Economic and Social History: University of Birmingham

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Economic and Social History: University of Birmingham, Departments of Medieval and Modern History, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, Birmingham, United Kingdom
3 years
+44(0)121 414 5736
+44(0)121 414 3656


What makes economies grow? Why are wealth and income unequally distributed? Are market economies or controlledeconomies more successful? What is the relationship between education, health and prosperity? How have ordinary people's lives been affected by changes in family size? Is it possible to maintain economic progress without a manufacturing sector? Economic and Social History explores questions like these.

At Birmingham, Economic and Social History is taught within the Departments of Medieval and Modern History, which have an outstanding international reputation for excellence in teaching and research. The size and quality of the departments enable us to offer students on this programme a wide range of options across the medieval and modern periods. We also recognise the value of social sciences to historical enquiry and encourage you to enhance your skills in this area to support your appreciation of the past.

First year

The first year is the foundational year in an academic process that will see you progress from being a dependent to an independent learner. You will study four historical survey modules, including two devoted to Economic and Social History. You will also study Practising History, a module that looks more closely at the techniques of the historian and at the nature and evolution of key historical debates. In Themes and Areas 1, you have the opportunity to develop your study of Economic and Social History from a complementary discipline perspective.

Second year

The second year is an intermediate year that builds on the foundations laid in the first year of study. You develop your historical skills and perspectives through The Foundations of Modern Britain, Themes and Areas 2 and your Dissertation Preparation module. You will also engage in a group research project and extend your historical knowledge through two subject-specific modules chosen from a wide range of available options.

Third year

The third year represents the culmination of undergraduate study and the final stage of your transition to an independent learner. You hone your historical skills in a Historical Reflections module and also study a final-year subject option. You also undertake an in-depth Special Subject module in Economic and Social History, which is chosen from a variety of available subjects, and you research and write your personal dissertation under the supervision of a designated member of staff.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and assessment methods are geared towards ensuring your smooth progression from being a dependent to an independent learner over the course of the programme. There is an even balance of individual tuition, small group teaching and lectures, with an emphasis on helping you to develop your ability to learn and engage in informed debate rather than simply accept received ideas. Assessment techniques aid this process and include ‘open’ and ‘closed’ examinations, assessed essays, group presentations and a 12,000-word dissertation.

Career opportunities

This programme equips you with a body of reasoning, communication and organisational skills appropriate for further study or employment in fields related to historical studies such as libraries, archives and museums. These skills are also readily transferable to a large number of graduate professions such as law, teaching, retail and business management, and financial and public services.

Entry requirements

  • Number of A levels required: 3
  • Typical offer: BBB
  • General Studies: accepted
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma: 32 + points to include History at HL

Other qualifications are considered – see the entry requirements section for full details

Additional information

  • A subject booklet is available – email: or tel: +44 (0)121 414 5752

Contact details

  • Admissions Tutor: Dr Simon Yarrow
  • Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5752
  • Email:

For general information about open days

  • Tel: +44 (0)121 414 3374
  • Website:

Main University Switchboard

  • Postal address: The University of Birmingham
    B15 2TT
    United Kingdom
  • Tel: +44 (0)121 414 3344
  • Fax: +44(0)121 414 3971


  • Email:
  • Tel: +44 (0)121 415 8900
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Student Recruitment

  • Email:
  • Tel: +44 (0)121 414 3374
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International Relations

  • Email:
  • Tel: +44 (0)121 414 2894
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