Modern and Contemporary History BA (Hons)
The course gives you the opportunity to study the modern period from 1750 to the present in Britain, Europe and the U.S.A. in detail. If you take this degree you will investigate the evolution of modern western society and politics, but your studies will also include a consideration of less tangible influences on western attitudes, from the Americanization of popular culture to the break up of Empires and the globalization of economic activity.
Of course, although you will specialize in the modern and contemporary periods, you will still enjoy all the interest, stimulation and experience of a History degree. History remains one of the most popular degree subjects in the UK. It has an established range of concerns, but it is always expanding and changing as it responds to new themes or ideas raised by other disciplines. It is also a very practical subject, and during your degree you will develop various transferable skills that employers value highly. Surveys consistently indicate that History graduates obtain employment more rapidly than graduates in many apparently more 'vocational' subjects.
When making your decision about what you might want to study at Bangor, you should bear in mind that you could choose to read for a degree not only in History but also in Welsh History; History with Archaeology; Heritage, Archaeology and History; History with Journalism; History with Film Studies; and joint degrees including History such as History and English.
Why choose Bangor University for this course?
- Although we are a relatively small School, we offer an unusually broad selection of modules covering the modern and contemporary periods, taught by lecturers who are experts in their fields. Naturally, our research influences, and is integrated into, our teaching.
- Our degrees are rigorous and will thus develop your skills of analysis, argument, and criticism, but you will be learning in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. Staff are approachable, and enthusiastic. In the most recent National Student Survey, 90% of students thought that lecturers provided enthusiastic teaching, and 91% found their modules intellectually stimulating.
- You will often be taught in small groups, and because the School admits only about 120 students every year, staff will know your name. In addition, you will have access to various IT resources including our VLE (Blackboard), have the opportunity to go on fieldtrips or attend events like the annual Gregynog medieval colloquium, and attend the School’s research seminars.
- We recognize the importance of transferable skills to you and your future employers, including the ability to write well and to present clearly and your ability to use a number of different IT packages. These are an integral part of the degree programmes we offer.
- The local area is steeped in history, with the great houses of Plas Newydd and Penrhyn Castle on the doorstep, and the house where David Lloyd George was born at Llanystumdwy (near Criccieth) nearby. These monuments provide a resource for field work and make Bangor a superb location for study. If you have a particular interest in Welsh History we are a natural place to study the subject.
Key Facts from UniStats
For more on studying degree courses see our Study at Bangor section.
You will have about 12 hours of lectures, seminars and tutorials each week. We make extensive use of film and TV footage, online resources and oral interviews to bring the subject to life. You will also take part in field trips. Recent examples include a visit to the Imperial War Museum in Manchester.
Assessment includes a mixture of exams, essays, portfolios, podcasts, blog entries and the final year dissertation which you complete under the guidance of your tutor.
The best aspect of both schools has to be the lecturers - each one I’ve met is extremely knowledgeable, always approachable, and clearly invested in the subjects they teach.Megan Langham
History and English
What will you study on this course?
Each of the first-year modules introduces a fresh theme and new ways of looking at the past. Contemporary issues are studied in a historical context and discussed in relation to past experiences.
- Introduction to Modern History 1815–1914
Optional modules from a range in disciplines such as:
- History or Welsh History
- Social Policy, Economics, Languages or Modern Literature
You will study a combination of broad-themed modules with more detailed optional modules. The choice includes modules that either address contemporary issues, or show how recent events and actions are structured or influenced.
- Debating History
Optional modules (examples):
- USA 1945-2001
- America: Revolution to Civil War
- Britain in the Jazz Age
- Thatcher’s Britain
- Europe: the Age of the Cold War
- Victorian Britain
- Britannia Rule the Waves
You have the chance to focus your study by following a special subject. You will become a real authority on a period or theme, drawing on skills already developed and the current research interests of the academic staff. In the dissertation you will undertake your own research reflecting your interests and use original sources.
- Special Subject: examples include Britain in the 1960s; Nationalism in the UK; Celtic Revival 1800-1920; Anarchism in Europe and the USA
- Choose from a range of options (see Year 2 options above)
Modules for the current academic year
Module listings are for guide purposes only and are subject to change. Find out what our students are currently studying on the Modern and Contemporary History Modules page.
Course content is for guidance purposes only and may be subject to change.
This course provides specialist knowledge and a range of analytical and presentational skills which will enable you to tackle a variety of career options centring on public administration, for example, in company personnel departments, the civil service and local government as well as in a range of directly transferable vocations. Graduates have in recent years gained careers in political work, law, accountancy and the cultural industries.
By studying for a course you will acquire a wide range of transferable skills, be they academic or personal. History graduates are desirable employees due to the variety of skills they develop during the course of their degree. These transferable skills include:
- An ability to review critically the literature and formulate logical and structured arguments
- An ability to make effective oral presentations
- The development of writing and editorial skills
- An appreciation of the complexity and diversity of situations, events and past mentalities
- Experience gained from carrying out and completing a major research project in the third year – the dissertation
- Good IT skills
- Time management skills
These transferable skills are fundamental to other employment sectors, such as the public sector, teaching, tourism, law, accountancy and management.
Work experience opportunities at Bangor University
Second and third year students are provided with the opportunity to complete work-placement modules, which can be carried out in the university or through external organizations. These are assessed as part of the final degree. The programme enhances employability prospects and offers an insight into the type of employment opportunities a degree in history offers. Students have undertaken placements in a wide range of workplaces, including archives and heritage centres.
For more information on employment opportunities in history, please click here.
It is now possible to supplement your degree with the Bangor Employability Award. For more information on this award, please click here.
Employability and History and Archaeology degrees
The strength of a History and Archaeology degree is its intellectual breadth and flexibility. This makes our graduates an attractive proposition for employers looking for analytical and lateral thinkers.
Studying History, Archaeology and Heritage prepares our students for the workplace by providing academic skills and honing personal ones:
- Research skills and the evaluation of data sets
- Critical thinking
- Writing and editorial skills
- Confidence and flexibility
- Independent and team working
- Communication and presentation skills
- IT and Time management
- Practical skills in archaeology (survey, excavation and the study of material evidence).
Work experience while you study
The School’s work placement module provides an insight into the type of employment to which a degree in History or Archaeology can lead.
Students gain work experience in:
- Heritage sites (National Trust, Cadw, English Heritage)
- Heritage railways
- Westminster Parliament and the Welsh Assembly
- Archaeological digs and units
- Trusts and charities
Read what our students say about the workplace experience (link to work placement page).
Directed personal and professional development while studying helps our students achieve a CV that catches the attention of prospective employers.
In addition to a degree, Bangor students can provide prospective employers with a record of academic and non-academic achievements through the Bangor Employability Award Scheme (BEA) and HEAR report.
History, Archaeology and Heritage students enter careers in many different fields:
- Archaeological units, archives and librarianship
- Museums and heritage management
- Research (Academic and the media – television, radio, film).
- Teaching in primary, secondary and higher education
- Business and finance professions
- Commercial, industrial and public service management
- Marketing, sales and public relations
- Civil service, charities and local and regional government
- Leisure and travel
Work experience opportunities at Bangor University
Level 5 and 6 students are provided with the opportunity to complete work-placement modules, which can be carried out in the university or through external organizations. These are assessed as part of the final degree. The programme enhances employability prospects and offers an insight into the type of employment opportunities a degree in history or archaeology offers. Students have undertaken placements in a wide range of workplaces, including archives, archaeological units, museums and heritage centres.
Examples of employment opportunities in history and archaeology can be found at the following sites:
- BAJR (British Archaeology Jobs and Resources)
- The BBC
- The British Museum
- Council for British Archaeology
- English Heritage
- Gwynedd Archaeological Trust
- Institute for Field Archaeologists
- Leicester University Museums Jobs Desk
- National Geographic
- National Museums
- The National Trust
- Archäeologie Forum
Opportunities at Bangor
The University’s Skills and Employability Service provides a wide range of resources to help you achieve your graduate ambitions. Developing your personal skills and enhancing your employability while at university is becoming increasingly important in today’s job market.
The Bangor Employability Award (BEA) and Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR)
The Bangor Employability Award enables students to build on their transferable skills through the recognition of activities they become involved in during their university life. Students can gain points towards the award through extra-curricular activities such as volunteering, attending workshops or actively participating in the Students’ Union’s clubs and societies.
