History has been taught at Aberystwyth University since the 1870s making us one of the oldest History departments in Wales.
As a student with us, you will benefit from an established research tradition and you will be taught directly by experts working on a range of historical periods. We provide teaching in small groups, including one-to-one tutorials and seminar-only courses, such as our skills and special subject modules.
We are committed to getting to know you, our students. This is integral to our degree structure and sets us apart.
Studying for a degree with us will give you 'hands on' experience of historical research. You will work with primary sources from the beginning of your course, and benefit from having access to world class resources such as the National Library of Wales.
As an Aber student, you will not only learn about the past, but actively engage in the process of developing new perspectives on the past by working closely with lecturers and contributing to our research community.
Book yourself onto one of our Open Days or Applicant Visiting Days and come and experience our close-knit and supportive community and our excellent teaching and research facilities. We look forward to welcoming you!
In the meantime, find out more by clicking on the tabs.
Wide choice of topics
We offer a broad range of topics based on the research specialisms of our staff. This means that when you study with us, you will be learning about the most up-to-date ideas from people undertaking the research.
We are confident that we can satisfy the personal interests of our students. Whichever area of history appeals to you, there will be plenty of opportunity to pursue the topics that fire your imagination. As part of our curriculum, we cover familiar topics that you would expect to see in a university history curriculum, such as the Tudors, Twentieth Century Germany, and Modern China. Beyond those, we offer many other stimulating modules that cover a wide variety of topics, and you can select the ones that appeal to your own interests.
A hands-on experience
Here in Aberystwyth, you get an opportunity to get 'hands-on' experience through our historiography module, analysing primary sources, and following our practical modules. This brings the teaching of history alive and means that it has real impact.
Our practical modules:
Hands on History - Primary sources are what historians use to piece together the past. This module will teach you how to engage critically with them and will prepare you for your own future historical research.
Making History - This subject will be discussed from the perspective of the key theoretical developments that have influenced the writing of history over the last century, and how these ideas have been used by professional historians in practice.
Dissertation - You will learn how to plan and do research for your dissertation, from choosing and defining your topic, to locating sources and producing bibliographies. A supervisor will be designated to you, and you will receive individual supervision.
Our skills modules:
Oral History and Modern American Race Relations - This module allows you to examine the modern history of race relations between white and black Americans through the medium of oral history. It will introduce you to the theory and practical applications of oral history as a unique source for understanding the history of the United States and race relations. The module explores oral history interviews of a broad array of figures including formerly enslaved people, black and white military veterans, members of white supremacist groups, civil rights activists, and victims of racial violence.
Comparing the International: Central Concepts and Core Skills - This module provides a thorough and wide-ranging introduction to central concepts and themes in the study of international politics. It outlines a series of key theoretical positions and encourages you to analyse and evaluate them with reference to a mixture of historical and contemporary examples.
You will also have access to some of the country's leading libraries and heritage organisations, such as the National Library of Wales - one of only five copyright libraries in the UK - situated just below the university campus, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, and Ceredigion Archives. These institutions provide excellent resources for history students.
Small group teaching
We believe that our students deserve to be treated as individuals. By offering small group teaching for some optional and first year modules and for workshops, we ensure that you have as much contact time with tutors as possible, and the intimate nature of small-group teaching gives you the opportunity to voice and explore your ideas in a supported setting. Our small-group modules include the 'Special Subject' and 'Skills' modules.
The student experience
This department has an excellent reputation for the quality of teaching, learning environment and cultural experience that we offer to you, the student. You may have heard of the National Student Survey (NSS). The NSS gathers students’ opinions on the quality of the courses they're studying and this helps to inform prospective students’ choices, provide data that supports universities and colleges to improve the student experience, and support public accountability. Every university in the UK takes part in the NSS, as do many colleges.
We consistently score highly in these surveys. In the 2021 National Student Survey, 93% of our students agreed that staff in the Department of History and Welsh History are good at explaining things, and 95% agreed that the course had provided opportunities to explore ideas or concepts in depth. This is proof that our students are consistently satisfied and feel that they are listened to by staff in the Department.
Our informal, friendly community
We welcome students from all corners of the world and we pride ourselves on the friendliness and informality of relations between staff and students. This means that we make the time to get to know you and your way of working, and you will find that our staff are open and supportive. You will receive the attention that you deserve in the form of constructive feedback on essays, supervision for the dissertation and skills modules, and regular meetings with a personal tutor.
The opportunities we offer
Having a range of experiences is very valuable for life after university, and there are excellent opportunities to study abroad during your degree. We have a dedicated Exchange Coordinator in the Department of History and Welsh History who can answer your questions and assist you if you're keen to find out more about studying abroad. Find out more in the Studying Abroad section.
Work placements can further develop your skills.
Heritage Sector Student Placements - We have strong links with the heritage sector, and an established portfolio of student placements. In the past, students have spent up to three weeks at the National Library of Wales, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Wales, and the Society of Antiquaries of London. Taking part in this placement scheme will give you the opportunity to gain invaluable ‘hands-on’ experience and insights into the heritage sector. It will also look good on your CV!
Societies and trips
Our Staff-Student Committee represents your interests and there is a lively History Society which organises guest lectures, visits to places of interest and social events. We also hold a yearly staff-student conference at Gregynog - a beautiful large country mansion and historical educational venue in Mid Wales.
Broad engagement with impact
All our teaching staff are active researchers who are at the cutting edge of research in the field of history, working at an international level. These are people who have an impact and make a difference - influencing ideas and thought on a wide variety of topics.
Our teaching staff use their research to inform their teaching of the next generation of historians. Research is embedded in our teaching. We offer 'Special Subject' modules which are based on the research specialisms of our lecturers and skills modules that are based on the skills used by the lecturer in their research.
Each Special Subject uses a rich variety of primacy sources to discuss and analyse facts and perspectives on a particular subject. You will be expected to develop an indepth working knowledge of this material and an ability to apply it to the relevant historical issues. In so doing, you will acquire a thorough working knowledge of the rich and diverse historiography on this particular theme.
Our research is innovative and world-class. We lead and contribute to prestigious research projects and publications - much of which has an impact far beyond Aberystwyth University and the surrounding area - via television, radio and museum coverage, amongst other things.
Find out more on our Research page.