Becoming an Historian HIST4280

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

Becoming an Historian is a compulsory Semester 1 Junior Honours class for Single Honours History, Joint Honours Honours History and Scottish History students. It introduces key elements of historical theory as used by academic historians. It provides a series of interactive lectures involving case studies of theory and historical problems.


■ 10x1hr lectures.

■ 6x1hr seminars

■ 4x1hr recorded material

■ Fridays 3-5.

■ Course to run over 10 weeks.

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into History, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who qualify under the University's 25% regulation.

Excluded Courses





 Seen Exam (2 hour duration) - 70%


Student journal; a self-reflective diary or journal consisting of four entries of c.500 words each (total 2,000 words). The entries should be based on 4 of the lecture topics/themes (students choice) and will be submitted as one piece of work- 30%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Introduce students to core theories and their application in the History discipline, broadly defined.

■ Allow students to learn how theory is applied to specific topics of History learning and research;

■ Give students knowledge of the debates between historians over conflicting theories and of how historical research is designed and influenced by theoretical considerations;

■ Encourage students to grapple with the interaction between theory and method in historical research,

■ Develop student appreciation of the nature of integrity in historical scholarship.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Recognise main strands of historical theory as used in and influencing the History profession today;

■ Evaluate key features of historical theories, their strengths and weaknesses and their application in practice.

■ Identify the lines of debate between proponents of key theories;

■ Assess the utility and application of theory in the discipline of History;

■ Relate historical theory to specific research fields within the discipline;


Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.