The HEAR is a final graduation report that all undergraduates receive. The report itemises all academic achievements and additional extra and co-curricular achievements. Academic achievements appear on the report automatically and students are able to note their eligible activities by using the online platform ‘My Employability Hub’. This ensures that future employers are made aware of the additional skills the student has gained outside of the curriculum.
The Award is open to everyone and taking part in the scheme can make a major difference to your performance in the graduate job market.
Bangor University runs undergraduate and postgraduate internship schemes twice a year, which allow students to work in a professional environment while learning relevant skills and earning money.
Internships offer valuable experience in a professional workplace and there are a range of internships you can get involved in.
Not only is volunteering worthwhile – it also improves your employability and widens your experience.
The Students’ Union has a dedicated Student Volunteering Office (SVB) which currently contributes a total of 600 hours each week, promoting a close relationship between the university and the local community. Find out more on the Student Volunteering pages of the Bangor Student’s Union website.
TARGETconnect - Working while you StudyThe Skills and Employability Service offers support to students searching for employment during and after their studies.
- Graduate jobs – Local, National and International
- Full-time, part time, permanent and temporary jobs
- Work experience / internships
- Voluntary opportunities
TARGETconnect advertises the following opportunities:
For 2020 entry:
Typical offer is based on a minimum of 112 tariff points from a Level 3 qualification* e.g.:
- A Levels (no specific subjects required but History preferred)
- International Baccalaureate Diploma
- BTEC National/Extended Diploma and Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma: DMM
- City & Guilds Advanced Technical/ Extended Diploma: considered on a case by case basis
- Access: Pass
- Welsh Baccalaureate is accepted.
International Candidates: school leaving qualifications and college diplomas are accepted from countries worldwide (subject to minimum English Language requirements). More information here.
We also welcome applications from mature applicants.
*For a full list of accepted Level 3 qualifications, go to www.ucas.com
For 2019 entry:
- 112-120 tariff points from a level 3* qualification – History preferred. *Level 3 qualifications include A levels, BTEC, Access, Irish Highers, International Baccalaureate, Welsh Baccalaureate, Scottish Advanced Highers and others – for a full list, please refer to the new UCAS tariff at www.ucas.com.
- We also welcome applications from mature applicants, individuals with European qualifications and international applicants (subject to minimum English language requirements).
General University entry requirements
We accept students with a wide range of qualifications and backgrounds and consider each application individually.
All students need to have good basic skills and the University also values IT and communication skills.
As part of the University’s policy we consider applications from prospective disabled students on the same grounds as all other students.
To study a degree, diploma or certificate course you’ll be asked for a minimum of UCAS Tariff points. For a fuller explanation of the UCAS Tariff Points, please see www.ucas.com
We also consider applications from mature students who can demonstrate the motivation and commitment to study a university programme. Each year we enrol a significant number of mature students. For more help and advice about being a mature student at Bangor, please visit the Study at Bangor site.
Specific entry requirements can be seen on the individual course pages.
EU and International students' entry requirements
For information and further detailed guidance on entry requirements for EU and International Students, including the minimum English Language entry requirement, please visit the Entry Requirements by Country pages. International applicants can also visit the International Education Centre section of our website for further details.
Home/EU students and International UCAS applicants
E-mail for General Admissions: email@example.com or write to:
Telephone: +44 (0)1248 383717
International students (non-UCAS applicants)
Email to International Admissions: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to
Telephone: +44 (0) 1248 382028
When coming to University, you will have two main costs, Tuition Fees and Living Costs.
There are also some common additional costs that are likely to arise for students on all courses, for example:
- If you choose to study abroad or take the International Experience Year as part of your course.
- If you attend your Graduation Ceremony, there will be a cost for gown hire (£25-£75) and cost for guest tickets (£12 each).
Course-specific additional costs
Depending on the course you are studying, there may be additional course-specific costs that you will be required to meet. These fall into three categories:
- Mandatory Costs: these are related to a particular core or compulsory module that you’ll be required to complete to achieve your qualification e.g. compulsory field trips, uniforms for students on placement, DBS Check.
- Necessarily Incurred Costs: these may not be experienced by all students, and will vary depending on the course e.g. professional body membership, travel to placements, specialist software, personal safety equipment.
- Optional Costs: these depend on your choice of modules or activity and they are shown to give you an indication of the optional costs that may arise to make sure your choice is as informed as possible. These can include graduation events for your course, optional field trips, Welcome Week trips.
