Royal Holloway University of London: Jonathan Phillips Provides a Guide to Undergraduate History. (University Challenge)
Phillips, Jonathan, History Review
If you study History at Royal Holloway, University of London, you will join one of the leading departments in the country, based at a beautiful campus, centred on a stunning Victorian building, on the edge of London. A recent Guardian survey (May 2001) of the top 50 History departments in Great Britain placed us second overall. Our degrees are exciting and challenging courses that offer a huge range of topics cutting across chronological, geographical and thematic boundaries. Alongside the satisfaction and enjoyment of looking at History for three years, you will also acquire the transferable skills so crucial in today's job market because we are well aware of the need to make History and the Historian's training relevant to the contemporary workplace. Students from Royal Holloway move into careers in journalism, television, law, management, publishing, public relations and teaching, as well as further research. For all of these paths (and many others) the ability to extract, analyse and synthesise information, and then to construct and defend arguments on paper and in public, are essential. History provides you with a training in all of these skills so valued by prospective employers and, with the cachet of the internationally-esteemed University of London degree, you can approach your chosen career from an excellent platform.
THE STAFF AND CAMPUS
Royal Holloway is the biggest History Department in the University of London with 31 members of staff and 360 students. We are rated in the top categories for both teaching and research, with the Teaching Quality Assessment (TQA) giving us a mark of `excellent' and the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) marking us at a grade 5. All of us are active in research and are respected authorities in our fields; several contribute regularly to TV programmes on BBC2, Channel 4 and The History Channel, as well as BBC Radio 4. Beyond this, we are a mixed department with a combination of new and experienced academics and male and female staff - important considerations that add much to our sense of a friendly academic community. The size of our undergraduate student body means a wide diversity of recruitment with a mixture of students from different backgrounds, ages, and ethnic groups, and from both sexes.
The campus at Royal Holloway is centred on the striking Founder's Building (which includes many student rooms - you could be living in a turret!). This is complemented by modern facilities including the light and spacious McCrea building that houses the History Department, as well as the full range of amenities such as the Students' Union, Sports Centre, bars, and the modern Bedford Library. All first-year students are guaranteed a place in halls on this lively campus. Outside the closeknit communal feel of the college, central London is only 35 minutes away by train and the beauty of Windsor Great Park is right on the doorstep.
We offer two basic degree programmes:
History (V100) or Modern History, Economic History and Politics (V136). The History degree (V100) covers all periods from ancient times to the present day. This degree is structured in a pyramid fashion with the first year offering students a broad introduction and training in many of the key themes of the subject, along with overviews of unfamiliar periods and cultures, extending your knowledge of History well beyond your A-level experience. First-year courses cover topics such as: The Material World, Culture and Environment; Conflict and Identity from 1789 to the present; and Republics, Kings and Peoples.
In the second year you can select three courses from a comprehensive range of topics covering narrower subjects (some consider a century or so, others are more thematic), and again there is assessed coursework and exams. Those on offer (from a list of 38 at present) include Twentieth-Century World History; Roman Britain; The Crusades and the Eastern Mediterranean; Medicine and Society; Witchcraft; Poverty and Disease; Gender and Society in the Islamic World; and America in the 1960s. …