This is a one-year full time or two-year part time undergraduate course equivalent to the first year of university level study.

The course is aimed at students with an enthusiasm for History. You will learn the skills historians need in their study and will practice applying them across different subjects. You will learn how to argue ideas and present evidence to back them up. You will also be able to develop and pursue your own interests and think more deeply about the role of the past in present day society.

The study of History has been an integral part of Ruskin College since it was founded in 1899. In the intervening years, and particularly under Raphael Samuel who tutored for more than 30 years from 1963, the College has developed a national and international reputation.

The course is validated by The Open University.


Overall Course Aims

  • To develop your knowledge and understanding, intellectual and generic skills in history to a first year of degree level
  • To develop your problem solving skills and capacity for independent judgment through practical activities embedded in the four single modules and the double dissertation
  • To ensure you can critically apply different perspectives to the analysis of historical issues
  • Foster self-development and independence of mind
  • Enable you to build on your own experiences and knowledge through your learning.
  • Help you to acquire sufficient self-confidence and knowledge to assist yourself and your peers.
  • Promote and implement good practice in equal opportunities.


Generic Skills across the Programme

The generic skills acquired through the study of History will be:

  • Self discipline (all modules)
  • Self-direction (all modules with particular emphasis on concepts 2 and dissertation)
  • Independence of mind, and initiative (all modules with particular emphasis on concepts 2 and dissertation)
  • Ability to work with others and have respect for others’ reasoned views (all modules)
  • Ability to gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information; and familiarity with appropriate means of identifying, finding, retrieving, sorting and exchanging information (all modules)
  • Analytical ability, and the capacity to consider and solve problems, including complex problems (all modules)
  • Structure, coherence, clarity and fluency of oral  skills (dissertation module)
  • Structure, coherence, clarity and fluency of written skills (all modules)
  • Intellectual integrity and maturity (all modules, especially dissertation module)
  • Empathy and imaginative insight (all modules, especially concepts 1 and 2).

View the programme specifications here

The course comprises a number of modules that cover issues in British and international history and concepts and methodologies in the discipline.


Rethinking the History of C20th Britain

Having successfully completed this module you will:

  • Have a basic critical understanding of how people have existed, acted and thought in the different context of the past, specifically in relation to C20th Britain
  • Have a basic initial appreciation of the complexity and diversity of situations, events and past mentalities with reference to C20th Britain
  • Have a basic appreciation of concepts of Britain as a nation with an imperial past and a multi cultural and multi national present
  • Have a basic awareness of the contested nature of history and an understanding of aspects of approaches taken by social, cultural, political, and environmental historians and those with knowledge of the history of women, gender, race and class.


Introducing Concepts and Practice in History (1)

Having successfully completed this module you will:

  • Have an initial awareness of the contested nature of history
  • Have an understanding of approaches taken by social, cultural, and political historians and those with knowledge of the history of women, gender, race and class
  • Have an understanding of the role of theory in historical research
  • Have an initial understanding of the nature of historical sources including written and visual material and material culture


Change and Democracy in Western Europe since 1618

Having successfully completed this module you will:

  • Understand how ideas of nationhood, community, and society have changed and developed in Western Europe
  • Evaluate the relationship between events and ideas, both religious and secular, in history
  • Be able to critically analyse a variety of contemporary texts and source materials
  • Start to review and evaluate historians’ competing arguments


Introducing Concepts and Practice in History (2)

After having successfully completed this module you should be able to:

  • Have a more developed awareness of the contested nature of history particularly in relation to heritage 
  • Have an understanding of the nature of oral history
  • Have an understanding of the role and value of fine art in history
  • Have an understanding of the role and value of museums 
  • Have an understanding of the role of myth and memory in history


History Project (dissertation)

Having successfully completed this double module you will:

  • Have completed extensive archival research on a topic of your choice
  • Have a practical understanding of historical practice
  • Have further developed your analytical writing skills

All candidates must be able to satisfy the general admissions requirements for Ruskin College.

A range of approaches will be used to teach the course modules: lectures, seminars and tutorials of three one to one tutorials.

Within classes emphasis will be placed on inter-active teaching and learning. In line with existing good practice, students will be expected to engage personally, in small groups and larger classes with a range of material and ideas.

