Study History abroad

About this subject

  • About this subject
  • Is this the course for me?
  • Careers prospects
  • Studying History
  • Where to study?

According to Politian and writer Edmund Burke, the importance of historical studied likes in the fact that “those who do not know history are destined to repeat it.” Defined as the study of past human events historical attitudes and beliefs are often the cornerstones of today’s society. Studying history as part of a degree will allow students to cover a wide range of topic from ancient civilisations such as the Greeks, Egyptians and Romans, to more contemporary events such as The World Wars, The Cold War and the Suffragette movement along with the impact they have had upon shaping the world today.

Is this the course for me?

If you’re passionate about history and have a sharp analytical brain then history may be the perfect degree course for you. As well as a love of reading and a sharp mind, you should have the analytical skills to evaluate primary and secondary sources, evaluating the impact that they had upon key historical events.

In general humanities degrees require less university contact time than other undergraduate degree subjects, but this doesn’t mean history is an easy subject. As well as writing regular essays and sitting examinations, you will also be required to remember key dates in history and read a wide range of historical literature. While an obsessive love of the subject is imperative, it is also important that you are willing to take responsibility for your own studies in order to gain the most from your degree.

Careers prospects

As a result of the analytical skills acquired during the study of history, there are a number of career options available for those who graduate with a strong degree in this field. Many former-students opt to take a post-graduate course or enter paid training schemes allowing them to pursue careers in the fields of journalism, teaching and law where the skills taught on the degree programme are highly relevant.

Even without further training, many students, particularly those with extra-curricular work experience, find themselves employed within months of graduation in jobs relating to PR, Human Resources, Marketing and administration. With an average salary of £19,909 per year for a UK student, a history is not only a fascinating subject, but also provides a level of flexibility within the jobs market. However, salaries differ depending upon where you end up working.

Studying History

In the UK, the majority of students who study history at university level will be expected to have an A-level qualification or equivalent in the subject with postgraduate courses expecting students to have a 2:1 BA (hons) qualification. However some universities will accept students who have demonstrated a flair for analysis in the study of other subject such as English language, English Literature and even Law or Economics.  

Different universities will request different entry grades, but all will expect foreign applicants to get a minimum of 6.0 on an IELTS test if they are a non-native speaker. Some more prestigious establishments will not accept students unless they achieve a 6.5.

History is all about analysis, so most of your assessments will be essays or examinations rather than taking on a more practical format. The minimum length for an undergraduate history degree is 3 years, although some institutions offer their students the opportunity to study abroad for a year on an Erasmus scheme. This is particularly beneficial to those seeking to specialise in areas relating to foreign history. A Scottish course however, will last a minimum of 4 years.

Where to study?

Irrespective of the subject you choose to study, the location of your university will have a significant impact upon where you decide to study. However, when you’re taking a degree in history, location becomes even more influential as the history of a local area will often determine the specialist modules available from the university itself. Consider before making your application which historical era appeals to you the most and pick a university that can offer you a diverse experience in these areas. If you’re interested in Middle English history then it may be worth applying to universities such as York and Nottingham whereas Newcastle and Durham are popular amongst those fascinated by Roman settlements.

Given that history lends itself to a wide number of careers, it is also important to see whether the university of your choice will provide you with the opportunity to network and meet potential employers. Although it seems strange to be thinking about your life after graduation before you’ve even decided where to study, it is important to remember that you will need to increase your employability while at university as well as studying. It is always worthwhile taking a look at the campus careers service to see if they offer any part-time placements or industry shadowing schemes for undergraduates.

There will be many different universities to choose from when applying to study history and these will offer a number of specialist modules. Before applying though ensure that you check the entry level requirements of your chosen institution and that you can afford the fees. If finances are difficult then consider applying for a grant or scholarship.

What History courses are there?


Ancient History


History (Theoretical)


Late Medieval History


Early Medieval History

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