There are lots of reasons to study History at university: maybe you believe understanding history can help us avoid repeating old mistakes...
...or perhaps you’ve been gripped by stories of Rosa Parks, Ibn Battuta or Vlad the Impaler.
History can take you interesting places - just ask Gordon Brown, the former British Prime Minister; Body Shop founder Anita Roddick or documentary filmmaker Louis Theroux - they all did History at university.
This is a handy guide laying out four steps to maximise your chances of getting on a great History programme.
1) Get some good qualifications
Universities usually have a few fundamental requirements for History applicants:
- A good set of GCSE results or equivalent
- A reasonable grade at History A level or IB .
- Another A Level or equivalent in a Humanities or Social Sciences subject such as Geography, Sociology or Politics to demonstrate those skills in research and essay writing.
2) Find some great courses
Thoroughly research the courses you’re applying for.
You can use Unifrog to find a range of courses that suit you, and then narrow them down to your top five using the UCAS tool.
- Find programmes with a range of entry requirements so you end up at a university you're happy with whatever happens.
- Check the modules at each university. History degrees have wildly different approaches so the modules on offer are important.
- Joint honours degrees pair History with another interest. Language degrees, for example, might offer opportunities to go on a year abroad in third year, but some universities have partnerships which let you do the same thing without a language.
- Thinking about careers your history degree might open up, such as Journalism, Research, Marketing, or Teaching.
3) Stand out!
When you make your application you also want to distinguish yourself from all the other applicants. Here are some tips:
- READING: Read about History - whichever areas most interest you.
- OUTSTANDING WORK: Universities want to know that you take pride in your studies. Perfecting a couple of essays helps you demonstrate this.
Showing a little bit of perfectionism doesn't do any harm:
- MOOCs show that you are an independent learner, and have a desire to learn in a particular subject.
- WORK EXPERIENCE or VOLUNTEERING demonstrates drive and develops relevant skills, be it essay writing, critical thinking or close reading.
- ENGAGE! Go to sites of historical interest, exhibitions, museums and talks, or look out for historical documentaries that are being screened nearby or that you can watch online.
- BE INTERESTING/INTERESTED! Your grades and the academic work are crucial for your application, but, most universities also like to see that you have done a range of extracurricular activities.
4) Write a great Personal Statement
After all this work, do yourself justice in your Personal Statement. Unifrog helps you structure your Personal Statement with the right amount of emphasis on different sections.
- For UK universities, the bulk of your Statement should focus on the subject that you’ve chosen to study.
- Explain why you want to study History and why you would make an excellent History student.
- Just like any other essay, use specific examples to justify each of your arguments.
- Use examples related to History which show your passion for and ability in the subject.
Go forth and prosper!
Hopefully, you’ll now be feeling more confident about getting on a great history course at university.
Beyond the basic requirements for each course, what universities really want is applicants who love the subject, will work hard and have the ability to do well.
The challenge for you is to demonstrate you’re the right kind of applicant!
If you’re not sure History is your thing, check out the Subjects library for more courses.