify an area of historical research and carry out your own original research project. Delve into the archives, conduct your own enquiries, discover narratives and build a picture of something in the past.
Religion and Thought
Questions of who we are and what existence means for us - and has meant for others in time - is the focus of this module. Weigh up questions around morality and ethics in life and consider the importance of art and other cultural artefacts in our representations of what we think and what we believe in.
Changing Landscapes
Our physical world continues to change, but what was the physical world like in the past? In order to comprehend the challenges of the present, in particular climate change, we need to make sense of the relationship between humans, nature and the landscape.
Power and Politics
At the heart of human societies are political structures and in this module we reflect on the changing nature of political structures and ideologies from the middle ages to the modern period, comparing and contrasting people and places.
History in your Future
Offering further insights into the history sector, this module helps you develop a moral and ethical orientation towards your work, using placement experience to learn about yourself and where you want to go in the future. Your placement will be sustained and personalised to you, your needs and your priorities as a graduate and emerging professional.

Please note: This course is subject to validation which means that it is either a new course or that the content is currently being updated. You can apply for this course now while some of the details of the course are being finalised by the University. Please contact the course leader if you would like further information.

This course is perfect if you’re curious about

What the purpose and value of history is...

How our lives are shaped by the forces of the past...

Whether or not history is about people, ideas or places...

How we can use the past to reflect on our sense of self and identity in the contemporary world...

How history can be seen as a broad and exciting field of study...

How people write about an interpret the past, drawing on the rich tapestry of human experience?

What might you become?

With BA (Hons) History there are so many options for the future. The world is full of history and there are numerous professions that link to a history degree. You may choose the world of heritage, working in one of many different museum, curation and archive roles. Or you may wish to share your learning and research with others, writing as an historian for a magazine or an online organisation.

And then there is education: at Marjon you are well-supported to progress from a BA undergraduate degree through to a range of postgraduate teacher training qualifications. Alternatively, the inter-disciplinary skills you develop, as a researcher, writer, presenter, communicator and collaborator will give you the skillset and the wherewithal for working in a wide variety of industries and occupations. Whatever path it is you choose to take, you can rest assured that BA (Hons) History at Marjon will prepare you to take on the challenges of the future.

How you’ll be taught and assessed?

How will you be taught?

This degree brings you into contact with like-minded and enthusiastic historians, with teachers on the course making use of their professional knowledge, research backgrounds and skills to support your learning. Learning, study and research is discovery and enquiry-led, so at all times you will be steeped in engaging secondary sources and intriguing primary materials.

Your learning experience will be enhanced through intensive discussion and debate, structured inputs, extensive field work and trips in the local and wider region, as well as archival research. In your second and third years, experiential learning in the sector will help you make decisions about your future, bringing you into contact with professionals with wide-ranging experience.

You will be supported by the tutors and our careers team as you explore your potential career pathways, or future study options. 

How will you be assessed?

Assessment is diverse, taking account of different interests and also nurturing a range of skills and abiliites. We focus on developing competent skills in writing, being able to construct coherent arguments and positions. But there is much more than essay writing, and you will take part in a variety of project-based learning tasks that give you an opportunity to apply your learning and knowledge. So, from presentations to practicals, and from digital portfolios to projects, there is assessment to suit everyone, bring the course to life, and more importantly, help you develop a broad range of graduate skills. 

Alan Butler

Dr Alan Butler

Course leader

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Alan graduated from Marjon in 2002 and is now programme lead for a new MA Archives and Collections course, in addition to being a co-director of Pride in Plymouth CIC and a community engagement officer at The Box. In 2016 he completed an AHRC funded collaborative PhD called “Performing LGBT Pride in Plymouth 1950 -2012” with the University of Plymouth. The project involved the formation of a specific LGBT history accession for the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office (now The Box) which currently sits alongside the Pride in Plymouth’s Community Archive. This archive currently comprises around 100 oral history interviews along with memorabilia pertaining to the performance of LGBT identity in the city over a sixty-year period. In 2012, the Plymouth LGBT Archive was awarded the “Most Inspirational” archive award by the Community Archive and Heritage group, which he now chairs, as well as being an trustee of the Oral History Society and the chair of their LGBTQ Special Interest Group.

Fees and funding

Fees UK students: £9,250 per annum

Fees for International students: £12,500 per annum

This fee covers your tuition and access to course-specific equipment and facilities, as well associated services including access to the library, study skills support, IT support, student support and wellbeing services and membership of the Student Union. There may be additional costs by course.

Funding available for this course

Our Student Funding Advisors offer confidential and impartial advice about your funding options.

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Jonathan Cripps


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Jonathan’s career as a history teacher has spanned over 25 years, working in secondary schools in Sussex, Suffolk and Cornwall. Previously, he has worked for Cornwall LEA as an Advanced Skills Teacher, supporting history departments, NQTs and recent entrants to the teaching profession across the county. He is a Teacher Fellow of the Historical Association.

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