History is much more than learning about and analysing our past. The skills developed through modern history courses help students become highly employable.

These days, they also have more freedom of career choice when they complete their undergraduate studies; their analytical skills and ability to think critically are sought by a range of businesses.

Here, we list the top ten UK universities that offer history degrees, with information on each of the courses and their advantages. The rankings are based on the latest 2020 data from the Complete University Guide, which ranks university courses according to graduate prospects, entry standards, research quality and student satisfaction.

10. University of Sheffield
Entry requirements: AAB

The course: Sheffield’s history degree is designed to provide a solid grounding in historical study and research, giving students the core academic skills to analyse key events and become independent historians. Throughout the degree, students study major historical events such as the French Revolution, Roman Empire and growth of modern day America, all the while developing their own unique areas of interest.

Biggest advantage: The university also offers a range of joint honours degrees with a multitude of subjects including archaeology and Japanese Studies.

9. University of Exeter
Entry requirements: A*AA to AAB

The course: As a top ten league table favourite for seven years running, Exeter’s degree focuses on teaching students how to analyse, discuss and deploy historical evidence rather than simply memorising facts. Students are also highly sought after within the employment market. Recent Exeter graduates have gone on to pursue careers in journalism, television, academia and finance and accounting.

Biggest advantage: Students are able to spend the third year of their studies in a partner university on an Erasmus/Socrates exchange.

8. London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
LSE
Entry requirements: AAA

The course: LSE offers a Modern International History degree, with flexible courses spanning from the fifteenth to the twenty-first century. The course is distinctive for its international perspective on the past, with options ranging from Islamic Empires to Latin America and the International Economy.

Biggest advantage: As a choice advantage, the university’s history department scores particularly highly in graduate prospects and research quality.

7. University of Lancaster
Entry requirements: AAB

The course: According to the university website, a history degree at Lancaster provides a rigorous academic education as well as equipping students with transferable skills that will help them stand out in an increasingly competitive job market. Lancaster also scores highly in overall student satisfaction, with students reporting 88 per cent satisfaction in the 2018 National Student Survey, and rises further up the league table each year.

Biggest advantage: A range of course options are available, including French Studies and History; History, Philosophy and Politics; and Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

6. University of York
Entry requirements: AAA

The course: York’s history course is designed to teach students how to analyse evidence critically, recognise context and engage arguments. Within the first year, core modules include ‘Making History’ which focuses on developing skills such as bibliographical research and source analysis. Second and third year students have the opportunity to specialise in a range of topics and can take ‘Comparative History’ modules where they examine important themes in a comparative historical and geographical context.

Biggest advantage: History students have the option to study abroad for a whole year (or just a term) during their second year.

5. University College London
Entry requirements: AAA

The course: History students at UCL can study over 5,000 years of history, across every continent, from the Middle East to the twenty-first century. The department also offers a variety of unique degrees including Ancient History and Ancient World. One-to-one tutorials and teching groups of no more than 15 students also provide an intimate learning environment.

Biggest advantage: UCL’s excellence also lies within its primary source material, as students have access to the British Museum and the British Library, which are both within walking distance.

4. University of St Andrews
Entry requirements: AAA (A-level); A,A,A,B (Scottish Highers)

The course: St Andrews is famous for its original and very specific structure of degrees, which are based on students’ choice of subject specialism. The range is incredibly broad: degrees in Ancient, Medieval, Modern or Scottish History are proposed. Its four-year Scottish History course is understandably popular, covering everything from Byzantine era to early 21st century Scotland.

Biggest advantage: All eligible students are able to spend one of their honours years in the US, Singapore or Australia, among others.

3. Durham University
Entry requirements: A*AA

The course: Durham has held rank as a top three history course university since 2011, and it is easy to see why. As a necessity, history students choose at least one Medieval, one Early Modern and one Late Modern module in first year, leading them to master all phases.

Biggest advantage: The department offers overseas exchanges with Boston College, the University of British Columbia, the University of Hong Kong and the National University of Singapore.

2. University of Oxford
University of Oxford
Entry requirements: A*AA

The course: In their first year, students take compulsory courses on topics such as the History of the British Isles and Historiography. Second and third year students then have the option to study a range of issues from the Middle East in the Age of Empire to Cold War Europe.

Biggest advantage: As well as seminars and lectures, students benefit from Oxford’s tutorial system, where you can discuss and develop your ideas with leading experts, and the on-site Ashmolean Museum, the world’s first university museum (full of historic artistic and archaeological collections).

1. University of Cambridge
Entry requirements: A*AA

The course: With a wealth of resources which mean rare materials and manuscripts are often easily accessible to students, the University of Cambridge takes the top spot as the best university to study history. In the first two years, students must choose a module on a period of British political history, and combine it with another course from a diverse range of topics. Later, the third year allows students to focus more on the history of political thought.

Biggest advantage: Variety – students can study a single honours, a joint History and Politics course, or History with a modern language

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