History study guide 2023/24

History at Bristol

When you become part of the Department of History, you will be on the way to becoming an historian, rather than just a student of history. This means that you will actively engage in exploring and interpreting the past, rather than just storing up historical knowledge. All of our staff regularly publish and since our teaching focuses heavily on research, our interests are reflected in the exceptionally wide range of course units we offer in all years. We also strive to ensure that students get to take the units they are interested in so that, as our students develop and mature as historians, they are able to specialise in the areas that interest them most. Real historians are united by their passion to explore the past, through the writings of other historians (secondary sources) and the material produced by those we study (primary sources). As historians, we know that communicating findings to others is the key to our work, helping us refine our ideas and advance historical debates.

Unit structure

The department offers many classes that are based in a single semester, and can therefore accept unit requests from Study Abroad students who want to join Bristol for just the autumn or spring semester.

Unit levels

The department offers units across all undergraduate levels of study: year 1 (level C/4), year 2 (level I/5), and year 3 (level H/6) units. Postgraduate units are not available.

Unit codes

Unit codes in the Department of History begin with 'HIST'. This is followed by a number indicating the year (1, 2, 3). For example:

  • HIST10000 = year 1 unit
  • HIST20000 = year 2 unit
  • HIST30000 = year 3 unit.

For more information about each unit, check the University's unit catalogue for 2023/24. Applicants on all study abroad programmes must review the unit details on the catalogue before listing unit choices on their application form. This includes checking the format of assessment for each unit. The unit catalogue for 2023/22 is updated by April 2023.

Your unit choices cannot be guaranteed. Some units may not have capacity to accommodate all of the unit requests we receive. Registration on a unit also depends on whether you meet the pre-requisite conditions through prior study at your home university.

Study Abroad (Subject pathway)

If you have been nominated to Bristol on the Study Abroad (Subject pathway), you must take the majority of your credits in this department.

Units available on the study abroad programme in 2023/24

The following units from the Department of History are open to inbound Study Abroad students.

Year 1 (level C/4)


  • Approaching the Past (TB1) - HIST13015
  • Modern Revolutions (TB1) - HIST10067
  • The American Century (TB1) - HIST10044
  • The Early Modern World: Europe and the Wider World (TB1) - HIST10065
  • The Early Modern World: The British Isles (TB1) - HIST10063
  • War and Society (TB1) - HIST10045


  • Decolonise the Future! (TB2) - UNIV10009
  • Fight the Power': Democracy and Protest (TB2) - HIST10068
  • Gender and the Modern World (TB2) - HIST10069
  • Slavery (TB2) - HIST10046
  • The Medieval World: Europe and the Wider World (TB2) - HIST10066
  • The Medieval World: The British Isles (TB2) - HIST10064

Year 2 (level I/5)

Special Field units are high intensity research specialist units. These units are held in the spring semester (TB2). Students are strongly advised to only take one per semester due to the workload involved.

Special Field TB2 units:

  • Aztecs, Incas and Evangelisers (TB2) - HIST20036
  • Building Modern Ireland, 1850-Present (TB2) – HIST20139
  • Health and Medicine in African History: Actors, Institutions, Ideas (TB2) – HIST20147
  • Hong Kong and the World (TB2) - HIST20135
  • Modern Girls and Women (TB2) – HIST20146
  • Race, Migration and Diaspora in 19th and 20th Century Britain (TB2) - HIST20136
  • Rebels, Runaways and Revolts: Agency, Resistance and Slavery in the United States (TB2) - HIST20129
  • The Age of Revolutions 1776-1848 in Global Context (TB2) - HIST20128
  • The F Word: Understanding European Fascism Then and Now (TB2) - HIST20137
  • Under the Covers: Sex and Modern British Print Culture (TB2) - HIST20138

Non-Special Field units:


  • Africa in Global Context (TB1) – HIST20141
  • Asia in Global Context (TB1) – HIST20143
  • Crusading Cultures (TB1) - HIST20133
  • Fear and Loathing (TB1) - HIST20117
  • Outlaws (TB1) - HIST20120
  • Rethinking History (TB1) - HIST23101
  • The Americas in Global Context (TB1) – HIST20142


  • Decolonisation (TB2) - HIST20116
  • Disease, Deviance and Disability in Modern Medicine (TB2) - HIST20134
  • The Making of Contemporary Britain (TB2) - HIST20114
  • The Politics of the Past (TB2) – HIST20144
  • The Public Role of the Historian (TB2) – HIST20145

Year 3 (level H/6)

Special Subject units are high intensity research specialist units. These units are held in the autumn semester (TB1). Students are strongly advised to only take one per semester due to the workload involved.

Special Subject TB1 units:

  • Aftermath: The Wake of War, 1945-1949 (TB1) – HIST30106
  • Bristol and Slavery (TB1) - HIST30078
  • Constructing the Other (TB1) – HIST30107
  • Dark Pasts: Modern Histories of Night in Britain and North America (TB1) - HIST30132
  • Gender, Race and Colonialism in Early English America (TB1) – HIST30136
  • Kingship and Crisis during the Wars of the Roses (TB1) - HIST37011
  • Once Upon a Crime: Law and Popular Cultures in the Age of Empire (TB1) – HIST30137
  • Race and Resistance in South Africa (TB1) – HIST37010
  • Rage Against the Machine: Technology and Anti-Technology in Modern Britain (TB1) – HIST30138
  • Red Power and Beyond: American Indian Activism since 1944 (TB1) - HIST30128
  • The Age of the Human (TB1) - HIST30103
  • The Mass Media in Modern Britain (TB1) - HIST30133

Non-Special Subject units:


  • Britain's Long Nineteenth Century, 1789-1914 (TB1) - HIST30120
  • Memory (TB1) - HIST30113
  • Picturing the Twentieth Century (TB1) - HIST30114


  • Capitalism (TB2) - HIST30115
  • Global Empires (TB2) - HIST30122
  • Horrible Histories and all That (TB2) - HIST30119
  • Millennial Britain (TB2) - HIST30125
  • Race (TB2) - HIST30117
  • Sexualities (TB2) - HIST30118

Year 4 (level M/7)

None available

Unit combinations

We advise that students take no more than 1 'Special Field' or 'Special Subject' unit per semester. These are high intensity research specialist units which involve a heavy workload. Students interested in taking one of these units may wish to combine them with one of the Department's core outline units:

  • Africa in Global Context (TB1) – HIST20141
  • Approaching the Past (TB1) - HIST13015
  • Asia in Global Context (TB1) – HIST20143
  • The Americas in Global Context (TB1) – HIST20142
  • The Politics of the Past (TB2) – HIST20144
  • The Public Role of the Historian (TB2) – HIST20145
  • Rethinking History (TB1) - HIST23101


Students cannot audit units. Study abroad students are fully registered on units for credit purposes and must attend teaching only for classes that they are registered on.

Application queries

Contact the Centre for Study Abroad inbound team if you have any queries about the application process for the study abroad programmes:

Phone: +44 117 39 40207
Email: cfsa-inbound@bristol.ac.uk

Edit this page