So, you’re interested in studying History at York. Excited? Nervous?
Three years ago I was in your shoes and couldn’t wait to move and start my degree. This said, I was definitely nervous about some things, and had questions about aspects of the history department like:
- ‘what modules will I be studying?’; or,
- ‘who do I talk to if I am struggling with the workload?’
So without further ado: here’s a few things to look forward to during your time as a History student at York.
My favourite module in first year was CCC (Citizens, Comrades, and Consumers), in which I learned about periods I’d never even considered before. Lecture content is always stimulating, engaging and thought-provoking, and lecturers try to keep it fresh and interesting. In second year one of my lecturers enjoyed using a fake lightsaber as a pointing aid. That definitely kept our attention!
The chance to make it your own
The range of module choices on this course is wide. This mean you will definitely be able to study something you already have a passion for, or will be able to find a new one. In second year I was studying a module on politics and society in 20th and 21st Century America. I wrote an essay on how female pop artists like Beyonce and Taylor Swift have advocated women’s empowerment. I never thought this would be an option before. It goes to show just how vast the subject of history is.
One of my third year modules is called ‘Animals’ – which is exactly that. I never imagined I’d be discussing the history of veganism and animal rights three years ago. In short, each module will give you the opportunity to explore things that you find interesting. And, you are encouraged to make essays original, so the quirkier your interests the better!
The contact hours for this subject are low compared to other subjects, which is perfect if you like to shape how you learn. Outside of lectures and seminars you will have weekly reading to complete, and whether you enjoy reading in the library, cafes, or in groups with your friends, you can do it pretty much however you want and work it around your timetable. This makes it much easier to engage with the other important parts of Uni like making friends and joining societies, as well as making sure that you are well trained in self-organisation and motivation, which a lot of employers value.
Led by History students, for History students, the History Society offers trips abroad, quiz nights, balls, club nights and more. It’s the perfect opportunity to make new friends and perhaps even get involved in a leadership position, as there are yearly elections for new committee members. If you’re the kind of person who worries that everyone else on the course will be better than you, then getting to know people outside of seminars will help you realise that everyone is in the same boat. You fit in to a community of people who all love history.
Whether you have questions about reading, personal issues or just want to share your thoughts on a topic you enjoy, your tutor is the point of contact for all things pastoral. The History department at York has some of the kindest and most supportive staff members who are genuinely concerned for your wellbeing. You will never need to worry about not having a support network. In first year, I missed a seminar and was worried that I would fall behind. My tutor offered to meet with me and go through everything in the seminar that I’d missed. If you seek help when you need it, the staff are happy to help.
You can guarantee that your tutors are experts in the field. They’ve literally written the books on their subject area – and most enjoy the challenge when you engage with and question their opinions! At the end of the term, they ask for your feedback so they can continue to make seminars the best they can be, and they take your thoughts seriously. Plus – if you’re lucky – some of them might even bring snacks to share in seminars!
These are just some of the benefits of being part of the History department that you can look forward to when you join York in September. These, along with many other aspects of Uni life, will make your experience memorable and enjoyable.