Studying History

Please note: the information below applies only to students who are commencing in 2014.
Information for students who commenced prior to 2014 should refer to the major requirements in the Faculty Handbook from the year in which you commenced – links to previous handbooks are available here.

About the Major

History is the study of the past and its interpretation in the present. Historians make sense of the past by analysing evidence from written, oral, visual, digital and material sources in light of historical context. Using a range of approaches, they examine past events, processes and relationships, interpreting their origins, significance and consequences.

In a major in history you can study different periods, places and cultures, from the Medieval through to the present-day, from Australia and China to the United States and Europe.

You begin with junior units that survey broad periods and regions and a variety of different approaches, and develop skills of historical analysis and evidence-based argument. In your second and third years you take senior-intermediate units focused on the histories of particular nations or themes explored in a variety of different times and places, and expand your research skills and ability to employ historical methods. You complete the major with a senior-advanced unit involving an independently framed and researched project centred on primary sources, history outside the classroom or historiography.

When you have completed your major in History you will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of more than one period, place or culture of the past.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the variety of approaches to interpreting the past, such as political, economic, social, cultural, intellectual, biographical, transnational, ethnographic and gender history.
  3. Identify and interpret written, oral, visual, digital and material primary sources and secondary materials such as monographs, scholarly articles, websites and documentaries.
  4. Examine historical issues by undertaking research that begins with a problem, establishes its historical context, and uses methodologies chosen from a range of disciplines to solve that problem.
  5. Analyse historical evidence, scholarship and changing representations of the past, using the skills of sifting through information to weigh its significance and close reading of various texts.
  6. Construct an evidence-based argument or narrative in audio, digital, oral, visual or written form.

Pathway through the major

A major in History requires 36 senior credit points, including at least 24 credit points of core units of study of which 6 credit points must be taken at 3000 level. History units of study that are on offer in 2014 can be found here http://sydney.edu.au/handbooks/arts/units_of_study/tablea/history.shtml

A complete list of units of study available to the History major can be found here. Please note that this list is for information purposes only and not all units of study will be on offer each year.

Junior units of study (1000 level)

Junior units of study survey a broad period and region and a variety of different approaches. You can choose from three different units of study in the first semester and four in the second, according to your interests. To progress to senior-intermediate (2000 level) units of study you complete any 12 junior credit points in History or Ancient History.

Each junior unit in History involves two hours of lectures and one hour of tutorials each week, and 4500 words of assessment including a source analysis, outline and final essay answering a set question, and an exam that examines the breadth of your knowledge, as well as your participation in tutorials.

Senior-intermediate units of study (2000 level)

You must complete two junior units before you can do a 2000 level unit. You have a choice of approximately 8-10 units each semester, focused on the histories of particular nations or themes explored in a variety of different times and places.

Each senior intermediate unit (2000 level) involves two hours of lectures and one hour of tutorials each week, and 4500 words of assessment, including a bibliography, outline and a final essay, an exam or journal, and participation in tutorials.

Senior-advanced units of study (3000 level)

You must complete four 2000 level units before you can do a 3000 level unit. You have a choice of three units: the Primary Source Research Project; History Beyond the Classroom; and the Historiography Research Project – each focused on an independently framed project .

Each senior unit involves a one-hour lecture and one-hour tutorial each week, and 6000 words of assessment, involving a proposal, bibliography, outline, drafts and a final 4000-word project.

Sample degree plan including a major in History
Sample Pathway: History Major
First Year S1 Junior HSTY unit
- choice of 3
Junior unit Junior unit Junior unit
S2 Junior HSTY unit
- choice of 4
Junior unit Junior unit Junior unit
Second Year  S1 Senior-intermediate (2000 level)
HSTY unit
- choice of 8
Senior intermediate (2000 level)
History unit
- Choice of 8
Senior unit Senior unit
S2 Senior-intermediate (2000 level)
HSTY unit
- choice of 8
Senior intermediate (2000 level)
History unit
- Choice of 8
Senior unit Senior unit
Third Year
 
S1 Senior (2000 or 3000 level)
HSTY unit
Senior unit Senior unit Senior unit
S2

Senior-advanced (3000 level)
HSTY Unit
- Choice of 3

 Senior unit Senior unit Senior unit
Choosing your Senior units of study

A guide to choosing senior units of study can be found here