Your first year

Your first year at York is designed to provide you with the foundation for your undergraduate career. The programme combines a broad overview of the history of the past 1,600 years with introductory modules focusing on core skills and thematic approaches to the study of History.

Autumn term

In the autumn term, the Making Histories module introduces you to the vital skills needed for all types of historical study: critical reading, note taking, essay writing and research skills. As a way of welcoming you to the city in which you'll be spending the next three years, you will develop these skills through case studies taken from the long and varied history of York.

Alongside this, single subject History students will also take a Period Topic option, offering an intensive introduction to a specialist area of research based on faculty expertise. These bespoke courses are some of our most popular and are taught through weekly two-hour seminars and one-to-one tutorials. Recent options have included Goths and Romans, Parish Politics in Early Modern England, Twentieth Century Death, and The Fall and Rise of American Anticommunism.

As well as the Making Histories module, students taking joint honours degrees will begin their introductory study of other disciplines at this time.

Spring and summer terms

During the spring and summer terms, single subject History students will take two survey courses:

These provide an overview of the long chronology of historical time. They offer both a broad foundation for your degree and opportunities to explore new topics that you may later wish to study in greater depth. Each is taught through an integrated programme of lectures and discussion groups: two lectures and a discussion group a week.

Joint honours students will typically take one of these modules and further introductory modules from their other discipline.

Further teaching

Single subject history students have a choice about how they'd like to spend their final twenty credits:

  1. Running alongside the survey courses are two shorter courses that focus on themes and issues in historical study, Thinking Through History 1 and Thinking Through History 2. These are taught through a lecture series in the spring term and a set of four two-hour workshops in the summer. 
  2. The other option is to take a Languages for All module. Choosing from one of eleven different languages, ranging from Medieval Latin to modern Chinese, these courses offer a chance to either learn a new language or develop the skills that you already have. Not only can this enrich your historical study, it provides an invaluable extra asset on your CV.

Joint honours students typically take Thinking Through History I while continuing their introductory modules in their other discipline.

Continue on to your second year at 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: