Information for Current Students: History
On these linked pages you will find information about History teaching and the year handbooks which provide essential information for studying in the History department. For links to learning resources within the University, and to a range of other University services for students, visit the History and Archaeology current students page.
Each student is assigned a Personal Tutor with whom to discuss and reflect upon academic progress and discuss any problems or circumstances that adversely affect your studies. Please see the relevant History Notice Boards on the fourth floor of the Humanities Building for information on your Personal Tutor. Every member of staff has weekly office hours in which you may seek further support. If your Personal Tutor is unavailable, and you wish urgently to discuss matters with a member of staff, please contact Mrs Lisa Watkins, History & Welsh History Administrator, WatkinsLJ3@Cardiff.ac.uk, room 4.54 who will be able to advise you on whom to see.
A major difference between School and University is that you are expected to prepare for classes through independent, guided reading and writing, contribute to informed discussion, and produce your own, reasoned conclusions, backed by evidence.
Most History modules are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, private study, and individual feedback. Lectures provide guidance concerning the issues and problems to be followed up in your own reading and writing. In seminars, you will use the knowledge thus acquired to present and test your arguments, and you will also receive feedback on them from lecturers and fellow students. In your essays you will combine a range of sources – sometimes contradictory – into a coherent argument of your own, backed by evidence. Again, you will receive individual feedback from lecturers, in writing and orally.
Learning and progression
The acquisition of skills and of intellectual understanding generally is progressive. As you progress through your degree we will raise our expectations of the depth and breadth of your studies. In broad terms:
- Year One introduces you to a variety and range of approaches used in history.
- Year Two provides you with specific training in the critical analysis of concepts, theories and methods used by historians.
- Final Year provides you with the opportunity to develop these skills through a systematic engagement with, and interrogation of primary sources in your modules and in the production of a Dissertation based on original research.
You are encouraged to take increasing responsibility for their own learning and for the presentation of your findings. We cannot learn for you, but it is our responsibility to help you learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials, and to help you become independent learners. This is why, for example, the second year of study includes an Independent Study (HS1702), which allows you to investigate how different historians have approached a particular historical problem and the assumptions that have guided them supported by tutorials and skills workshops. The module is vital training for single honours History students which, alongside HS1701 Approaches to History and Year 2 option modules, underpins the Advanced Options modules and the HS1801 Dissertation you take in the Final Year (these modules are also available as options for joint degree students). By the end of the degree, you will have acquired a thorough grounding in what the great historian Marc Bloch once famously described as ‘the historian’s craft’.
It might seem that that you have very few hours of teaching, but as a student, you are expected to demonstrate that you are progressing academically by attending lectures, language classes, seminars and tutorials. It is extremely important that you attend all of your classes for the following reasons:
- It is in the lectures that you find out what the key topics in your subject are, which can help you structure your additional reading.
- Your seminars are the place for you to discuss issues raised in the course and from your reading, and to enhance and develop your understanding.
- Both your lectures and seminars will help you prepare your essays and revise for your exams.
- Your presence can also help others to learn (as well as you), whilst student absence disrupts the learning process for the whole group.
Attendance at lectures, seminars, and tutorials is COMPULSORY. Therefore if you are unable to attend, you must notify your tutor or the History secretary in advance by telephone, by email or in writing in order to explain your absence. Further information on illness, reporting extenuating circumstances, and leave of absences can be found in the School Handbook and Academic Regulations Handbook.
Students in the History Department run the History Social Society and the Welsh History Society. These organises various social and academic events throughout the academic year, including the very popular History Ball, and work with staff to strengthen the social side of studying in the Department. These societies, along with other student and staff societies within the School and the University, also organise programmes of lectures throughout the year with visiting speakers, which students are encouraged to attend.
Teaching and Learning Technology Programme (TLTP) History Courseware Consortium
'The papacy, religious change and church reform, 1049-1125' by Professor Timothy Reuter
Medieval History and Welsh History Colloquiums
The University of Wales maintains a large and attractive country house, Gregynog Hall, near Newtown in mid-Wales, which is mostly used for conferences by staff and students of the University. Every year three-day 'colloquiums' are held there for students in Medieval History and in Welsh History. Students meet there from all the Colleges of the University to socialise and discuss a range of academic topics with guest speakers.
Please check your University email account and Blackboard at least once a week for updates. If you have forgotten your e-mail or network address or password, please contact Aled Cooke (details below). Information is also posted on the fourth-floor noticeboards, which you should check regularly.