Department of History

Why History at Sussex

Bundesarchiv_Bild_147-0510,_Berlin,_Lustgarten,_Kundgebung_der_HJResearch in to Teaching

Our teaching extends across a broad range of subjects and geographical areas, but is directly tied to our research. The hands-on use of documentary materials such as manuscripts, printed texts, films and digital materials plays an essential role in the way we educate students, and we incorporate the latest research findings into our lectures and seminars. We also place an emphasis on a 'critical' attitude to sources, that is, we are particularly keen that students think about the social, intellectual and political contexts in which sources were created, along with their audiences. We insist that students have a good understanding of the various approaches to documents, events and arguments that have been adopted by historians.

Seminar-led Teaching

Nixon_and_Zhou_toastSeminars lie at the heart of our modules and students are expected to participate in discussions and argument about the past with fellow students and tutors. Individual tutorials, available via office hours or feedback sessions, are an opportunity for one-on-one supervision.

Employability

EmployabilityOur record in placing students in graduate employment is excellent, with 98% of our History undergraduates in work or studying within six months of graduation (Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey 2015).

Many of our students go on to work with the past in the future careers, finding employment as archivists, in museums, on television and radio and as teachers. But more importantly, our graduates can be found in positions of leadership across the private and public sectors, using their well-founded understanding of history to inform their engagement with the present.

Why History

We are primarily concerned with teaching students about history. This is not simply a matter of learning the dates of past events, or the central ideas of great thinkers of the past. Our students acquire this knowledge as they progress through the degree, but we also teach them about causation and context. Students learn how small episodes can lead to larger movements, and how local activities are implicated in much wider national and global settings. This comprehension is vital in an interconnected world, where an informed understanding of current events requires command of both historical and international contexts. Our graduates emerge from this degree as experts in how to research, and how to turn that research into compelling arguments.

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History Staff in Action