The common conception of any History course is that it will be solely based on your ability to read large amounts of text, and to write reams of your own historical studies. Don’t be fooled; there is a lot of reading and writing to do. However what stood out to me on the Derby University History course was the different types of assessments you do across the 3 years. From making informative yet concise posters, to visiting and making critical evaluations of history museums (including the recently modified Victoria and Albert Museum), to, and this is exclusive to Derby University, hosting and presenting your very own Public History Conference. As is expected of a history course, lengthy essays are in abundance, but the wide variety of other activities critical to your degree is a huge benefit, and help break the flow of essays.
Of course this is just the assessment, the ‘nitty gritty’ of the history course. The lecturers are some of the friendliest and most welcoming people you will meet in your time at university, always available to help you through your times of need! They make you feel immediately comfortable in the new university setting, and spur you to do your absolute best across the entire degree. Collectively they cover a very wide field of expertise, from Russian and Eastern European affairs, to any issue you can find in the First World War period, even to family and land based history in Britain!
Another misconception of a history degree is that there are only two things you can do with it; become a teacher, or become an archivist. Again, this is wrong! The history degree at Derby teaches you such a wide range of skills and abilities, meaning that there really is no limit to what you can do once you have completed your studies. Examples just from my year group include journalism, financial work, civil service, museum and gallery work, and even people who have no idea what they want to do! The fantastic thing about the History course at Derby is that the skills you learn are so widely applicable and highly valued that you really can decide your own future here.
The last thing I find highly enjoyable on the history course was the general atmosphere within the subject. We are here to learn, and this is evident across the various lectures and seminars we have. However learning doesn’t always have to be boring and monotonous, and this is just the case within the History Department. Whether you are in a lecture, a meeting, or even down at the pub with the lecturers and your course-mates, you can always have fun. The vibe is very relaxed and open, and anything can be discussed. Though the lecturers are there to help you through the course, they willingly offer a much more personal role than this, helping you out with almost anything you can ask them, or even just having breakfast with them!