UCL History has been rated amongst the top 5 departments in the UK, and has been ranked equal with Cambridge in ‘world-leading’ research. At UCL History research meets teaching. Historians integrate current research and thinking into their courses meaning that our students are truly on the cutting edge of historical thinking and will be confronting fresh ideas.
Our historians offer quality expertise over a broad span of cultures and periods, and UCL History is home to world-class experts on ancient, medieval, early modern and modern history. London itself is home to an abundance of museums, galleries, specialised libraries and archives, and other resources for history students.
One of the strengths of UCL History is that individual course tutors have considerable leeway to teach their subjects as they see fit. You may find this confusing at first, but your teachers will explain the requirements and structure of their courses to you at the first lecture or class.
Visiting students (affiliate, JYA, Erasmus) are able to take 'Full-Year' or 'Half-Year' courses, and join the same classes as British and other students who are studying for a full degree at UCL. The History Department offers a wide variety of courses, but not all will be available every year. See the Undergraduate Courses pages for examples of the range of choice.
Affiliate/JYA students studying at UCL for the whole year register for 4 UCL course unit (32 US credits/60 ECTS) and those studying for the Fall or Spring/Summer only register for 2 course units (16 US credits/30 ECTS).
Erasmus students normally take these undergraduate courses too, even Sorbonne students who are completing the maîtrise, as experience has shown that they work very well as a background to work on the mémoire. You should note however that there are also MA courses that might in some circumstances be relevant, and you may ask the Erasmus Tutor for more information about these.
To apply for a place in the History Department as an Affiliate or Erasmus student you should visit the International Office website.
UCL History Department Lecture/Seminar Courses
These courses are worth 1 UCL course unit, equivalent to 8 US credits or 15 ECTS. They provide a historical overview of a large geographical region, a long time span or a specific theme and are taught either by a combination of lectures and classes, or by seminars, providing about 35 contact hours for each course.
Assessment is usually by two essays of 2,500 words each and one three-hour unseen examination taken in the summer term.
If you join the History Department for either the Fall or the Spring and Summer terms only, you may take just a Fall ('A') or Spring/Summer ('B') version of any full year course for 4 credits/7.5 ECTS. Assessment in these cases is usually by two essays of 2,500 words each.
Please note that full-year students are not normally permitted to take 'A' or 'B' versions.
These courses are one-term courses, taught in either the first or second term of each year. They are worth 0.5 UCL course units, equivalent to 4 US credits/7.5 ECTS and are taught in ten two-hour weekly meetings. Most teachers run these as seminars, so students must come prepared to participate in discussion.
Assessment is either by two essays of 2500 words each or by one essay of 2500 words and one 1.5-hour examination.
Directed Independent Study Project
One option available to students is to undertake a directed independent study project. The students who select this option will agree a topic in consultation with the Affiliate Student Tutor and their project supervisor(s). Supervisors, chosen by the Affiliate Tutor, will meet regularly with the students during the course of their independent study.
Students who pursue this option will be expected to engage in extensive research in London libraries. If you are studying at UCL for the full academic year, you may be assessed either by means of a dissertation of 10,000 words, which is worth 1 UCL course units, equivalent to 8 US credits/15 ECTS, or 5,000 words, which is worth 0.5 UCL course units, equivalent to 4 US credits/7.5 ECTS. If you are in the department just for the Fall Term or the Spring and Summer Terms, you may only undertake a project of 5,000 words.
Please check with your home institution before selecting this option as this is not accepted by some home departments.
Courses outside the History department
Although UCL, in common with other British colleges and universities, does not offer a 'liberal arts' education in the American sense, most Affiliate students registered in the History Department will take at least one of their courses in another department and you are encouraged to explore the wealth of courses available across UCL via the Study Abroad Guide and individual departments' webpages.
Please note, however, that the History Department is not in a position to guarantee acceptance into any course in another department.
