Study with a top History department and be taught from the cutting edge of historical research. Further your skills with a unique film course which combines the study of film as an art form with learning the practical skills of film making.
Through our diverse and inclusive History curriculum you will learn about an array of cultures and identities. What links our work is our focus on people’s history and everyday lives. This is represented strongly in our first year programme, which will give you an insight into the making of the modern world through exploration of faith, magic and medicine, campaigns for freedom and equality, Africa and the world, and America from Hamilton to Trump.
Our expert colleagues in Film take a similar international approach. You will explore the fascinating world of Hollywood, World Cinema, European Cinema as well as the film industry in Britain, so you have insider knowledge of what makes a successful film and appreciate diverse genres, contexts, cultures and filmmaking techniques.
Throughout your degree, the common link between the two disciplines will be the development of analytical skills. As historians you will learn to analyse historical documents and debates among historians, while in Film you’ll develop the ability to analyse visual material, understand the craft of film making and gain new perspectives on the world.
These analytical skills, honed over the course of your studies, will benefit you in the final year of History if you choose to write a dissertation. This extended piece of work will grow out of a topic that interests you. Previous students have combined their Film and History studies to explore issues of propaganda or the depiction of historical events in film.
An exceptional History team, conducting world-leading research (REF 2014)
Stimulating, innovative courses - our History students reported almost 94% overall satisfaction with their course (2018 National Student Survey)
A flexible programme of study, allowing you to concentrate on areas you find especially interesting
The scope to write a History dissertation on a topic about which you are passionate, potential blending your interests in film and history
A mixture of intellectual and practical skills.
An expert film team with in-depth knowledge of the film industry plus the opportunity to get involved with local cinemas and our own bespoke film club.
CV-building potential and practical experience through work placements and extra-curricular activities. Previous students in this department have had year long paid placements at Warner Brothers in London, Hatfield House and local museums.
Our interactive seminars and workshops in History and Film help you find your feet in the academic environment, and establish ways of working confidently, creatively and collaboratively. We see our students as fellow researchers, and we place a great deal of importance on sharing and developing skills.
Our History and Film students benefit from being part of a diverse and active academic community. The Media Matters Guest Lecture series, which is free and open to students, might appeal to film students. Previous speakers include Jessica Fellowes, journalist and author of companion books to the Downton Abbey television series as well as video producers for household name clients such as Waitrose. As one of our students, you also have the opportunity to get involved in activities that will complement your studies. Not only do these enhance your experience, they also make for a more impressive CV. Our renowned staff-student Oral History team has taken students to Australia and produced a BBC Radio 4 documentary, which was commended at the 2018 Royal Historical Society Public History Awards. Film students get the benefit of their own film club.
Taking a year’s study abroad is an excellent opportunity to broaden your understanding of the world. Living in another country opens up fresh perspectives and helps create global citizens. Immersing yourself in a host country enhances your learning, giving you a greater appreciation of other cultures and societies, and a deeper understanding of their everyday lives.
What’s more it would be a brilliant opportunity to learn about another film industry, particularly if you choose film active areas such as California or Australia.
Introduction to Film Criticism - 15 Credits
This module introduces students to the analysis of film texts. Students will engage critically with how ‘meaning’ is communicated through film. Students will be introduced to some of the key moments in cinema history, via a discussion of various elements of film language ranging from: colour, editing, sound, lighting, mise-en-scene, framing, narrative, the use of place, space and location and performance in films from both inside and outside of the Hollywood system. From Hitchcock’s thrillers (Strangers on a Train) to classic Horror film (Dawn of the Dead), the tear jerking and overtly symbolic Melodrama (Imitation of Life) through to the gritty and violent New Hollywood of the 1970's (Carrie) alongside contemporary film and TV (Drive and American Horror Story) that continues to push the boundaries of film vocabulary and symbolism. The module will equip students with an understanding historical awareness of film and the various stylistic and technological issues involved in the study of film alongside some of the ways in which film texts interact with wider cultural, historical and political contexts.
Belief and Disbelief: Faith, Magic and Medicine, 1500 - 1800 - 15 Credits
Many of the debates that define the making of our modern era were concerned with the relationships between religion, science, magic, and medicine. This module begins by exploring the early modern ideas and practices that shaped people’s understanding of the natural and supernatural world in Protestant England and Catholic Europe, and also how these influenced European colonial views of the religions and rituals of other cultures. The module will question how events like the witch trials affected peoples' medical, magical, and theological ‘world view’, and challenge students to consider the extent to which the Reformation and Enlightenment transformed health, faith, and beliefs in everyday life.
