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We are all historians here in the Department of History, we're just at different stages!

Our teaching reflects this, and we believe that learning is a two-way collaborative process. We encourage students to develop their own informed views, creating confident, independent and inquisitive individuals.

The vast majority of teaching takes place in small groups where the focus is on you. Our interactive lecture and seminar-based teaching allows you to engage with academics and peers right from the start of your degree.

Assessments and Reflective Learning

Our means of assessment is not just examinations and essays; in fact, there are no examinations at all for the core modules in your first year.

We vary our coursework to help equip you with the skills most desired by employers. These include delivering presentations individually and in groups, critical thinking, teamwork and time management.

Writing reflective reports encourages you to explore ideas of identity and a sense of self; to think critically about what you are doing, and to develop your ability to understand and respond to problems.

Practical learning

We offer a variety of employability modules, placement and research opportunities to enhance your understanding of history and prepare for your future.

You'll test your knowledge in real situations, sharpening your understanding of your own subject and gaining invaluable communication and organisational skills.

View our practical learning opportunities

The Museum of English Rural Life

Beth Snyder, BA History and MA History, discusses her work with the Museum of English Rural Life.

Independent study

In each module, you will read material and then analyse it to develop answers to particular questions in written assignments.

The largest piece of analysis you will do is your final-year dissertation when you will write a paper of 10,000 words on a historical topic of your choice, supervised by staff with research expertise in your chosen area.

Study Abroad

Broaden your horizon, gain valuable experience and enhance your employment prospects through our streamlined Study Abroad opportunities.

Depending on your course, you could spend two weeks, a term, or an academic year abroad. This can be part of a standard three-year degree, an extended four-year degree, or a shorter length of time such as a summer school.

We’ll help you decide where to go and for how long, guide you through the application process, and support you when you’re abroad. To find out more about the benefits of studying abroad, and discover where you could go, visit the Study Abroad website.

Study Trip Abroad modules

If you don't want to go abroad for a prolonged period of time, there is an opportunity to apply to travel to a European city for an in-depth historical study project through our study trip abroad module. This is an academic module that counts towards your degree. Led by one of our academics, your week abroad will allow you to learn about their research in relation to the location.

I wanted to study history from a different country’s perspective, and in the US, I was able to study the history of human rights there. One of the attractions for me of joining the University of Reading was that it offered flexibility on its Study Abroad Programme. You can go for the full academic year, or just one semester.

Sian David, BA History and MA History

Digital humanities

We encourage you to get involved with digital humanities from writing and producing wikis, blogs and vlogs for social media to the development of online exhibitions working with academics and external partners.

You may also have the opportunity to work with academic staff on digital research and the communication of their own research to digital platforms.

We have a Digital Humanities Research Hub in the Library which provides training, support and designs new approaches to knowledge exchange.

Collection based learning

We encourage a collections-based learning approach. We teach our students using a variety of the nationally and internationally significant collections held by the University Special Collections. Students are also encouraged to use these resources themselves in their studies. 

Highlights include:

Access to excellent historical collections

Our location in Reading offers excellent access to resources important to the study of history.

Located a short distance from both London and Oxford and with excellent transport connections, our close proximity gives students access to the historical collections National Archive at the British Museum, the British Library and the Bodleian Library.

Department life

Join our inclusive community. You will be supported throughout your time with us and beyond.

Read Ellie's story

“Reading offered many more choices in medieval history than any other university. I studied everything from Angevin kings to Florentine architecture to the history of race and science. Plus, Reading has a stunning campus!”

Ellie Chaston

BA History

Meet the team

Meet the staff who will work with you and enable you to pursue your passions.