Virtual Module Fair: History Modules in Review
I think that I can easily say that my favourite part of university has been my course! My love for history is what motivated me to continue my studies beyond school and Warwick has not disappointed. A lot of my enjoyment has obviously come down to my module choices and, this time last year, I was attending a module fair to help choose my second-year options. Since these cannot go ahead this year I thought it would be helpful for me to share some of the pros and cons of the modules I have taken over the past two years so as to help you make more informed choices!
A History of the United States (30 CATS)
To be honest, I adored this module so it’s been tricky coming up with any cons, but I’ve drawn on the module feedback from my peers to help with this. This module is what really got me passionate about US history .
As a first year module, A History of the United States provides a really broad coverage of US history which means that there is something for everyone, whether you love social, political, cultural, or military history! I found the lectures and seminars really engaging and the assessments felt relatively straight-forward, making this a good module to help make the step up from A-Level to university. Finally, all of the lecturers were clearly really passionate about their subject and research, making it difficult not to get excited too!
I’m aware that some students would have preferred this module to cover fewer topics but with more depth. Also, in a way the diversity of the module means that the odd week may not interest you as much.
Mind, Body, and Society (30 CATS)
The history of medicine was something I had been interested in for a while, since I saw the Year 11’s studying it while I was doing my A-Levels (I was very jealous)! Unsurprisingly, I jumped at the chance to take this module.
The content of this module was really fascinating and something completely new for me, which made it exciting! I remember enjoying the seminars in particular because they were structured really well. Each week we would work in smaller groups to analyse a primary source, which I found really helped my confidence in seminars and meant I had a good understanding of primary sources in preparation for my essays.
As with A History of the United States, some weeks weren’t as interesting as others, but that is to be expected for a module spanning at least twenty-eight weeks. I also found that I struggled more with assessments for this module, though that was largely my problem not the module’s. I think the scientific aspects tripped me up a bit.
This year I’ve taken a lot of 15 CAT modules, lasting a single term. This has been great because I got to explore a greater range of topics, I’ve only got one exam (much to the frustration of my STEM friends) and a lot of the assessments were really interesting to do! I did have a big problem with clashing deadlines, however this seems to have been remedied by the department as there’s now a handy ‘Deadline Map’ to help you avoid such clashes! Without further ado, let’s have a look at my second year modules!
Mapping England’s Atlantic Empire (15 CATS)
I was so excited for this module! I was utterly fascinated by using maps as primary sources to look at England’s colonial past.
This module is really unique, both in content and assessment. I actually enjoyed the assessments, which consisted of two 300 word map labels, and a 2000 word blog post! The lectures were really engaging, the lecturer’s passion for the subject was abundantly clear which was great. This module includes a field trip, too, which was great fun. Replacing the two contact hours for the week, you will visit a map library in Warwick and get to put your map analysis skills to the test outside of the seminar room!
The assessment for seminar participation in this module is based on a presentation. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I didn’t have to do mine, but it’s worth bearing in mind if you’re not much of a presentation fan. If I was pressed to think of another downside to this module I suppose the seminars could get quite repetitive, but if you love maps (which I do, especially now) you’ll be fine!
War, Sex & Gender in the United States: from Civil War to WWII (15 CATS)
This module was a fantastic blend of US history, social and military history and I loved it! My only regret is not taking its sister module in term two…
This module was based directly of current research that the lecturer was carrying out and you could really sense her passion for what she was teaching! She was also really friendly and encouraging, which made the seminars genuinely enjoyable and I looked forward to them every week! Each week had us looking at a different primary source, which really helped build confidence for the assessments and other modules. This focus on primary sources was especially good as I did a study guide for my first assessment, which was really engaging and different from your standard essays (all the 15 CAT modules I did had this in common).
I personally struggled with the longer assessment, a 3000 word essay. I think this came down to having to write my own question. There’s plenty of support available to you, but this is something I have always struggled with, and still do, so is worth bearing in mind.
Caravans and Traders: Global Connections, 1200-1500
This was a bit of a rogue choice for me and unfortunately I only got to study half of this module as a result of the strikes, but here’s my review all the same.
This module focused on a region and era in history that was completely new for me which was exciting! I found the lectures to be very engaging and enjoyed writing the book review for the first, shorter assessment.
I didn’t find the seminars particularly useful, they did nothing to enhance my experience and understanding unfortunately. While the newness of this module was exciting to me, it could also be somewhat jarring which is something to take note of if you haven’t studied this part of history before.
A History of Modern Mexico (30 CATS)
To be honest, I first got interested in this module because of the lecturer. The lectures he gave in my first year core modules were so fun and engaging that I had to take this module in my second year! It also seemed like it would be something familiar but different enough to still be interesting, considering my love of US history.
As I said, this lecturer really sold this module to me, and he did not disappoint! Both the lectures and the seminars were really engaging, regardless of the topics. I found that the reading was really focused and, for the most part, interesting. I particularly enjoyed being set entire books to read to give a better impression of what real historians do and prepare for my final year!
As a 30 CAT module the assessments were pretty dry in comparison the other modules I did this year since they were your standard type of essay. There’s some hefty economic history content, which I struggled with, but that’s my fault not the module’s, but I feel that a warning is necessary, just in case economics are the bane of your life too! I also struggled with my seminar group in particular as there were some strong characters and I really had to stand my ground to get my voice heard, which was quite stressful considering the oral participation assessment.
I hope that these little reviews of my modules have been useful to you! In all honesty, I enjoyed all of them, even if to varying degrees! There’s something at Warwick for everyone and I hope you enjoy whichever modules you choose!