About the School

History is an engaging, challenging subject that offers the chance to understand and interpret human experience through the study of the past. At Bangor, our department specialises in research-led teaching, where your lecturers will be experts in their field.

Bangor has a strong tradition of teaching history, the subject having been taught here since the foundation of the University in 1884. Past professors include Sir J.E.Lloyd (1895-1930), who wrote A History of Wales from the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest; R.T.Jenkins (1930-1948), who became the first professor of Welsh History, Charles Mowatt (1959-1970), who wrote Britain Between the Wars, and Duncan Tanner (1989-2010), one of the foremost British Labour historians of his generation.

Teaching excellence

At Bangor we offer the opportunity for you to develop and hone your skills in the subject, as well as to specialise in your chosen area of interest through a supportive learning environment. You will have the opportunity to study courses spanning prehistory to the present day, encompassing British, Welsh, European and American History and the Archaeology of Britain and Ireland. Our excellence in teaching is consistently reflected in our National Student Survey Scores, where we consistently achieve high scores.

We pride ourselves on giving individual students personal attention in their studies and specialize in small group teaching. A degree in history opens up a variety of opportunities in a wide range of careers, and throughout your degree we offer opportunities to enhance your employability to prepare you for the world of work.

The department has a proven record of research achievement, with the regular publication of books and articles by staff, several of whom have international reputations in their particular fields. These interests inform and shape our research-led teaching.

Historical location

The school is located at the historical heart of the University, the Grade 1 listed Main Arts building of 1911. The main lecture theatres, Arts Library and the archives are all within easy reach, as is the students’ union and cinema at Pontio.

Bangor itself is in the heart of the medieval Welsh kingdom of Gwynedd, an area of enormous natural beauty with several historical sites of international importance. The area is rich in archeological monuments: prehistoric tombs and stone circles, Roman forts, and medieval castles including the World Heritage sites of Beaumaris, Caernarfon and Conwy. The adjacent island of Anglesey, visible from the university, was a centre of devotion and resistance for the ancient druids. Bangor and its medieval cathedral was an important centre of power for the Welsh princes of Gwynedd, and was one of the focal points of the industrial revolution in North Wales in the nineteenth century, with nearby Penrhyn Castle built from the fortunes of Jamaican slavery and local slate quarries.

Bangor’s historical location informs our research and teaching. Our department has a strong record in Welsh history, a focus of research for many of our staff. Our students frequently utilise the resources offered by the University archives and the history of the surrounding area for their third-year dissertations. The local museum has a wide range of objects – from stone tools to medieval pottery – which students get the chance to handle. There are also opportunities to do work placements in the local archaeological unit, museums and archives.
Students can also take advantage of a wide range of field trips, some to nearby monuments and historical sites, with others further afield. Archaeology students have the opportunity to learn archaeological surveying and are encouraged to take part in excavations. There are also numerous talks, activities and seminars, some led by students and others by lecturers and researchers, which foster a vibrant intellectual community.