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V101 Ancient, Medieval and Modern History BA Undergraduate  2017


UCAS code V101
Degree BA
Mode of study Full Time
Duration 3 years
Location Durham City
Typical Offers A-Level
International Baccalaureate
Please also check Requirements and Admissions.
Alternative qualifications

Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 1670

Course Content


Year 1

In the first year, you will take three modules from History and three from Classics. You will also follow a course of lectures provided by History, which inducts you into a historical community of practice and helps you adjust to the demands of university-level study. You must choose at least one History module which is either Medieval or Early Modern; and one which is Modern. The modules on offer reflect the research interests of staff, and we cannot guarantee that a particular module will be running in 2016/17.

History modules have previously included:

  • Britain as an Economic Superpower 1750-1914
  • Tensions of Empire
  • The Birth of Western Society, 300-1050
  • New Heaven, New Earth: Latin Christendom and the World, 1000-1300.

In Ancient History, all students take two interdisciplinary modules that serve to give everyone a grounding in the central periods of Greek and Roman culture: Modules have previously included:

  • Remembering Athens
  • Monuments and Memory in the Age of Augustus
  • The third module is a matter of choice.

Modules have previously included:

  • Intermediate Latin and Greek for those with an A-level or equivalent 
  • Greek Art and Architecture
  • Early Greek Philosophy
  • The Craft of the Ancient Historian.

Year 2

In the second year, you will take three modules from History and three from Classics. Second-year History modules tend to focus more on particular periods and events, and there are fewer survey courses. One of the History modules taken must be ‘Conversations with History’. This is a seminar-driven, student-led module, which encourages students to think about the way in which history is written. You will choose one from a range of possible strands in this module, each of which focuses on a particular historical debate or phenomenon. You must choose one History module which is either Medieval or Early Modern; and one which is Modern (the Conversations strand will count as one of these choices). There is no other restriction on choice.

Modules have previously included:

  • Conversations Strands: the Usable Past; the Built Environment
  • History and Guilt
  • Power and Peoples
  • Inventing the Middle Ages
  • Monarchy
  • Empire, Liberty and Governance.

Other modules have previously included:

  • Hard Times: British Society c. 1800-1901
  • Modern China’s Transformations
  • The American Half-century: the United States since 1945
  • The King’s Two Bodies: Rulership in Late Medieval Europe
  • The Ottoman World, 1400-1700.

In Ancient History, second-year historical offerings have previously included:

  • Archaic Greece
  • History of The Hellenistic Age
  • Crisis of The Roman Republic
  • Roman Buildings and their Decoration.

Year 3

In the third year you may take the equivalent of three modules in each department, or you may take the equivalent of four modules in one and two in the other.

In History, you may choose a triple-module Special Subject, taught entirely through seminars, which involves close study of primary sources. You will work in a small group with a specialist in the field, with a three-hour seminar every week. Or you may choose to do supervised independent research leading to the writing of an extended Dissertation: this may be either a single or double-module Dissertation. Given this emphasis on focused study and independence, there is no requirement for students to study a range of periods in this year.

Third-year single modules are all strongly reflexive in character, encouraging students to think about the ways in which historical knowledge is produced. Third-year History modules are all specialised, research-led topics.

Modules in History have previously included:

Special subjects:

  • A World Turned Upside Down: Radicalism in the English Revolution
  • The Disappearance of Claudine Rouge: Murder, Mystery and Microhistory in Early Modern France
  • Light Beyond the Limes: the Christianization of Pagan Europe, 300-1000
  • From War to Cold War: US Foreign Policy, c. 1944-1948.

Single modules:

  • Anglo-Saxon Invasion? The Search for English
  • Origins Revolution and History
  • Interpreting Conflict in Post-Colonial Africa
  • History of American Capitalism.

In Ancient History, have previously included:

  • Law and Society in Classical Athens
  • Roman Syria
  • The World of Greek Rituals
  • Greeks and Persians
  • Urbs Roma
  • Writing Alexander.

Study Abroad


The Department participates in the University- wide overseas exchanges with:

  • Boston College (USA),
  • the University of British Columbia (Canada),
  • the University of Hong Kong (China) 
  • the National University of Singapore (Singapore).

Students can apply to spend the second year of their degree overseas. If you study on the four-year Joint Honours Modern European Languages and History degree, you will spend your third year abroad at a European university or a work placement as part of the University’s ERASMUS exchanges.

Classics and Ancient History

Single Honours courses include an optional European Studies element as part of the ERASMUS scheme, whereby students may spend the third year of a four-year course studying at a European university. We currently have ERASMUS exchange links with universities in Belgium (Liege), France (Bordeaux), Germany (Tubingen, Munich), Greece (Athens), Italy (Bologna, Rome, Milan, Vercelli), the Netherlands (Free University, Amsterdam, Groningen), Spain (Seville) and Switzerland (Fribourg), with further to come. Students interested in studying abroad should apply to transfer to the European Studies course after their first year of study.

Course Learning and Teaching

As a student on the BA Ancient, Medieval and Modern History, you will follow a structured programme of study comprised of modules delivered by the Department of History and the Department of Classics and Ancient History. You will receive, on average, around 7 hours of formal contact per week over the course of the programme. However, the exact number of contact hours will depend on your selection of modules as you will be given the option to specialise in ancient, medieval, or modern history as your progress through the programme.

Formal academic contact will include a combination of lectures, seminars, and tutorials. Lectures introduce broad historical questions and offer contextualisation and critical commentary; seminars provide an opportunity for you to develop your critical skills through discussion for which you would have prepared in advance. The balance between these activities will change over the course of the programme as you develop your knowledge and abilities as an independent learner.

Timetabled contact is only the beginning of your learning. It provides a starting-point for your development as an independent, self-motivated learner. Resource packages and reading lists will be provided through the on-line learning environment and as physical handbooks to guide your independent learning.

Typically, during your first year, you can expect to receive around 8-9 hours of formal contact per week. You will study modules that introduce you to a range of perspectives (not just historical) and different forms of evidence, and prepare you for a wide range of more specifically historical modules about politics and society, as well as the study of ancient literature, language, and philosophy, in your second and third years. The modules offer engagement with different periods and approaches to the study of the past, and experience of the way in which History, as a community of practice, encompasses the diversity of the human experience. Two core modules, Remembering Athens and Monuments and Memory, include seminars with a special emphasis on research skills.

In your second year there is an increased emphasis on the development of critical and analytical skills. As you become more adept at independent research, the intensity of contact in more specialised areas will increase. You can expect to receive around 7-8 hours of formal contact per week.

In the third year you will take further responsibility for managing your own time. The curriculum, while continuing to offer support and guidance, will require you to use the skills in independent study and time management which you have developed in the two preceding years. The dissertation, in particular, gives you the opportunity to establish your own research agenda and identify primary historical sources and extended reading lists, and so to engage, at an advanced level, with creative cutting-edge research at the forefront of the discipline. The exact number of contact hours that you receive will depend upon your module choices and specialisms. You will be expected to spend at least 35 hours each week in independent research. Because of this, you can expect to receive, on average, around 5-6 hours of formal contact per week.

Throughout the programme you will also benefit from the ready accessibility of staff. All module coordinators advertise their formal ‘office hours’ so that you can arrange one-to-one meetings to discuss particular issues. This un-timetabled contact often focuses on a specific issue of analysis or argument and gives students a strong sense of personal engagement with learning. In addition to this, you will be allocated an academic adviser with whom you will discuss your module choices within the context of your interests and aims (academic and personal).

You will be encouraged to attend the extensive programme of research-related activities in both departments, including the research seminar series, public lectures from high-profile guest speakers, and events organised by the student-run History Society and Classics Societies. In addition to this, you will be invited to attend regular events organised jointly by the department and the Careers, Employability, and Enterprise Centre.

Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:

  • We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study. Please contact our Admissions Selectors.
  • Classical subjects are not essential for any of our courses
  • For Ancient, Medieval and Modern History (V101) we require Grade A in History at A-level
  • We will be reviewing our entry requirements for 2017 entry in the summer of 2016 and will publish finalised entry requirements for 2017 entry before 1 September 2016
  • We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking as part of our offer
  • We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Information relevant to your country

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £9,250.00
Home Student £9,250.00
Island Student £9,250.00
International non-EU Student £17,400.00

Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding 

Career Opportunities


History students at Durham acquire a range of intellectual and general skills which make them very attractive to employers. These skills include: researching, evaluating, organizing and presenting material; clarity and correctness of expression; discrimination and judgement; self-discipline and capacity for extended independent work; appreciation of the validity of the views of others, and imaginative insight.

All these skills and aptitudes make Durham students suitable for a variety of careers from the civil service to law, banking and business, journalism and the media, teaching and academia.

Of thse students who graduated in 2015:

  • 87% are in paid employment or further study 6 months after graduation

Of those in employment:

  • 79% are in graduate level employment
  • Median salary £22,269

(Source: Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey of 2014/15 graduates. The DLHE survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing six months after graduation. Full definitions for the DLHE Record can be found

A significant number of students progress onto higher level study following their degree in History. Some remain within their academic field of interest and pursue a Masters, notably at Durham but also other prestigious institutions . Others take a different route and pursue professional postgraduate programmes in law, finance, teaching and curating to name but a few. As one of the outstanding history departments in the UK, we are delighted that many of our undergraduates choose to continue to study here for Masters degrees or PhDs. We have an excellent reputation as a centre for training historians at higher levels. The skills that higher degrees can bring are valued very highly by a wide range of employers - a PhD can be a passport to a high-ranking job in the civil service, for example, as well as teaching in higher education.

Reading history at Durham has given me an expansive skill set being able to analyse large quantities of information and to successfully identify and condense key points which matter strategically to our clients. Being able to prioritise tasks and being able to work efficiently on your own as well as within teams to meet every client deadline is essential; the development of strong time management skills as a history undergraduate at Durham has facilitated my ability to manage workload, meet deadlines and excel under pressure.

Employment development opportunities

Just as we help you to reflect academically on your progress as you develop into a mature historian, so we also want you to reflect on how the many advanced skills you are acquiring can be harnessed for your career. We want you to become 'outward-facing' so that you can talk to employers about how you've developed through your degree, and what you bring to their commercial environment.

Helping students to articulate their degree-specific skills in an 'outward-facing' way is at the very centre of our strategic planning as we adapt our curriculum. We have woven this into our planning and strategy These skills are woven into much of the work you do in our degree programme. It is no surprise, therefore, to find that our graduates have gone on to successful careers in a wide variety of fields, from the civil service, law, banking and business, to teaching, media, journalism, the military and further study.

Employers generally divide the skills they look for into three broad areas:

  • self reliance
  • people skills
  • general employment

The History degree programme develops a number of specific qualities that employers value in particular:

  • creativity
  • flexibility
  • leadership
  • confidence
  • the ability to express views orally and in writing
  • integrity
  • a strong work ethic
  • initiative
  • problem-solving
  • team-work
  • time management
  • organization
  • and, above all, independence.


Many employers ask you to supply academic references, from one of your tutors. Your tutors are usually very happy to help with this, though the provision of references is at the individual tutor's discretion. You should ask tutors who know you and your work well, such as a special subject or dissertation tutor.

Advisors from the Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre provide short presentations to each year group as part of joined up session with academic careers contact and head of undergraduate studies.
- Year 1, covers an introduction to developing employability skills.
- Year 2, focus on internships /work experience.
- Year 3, focus on graduate schemes /recruitment cycle/ effective on-line applications

We welcome applications from candidates who are studying for law or non-law degree subjects and approximately 45% of our graduate intake each year is made up of non-lawyers. Of our non-law graduates, we recruit a lot of Historians and we are confident that the degree helps our trainees to utilise and continue to develop key skills which are highly relevant for a career as a lawyer in an global practice. Such skills include analysis, deduction, dealing with volume in an efficient manner and providing logical arguments.

Durham University History graduates progress into an incredibly diverse range of careers and employment sectors. The public, private and not-for-profits sectors are all strongly represented with graduates entering professions such as law, armed forces, banking, teaching, marketing, advertising, PR, accountancy, HR, consultancy, press officer, parliamentary research and archiving to name but a few. Examples of high profile recent employers include Deloitte, European Union, JP Morgan, Slaughter & May, Watson Wyatt, Weber Shandwick, Marks & Spencer, Centrica, Royal Marines, Churchill Archives Centre.

Classics and Ancient History

Classics students from universities such as Durham are highly valued by employers, who realise that, in studying for your degree, you have not only mastered the intricacies of Latin grammar, Augustan foreign policy or Aristotelian metaphysics, but have also acquired skills which are readily transferable in the jobs market. You have learned, for example, to think logically, to compile and evaluate evidence and to express yourself clearly and succinctly both orally and in writing. The aptitude of classicists for careers in computing is well-known, but our graduates have also found their way into careers as diverse as the civil service, gold dealing, insurance, journalism, law, accountancy, public relations and the theatre.

Among our many distinguished alumni: Robert Swan was the first man to walk to both poles, and a leading environmentalist. He studied Ancient History in Durham, from 1976-1979. Jenny Willott, who studied Classics at Durham, was MP for Cardiff Central between 2005 and 2015. (She made headlines when she resigned as Chris Huhne’s Parliamentary Aide over the issue of Unviersity tuition fees.) And Matt Barber, who read Classical Studies and Philosophy at Durham between 2002-2005, can be seen as Atticus Aldridge on 'Downton Abbey'.

Of those students that left in 2015:

- 82% are in paid employment or further study

Of those students in employment:

- 52% are in graduate level employment
- Median salary £21,501

(Source: Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey of 2014/15 graduates. The DLHE survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing six months after graduation. Full definitions for the DLHE Record can be found

A significant number of students progress onto higher level study following their degree in Classics and Ancient History. Some remain within their academic field of interest and pursue a Masters, notably at Durham but also other prestigious institutions. Others take a different route and pursue professional postgraduate programmes in law, finance and teaching to name but a few.

Employment development opportunities

The Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre works with closely the department in facilitating student access to job and work experience opportunities, careers and employability events, employer workshops and presentations, skills programmes and tailored individual careers guidance. The department delivers a number of events in partnership with the Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre including 'Beyond the BA' and 'Beyond the MA'.   

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Pre-application open days are the best way to discover all you need to know about Durham University. With representatives from all relevant academic and support service departments, and opportunities to explore college options, the open days provide our prospective undergraduates with the full experience of Durham University.

Please see the following page for further details and information on how to book a place:

Campus Tours

Overseas Visit Schedule

Department Information



Durham – an excellent History Department in a unique historical location.

Durham University has one of the most highly regarded history departments in the UK and our students love being here. This reputation is the product of the quality and commitment of our staff, and the breadth of our teaching, which reflects the research interests of a Department with an international outlook.

We offer modules covering periods from the Middle Ages to the present and many different parts of the world: Chinese, Japanese, African and US history are all taught at Durham University, alongside British and other European history. Our degree courses reflect the rich variety of modern historical writing, including cultural, media and gender history as well as political, religious, social and economic history. We are proud to attract so many bright and articulate students; our students achieve excellent results, and proceed to successful careers in both the private and public sectors.

  • 92% of our History students were satisfied with the quality of their course in the National Student Survey 2015 (sector-wide average 90%).
  • 2nd in The Complete University Guide 2016.
  • 3rd in The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2016.
  • 3rd in The Guardian University Guide 2016.

Located in the historic heart of Durham City, the Department is close to the World Heritage Site of the Cathedral and Castle. We have excellent libraries, containing archives and book collections of international significance and providing access to a huge range of teaching and online resources, which make us a perfect choice for undergraduate study. Teaching takes place in lecture halls in various areas of the University site, and for smaller groups in staff offices and seminar rooms, many fitted with state-of-the-art IT equipment and mostly located in the Department premises at 43 North Bailey.


Classics and Ancient History


Study the Greek and Roman world at one of the largest and most vibrant Classics departments in the UK. Our academic staff work in a truly interdisciplinary way and specialise in a wide range of artistic, historical, literary, linguistic, cultural and philosophical aspects of the Graeco-Roman world.

We are consistently ranked among the top Classics departments in the UK. We offer a wide variety of modules: ancient Greek and Latin for every level of ability, surveys of the main periods and themes of Greek and Roman history, and teaching in all aspects of Classical culture, including philosophy, art, and literature in translation. We offer three Single Honours courses, with a common first year intended to emphasise the unity of the subject. Each of these degrees has a different emphasis, depending on which area you prefer to put at the centre of your degree: ancient languages, ancient history, or ancient culture.

  • 93% of our Classics and Ancient History students were satisfied with the quality of their course in
    the National Student Survey 2015 (sector-wide average 86%).
  • 3rd in The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2016.

There is a well-stocked departmental library with a reading room and study space, plus a computer room. In addition, extracurricular activities are provided by the lively and friendly Students’ Classical Society, which often puts on a Greek or Roman play in English translation.


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