Module Catalogue 2016/17

HIS2124 : A History of Contemporary Britain

  • Offered for Year: 2016/17
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Martin Farr
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



Rather than offering a conventional narrative or survey, this module will analyse the historical background and context of the contemporary United Kingdom. It will also offer some insights into the distinctive methodologies of contemporary history.

This module aims:
•To impart a thorough understanding of the course and themes of contemporary British history (in the main, the post-1945 period).
•To provide an opportunity to acquire a sound general knowledge of the subject, reading widely and critically in the primary and secondary literature associated with it and to develop the capacity for independent study.

Outline Of Syllabus

A combination of a chronological survey and thematic analysis. Such themes will include politics, society, the economy, culture, and the nations.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

The module is envisaged as providing students with an understanding of modern Britain that will inform subsequent historical study. They will have learnt to synthesise contesting interpretations of events and to offer their own interpretation of the course of British history in the period stated. Students will be expected to consult sources beyond those offered by the module leader and to be eclectic in their reading and their expression.

Intended Skill Outcomes

The module will test students’ abilities to listen and read, to acquire and collate information, to manage their time, and to communicate clearly and confidently both on paper and orally. Development of capacity for independent study and critical judgement and of the ability to respond promptly, cogently and clearly to new and unexpected questions arising from this study.

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Assessed
    • Active Learning : Present
    • Literacy : Assessed
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Assessed
      • Synthesise And Present Materials : Assessed
  • Self Management
    • Self Awareness And Reflection : Present
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Goal Setting And Action Planning : Assessed
      • Decision Making : Present
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Innovation And Creativity : Assessed
      • Initiative : Assessed
      • Independence : Present
      • Problem Solving : Assessed
      • Adaptability : Present
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Oral : Present
      • Interpersonal : Present
      • Written Other : Assessed
    • Team Working
      • Collaboration : Present
      • Relationship Building : Present
      • Negotiation : Present

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion631:0063:0040% of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading631:0063:0040% of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00Film Screening
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study321:0032:0020% of guided independent study
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures impart core knowledge and an outline of knowledge that students are expected to acquire and they stimulate development of listening and note-taking skills. They explain historical concepts and set out historical debates and problems. They introduce a range of source material and set out and help to evaluate its historical context and worth. Seminars encourage independent study and promote improvements in oral communication, problem-solving skills, and adaptability.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M803000 word extended research essay
Written exercise1M201,000 word document analysis
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Work submitted during the delivery of the module forms a means of determining student progress. Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing thus preparing students for stage three research modules.

All Erasmus students at Newcastle University are expected to do the same assessment as students registered for a degree unless they have compelling reasons not to do so. If this is the case, they are offered the alternative of writing one 3,000 word essay to be handed in by 12.00 p.m. of the Friday of the first week of the assessment period. This will replace all assessment work required of other students on the module. In order to take up this option, students need to discuss it with the Study Abroad Co-ordinator and their module leader, having checked with their home university that the new assessment will be accepted by them. The Study Abroad Co-ordinator will have the final say on such issues.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. This will require the provision of an alternative assessment before the end of teaching week 12. The alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be two 1,500 word essays in addition to the other coursework assessment. The essays should be set so as to assure full coverage of the course content.

Study-abroad, exchange proper and Loyola students spending the whole academic year or semester 2 are required to complete the standard assessment as set out in the MOF under all circumstances.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2016/17 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2017/18 entry will be published here in early-April 2017. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.