Ways Into History: A Pathway to Further Study Part-time Evening short course open to the public

About the course

Ways Into History is a short course, designed primarily to help mature students progress to a degree in the History department. The course will next run on 15 Wednesday evenings, 6pm to 8.45pm, from January 2021. The course is aimed mainly at mature students from the local area, who wish to return to study. You do not need to have any prior qualifications to apply. The most important thing is to explain in your personal statement (on the application form) why you would like to study on the course. The course will be led by Dr. Richard Stone, with contributions from subject experts Dr. Edson Burton, Dr. Madge Dresser, and Professor Mark Horton. 

What it’s all about?

This course will consider the history of slavery, with a particular focus on the city of Bristol and its role in the slave trade.  We will consider what exactly slavery is, and how slavery on the West Indian and American Plantations compares to other historic slave systems.  We will also look at the broader impact of the slave trade; how did it benefit England, and to what extent did it damage Africa?  Were English Country Houses built with slave derived wealth?  We will also consider how the slave trade has been remembered in Bristol and elsewhere, thinking about how commemoration has become intertwined with modern day political concerns.  Throughout, our aim will be to tackle difficult questions about both the historic realities of slavery and the slave trade, and the ways in which it’s been remembered.

If you have any questions, please email the course director Richard.Stone@bristol.ac.uk.


What happens next?

There are four routes into further study at Bristol University from this course:

  • If you feel confident about starting a degree straight away, you can apply for the BA in History.

  • If you feel like you need a bit more preparation before starting an undergraduate degree, you can apply for the Foundation Year In Arts and Humanities, a way into university for people without formal qualifications. 

  • If you already have a degree, and want to return to study, you can apply for the MA in History.

  • Or if you'd just like to take another short course in history, you can check out our offering here.  

The course tutor and course director will be happy to advise you on your options, and support your application to any of these programmes.

The course will encourage you to develop skills in:

  • Reading a range of historical sources. We’ll be looking at lots of different types of sources which help shed light on the history of slavery in Bristol and around the world from merchants’ records of their trade, to the writings of abolitionists and the slaves themselves.  We’ll be thinking about how slavery has been presented in the media, in film, and in literature.  And we’ll go out into Bristol itself, looking at how traces of the slave trade still remain in the fabric of the city today.   
  • Discussion: There will be an emphasis on class discussion and debate as well as on critical analysis of the sources. This is a great way to improve confidence and to start thinking about what you are reading. This leads towards…


  • Essay writing: We’ll be focusing in the opening weeks of the course on planning and writing essays: so don’t panic if you haven’t written one before or if you are out of practice!

How much does it cost?

The course fee is £350. Students on a low income can apply for funding support to help with some of the costs.

How do I apply?

The application deadline is Friday 11 December

For more information see our Information Pack:

Ways into History Information Pack 2021 (PDF, 593kB)


Please complete an online application form


More information and advice

The course director for Ways Into History is Dr Richard Stone. You can contact Richard for an informal chat by e-mail: Richard.Stone@bristol.ac.uk

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