There are no mandatory costs, but if a student spends £50 on books per module then it would cost £300 pa.
Necessarily Incurred Costs:
Travel to placements: Some basic travel costs might be incurred depending on the location of the placement. An average example would be 2 weeks, public transport, £40.
Extra costs might be incurred if students decide to purchase more books, but this optional and entirely down to the individual.
How to apply through UCASApply online via UCAS
UCAS stands for Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. All university applications are processed through UCAS and then passed on to the universities listed.
Students may apply for a maximum of five courses. For Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary courses students are only allowed to apply for four courses.
The application form is found on the UCAS website, under ‘Apply’.
The early closing date is October 15 for all Oxbridge, Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary students. The main closing date for all applications is January 15.
Your Personal Statement
Writing your Personal Statement is the part of the application form that requires most work. You are only allowed 47 lines or 500–550 words to explain why you wish to study the course and the skills you have that are essential for university study.
To write a successful personal statement for your UCAS application you must have a good understanding about the course and its content. Remember that you write only one personal statement for your five choices. Make sure that the courses are similar, if not the same, and make sure that you do not mention a specific course or university.
Read our advice on how to draft a winning personal statement or watch our video guide.
After you’ve applied
You should keep an eye on your application on UCAS ‘Track’. Offers from universities will appear on track and you will be able to accept or decline offers.
You can only reply when you have received all your decisions. The types of reply you can make are firm acceptance and insurance acceptance. Usually students reply in early May.
If you are an international student, our International Student pages offer further information on applying.
As an international student applying to study one of our undergraduate programmes you can;
- apply via UCAS,
- or apply direct to Bangor through our online direct application system
- or apply with the help of one of our recruitment agents
We receive around 350 exchange students every year from all over the world. 45% of these students come from Europe and the remainder from as far as Singapore, South Korea and Australia.
Confused about your next steps?
Take a look at our Going to University website for information and advice on getting ready for university.
Studying History with us
- We are a centre of academic excellence offering high-quality, research-led teaching
- History has been taught at Bangor since the foundation of the University in 1884 – we have a wealth of experience and a strong sense of tradition
- Our expertise spans medieval, early modern, modern and contemporary history as well as Welsh history, archaeology and heritage
- We are recognised for outstanding pastoral care and award-winning teaching
- Bangor is an inspiring location in which to study history, particularly Welsh History in which we have an unrivalled research record
- The School has an excellent teaching reputation with an emphasis on small group teaching and one-on-one support
- Our community of students, lecturers and researchers is a friendly and stimulating place to work and study
- The School has a proven record of research achievement, with the regular publication of books and articles by staff with international reputations in their fields
- Bangor is located in an area with an outstanding range of archaeology monuments: prehistoric tombs and stone circles, Roman forts, native farmsteads, and medieval castles including the World Heritage sites of Beaumaris, Caernarfon and Conwy
- Students are encouraged to take part in excavations and there are opportunities to work in the local Archaelogical unit, museums and archives
Studying at Bangor
Rated Gold for teaching
We have been awarded a Gold rating, the highest rating possible, for the standarad of our teaching in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) assessment. The TEF assessment took into account teaching quality, learning environment and student outcomes and learning gain. We were judged to deliver consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for our students and our teaching is of the highest quality found in the UK.
A top 10 university
The National Student Survey (NSS) results place Bangor amongst the UK’s top 10 universities (excluding specialist institutions) for student satisfaction. This reflects the University’s focus on overall student experience.
Enjoy a university experience that’s amongst the best in the UK
Take advantage of the Bangor Student Experience with free membership of student clubs and societies, a new international experience programme and employability award scheme.
Award-winning clubs and societies!
Our clubs and societies have been named the best in the UK at the WhatUni Student Choice Awards 2019.
Choose to study in one of the best places in the UK to be a student. Bangor’s location – close to the mountains and the sea - has been described as ‘the best university setting in the UK’.
Investment in facilities
Benefit from continued investment in facilities and services – with Pontio Arts and Innovation Centre, Halls of Residence, and improved sports facilities amongst recent developments.
Guaranteed accommodation in award-winning halls of residence
We guarantee accommodation for first year students who apply within the deadline and hold Bangor as their Firm Choice. Our accommodation has been named the best in the UK at the 2018 WhatUni Student Choice Awards.
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