History is first and foremost about people, the forces that shaped their lives and the ways in which they changed their societies. Studying history makes us aware that our world today took on its current appearance less by chance than as a result of specific developments and decisions taken in the past. 

Are you curious about how the modern world came to be? Would you like to find out how past events have shaped our contemporary global world?  If so, the BA History is the programme for you. It is an innovative degree that gives coherence and depth to your learning and opportunities to develop key skills for employment.

The BA History is a four-year degree that offers you choice and flexibility in what and how you study:

  • It enables you to combine your study of History (your ‘major’) with two other subjects (your ‘minors’) that complement your major: choose from minors in Journalism and Global Media, Globalisation Studies, Political and Sociological Studies, Economics and Public Policy, Philosophy, French and Italian.
  • In your third year, you will have the opportunity to compete for work placements, study abroad programmes and further on-campus special studies.
  • The BA History prepares students for careers in the public and private sectors, including international development, the diplomatic and civil service, NGOs, journalism, publishing, marketing and media, the heritage industry, and education.

Visit NUI Galway's Courses Page for information on entry requirements and how to apply. Click here for information on the programme structure, content and assessment.

To find out more, please contact Professor Alison Forrestal (alison.forrestal@nuigalway.ie)

First Year BA (History)

BA History First Year Handbook 2021-22

On arrival in first year, BA History students select History as their core subject (major) and choose two other subjects (minors) to start on a learning ‘pathway’ for their degree.

Pathway ONE
Historical Studies

Pathway Two
History and Globalisation Studies

Pathway Three
History, Politics and Philosophy

Pathway 4
History (joint honours)

History (major) History (major) History (major) History (major)

PLUS TWO of the following:
Journalism and Global Media, Political and Sociological Studies, Philosophy, Economics and Public Policy, French, Italian (minors)

PLUS Globalisation Studies
and ONE of the following: Economics and Public Policy, French or Italian (minors) 

PLUS Political Science, Sociology and Policy AND

PLUS TWO other subjects from the Arts subject groupings
In second year, students will continue with History (major) and the other two subjects (minors) In second year, students will continue with History (major), Globalisation Studies (minor), and Economics and Public Policy OR French OR Italian (minor)

In second year, students will continue with History (major), Political Science, Sociology and Policy and Philosophy (minors)

In second year, students will continue with History and one of their other first year subjects (double major)

Second Year BA (History)

'The information below is for current second year BA History students. From September 2022, all second year BA History students will follow a new programme of study. For information on this, please click here.

BA History students must pass all History modules in first year to continue on the programme in Second Year, as well as passing their other first-year subjects. 

In second year students can choose from a wide variety of History modules. They have the opportunity to explore the histories of Ireland, Britain, continental Europe, North America, and further afield, from the Middle Ages to the present. Modules cover a range of themes, such as nationalism, colonialism, popular culture, globalisation, religion, slavery and war. Students will also gain hands-on research skills through our ‘Using Archives’ module, taught in conjunction with NUI Galway’s excellent Special Collections team.

Transferring into the BA History
Students who were enrolled as BA Omnibus (Joint Honours) in First Year, but who wish to follow the BA History programme in Second and Final Year may apply to transfer to the BA History, as long as they have passed all first year History modules, have passed their other two first-year subjects, and have permission from the Head of BA History (Dr Mary Harris) and the Head of History (Prof Enrico Dal Lago).

A Year of Study Abroad
Between Second and Third Year, students may also apply to study History abroad on the Erasmus programme. NUI Galway offers a range of exchange programmes with universities in Europe, some of which teach through English. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the time abroad to learn a new language or improve an existing language competence.

Second Year Modules:
Over the course of Second Year, each student must take at least one Ancient, one Medieval, one Early Modern, and one Modern History lecture module.  It is the student's responsibility to make sure that they comply with this requirement. Students are also required to take the core module LIB2101, as well as two colloquia modules (one in each semester), as follows:

Semester 1:

  • Core module: LIB 2101: Using Archives and Special Collections in Research.
  • One colloquium module of your choice (subject to availability).
  • Three lecture modules of your choice.

Semester 2:

  • One colloquium module of your choice (subject to availability).
  • Four lecture modules of your choice.

Final Year History BA (History)

This information is for currently registered BA History students. Students beginning their first-year study in September 2021 will follow a new programme of study.

Final Year BA History Course Structure

In final year, the choice of subjects expands still further, with students undertaking a combination of small group seminars and lecture modules.

Each BA History student also undertakes a major piece of original research based on primary sources, known as a dissertation. The dissertation offers you the opportunity to research a specialised topic, and to write an analysis of its key aspects.  You will be able to choose from a variety of topics, and a supervisor who is a specialist in the research area will guide you individually throughout your research and writing.  Therefore, this research project will offer you a great opportunity to delve deeply into a historical topic in which you are especially interested. 

Entry to the Final year is dependent upon a pass in Second Year History. Students who undertake a year abroad must also have attained a satisfactory academic performance during their year away.

Final Year Modules:
Over the course of Final Year, each student must take two seminars and four lecture modules (as follows), as well as completing their dissertation, which is worth one-third of your overall marks for Final Year. The dissertation is based on independent research undertaken across the entire academic year, and students will be required to present on the subject of their project during the year.

Semester 1:

  • One seminar module of your choice (subject to availability).
  • Three lecture modules.
  • Dissertation Research

Semester 2:

  • One seminar module of your choice (subject to availability).
  • One lecture module.
  • Submit dissertation.