Leeds, University of

At a Glance

In Depth

Why Study History at Leeds University

Studying history is vital to understanding the origins, development and significance of the contemporary world. Understanding the past is crucial to understanding the complexities of constancy and change which colour our daily lives and characterise the world around us.

Moreover studying history, especially here at the University of Leeds, will help you to develop a range of historical skills – such as assessment of evidence, analysis of contending interpretations, presentation of well-supported arguments, logical reasoning and effective communication – which have much wider relevance and are highly valued by employers in all walks of life. And our emphasis on partnership with our students, and enhancing their employability, is exactly why we were the only Russell Group (of research-intensive universities) shortlisted for the Sunday Times University of the Year award for 2011-12.

Here in the School of History, we offer two single honours degree programmes as well as a range of programmes bringing a wide variety of subjects together with History in joint honours combinations.

With the breadth of our BA (Hons) History degree programme, alongside the focus of our BA (Hons) International History and Politics degree programme, as well as the flexibility of the History joint honours combinations, we believe this provides the best of all worlds in terms of chronological scope, historical diversity and intellectual span.

And at all levels we help you to develop your skills and abilities not just in academic terms, but also with a view to your future career choices. Through our flagship LeedsForLife programme of personal tutoring and professional development, as well as through practical opportunities of paid internships in the School of History, work experience opportunities with schools and partner organisations, and broad scope to develop wider skills within the structure of your degree programme, there are many opportunities to capitalise on our reach and reputation during your degree and beyond.

And for each of our degree programmes you can take the opportunity of a year of Study Abroad or a year of Placement in Industry to extend the range of your experiences, to immerse yourself in another culture, or to gain inside knowledge of your preferred career path in preparation for life after graduation.

 Teaching Methods

We use a variety of teaching methods at all levels, including lectures and seminars, group work, and supervised individual research. You might be working on your own essays or presentations; you might be focusing on a group project; you might be gaining practical experience through modules in partnership with local schools or museums; you could be learning through a wide range of interactive means from electronic voting in lectures through to the creation of research projects hosted on web sites in our Virtual Learning Environment…

Essentially, there is no such thing as one size fitting all when it comes to teaching and learning in the School of History at the University of Leeds. A wide range of teaching and assessment methods are used, across a broad spectrum of modules, and you are likely to be able to find combinations which both suit and develop your own areas of strength accordingly.


V100 BA (Hons) History

This is a nationally and internationally renowned single honours degree programme, characterised by both the breadth and depth of its chronological and intellectual approach to the study of history. The range we offer at Leeds is one of the strongest features of our programme, made possible by the size and diversity of our academic staff base.

You take a variety of modules at Level 1, including a skills-based module in history, core foundation modules in Medieval and Renaissance Europe, and The Modern World, and a documentary study based on primary sources. At Level 2 you choose your preferred modules from an extensive list and develop your knowledge and skills in more breadth and depth. At Level 3 your studies become more specialised, culminating in the Special Subject and Dissertation, once more from a wide range of choices. At each level, you have scope for additional choice and flexibility through module choices and elective studies.

VL22 BA (Hons) International History and Politics

This is a unique single-honours, integrated degree programme with no precise parallel at any other university in the country. Its focus is on the most modern and contemporary history of international affairs and relations between states, in the period from the late nineteenth century into the twenty-first century.

You will take a variety of modules at Level 1, including a skills-based module in International History, and a module in Politics. At Levels 2 and 3 your studies become more specialised, culminating in your Special Subject and Dissertation in your final year. At each level, you have scope for choice and flexibility through module choices and elective studies.

History in Joint Honours Combinations (Various UCAS codes)

Our joint honours programmes with History provide an excellent opportunity to combine your interests in History with other subjects. The same principles of establishing skills at Level 1, then developing and entrenching them at Levels 2 and 3 as you progress from broader to more in-depth and specialised knowledge still apply, but as you are combining History with another subject you will study fewer History modules than a student on a single honours programme. As the subject combinations are very carefully implemented, the depth of your degree education overall will be the same.

Precise details of Joint Honours combinations will vary according to subject and we encourage you to research the many possible combinations through http://www.leeds.ac.uk/coursefinder/ (make sure you select ‘joint honours’).


We have an international reputation for research excellence, producing ‘world leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’ research (Research Assessment Exercise, 2008). The range of our interests and the strength of our research mean you can study history from ancient times to the twenty-first century, via political, social, economic, international and many other aspects, examining the history of almost all regions of the world. Our range and depth are among the best in the country, and are widely reflected in the choice of modules we offer across the levels (years) of our programmes.

Our research interests are diverse, but they tend to cluster in particular areas. So we have particular strengths in the history of medieval Europe; urban history and urbanities; the history of medicine and public health; identity, power and protest; the history of enterprise and cultures of consumption; war and peace; the history of print; as well as democracy and dictatorship, and more besides.

Much of our excellence in research is facilitated with the assistance of the resources of our principal research library, the Brotherton Library at the University of Leeds. Together with the Edward Boyle Library, which specialises in providing multiple copies of books for teaching, the two together hold almost three million items including one of the largest and widest-ranging history collections in the country.


The University of Leeds History student develops crucial skills that enable them to compete in the graduate jobs market.  In 2010, a survey of our graduates showed that 87% were in full time employment or further study 6 months after graduation. In that year, we saw an 8% rise in History students who had gained ‘graduate-level’ employment, and we put these successes down to the rigorous and innovative employability opportunities we provide.

Within the School, we provide opportunities for 13 internships that allow students to work part-time in areas of research assistance, administration, recruitment and careers guidance. By doing so, we create student-professionals working at the heart of the School and learns from their ideas and suggestions. In tandem with the careers service, we also offer one-to-one careers guidance and regular workshops on interview technique, job applications and commercial awareness, each opportunity designed specifically for our students.

At curriculum level, we have a raft of new modules that allow students either to integrate placements into their study or acquire employability skills as they pursue their academic interests. For example, History Students into Schools allows students to work as teaching assistants over a 6 month period, and get a sense of how History is taught and understood in different contexts. Research Collaboration and Communication provides the platform for students to complete research projects with businesses, charities, heritage and community groups in the Yorkshire region, culminating in a public-facing exhibition.

More broadly, our ethos is that employability should be embedded within the History curriculum and School, and be seen as integral to our students’ academic development, not as an ‘add-on’.

As excellent scholars of History, our students become strong researchers and communicators, manage their own projects, collaborate with others and adapt their learning to different audiences, problems and contexts. Our aim is to train our students to fully articulate and translate these skills within a professional context.