SOAS University of London

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

H101 Approaching History (15Cr)

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 1
Taught in:
Term 1

H101 Approaching History is the core module of the first year of the BA History, both single and combined degrees. It introduces students to the study of history at the university level. The module explores the variety of approaches to history through the ages, from positivist histories of the nation state, to the study of changing economies and societies, to postcolonial and subaltern histories; it introduces the wide range of sources through which we study the past, including both secondary accounts produced by historians and the primary sources on which they rely; and most importantly, it provides an opportunity to develop the core skills students will need to succeed both on their degree and thereafter. The module is taught seminar-style, in small groups of about 15, allowing for intensive discussion, in-class writing exercises, as well as informal presentation. It is assessed by coursework and seminar participation, allowing students to develop their writing skills consistently throughout the term, with regular short informal assignments and one final essay.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

1. Identify and evaluate approach, method, argument and use of evidence in historical writing.
2. Find relevant information in libraries, archives and digital resources and reference sources adequately.
3. Construct convincing arguments, combining critical insight and a command of relevant evidence.
4. Present work effectively in a variety of written formats and in formal and informal oral communication.


Total of 10 weeks teaching with 2 hours of classroom contact per week

Method of assessment

Term 1:

Week 7, Response Paper - 1000 words worth 30%
Week 11 Essay - 2000 words worth 60%
Seminar participation 10%


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules