This degree applies history to a range of contemporary issues. Our range of modules will show you how to analyse these in different ways. These could be biographical (e.g. Kennedy or Mandela), national (e.g. British or American history) and thematic (e.g. the history of terrorism or political thought). You will study leadership and government and also the broader social and cultural contexts, to form a holistic view. Two of our staff are legislators – Tristram Hunt MP, and Peter Hennessy, who became a peer in 2010. Our London location makes this the perfect degree for those with a global interest.
Why study history at Queen Mary?
In the 2013 National Student Survey, 95 per cent of Queen Mary History students said that staff were good at explaining things and 95 per cent that staff were enthusiastic about their teaching.
In the last Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008), History at Queen Mary was ranked among the top 15 departments in the UK. Our academics are internationally renowned in their fields, and our track record in both research and teaching is excellent. We count the former President of the Royal Historical Society and five fellows of British Academy among our number.
Our staff regularly contribute to academic and public life with books, journal papers, and media broadcasts. Broadcasts from History staff include: BBC Two series Ian Hislop’s a Stiff Upper Lip-An Emotional History of Britain, a series in which Dr Thomas Dixon was a consultant and interviewee. BBC Two’s Behind Closed Doors and At Home with the Georgians and BBC Radio 4’s Voices from the Old Bailey by Professor Amanda Vickery. Professor Julian Jackson delivered a programme on Charles de Gaulle called Monsieur Non for Archive on 4; and Dr Tom Asbridge developed and presented The Crusader’s Lost Fort for BBC2’s Timewatch.
Our intellectual diversity is a key feature of our community. This will enable you to study political history alongside the history of art or film. By following cultural and intellectual themes you could investigate topics as diverse as: the lives of Oscar Wilde; the representation of war in contemporary British popular culture; or the Medieval Islamic world.
You will have membership to the Queen Mary Library and the University of London Library, Senate House, both of which have extensive collections. You will also enjoy reading access to the other college libraries within the University of London, and can take advantage of Queen Mary’s London location and ready access to a wealth of other libraries, museums and archives.
- History in Practice
- Europe and the Wider World Since 1800
- Unravelling Britain: British History since 1801
Modules may include:
- Building the American Nation 1765-1890
- From Reformation to Revolution: Europe and the World 1500-1800
- Film Noir
- The Foundations of Modern Thought: Introduction to Intellectual History
Modules may include:
- Cabinet, Premiership, and the Conduct of Central Government since 1945
- A Century of Extremes: Germany 1890-1990
- Embattled Eden: California in the Twentieth Century
- Anglo-American Relations, 1945-68
- Outcast London? The East End from 1800
- The Face in Western Culture from the Renaissance to Freud
Modules may include:
- The Kennedy Years
- Winston Churchill, Politician and Writer
- The ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland
- The Russian Revolution and Civil War
- Terrorism in the Modern Age
- Film History: The United states in the Post-War Era
Typical tariff or grades required: 320 points from 3 A-levels with an B in History.
Excluded subjects: General studies and Critical Thinking.
Subjects and grades: 34 points overall. Must include a grade of 5 in History at higher level.
Vocational and other qualifications:
The College accepts a wide range of qualifications such as; Access and Foundation programmes, vocational awards, Irish Leaving Certificate, Scottish Highers and other Baccalaureates. Please visit our further information page.
Admission is based on academic merit and on the proven ability of the applicant to achieve success on their chosen programme of study. Every application to Queen Mary is considered on its individual merits with personal statement and reference taken into consideration.
Learning and teaching
Learning and Teaching:
Most modules are taught in a one-hour lecture followed by a one-hour seminar each week. All of our seminar-based classes are capped at 15 students. Some modules will include extended field trips such as visits to art galleries, museums, the Houses of Parliament and longer study visits, for example study visits to other cities. In your final year you will take a Special Subject that is taught as a two-hour-long seminar. Most students have eight hours of classes per week. This is supplemented by one-to-one discussions in staff office hours and feedback sessions.
For every hour spent in classes you will be expected to complete a further 2-3 hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; producing written work; completing projects; and revising for examinations.
The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions you attend, along with your reading lists and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.
Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.
Assessment is typically by a mixture of examination and coursework, but some modules are assessed entirely on coursework. Coursework may take the form of essays, diaries, case-studies or book reviews. Some modules use screen or slide tests as part of their assessment. Oral presentations may also contribute to your overall mark. You will be provided with feedback to help you improve your performance and understanding of the subject. In the final year you will have the opportunity to work on a special subject research dissertation. These special subject modules are worth half your final year mark and allow you to work closely on primary source material and carry out your own research in a specialised area which particularly interests you.
Fees and finance
Fees are charged at a Home/EU rate for UK and EU nationals, and an overseas rate for International students - find out more about how your tuition fee status is assessed.
You can either take out a Tuition Fee Loan (see Funding section below) to pay your fees or, if you are paying them yourself, you can pay in instalments.
Tuition fees for a year abroad or placement year on a full time undergraduate course will be a proportion of the full fee for the year in which you commence your time abroad or placement.
For information on field trip and other course related costs which are not included in your tuition fee, please contact the relevant Department/School.
See more general information about fees.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 7676
Queen Mary has a substantial package of scholarships and bursaries which will benefit around 50 per cent of our undergraduate student body.
Scholarships and Bursaries available at Queen Mary for Home/EU Students
There are a number of scholarships and bursaries available each year for home students. Visit our Bursaries and Scholarships page for more information.
Visit our Advice and Counselling website for more information about financial support.
Scholarships available at Queen Mary for International Students
There are a number of Scholarships available each year for International Students including bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas.
Find out more about international scholarships.
Some International students may also be eligible for a fee reduction.
Loans and Grants available to help with tuition fees and living costs
Student Finance England administers all grant and loans for your studies if you normally live in England.
Through Student Finance England, you can apply for (figures relate to programmes starting from September 2016):
- A Tuition Fee Loan of up to £9,000 to pay all or part of your fees
- A Maintenance Loan of up to £10,702 to help pay your living costs like rent, food and travel
- Extra grants if you have a disability or you have children or an adult dependant
- You might get a grant to cover some travel expenses if you normally live in England but study away from home. If you’re a medical or dental student you might also qualify for help with the costs of attending clinical placements in the UK.
Visit Student Finance Information to find out more about:
- How to apply for student finance
- What eligibility rules apply, including if you already have a degree or previous higher education study
- What the income thresholds are and how much you might personally get for each element of Student Finance
- What to do if you have problems getting your Student Finance
Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary
We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.
Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:
- Additional sources of funding
- Planning your budget and cutting costs
- Part-time and vacation work
- Money for lone parents
For more information visit the Advice and Counselling service website, or call +44 (0)20 7882 8717.
Graduates from Queen Mary’s School of History go on to work in a wide variety of careers. Some apply their degree knowledge directly, entering sectors such as government, media and politics whilst others transfer skills gained during study into roles such as research, law, marketing and a wide range of opportunities in the commercial arena.
The national 2012 destination survey confirmed that 81% of graduates from the School of History were in employment or study six months after graduation and 80% of these were already working or studying at graduate level. Queen Mary graduates have an average earning power of £23,000 six months after graduation.
The broad range of skills gained through courses in the School, coupled with multiple opportunities for extra-curricular activities and work experience, has enabled students to move into careers such as:
- Management Graduate - Tower Hamlets
- Marketing Assistant - MCBX
- Business Development Executive - Dialogue Communications
- Civil Servant - The Home Office
- Charity Fundraiser - Global Foundation for the Elimination of Domestic Violence
- Communications Coordinator - LB Design
- Online Content Editor - Net Media Planet
- Executive Officer - The Department of Work and Pensions
- Graduate Trading Trainee - Schneider
Throughout the course, students have access to an annual QM Careers and Enterprise Centre programme, to prepare them for internships and graduate level work. This includes employer led workshops on job applications and interviews as well as over 70 employer events to facilitate networks and help students to explore their options.
Recent careers events for the School have included an alumni speed meet with representatives from broadcasting, journalism, publishing and the media and workshops on career choice, applications, interview skills as well as careers fairs and part time jobs fairs.
Opportunities for work experience are substantial given Queen Mary’s location between Canary Wharf, the City and the Olympic Village. Students are encouraged to build their work experience throughout their period of study, through, for example, our QProjects work experience scheme, our QRecruit internships and temporary work hub, the part time work Experience Works event and QMSU Provide volunteering services. Over 1400 vacancies are available to browse on the QM JobOnline vacancy site.
Queen Mary’s extensive campus also provides over 1200 on-campus job and volunteer opportunities ranging from E-learning Assistant to Gym Instructor and from Society President to Student Mentor.
Read more about our careers programmes and range of work experience opportunities on the QM Careers and Enterprise Centre pages.
