First Year BA (Joint-Honours)

Visit NUI Galway's Courses Page for information on how to apply, entry requirements and assessment.

Welcome to First Year History

Structure of First Year History

Welcome to all our incoming History students! While 2021-22 is still an unusual year to begin your university studies, we are delighted you have chosen to study History and will do our utmost to ensure your on campus and online teaching environment is engaging, supportive and most importantly, interesting. In first year, students taking History will examine social, political and cultural developments in Ireland and Europe from the early Middle Ages up to World War One. Students will take four modules in total, two in each semester. As well as learning about what happened in the past, students are introduced to the techniques used by professional historians - the evaluation of contemporary sources, the balancing of different interpretations of the past, and the construction of one's own view of historical developments. Students will receive close attention in tutorial groups of 15 students, which meet weekly to discuss the lecture topics.

The First Year Handbook explains all you need to know – whether you are a 1BA1 student, a BA History Pathways student or a BA Connect student. I would encourage you to look through the handbook and to join me for our online induction session the week of the 22nd September where I can answer any further questions. We cannot give details about Semester Two (HI1104/HISK1102) at present but will keep students informed over the coming weeks and months.

Finally, as you can appreciate, all the information on teaching in History relates to the present situation and is subject to University instructions and public health guidelines and advice. However, we will do our best to notify you of any changes via email, the website and social media. For now, I would like to say a huge welcome to you all and looking forwarding to meeting you either virtually or in person over the coming year.

Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, Head of First Year History

In First Year History students do four core modules:

Semester 1: HI1103 Europe & Ireland 1789-1918 5 ECTS

Section A: Ireland, 1789-1918
Dr Caitriona Clear,
Nineteenth century Ireland was a period of intense change and transformation for large sections of Irish society. Bookended by revolutionary events, this module will examine the social, economic and political developments in Ireland from 1789 to 1918. Intensifying administration (schools, police, hospitals), growing institutionalisation, changing roles for women, emigration, family change, expanding class structures and modernising living standards are examined against a backdrop of major political developments including growing nationalism, land agitation and unionism. Situating Ireland within a global context, these events and experiences will be addressed using a wide array of sources and tools to demonstrate the importance of ‘the long nineteenth century’.

Section B: Europe, 1789-1918
Dr Kevin O’Sullivan,  
Europe was transformed in period from the French Revolution to the First World War. This section of the module explores those changes, and their impact on the individuals and communities who lived through them. It begins by examining the revolutionary ideas of the late eighteenth century and their influence on Europe, before analysing how industrialisation, cultural and social change, and the rise of new political ideas changed the continent in the century that followed. This section of the module ends by situating Europe within a global context, from the expansion of its empires to the experience of global war.

Semester 2: HI1104 Europe: From Medieval to Modern

Dr Chris Doyle,
In the 5th century AD, as the Roman Empire collapsed across Western Europe, Ireland emerged as a leading centre of Christian culture and learning. This is all the more remarkable since Ireland had long been perceived by Graeco-Roman civilization as a savage, alien place, inhabited by fierce cannibals and mythical monsters. While the Roman West disintegrated into competing barbarian kingdoms, ruled by barbarian warlords, Ireland adopted Christianity and the island’s status as a light of civilization grew throughout Europe and beyond. This module explores social, cultural, political, and religious developments in Ireland from the 2nd to the 8th century AD.

Early Modern
Prof Alison Forrestal,
Over the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, European society experienced political, social, cultural, and economic changes that were so profound that historians suggest it moved from medieval to early modern civilisation. In this section of the module, we examine and evaluate the pros and cons of this argument under the themes of knowledge, belief, world encounters, and governing. Topics include the Reformations, witchcraft, the scientific revolution, early imperialism and empire, trade and colonisation, state formation, political rivalries and interstate wars.

Head of First Year History

Dr. Sarah Anne Buckley, Email: Room 408, Tower 1, Floor 2. 

Second Year

Welcome to Second Year History


  • If taking a colloquium in semester I, students should choose ONE other module from any panel on the timetable (Medieval, Early Modern OR Modern). Otherwise, choose ONE module from EACH panel (Medieval, Early Modern AND Modern).

Welcome back!

Dear second-year students,

We are delighted that you have chosen history as one of your degree subjects, and we look forward to working with you and following our collective path of discovery.

One of the many benefits of studying history is that it makes us realise how much our experience is bounded by the period in which we live. We have frequently heard the last number of months being described as ‘unprecedented’. Events have indeed been unprecedented for us, for this generation of students and also for this generation of teachers. But they are far from being unprecedented for humanity. Until very recently, epidemic disease was a constant of the human condition. One of the modules on this year’s second-year curriculum focusses precisely on the role of epidemic disease in Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Historically, epidemics in Europe have been met with techniques that are much the same as some of those that we are using today, such as restrictions on movement and sociability. Unfortunately for us, this has very direct implications for university teaching, which has always emphasised face-to-face contact and group discussions. For the first semester at least of the academic year 2021-22, we need to restrict our interactions and observe some very strict protocols around teaching. The situation will be re-evaluated for Semester 2, in the light of the public health advice available and the instructions of the university. You will be notified of any changes clearly and in good time.

You have two kinds of modules this semester, lecture modules and colloquium modules, as outlined in the second-year handbook. In the lecture modules, the lectures will be taking place on campus, and the associated tutorials will also be taking place on campus. In the colloquium modules, which half of you will be taking in Semester 1, and the other half in Semester 2, both the lecture component and the tutorial component will take place on campus.

All lecturers will have some hours set by every week for consultation with students. You will need to make an appointment with the lecturer to meet them during their Office Hours

You will find further details and course descriptions in the second-year handbook (linked above).

Head of Second Year History

Dr Caitriona Clear |

Final Year BA (Joint Honours)

Welcome to Final Year History

The information here is for students following the BA (Joint Honours), taking History and one other subject.  If you are following the BA (History )(Single Honours) degree, visit this page.


A Chairde, Fáilte Romhaibh go léir ar ais! It is really great to have you back. We believe that face-to-face teaching is best and are doing everything we can to do so as much as possible. The details are to be found in the final year handbook which can be found above. The timetable is available for semester one and two. Finally I ask on my own behalf and that of my colleagues for your forebearance. If I don't have the answer to your question, I promise I will follow up with further enquiries. 
We recognize the importance of being accessible. Office hours will be communicated  to you by individual lecturers. The way it will work is that you e-mail the lecturer to arrange for a time slot on ' Microsoft Teams', preferably or some other platform if necessary.
Module selection: Semester 1
  • Seminar (10 ECTS)
  • Lecture Module (5 ECTS)
 Module selection: Semester 2
  • Seminar (10 ECTS)
  • Lecture Module (5 ETCS)

Seminars and Lecture Modules - What's the difference?


  • Seminars are 10 ECTS
  • Small groups with an emphasis on participation, class presentation, research and academic writing
  • Compulsory attendance
  • Assessment based on Participation (10%), Presentation (20%), and continuous assessment (70%)

Lecture Modules

  • Lecture Modules are 5 ECTS
  • medium to large size classes taught through 2 one-hour lectures per week by lecturer with additional tutorials (usually 5) over the semester
  • Assessment normally based on assignments or a mid-term essay, and written 2 hour exam.


 Head of Third Year History

Dr. Pádraig Lenihan, Room 312, Tower 1, Floor 1.