Students will be expected to engage critically and analytically with written, visual, oral and audio-visual material. Students will also be expected to undertake reading and library work outside class hours and prepare weekly assignments.

As part of the course requirements, individual written and oral work will be expected. Students will receive module handbooks that will stipulate course outlines, reading lists and details of coursework and assessment arrangements.

If you are a full-time student you will study two modules per term. Each module offers you a one-hour tutorial every other week (staggered so that full-time students attend one, one-hour tutorial every week). This tutorial is in addition to the five taught hours per week.

If you are a part-time student you will study one module per term. This module offers you a one-hour tutorial every other week. This tutorial is in addition to the five taught hours per week. If you study this course part-time it will take you two years to complete.

This course starts in September.
Applications will close 15th August.


The Certificate is a useful qualification for careers in history related occupations as well as providing general skills applicable across a wide range of careers. Most students have progressed to undertake higher courses in History or related subjects including Politics, Cultural Studies, Philosophy and Archeology at other universities.

Depending on the institution and the course of study you may be able to progress onto the second year of study at another institution. A high proportion of former students undertake postgraduate study and maintain academic contact with the College through participation in, and presentations at, public history events.

Within Ruskin, successful students will be able to progress onto year two of the following courses at Ruskin College:

     Level 5 Sociology, Politics and Economics
     Level 5 International Labour and Trade Union Studies  

Progression onto these courses is subject to the completion of an internal progression application form and following an interview.


A degree in History can prepare you for a wide range of careers, not just being a history teacher. History trains students in a number of skills highly valued by employers in both the public and private sector. At the root of a history degree is research and writing. Students who graduate in history have developed these skills over the 3 years of the degree. They are able to be presented with a question or a topic and then independently research that question or topic, using a variety of materials and, more importantly, knowing how to approach those materials. Historians are trained to read documents critically, to ask about bias, and distinguish between fact and opinion—highly valued skills. In addition, having written many essays and delivered many presentations over the years, history graduates are also able to formulate that research into a coherent and cohesive piece of writing or verbal presentation; they are able to effectively communicate their findings and thoughts –another highly valued skill.  

With these skills in critical thinking, research, and communication, history graduates are particularly well placed to go into careers in policy-development, journalism, legal services, research (for a company or an individual), civil service jobs, analysis, sales and marketing, administration jobs that include report writing or managing resources, lobbying or pressure groups, museum or archive work, as well as teaching. 


Some famous people with history degrees:

Sasha Baron Cohen (actor), David Mitchell (comedian), Jonathan Ross (TV presenter), Melvyn Bragg (TV and radio presenter), Gordon Brown (Labour MP and former PM), Robert Gates (ex-US Secretary of Defense), Sam Palmisano (former IBM CEO), Brian Moynihan (former Bank of America CEO), Nicky Campbell (radio DJ), Simon Mayo (radio DJ), Marin Gorham (former chief executive of the National Blood Service), Michael Mansfield (Queen’s Council, lawyer), Salman Rushdie (writer), Andrew Morton (biographer), John Abbot (former director general of National Criminal Intelligence Service), John Monk (former General Secretary of the TUC), late Sir Rolan Smith (director of Bank of England)…and this is just the start!

Click on the tutor's name to read their profile.

Dr Ruth Percy

Tutor in History


You can apply for courses at Ruskin College online or you can download a pdf of our application form

You can request a hard copy of the application form to be sent to you by contacting Reception at Ruskin Hall on 01865 759600 or email enquiries@ruskin.ac.uk. You may also apply for this course online through UCAS. The UCAS course code is V1L3.

When filling in the application form please ensure that you complete the personal statement section in full and ensure that you include the contact details of two references. Incomplete applications will be returned.

Tuition fees

Subject to eligibility, most full and part time students will be eligible to apply for a Tuition Fee Loan from the Student Loans Company.

Maintenance (living costs)

Subject to eligibility, full time students may be eligible to apply for help with their maintenance with a Maintenance Grant/Loan. Part time students are not eligible for any financial help with maintenance.
Information on the Tuition Fee Loan and Maintenance Grant/Loan can be found here.