Genre, Styles and Stars - 15 Credits
The module introduces you to the study of film/TV using key theoretical perspectives from within the discipline and from wider cultural and critical areas. It focusses on theories of genre, film and TV authorship and style, and a consideration of the origins of the star system from the Golden Age of Hollywood to the celebrity era of the global digital age.
You will be asked to consider the development of genre texts in film and in television in order to compare and contrast their conventions, iconography, themes and aesthetics. Examples include: Western, Science Fiction, Horror, Musical. The module will also consider the birth of the star system with significant case studies of iconic film and television stars and a consideration of genre authorship, the development auteur theory and stylistic evaluation of key directors and sub-genres.
The Fight for Rights: Freedom and Oppression, 1790s-1990s - 15 Credits
This module takes you through 200 years of national and global conflicts over people’s rights, and the complex history of the recognition of human rights. Taking a ‘history from below’ approach, this module will give you critical thinking skills in understanding how global change affects individuals and different communities, and how different social movements fought for rights, including women, sexuality, race and disability. You will investigate the impact of revolutions and new ideas in inspiring different groups across the world to challenge and defend their social, political and economic rights.
The Heritage Industry in Britain - 15 Credits
This module explores the historical origins of the modern heritage industry and offers a general introduction to its principles and practices. You will investigate the way in which key people, places and events in English history have been preserved, interpreted and presented to the public since the twentieth century. The work of leading heritage bodies in Britain, such as Historic England and the National Trust, will be set in an international context and you will also be introduced to theoretical critiques that have arisen in response to the development of the heritage industry. Topics may include natural heritage, local heritage, icons in English heritage, dark tourism and difficult heritage, and industrial heritage.
Leisure and Lifestyle: 20th Century American Music, Sport and Entertainment - 15 Credits
The influence of the American lifestyle extends far beyond the country’s borders, and this module encourages you to reflect on the historical roots of often-familiar elements of American culture. By focussing on selected moments in twentieth century American music, sport and entertainment, we will consider the historical processes that shaped the continent’s social and cultural history. Building on this, we will also examine how and why the country’s cultural identity has been internationally transmitted and how it has been received. Each week you will learn to connect a specific individual, event or movement to broader historical issues through the use of video, texts, images, and song.
Historians' Toolkit - 15 Credits
This module provides you with the 'toolkit' of the historical profession. It supports the transition from secondary education, and those returning to education, by teaching you the history skills needed at university, in a hands-on and relevant way. You will learn about the historical development of the discipline, explore the ways historians interpret a wide range of sources, and develop your essay writing skills.
Africa and the World, 1450-1850 - 15 Credits
The history of Africa is rich and varied but has all too often been viewed through European lenses of prejudice and self-interest; such perspectives shaped by the experiences of Africa’s slave trades and of colonisation. This module explores the history of Africa and its peoples from early settlement to the mid-nineteenth century, and, taking an African perspective, how Africa and Africans encountered and engaged with the people, culture and religions of the wider world. The module will explore how contact with the nations and peoples of Europe, Asia and America forged new political institutions and global trade networks, changed religious practices and social conventions, and drew Africans – willingly and unwillingly – into a global diaspora.
International trade has a significant impact on the way we live. The food we eat, the clothes we wear, the gadgets we use and the services we rely on are often created in distant places and delivered to us through complex trading networks. This module will introduce you to the long history of global trade and consumption. We will consider how the desire for foreign commodities helped transform economies, polities and cultures around the world. We will explore the lives of the traders who supplied the goods and seek to understand the desires of the consumers who demanded foreign luxuries. We will also see the impact that consumption in one country has on lives in other places acknowledging the Africans who, as enslaved people, were turned into commodities, the farmers forced into the production of cash crops, and the workers expected to toil in sweatshops to produce cheap goods for multinational corporations.
Introduction to Public History - 15 Credits
From food packaging, to video game characters, to national celebrations and commiserations: history is everywhere. The past is the source of inspiration for societies around the world. Writers use it as the setting for their stories; governments use it to justify their policies; businesses use it to sell their products or services. This module explores how societies use history, and provides students with an understanding of the ways historians can take their skills out into the world, with an emphasis on employability skills. We will use a wide array of examples from around the world and from different contexts to build our understanding of where, when, why, and how the past is applied, as well as the opportunities and challenges that result.
