This module offers an introduction to the historical events and processes that have helped to shape the contemporary United Kingdom. During the period in question the United Kingdom underwent a series of political and cultural changes that were to have profound effects on the society and economy of the UK, its status in the world, and its national perception of its changing world role. The module examines the principle causes and phases of change during this period and the effect these changes had upon the UK as a nation with particular emphasis on society and the people of Britain.

The module will run over 22 weeks. Students will be introduced, over the course of the module, to a level of knowledge and analysis which will provide an appropriate academic background for those wishing to study other periods of history, and other Humanities and Social Science subjects, within the UK university system. As well as examining recent history, the module will develop the skills that will enable students to interpret information, think critically, assess evidence and undertake research. The module will help enhance and refine students' writing skills, oral presentation skills and test/ exam taking skills and strategies.

The module requires no prior knowledge of, or experience of studying, British history.


1. To provide a firm foundation of knowledge and understanding of key developments in UK history during the period studied.
2. To introduce students to the workings of the British political system;
3. To develop students' ability to think critically and to analyse historical data from a wide range of sources, in order to construct and convey an argument, both oral and written;
4. To develop students' skills necessary for further academic study through the practice of seminar discussions, small-group work, academic exercises, seminar presentations, individual study, research, and reflective, critical reading;
5. To explain the use of historical terms and concepts;
6. To increase students' awareness of the many different approaches (chiefly political, cultural, social and economic) towards the study of history, and the provisional, ever-evolving nature of contemporary history;
7. To familiarise students with the academic working environment of a UK university through the study of history;
8. To acquaint students with what are - and what are not - accepted modes of academic discourse, the need to cite sources, and the paramount importance of avoiding plagiarism.
9. To enhance students' knowledge of and interest in history by preparing them for potential undergraduate study of the subject;
10. To increase students' awareness of the importance of an understanding of historical issues to enhance their future study of other humanities and social science subjects.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module a student will be expected to be able to:

1. Demonstrate knowledge of key events in the history of the United Kingdom during the twentieth century (including the most significant cultural changes within UK society and the UK's changing relationships with its key overseas partners and allies) and assess how that historical knowledge contributes to a thorough understanding of the contemporary United Kingdom.

2. Demonstrate awareness of the workings of the British political system, and of recent (and ongoing) political debates.

3. Engage fully with the study of history, and other Humanities and Social Science subjects, through the taking of lecture notes, the undertaking of independent study and active participation in seminar discussion.

4. Apply the key skill of critical, analytical thinking to the examination of historical evidence from a variety of sources in order to then incorporate this analysis of evidence into written work, oral presentations and seminar discussions.

5. Analyse assignment and exam questions, and research and construct an appropriate academic argument in response.

6. Reference secondary and primary sources accurately and appropriately, and construct an accompanying bibliography.

7. Summarise, comment upon and analyse historical arguments and debates in an informed and coherent manner in written work, oral presentations and seminar discussions to a level that will lead to potential success in Year 1 of a BA History or related Humanities or Social Science degree.


Autumn Term
Week 2 Introduction to the Study of history. What is the United Kingdom?
Week 3 A Changing World - From Victorian Britain to 1914
Week 4 The Long Shadow - The Great War and its Aftermath
Week 5 Home Fires - The Inter-War years & WW2 + formative task
Week 6 Changing Relationships – Britain & the Post-War World
Week 7 This is the Modern World - ‘The Long Sixties’
Week 8 Decade of Decline? Britain in the 1970s + Research task
Week 9 Round up - 1900 to 1979 - Preparation for class test
Week 10 Class test (on 1900-1979) - Oral presentations preparation
Week 11 The Thatcher ‘Revolution’ - The 1980s #1 + End of term quiz

Spring Term
Week 16 Conflict in ‘Thatcher’s Britain’- The 1980s # 2
Week 17 Oral Presentations
Week 18 Identity I: Class and the establishment since 1945
Week 19 Identity II: Religion and Gender since 1945
Week 20 Identity III Race, ethnicity and issues of devolution since 1945
Week 21 Towards the Twenty-First Century – The 90s and the emergence of New Labour
Week 22 Post Millennium Britain 2000-2017 + Round up 1980 to the present Day
Week 23 In Class test #2 Essay workshop #1
Week 24 What does the future hold? Essay workshop #2
Week 25 Essay workshop #3 + End of term quiz

Summer Term
Week 30 Exam Revision #1
Week 31 Exam Revision #2


Coursework will consist of:

1) Oral presentation (10%) - weeks 17-19
Each student will give an individual oral presentation in a seminar class. They should chose the subject themselves making sure it is related to both Britain and the period in question; it should also be suitably focused and discursive.

2) Essay 1,500 words (30%) - week 28
Following on from their oral presentation, the students will then produce an essay connected to the topic they chose for their oral presentation.

3) Two in-class tests (20% and 30%) - weeks 10 and 31
There will also be two in class tests: the first towards the end of the Autumn term, and second towards the end of the Spring term lasting 09 minutes each. The subject areas in the first in-class test will be given in advance (although not the actual questions) in order to enable focused revision.

4) Participation mark (10%)

Non-assessed coursework

A formative task involving research into Remembrance Sunday will provide an opportunity for students to receive from and discuss with the module supervisor some early feedback on their research, presentation and writing skills, and on their engagement with, experience of and general progress on the module so far.