Theories and Evidence in Economic History

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Patrick Wallis and Dr Eric Schneider SAR.5.18


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Economic History, BSc in Economic History and Geography, BSc in Economic History with Economics, BSc in Economics and Economic History and BSc in Economics with Economic History. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

Course content

The course examines theories and concepts used in economic history, and provides an introduction to the methods used by economic historians to collect evidence and generate inference on relevant historical questions. The course will begin with an examination the development of history as a subject and discipline. Consideration will be given to the assumptions made in economics and their principal applications in economic history. The course will also introduce students to essential methods for the design and execution of a research project. Students will be introduced to the analysis of historical arguments and the critical interpretation of primary and secondary sources. The course will also provide students with the basic quantitative skills required to pursue an independent research project, and to engage critically with current scholarship in economic history.

The course will include a non-assessed component that serves to prepare students for their final year dissertation, covering the formulation of the thesis question, primary and secondary sources, analysis of evidence, and structuring and writing up the thesis.

Students are expected to submit a preliminary title for their final year dissertation before the end of ST and get this approved by their supervisors.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures, 14 hours of seminars, 5 hours of classes and 10 hours of workshops in the LT. 1 hour of classes in the ST.

There is reading week in Week 6 of MT and LT.

Formative coursework

Students are expected to write three essays and complete a group qualitative research project.

Indicative reading

J Tosh, The Pursuit of History (2002), L Jordanovea, History in Practice (2000), CH Feinstein and M Thomas, Making History Count (2002), and P Hudson, History by Numbers (2000)


Exam (60%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.
Project (30%, 3000 words) in the LT.
Research proposal (10%) in the MT.

Teachers' comment

Survey questions on feedback to students may be non-informative because assessed work comes later in the term than the survey.

Key facts

Department: Economic History

Total students 2017/18: 71

Average class size 2017/18: 18

Capped 2017/18: No

Lecture capture used 2017/18: Yes (MT & LT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills