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Durham University

Department of History

V101 Ancient, Medieval and Modern History BA Undergraduate  2019



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
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Course Summary

Course Summary


Year 1

In the first year, you will take three modules from History and three from Classics. 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 2018/19.

History modules have previously included:

  • Reformation Europe
  • 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
  • The Hellenistic World
  • 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. 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 Later Roman Empire
  • Greeks and Persians
  • Urbs Roma
  • Writing Alexander.

We review course structures and core content (in light of e.g. external and student feedback) every year, and will publish finalised core requirements for 2019 entry from September 2018.

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 an additional year of study abroad. This is normally taken between the second and third years of the degree programme. 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 Detail

Course Detail

To find out more about the modules available to students studying at Durham University please click here.

Please note: Current modules are indicative. Information for future academic years may change, for example, due to developments in the relevant academic field, or in light of student feedback.

Learning and Teaching

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 to guide your independent learning.

Typically, during your first year, you can expect to receive around 8 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 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 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 Tutor.
  • 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
  • Ancient History is acceptable as one of three A levels but History A level must also be taken
  • We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking as part of our offer
  • Typical IB score 38 to include 666 in higher level subjects.  Higher level grade 6 in History is required 
  • We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.

Science A levels

Applicants taking Science A levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This applies only to applicants sitting A levels with an English examination board.

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Information relevant to your country


English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Information relevant to your country

Fees and Funding

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £9,250.00 per year
Home Student £9,250.00 per year
Island Student £9,250.00 per year
International non-EU Student £19,250.00 per year

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

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding 

Open Days and Visits

Open days and visits

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

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Overseas Visit Schedule

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