Modern and Contemporary History
V140 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) 3 years
History at Queen Mary spans a range of historical approaches and periods. Medievalists may study the Black Death, Women and Gender in Medieval Islam, and the Crusades, while modern historians will look beyond the Twentieth Century dictators to examine the social, technological and cultural forces that shaped our world. Topics might include Building the American Nation, Britain in the Second World War and Europe since 1890. Some modules (for example, Cabinet and Premiership, Anglo-American Relations and The Kennedy Years) are excellent examples of traditional political history. Others are concerned with the history of art and architecture, or combine history with film or literature. You could investigate topics such as the portrayal of the face in Western art and medicine, the representation of war in contemporary British popular culture or the lifestyle and values of Victorian Britain.
This degree programme in Modern and Contemporary History, is for those with a strong interest in the making of the world we live in today, although you will have the option to take some modules from earlier periods. In the first year you will study introductory modules on Britain, Europe and America. You can then select modules covering a broad spectrum of historical fields, from the history of foreign relations to the history of ideas. Teaching methods will reflect the richness and diversity of historical sources for the modern era, learning through lectures, film screenings, field trips and seminars.
Why study history at Queen Mary?
In the 2011 National Student Survey, 92 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 President of the Royal Historical Society and four fellows of British Academy among our number.
School of History staff regularly contribute to academic and public life with books, journal papers, and media broadcasts. Recent broadcasts include: BBC Two series Behind Closed Doors and At Home with the Georgians and BBC Radio 4’s Voices From the Old Bailey by Professor Amanda Vickery; Monsieur Non – a programme on Charles de Gaulle delivered by Professor Julian Jackson 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 research community. This will enable you to study traditional political history alongside the history of art and architecture, or to combine history with film or English literature. 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.
As a History student 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
- 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
- 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
- The Kennedy Years
- Winston Churchill, Politician and Writer
- Red, White and Blues: Jazz and the United States in the Twentieth- Century
- 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, equivalent to ABB at A-level, 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 and a one hour seminar each week. Some classes have more contact hours, for example our film history classes have a three hour film screening and lecture followed by a one hour seminar. Other classes will include extended field trips such as visits to art galleries, museums, the Houses of Parliament and longer study visits, for example the annual study visit to Paris. All of our seminar-based classes are capped at 15 students so you have the opportunity to discuss your work in a small group setting. In your final year you will take a special subject which 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, such as Architecture in London, and British Horror 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
Tuition Fees for Home and EU Students
Full time £9000
Tuition Fees for International Students
Full time £TBC
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.
For more information:
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 7676 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 Students.
There are a number of scholarships and bursaries available each year for home students including:
- Bursaries of up to £3,000 in year 1, for students from low income households who have the best grades: National Scholarship Programme
- Bursaries of up to £1,500 each year for students from low to middle income households: Queen Mary Bursaries
- A range of Scholarships and Bursaries of between £500 and £7,000 a year for studying certain subjects, living in the local area or coming from low income households: Bursaries, Scholarships and Prizes
Further information can be found at:
Scholarships available for International Students
Read more information on external Scholarships.
Some International students may also be eligible for a fee reduction. Please visit http://www.qmul.ac.uk/international/feesfinance/index.html#Feereduction for more information.
For more information:
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5079 or email: email@example.com
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
If you live in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland you have an equivalent Student Finance department for your region
Through Student Finance England, you can apply for:
- A Tuition Fee Loan of up to £9000 to pay all or part of your fees
- A Maintenance Loan of up to £7675 to help pay your living costs like rent, food and travel
- A Maintenance Grant of up to £3250 to help towards your living costs
- Extra grants if you have a disability or you have children or an adult dependant
- Extra amounts of loan or grant if you study for longer than the standard academic year or if you have travel costs because you are studying away from your main campus
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
Graduates from Queen Mary’s BA Modern and Contemporary History programme go on to work in a variety of careers. Some apply their degree knowledge directly, entering roles in government and politics or the heritage sector, whilst others transfer skills gained during study into sectors such as the media, academia, business and legal services.
The national 2011 destination survey confirmed that 93.4% of graduates from the School of History were in employment or study six months after graduation with 67.1% of this group already working or studying at graduate level. Graduates from Queen Mary’s School of History also have a strong earning power, with a median salary of £22,583.
The broad range of skills gained through programmes in the School, coupled with multiple opportunities for extra-curricular activities and work experience, have enabled students to move into careers such as:
|Policy Advisor||HM Treasury|
|Museum Assistant||Benjamin Franklin House|
|Online Content Editor||Net Media Planet|
|Communications Coordinator||LB Design|
|Civil Servant||The Home Office|
|Press Office Client Services||Press Lost|
|Graduate Trading Trainee||Schneider|
|Management Graduate||Tower Hamlets Council|
|Business Development Executive||Dialogue Communications|
|Dayshift Summariser||Gorkana Group|
|Charity Fundraiser||Global Foundation for the Elimination of Domestic Violence|
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 work experience throughout their period of study, through, for example, our QM Projects work experience scheme, QM Temps job agency, Experience Works events and QMSU Provide volunteering services. Over 800 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 Student Journalist to Library Assistant and from Society President to School Mentor. Modern & Contemporary History students volunteer for QMedia (which produces QMTV, QMessenger and CUB Magazine from the Students’ Union), engage in political debate via on-campus forums such as the Mile End Group and New Turn, and work with the production unit, Mile End Films.
Throughout their time at Queen Mary, students have access to a bespoke careers programme to prepare them for internships and graduate level work. This includes workshops on job-hunting and job applications as well as over 70 employer events each year to facilitate networks and help students to explore their options. Employer events include recruitment fairs, networking evenings, professional panels and an on-campus jobs fair.
Read more about our careers programmes and range of work experience opportunities on the QM Careers pages http://www.careers.qmul.ac.uk/.
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.