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History at St Mary’s represents an excellent route for the development of critical analysis and high order thinking skills, so prized in today’s rapidly changing world.

Students begin with an examination of US history across the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries involving a range of exciting interactive resources. In the second year, they take a synoptic course on what the famous historian, Eric Hobsbawm, called the short twentieth century on continental Europe, with a focus on political and historical concepts. The course continues student development in historical skills of assessing reliability and utility of source material, as well as analytical writing.

In the third year, all students take a pair of modules on British and Irish history across the long nineteenth century and into the revolutionary period in Ireland, taught by an expert on the revisionist debate in Irish history. Students also pursue a research-based local study where they triangulate online archival evidence from the excellent Irish Military Archive website, 1911 online census and contemporary newspaper reports to produce a short report on their local IRA battalion during the Irish War of Independence.

Students are also offered an optional model on the Troubles, which encompasses the period from the Civil Rights movement to the Good Friday Agreement. Not only do students gain a more nuanced understanding of their own past, but this course integrates excellent sources of oral and documentary history with the students’ previously developed competencies in primary and secondary source material.

History student in classroom

Students take the equivalent of six modules per year. Modules in Human Development Studies and International Studies are core modules taken by all Liberal Arts students. Students also take modules in their chosen subject area.

Year 1

The Year 1 core modules introduce the student to the key areas of Human Development Studies and International Studies. They make use of a range of disciplinary approaches to address foundational questions:

What are we and how have we come to this human condition we experience today?
How can we think about human living and working in contemporary society and employment?
What are the various concepts that shape our understanding of our place in the world?
How are we to live in the many contexts which ‘Europe’ represents?


Students are offered the opportunity to enhance key skills in communication and study for both academic and professional life, and to explore the various environments for future employment.

Year 2

The Year 2 modules continue to explore Human Development by focusing on issues of Global Justice, with the aim of enhancing the students’ civic awareness and commitment to ethical practice. In International Studies, students make use of a range of disciplines to explore the rich cultural heritage and current diversity which characterises the European experiences. They also become more knowledgeable and proficient in the political and economic development of contemporary Europe.

Students are offered further opportunity to expand their key skills for both academic and professional life. They undertake a short work placement of six weeks in the second semester. The aim of such a placement is twofold: to enable the student to develop in practice the skills, attributes and values for professional life, and to develop the self-reflective skills that mark the ‘reflective practitioner’ who is able to self-evaluate and critically review the work context.

Year 3

All students take a core module of 40 credits (Liberal Arts: Work related learning) that continues their exploration of key themes of Human Development Studies, and includes a final year work placement of six weeks in the second semester. The module explores topical issues from both an ethical and a professional dimension in lectures while the placement allows students opportunity to engage with such issues in the workplace setting. During the six-week placement, the student continues to extend skills development as in the second year.

Students are able to choose modules amounting to 40 credits from a range of offerings in Human Development Studies, International Studies and their subject area. They also continue advanced studies in their subject area with modules worth a further 40 credits


Topics covered in History include:

a study of the main political, social, economic and culture developments in the United States from 1919 to 1969


Topics covered in History include:

a study of the main political, social, economic and culture developments across Europe from 1914 to 1989


Topics covered in History include:

a study of the main political, social, economic and culture developments in Britain and Ireland from 1845 to 1939
a study of the Northern Ireland Troubles (1964- 1998)

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