UCL is in the heart of London, one of the largest and most cosmopolitan cities in Europe. From here you are within walking distance of a wealth of libraries, museums, galleries and theatres. And as many of London's cultural resources are free, even a student with very little money will have many things to do.
For advanced students (e.g. Socrates students working on the larger tesi or a mémoire de maîtrise) London's libraries are a paradise, perhaps the strongest combination in the old world, and the strongest anywhere if manuscripts are included.
Being in London provides a wonderful base from which to explore the rest of Britain. Cities such as Bath, Bristol, Cambridge, Canterbury, and Oxford are within easy reach. And making weekend trips further afield, perhaps to Dublin, Edinburgh or Paris, is great fun.
1. How will I be taught?
We use a variety of different teaching methods in the department. We give formal lectures so that we can offer you our own interpretation of the distilled essence of a subject; we run seminars of about 15 students to offer you the chance to polish your discussion and presentation skills and to learn from each other; we hold essay classes (discussion sections, in American terminology), which normally consist of about 15 students and which focus on a discussion of a particular historical problem; and when you have written an essay and we have marked it, we arrange a one-to-one tutorial to return it to give you the opportunity to raise any particularly difficult problems in a relaxed and informal setting.
2. What libraries can I use?
There are two main libraries: UCL's own library which is only one minute's walk from the History Department, and the University of London Library in Senate House, which is about five minutes' walk from the department. Erasmus students working on a thesis for their home university will also be able to obtain admission to the libraries of the London research institutes (Warburg Institute, Institute of Historical Research) and to the British Library. The Erasmus Tutor will be happy to provide a letter of introduction, where required. Links to further information about libraries and online resources are posted on the UCL History website for students.
3. How much work will I be expected to do?
We normally expect students to spend about 40 hours a week on their academic work. This will leave you with plenty of time to sample the delights of life in London - but we hope that you will become so engrossed in your studies that you will forget to watch the clock!
4. How will I be assessed?
If you come for the full academic year (September to June) you will be assessed in exactly the same way as students who are studying for a degree here. That is to say if you are taking a year-long course you will be expected to complete a combination of assessed coursework essays and a three hour examination. If you are here for either the Fall Term or the Spring Terms, you will still be allowed to join most year-long courses, but you will be assessed entirely by coursework essays. Socrates students will normally be assessed like home students. Students from the Sorbonne occasionally make special arrangements with the their professor at Paris IV, but need to take care that any informal assessments of this kind have explicit and official approval from Paris and that they will be accepted as marks for the maîtrise.
Full year students and students attending in the Spring Term should note that although all teaching is completed by the end of term 2 students will still be expected to be in attendance in term 3 for examinations and also for formal submission of coursework.
5. Where will I live?
The International Office's web-page provides full details about how to apply for accommodation in UCL halls of residence.
6. How will study at UCL differ from what I am used to?
At home you may be accustomed to being given a strictly structured timetable of class readings and assignments. In the UCL History Department your teachers will give you reading lists and regular assignments, but you will be expected to work more independently, to read widely around your subject, and then to share and apply the knowledge that you have gathered with your fellow students.
A typical lecture-based course will have between 30-75 students, who attend one formal lecture all together each week, and who are then divided into classes of around 15 students for classes, which will meet most weeks for about an hour.
Seminar-based courses normally consist of about 15 students, who meet weekly for classes of about two hours.
You should always feel free to approach any of your teachers if you have a problem with any aspect of your work. You will be expected to do regular reading for essay classes and seminars, as well as background reading for lectures. We place a great deal of emphasis on regular attendance at classes, lectures and seminars, and we also require all students to submit written coursework by clearly specified deadlines. Your teachers return marked essays to you in an individual tutorial and provide you with individual guidance on how you can improve your performance.
At the end of your time at UCL we not only send a transcript of your marks to your home institution, but also report forms for each course, showing your attendance, your participation in classes and the coursework that you have submitted.
Page last modified on 06 feb 13 11:25 by SRP