Graduate Skills - 0 Credits
You will be offered a variety of employment enhancing workshops and online activities such as interview skills workshops, personality profiling and career planning in order to improve your employment prospects after graduation and make you aware of current areas of strength and weakness in relation to employability.
You will also have the opportunity to learn about self-employment options, graduate schemes and will attend speaker sessions with successful professionals in areas of employment appropriate for Humanities graduates so you can learn about the skills and attributes required for these areas and how to enhance your prospects of entering such areas.
You will be required to undertake a certain number of activities chosen by you from a career “menu” and to reflect on what they have learnt in order to complete the module successfully.
USA 1861 to 1969: From Civil War to Civil Rights A - 15 Credits
The module surveys American history from the end of the Civil War in 1865, to the social, political, and economic crises, which engulfed the United States during the 1960s. It concentrates on the major issues of American development: the emancipation of the slaves, the Civil War, and the process of Reconstruction; the rise of Jim Crow and Segregation in the South; the Wild West; Immigration and Industrialisation; Populism and Progressivism; the expansion of political democracy; the emergence of the regulatory state; America's rise to the status of a World Power; the depression of the 1930s; McCarthyism; Civil Rights; Vietnam and the Great Society. Students will be encourage to engage with two important issues: 1. How America transformed from a country made up of a collection of loose states to become a global superpower. 2. How the two principles 'All men are created equal' and racial segregation co-existed side by side.
Hearth & Heart: Family Life in the Long Eighteenth-Century - 15 Credits
This module examines the history of the family in Britain and Ireland over the long eighteenth-century. It will introduce you to the methodological approaches and historiographical debates in the history of the family, and will cover a wide variety of topics, from family size and structure, to representations of ideal families in literature and art, family relationships, deviant sexuality, and the regulation of the family by church and state. Questions it will consider include: What was family life like in this period? Did parents really love their children? How widespread was pre-marital sexual intercourse? And, in what ways did the family change over time? Close attention will be paid to the role that gender and social class played in shaping family life over the period. The module will make use of a rich array of source materials including, letters and diaries, church court minutes, art and census material.
Propaganda in Twentieth-Century War and Politics - 15 Credits
This broad survey module will encourage you to connect the development of mass communications with domestic and international politics in the twentieth century. Time will be spent on defining public opinion, censorship and propaganda; on examining propaganda channels and techniques; and, on analysing and measuring propaganda effects. Emphasis will be placed on Britain’s pioneering role in the new world communications network via its empire, and on the importance attached to the First World War in changing the face of propaganda. A variety of sources, including film, will be used to assess the increasing sophistication of political persuasion thereafter. Particular attention will be paid to Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia and the international conflicts in Vietnam in the 1960s and the Middle East in the 1990s. Seminars will involve group work centred on core interpretative texts.
Nation & Identity: Newly Independent States in Interwar Europe, 1918-1939 - 15 Credits
This module explores a fascinating period in European history when empires crumbled and new nation-states emerged. The process of state building is investigated in detail. Through an analysis of the settlements that gave birth to the new states, the module seeks to establish the extent to which they influenced and, in some cases, hindered the states’ development. The various political, economic, social, religious and cultural forces that shaped the states will also be examined and evaluated. Close attention will be paid to the various efforts to create national identity through a range of diverse range of forums, including membership of international bodies, major sporting occasions, state-sponsored art and religious events. Building on these themes, the module will subsequently address why some states survived and others collapsed with the outbreak of a second world war.
Making a Historical Documentary - 15 Credits
Historical documentaries are one of the key ways that the public learn about the past. The most successful documentaries take complex issues and communicate them in a straightforward and engaging manner. This practical module will guide you through the various stages of television documentary-making, from generating an idea to actually producing your own short twelve-minute documentary.
Archive research, scripting, filming and interviewing, and editing are among the basic techniques that will be covered. You will also develop the ability to critically assess documentaries, learning to detect strengths and weaknesses. Over the course of the semester, you will gain and expand a range of practical transferable skills.
Making Histories: Pubic History Work Experience - 15 Credits
This module is designed to give you a deep exposure to history and heritage in the workplace and in the world-at-large. Are you interested in getting recognition for volunteer work in a museum or archive? Have you thought of participating in a historical memory project in your local community? Do you have plans to work with history after you graduate? Working closely with the module tutor, you will tailor a heritage-related placement to your specific interests and aspirations.
