Nottingham Trent University: Martyn Bennett Points out the Distinctive, and Successful, Approach of One of the New Universities

By Bennett, Martyn | History Review, December 2003 | Go to article overview

Nottingham Trent University: Martyn Bennett Points out the Distinctive, and Successful, Approach of One of the New Universities


Bennett, Martyn, History Review


History at Nottingham Trent

Nottingham Trent University is one of the country's leading new universities, with campuses in the city of Nottingham and at Clifton. History is taught on the Clifton Campus where most of the degree programme's students are housed. Clifton is linked to the city by general bus services and dedicated buses which serve the two campuses. History forms part of the Faculty of Humanities and, field trips aside, is taught on the Clifton Campus. The campus offers a friendly, sociable, and intimate environment in which to live and study. On site there is a very effective Academic Support Service, which is there to provide additional guidance on study skills and on transferring to study at university.

The Clifton campus has excellent academic facilities with large, modern lecture theatres equipped with state-of-the-art audio visual facilities. There are seminar rooms and small-group study rooms, plus excellent IT facilities. The Boots Library in the city and the Clifton Campus library between them provide spacious environments for study and research. Student life on campus centres on a student village with halls of residence, a supermarket, fast food outlets, bank, laundry and the Students' Union with its bars, sports hall, gym and sports pitches.

In May 2002 The Guardian ranked Nottingham Trent University as the top 'New' University for studying History. It ranked higher than many traditional universities with long-established records for excellence. 'It's particularly gratifying,' according to Admissions Tutor Dr Nick Hayes, 'that full recognition is now being given to the value-added component that we provide. We take in good students and produce excellent historians. The quality of research produced by some of them would grace the table of any institution in the country.'

History has a long interdisciplinary tradition at Nottingham Trent, dating back to its two previous manifestations, as Trent Polytechnic and Nottingham Polytechnic. In 1995 the History Section introduced the History Single Honours course, seeing this as an opportunity to expand on the experience gained through interdisciplinarity rather than to isolate itself from its roots. Students are encouraged to appreciate the links between the various disciplines offered in the faculty.

History Courses

We offer a modular degree comprising 120 credits each year. Most, but not all, History is taught in 20-credit modules. The History degree has a single honours core component, culminating in a 40-Credit dissertation in the final year. The historians at Nottingham Trent believe that the specialised study of history needs to be based on a wide historical perspective. Hence students in the first year need to take at least 80 credits of history modules, selected from a wide range: 'Sex, Death and Disease: Living and Dying in the Middle Ages, 1000-1500'; 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Tension and Conflict in the Middle Ages, 1000-1500'; 'The Emergence of Modern European Society, 1750-1914'; 'World History since 1700'; and 'British Society from 1940: Media, History and Culture'. The remaining 40 credits can be made up of a fifth history module and a module drawn from other disciplines, or two modules selected from across the faculty. Students majoring in history on the Humanities or International Studies degrees need to take at least 40 credits of history in the first year. In subsequent years students on the single honours programme may, if they wish, take as many as 120 credits of history, but as long as they take 80 credits they are free to pursue other modules. Students on joint degrees can choose to specialise in any of their chosen areas in years two and three or can maintain a credit balance across the range.

At level two there is a good range of more specialised options including: 'Early Modern America c. 1492-1790', 'Deviant Societies: Britain and Ireland 1550-1750', 'The First World War', 'Life and Leisure: Town, City and Countryside in England c. …

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