Your final year

Your final year at York is a chance for you to apply all the advanced skills in research and critical thinking that you've been developing since arriving with us. In your Special Subject, Comparative and Dissertation, you'll be able to study historical topics with a rigour and depth that is only exceeded by professional historians. The Special Subject and Comparative modules both run through the Autumn and Spring Terms. 

Special Subject

In the autumn term you begin your Special Subject module, which runs through into the spring. Generally considered to be the icing on the cake of our undergraduate degree, it is an in-depth study of an important historical process or problem, relying heavily on primary sources.

Each week throughout your third year you attend a seminar led by faculty members who are actively researching the field. Recent options have included: Popular Heresy in the High Middle Ages, Thomas More, The French Revolution and The Permissive Society in 1960s Britain.

Comparative module

History and History/Economics students will take a Comparative module, which requires study both in depth and in breadth. Seminar groups examine a single theme across many chronological and geographical contexts. Recent options have included Beauty, Disease, Food, Heroes, Utopias and Violence. This module runs through the Autumn and Spring Terms.

We're very proud of our Comparative Histories and believe such virtuoso courses are hard to find at many other universities. They are critical in helping us produce quick-thinking students able to rapidly apply difficult concepts to new and unfamiliar subjects: a skill that many employers are desperate to find.


‌Throughout the final year most students will work on a 10,000-word Dissertation. History/Politics students have the option to do their dissertation in either department, and students on the English/History and History/History of Art degrees will complete a bridge dissertation that spans both subjects.

During this process you will be closely supervised by a member of faculty. However, the dissertation is a chance for you to head off in any research direction you choose, and is therefore the ultimate expression of your individuality as a historian.

Upon graduating, many of our students say that the dissertation was the single largest achievement of their academic career, and many remain proud of their work for years to come.

We hope that this brief overview has given you something of a taster of the enormous range of things you'll be studying if you come to York.


Take a look at our undergraduate prospectus to find out more about studying History at York.

Further information

If you have any questions, please e-mail: