History BA (International Honours) 2024 entry

The information on this page is for 2024 entry. If you are considering applying for 2025 entry or later, some of these details may differ and we advise you to check the page again before you apply. To receive a notification of when applications open for 2025 entry, please register your interest.

The BA (International Honours) is a joint degree delivered by both the University of St Andrews and the College of William & Mary in Virginia, USA. This joint degree allows you to spend two years at each institution.

At St Andrews, you will learn the history of medieval and early modern Europe, as well as the history of Scotland, England, the British Empire and the Middle East. At William & Mary, your studies will focus on the history of North America from the early colonial period to the 20th century, as well as the history of Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia. 


Start date
September 2024
End date
September 2028
Four years full time
School of History
“The Joint Degree Programme has been a fantastic experience because of the unique opportunities and challenges that are a necessary part of it. Switching between continents and two universities was initially difficult in ways I was not expecting, but was incredibly rewarding. I was able to explore my academic interests to a deeper level, develop lasting friendships with people from across the globe, and become a more independent and adaptable individual. I have no doubt I will be able to confidently face what lies ahead because of the Programme.”
- New Jersey, USA

Entry requirements

The University offers different entry requirements, depending on your background. Find out more about Standard and Minimum entry requirements using academic entry explained and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.

  • Standard entry grades:
    AAAAB, including A in History.
    Minimum entry grades:
    AABB, including B in History.
  • Standard entry grades:
    AAA, including A in History.
    Minimum entry grades:
    ABB, including B in History.
  • Standard entry grades:
    38 (HL 6,6,6), including HL6 in History.
    Minimum entry grades:
    36 (HL 6,5,5), including HL5 in History.

General entry requirements

All applicants must have attained the following qualifications, or equivalent, in addition to the specific entry requirements for individual programmes.

  • SQA National 5 (B) in English and one SQA National 5 (B) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing science
    • Geography
    • Lifeskills Mathematics (A grade)
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.
  • GCSE (5) in English language or English literature, and one GCSE (5) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing Science
    • Geography
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.

Other qualifications

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes. Please see our entry requirements for more information.

More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements web page.

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

Students must have studied History at SQA Higher, GCE A-Level or equivalent.

International applicants

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability.

Course details

The BA (International Honours) in History is a four-year course run jointly by the School of History at St Andrews and the Department of History at the College of William & Mary. This degree combines the best of the Scottish and American educational experience.

You will study for two years at both St Andrews and William & Mary, spending the first year of the programme at one institution and the second year at the other. You will then be able to choose where you wish to spend your third and fourth years of study and graduate from either university.

You will apply to the university where you intend to spend your first year, and then you will transfer to the other institution for your second year.

What you will study

If you study the BA (International Honours) in History, you will discover and analyse the full range of human activity over time. Through historical awareness, which enriches contemporary experience by linking the present with the past, you will be able to recognise the cultural and social values that have shaped cultures across the globe. From your studies, you will acquire intellectual skills in evaluating different kinds of evidence, and interpreting and communicating its significance to others.

At St Andrews, your studies will focus on medieval and early modern Europe, including the history of Scotland, England, the British Empire, and Middle Eastern studies.

At William & Mary, your studies will focus on the history of early America, and 19th and 20th century America and Europe, as well as early modern Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

In addition, the BA (International Honours) in History requires extensive coursework in a foreign language (Arabic, German, Italian, French, Latin, Russian, or Spanish). Students will typically take one language class during all eight of their semesters.

Your studies will culminate in a significant research project that demonstrates high-calibre scholarship.

The BA (International Honours) is a single Honours degree, and other combinations – such as joint Honours degrees – are not available with this programme. However, during the programme you will have opportunities to study a range of other subjects offered by both institutions. Find out more about the St Andrews – William & Mary joint degree.

The University of St Andrews operates on a flexible modular degree system by which degrees are obtained through the accumulation of credits. More information on the structure of the modules system can be found on the flexible degree structure web page.


Students studying the History BA (International Honours) will take the required modules at both institutions in their first and second years.

The following modules are those offered at St Andrews. Find out more about module requirements at William & Mary.

BA International Honours History students must successfully complete at least four modules in a single language during the first two years of their degree. This language cannot be the student’s native language. Two language modules must be completed in year 1 of the programme, and two language modules must be completed in year 2 at the partner institution. Language courses taken prior to matriculation into the joint degree programme will not count toward this requirement. Modules must build on each other and, if students are continuing with a language studied in high school, they must begin at or above the level completed prior to matriculation into the joint degree programme. Students can choose between modules in Arabic, French, German, Latin, Italian, Russian and Spanish. Please be aware that French is not taught at beginners level. 

If at St Andrews for the first year, you must choose two of the following compulsory modules:

  • The Fall of Rome and the Origins of Europe (400-1000): examines how political, cultural and social life changed in the Byzantium, British and ‘barbarian’ worlds in response to major upheavals.
  • The Kingdom of the Scots, c.900-1707: explores Scotland's long history as an independent kingdom between the tenth and the early eighteenth century. It places particular emphasis on the use of museum collections and built heritage as historical evidence. 
  • The Early Modern Western World (c. 1450 - c. 1770): looks at continental European history in the early modern period, and the expansion of Europe.
  • Themes in Late Modern History (c. 1776 - 2001): provides thematic coverage of major political and social developments in the Western world during the 19th and 20th centuries. 

You must also take two modules in one of the following languages:

  • Arabic
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Latin
  • Persian
  • Russian
  • Spanish.

If at St Andrews for the second year, you must choose two of the following compulsory modules:

  • History as a Discipline: Development and Key Concepts: provides an introduction to key theoretical and methodological approaches which have characterised the emergence of history as a discipline since medieval times.
  • Medieval Europe (11th - 15th c.): examines key themes that helped to shape continental Western Europe from the aftermath of the Carolingian Empire and beginning of the Crusades to the Black Death and the Hundred Years War.
  • Introduction to Middle Eastern History: provides an introduction to Middle Eastern history from the dramatic reconfiguration of the Middle East in late antiquity to its contested and contentious recent past.
  • Scotland, Britain and Empire (c. 1700 - 2000): provides an introduction to how and why the British nation state evolved from the separate kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland and how and why it has survived over the last three centuries.

You must also continue to take two modules in one of the following languages:

  • Arabic
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Latin
  • Persian
  • Russian
  • Spanish.

Students will spend either their third or fourth year in St Andrews. You will be able to choose from a wide variety of advanced options.

Here is a sample of Honours modules that have been offered at St Andrews in previous years:

  • Age of Conquest: Edward I - Scotland and Wales (1239-1307)
  • Arabs, Persians and Turks in the Early Islamic East in the Age of the Caliphates (600 - 1200)
  • Inclusion and Exclusion in the Middle Ages
  • History of Environmentalism: The Politics of Nature in the Western World (c. 1800 to Present)
  • Nature and the Occult in the Late Middle Ages
  • The Decline and Fall of the French Old Regime (1715 - 1789)
  • The Medieval Castle.

If you spend your fourth year at St Andrews, you may also undertake a 10,000-12,000 word dissertation on a topic of your choice. This independent project enables you to develop key research skills which are desired by both prospective employers and by graduate schools offering postgraduate degrees.

The compulsory modules listed here must be taken in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. For Honours level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules appropriate to the programme for the current academic year can be found in the programme requirements.


At St Andrews, teaching in first and second year is delivered primarily through lectures (usually 100 to 300 students) and small group tutorials (6 to 9 students). Lectures are given by all members of the School, enabling students to hear active researchers in each field talk about their specialism. Tutorials are an opportunity for students to discuss and develop their thinking in a small and friendly atmosphere, guided by a professional expert. 

In third and fourth year at St Andrews, teaching moves away from large group lecturing. Students meet in groups of about 10 to 16 students for longer classes in which they are expected to participate fully.

Though a good deal of the study of history involves individual effort, group work provides a sense of confirmation, fruitful disagreement, and community to complement the sometimes solitary business of reading and writing.

In addition to these classes, students at St Andrews are expected to undertake substantial independent, but guided, work outside of the classroom. Typically, this will involve:

  • working on individual and group projects
  • undertaking research in the library
  • preparing coursework assignments and presentations
  • preparing for examinations.

Modules in history at St Andrews are assessed by a balanced combination of coursework and examination. Coursework includes:

  • research essays
  • class presentations
  • source analysis.

Classroom examinations often incorporate essays and source exercises. In addition, many modules include an examination held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand.

The School aims to provide feedback on every assessment within two weeks to help you improve on future assessments. 

Undergraduates at the University of St Andrews must achieve at least 7.0 on the St Andrews 20-point grade scale to pass a module. To gain access to Honours-level modules, students must achieve the relevant requisites as specified in the policy on entry to Honours and in the relevant programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please see the common reporting scale.

At St Andrews, you will be taught by an experienced teaching team with expertise and knowledge of history. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of classes and seminars under the supervision of the module coordinator.

You can find contact information for all history staff on the School of History website.

The University’s Student Services team can help students with additional needs resulting from disabilities, long-term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities web page.


Find out about fees, living costs, scholarships and funding.


History graduates find employment in academia, museums and archives, or as history teachers. 

Using the analytical and communication skills acquired through the study of history, many also proceed to careers including: 

  • law 
  • publishing 
  • armed forces 
  • service industries 
  • the financial sector 
  • the arts 
  • the media. 

The School also offers a course which gives students the opportunity to gain invaluable first-hand experience of teaching in local schools. 

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

What to do next

Online information events

Join us for one of our information events where you can find out about different levels of study and specific courses we run. There are also sessions available for parents and college counsellors.

Undergraduate visiting days

We encourage all students who are thinking of applying to the University to attend one of our online or in-person visiting days.

Contact us

+44 (0)1334 46 2900
School of History
St Katharine's Lodge
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9BA

School of History website