This module helps you develop your knowledge of history beyond a university context. It aims to provide a stimulating programme of activities so that you gain hands-on, practical experience and a glimpse behind-the-scenes of the work done by heritage organisations. The module is also geared towards enhancing your employability skills in a supportive environment, which includes contributions from heritage professionals.
Postcards from the Empire: Experiences of British Imperialism - 15 Credits
At the empire's height, Queen Victoria claimed sovereignty over nearly one in four of the planet’s human inhabitants. The lives and experiences of each were sculpted by international, national, and local dynamics. This module explores the stories of these everyday lives through snapshots of life in the British Empire up to 1914. Case studies may draw from places including Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, Africa, India, Ireland, Canada, America, and the Caribbean. Themes may include race, gender, class, religion, economics, and adventure. A particular emphasis will be placed on exploring the histories of racialized and colonized peoples, with attention to the historical approaches developed over the past several decades that have changed the ability of historians to identify and engage with these voices.
Maladies and Medicine in Early Modern Europe - 15 Credits
This module explores the nature of medical knowledge and treatment between c. 1550- 1750. We will look at a range of illnesses including mental illness and disability and disfigurement. The course will investigate the treatments offered to patients and who they were treated by. A series of lectures will form the spine of the module introducing the key themes and historiographical debates in this field. The seminars will then consider specific examples and particular historiographical issues in greater depth. The module will move through three main areas; medical knowledge and learning, disease and death, and medical provision in the period.
Crime and Society in England, 1550-1750 - 15 Credits
One way of understanding early-modern English society is to examine the nature of criminal activity, and the perception and response to crime in the period. In this module you will be introduced to a wide variety of criminal activities and behaviours, ranging from the pattern and nature of ‘petty’ crimes, such as poaching and defamation, to more ‘serious’ crimes, such as murder and treason. You will be encouraged to reflect on the motives for crime and what such activities can tell us about early modern society. Considerable emphasis will be place on understanding the system of justice and the nature of law enforcement in the period. To this end, you will identify, consult and undertake qualitative and quantitative analyses of online historical datasets and databases, such as The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, and will be encouraged to reflect on the ethical implications of using such resources for historical research.
The Age of the Cold War, 1945-1991 - 15 Credits
This broad survey module will examine the origins, nature and end of the Cold War in a global context between 1945 and 1991. The first section of the module assesses the nature of the Cold War in comparative historical context, before investigating the origins of the Cold War, the nature of superpower conflict, and the global expansion of the Cold War. The module then adopts a thematic approach, concentrating on the ideological, diplomatic, economic, political, military and cultural dimensions of the Cold War of the 1950s through to the 1980s. The module will consider the conflict between the superpowers, but also the effect of the Cold War on the periphery and unaligned nations. The final section of the module deals with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the People’s Democracies in Europe following Gorbachev’s rise to power in 1985, and the diplomacy and events that brought the Cold War to an end.
Everyday Lives: An Intimate History of Twentieth Century Women - 15 Credits
This module offers an intimate history of the everyday lives of women in America, Britain and Ireland. We will explore the lives, roles, experiences and perceptions of ordinary women during the twentieth century will be explored. Students will be introduced to an array of sources – including popular and visual culture, objects and digital sources, oral testimony and literature (fiction and memoir) – and to what they reveal about the manner in which women were perceived and represented; how women viewed themselves; and how women of different generations experienced, negotiated and reacted to social change. Fashion, consumerism, courtship, sexuality, and advertising are among the areas considered for what they reveal about women and the world around them. Such themes will be analysed within the context of continuity and change across the twentieth century and three geographical perspectives. The module will conclude by questioning the extent to which women’s movements were representative of ordinary women.
Fees & funding
£9250 for the 2019/2020 academic year
*Tuition fees are charged annually. The fees quoted above are for the specified year(s) only. Fees may be higher in future years, for both new and continuing students. Please see the University’s
Fees and Finance Policy (and in particular the section headed “When tuition fees change”), for further information about when and by how much the University may increase its fees for future years.
GCSE Maths grade 4 (D) and English Language grade 4 (C) or above.
The University of Hertfordshire is committed to welcoming students with a wide range of qualifications and levels of experience. The entry requirements listed on the course pages provide a guide to the minimum level of qualifications needed to study each course. However, we have a flexible approach to admissions and each application will be considered on an individual basis.
All students from non-majority English speaking countries require proof of English language proficiency, equivalent to an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each band.