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Contact Hours for History Students at York Announcement

Posted on 7 August 2013

Contact Hours for History Students will be increasing by 17 per cent from October 2014

The history department at York is absolutely committed to continuing to deliver our distinctive and highly-regarded small-group teaching, which is why we’re delighted to announce that from October, we’ll be increasing contact hours with students by 17 per cent. Importantly, 85 per cent of the increased contact time will be in the form of small-group seminars and one-to-one tutorials. 

What does this mean for our students?

It means, for example, that in the spring and summer terms of your first year, a single subject history student will have a minimum of 8 to 9 hours of timetabled teaching, around half of which will be small-group or one-to-one. On top of this they will also be able to do an additional 2 hours of small group learning on one of our rich variety of Languages for All courses, audit (attend lectures and access the reading) one or more of our exciting second year modules and meet with personal supervisor or tutors during their dedicated student hours.  Over the course of the degree, the vast majority of teaching – 66 per cent - will be small group seminars or one-to-one. 

Update: There have been some misleading reports regarding the contact hours for history students at York. Please see the following links for clarification on this matter:

Letter from the Head of Department, Prof Stuart Carroll, published in the Sunday Times in response to Julie Henry, 'Mutiny on the high fees', Sunday Times, 5 January 2014, 8.

Dear Sir, 

The article published under the headline "Mutiny on the High Fees" is based on deeply flawed research. It stated that "Undergraduates studying history at York last year, for instance, spent just 8 per cent of their course in lectures, seminars and tutorials." The figures on which that claim is based are both misleading and outdated. They not only refer to 2011-12, but are not comparable since the data collected in the government's Key Information Set (KIS) was not standardized in its first year of existence. For example, at York we only submitted for the hours we taught students and took account of the fact that students have to move class. Unlike many institutions we took off 10 minutes per hour of timetabled teaching to reflect this. Other institutions included all sorts of activities which we do not consider to be face to face teaching. The data for this year is more robust. If one takes the Sunday Times Top 10 History Departments you will find that the average number of contact hours per course is 14.9 per cent. York is on 11 per cent, as is Oxford, both institutions that are committed to maintaining a small group teaching ethos. I have received no complaints about low contact hours from current students, quite the reverse in fact.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Stuart Carroll, Head of Department