Name: Asha Saroy
“I always wanted to study at a university in London and I read and heard from other students that Queen Mary was excellent for history. When I visited the campus, what really stood out for me in comparison to other London universities, was the great campus facilities.
“The course is really well managed and we’re based in the brand new ArtsTwo Building. The tutors have such a passion for their field and you know you are being taught by some of the best. One of the highlights of the course, so far, was visiting the Foreign Office and seeing William Hague’s office – this was an exclusive opportunity only for us QM history students.
“Outside of my studies, I’m a member of the gym and I attend a number of fitness classes during the week. I also became a first-aider through the St John Ambulance Society at University and will be going to events such as Arsenal matches as a first aider.”
Name: Ashley Sweetman
“I chose Queen Mary because of the excellent location, only 10-15 minutes from central London. I was also attracted by the reputation of the history department. The modern and spacious on-campus accommodation was also hugely appealing, as I could wake up at the latest possible moment before lectures!
“The teaching staff are helpful and approachable, and most of the faculty are leading researchers in their chosen field. The academic and study facilities are also great. The library is modern and was recently refurbished, and has almost every book you’ll need.
“The most interesting thing I have done was probably a project in my first year for a course about medieval sources. I chose to produce a portfolio of sources on medieval tournaments or jousting events, and found it fascinating reading through a variety of primary sources and searching for artefacts that I could include in my study.
“Another highlight was meeting Sir Gus O’Donnell as part of my Cabinet and Premiership module and exploring the Cabinet Office. But arguably my best time at QM was when Peter Mandelson came to the campus to speak to the Mile End Group. Seeing such a key political figure talking about what he did was amazing, and then being able to socialise in the same room as him afterwards was a great opportunity.”
Name: Beatriz Ungerer Dal Poz
Studied: BA Medieval History, graduated 2010
Currently: Viewing Assistant, Christie’s
How did you find out about your current job?
Through work experience at Christie’s. How did your time at Queen Mary prepare you for work? At Queen Mary I participated in so many different activities, from Freshers’ Crew to Student Representative and it was those opportunities that prepared me for work – not just this position but also any other position I might hold in the future.
What does your current job involve day-to-day?
There is no day-to-day! Every time I go into the South Kensington salesroom I do something different. If it is an auction day I might be telephone bidding with clients or working at the registration desk. If it’s not an auction day, I will be in the gallery helping clients with any queries they might have.
What are your most and least favourite aspects of your job?
My favourite aspect of my job is the incredible variety of objects which I have encountered, from an Enigma machine to a painting of Isabella of Castile. My least favourite aspect is that my working week isn’t Monday to Friday. I work most weekends – often my week starts on Friday and ends on Tuesday or Wednesday but that is the same in many galleries and other commercial spaces. You have to be prepared to be flexible.
What can current students do to prepare for getting a job in your area?
Do as many work placements as possible! It is important to experience the industry from many different perspectives, it will help narrow down what is interesting to you about the art industry – not all jobs at auctions houses are the same.
Jaspreet SanghaBA History
“I chose Queen Mary not only because it is one of the top universities in London but also because of the friendly atmosphere that the campus had. The university allows each individual to feel valued and respected through its numerous societies and social events. The History course itself has some of the most renowned historians in the country that have a distinct passion for their field, and that passion is then absorbed by the students.
“The thing that I like the most about Queen Mary is the perfect balance of enhancing your academic ability and allowing you to have a fun social life through its societies and events on campus and in London itself. Queen Mary also helped me find part-time work within a prominent tuition school in London, which has allowed to me to gain the perfect experience I will need in the future for my career in teaching.”
Katie Choi-Yan LoHistory
Why did you choose to study at Queen Mary?
“I chose Queen Mary because of its renowned History department, with its wide range of modules covering various periods and countries.
The location of the university is also advantageous, the East End being an area rich with history itself, and the university being close to Canary Wharf and the City.
How did you find your academic and social experience at QMUL?
“Queen Mary has offered me great flexibility in my degree, allowing me to study a broad range of topics and specialising in areas of interest to me. The course itself is well-structured, yet diverse, with different methods of assessment, thus helping me to develop a range of key transferable skills. I have had the chance to join many clubs and societies, as well as participate in volunteering schemes, mentor and tutor local students, and complete various internships, exposing me to a wide range of career opportunities.
The tutors have been very supportive both in terms of my studies, but also in other endeavours, including their enthusiasm for the Queen Mary Undergraduate History Journal, for which I am currently the Managing Editor, and also in helping me to obtain a training contract and place at law school after my degree.”