‘We cannot escape history,’ said Abraham Lincoln. Indeed, without it we simply cease to be human. Much of the fascination and importance of historical study derives from an analogy between history and memory. Just as our sense of personal identity depends upon our memory, so the identity of society depends upon our sense of its history. And with the study of history is, like life itself, infinitely varied at St Andrews the Degree in Modern History takes a broad view of political and social developments in the western world over the last five hundred years. With over 25 members of staff working on the period between 1450 and the present-day, the range of courses and approaches available to students is striking.
In their first two years students intending to graduate with a degree (single or joint) in Modern History will take three survey courses and a conceptual thematic course which is designed to encourage students to think about how history has been written. They will also take classes offered by other subjects across the University, possibly including other types of history.
Having passed these first and second year courses, and with a high level of achievement in the Modern History modules, students take advanced level classes in their third and fourth years. St Andrews offers a very wide range of topics which can be found on our list of modules.
Students meet an academic adviser regularly to discuss and plan their course selection.
Applicants to St Andrews are required to specify on their UCAS application the honours degree which they intend to take. Students may find, however, that in the course of their first two years of study, their interests develop and change and it is not unusual for students to change their degree intention as they enter their final (honours) two years. The breadth of the Scottish first two years, where students usually take at least two other subjects, in addition to their ‘honours’ intention makes this switch possible.