Not available in 2020/21
Thinking Like A Historian

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Taylor C. Sherman SAR M.10



This course is compulsory on the BA in History and BSc in International Relations and History. This course is available on the BSc in Politics and History. This course is not available as an outside option. This course is available with permission to General Course students.

This course is optional for General Course students whose home department is International History. This course is optional for first year BSc Government and History students. Students for whom the course is optional must commit to the course when they choose it.

Course content

This course offers hands-on tutorials in the skills required to get the most out of classes and write essays for History courses. Students are taken through each of the skills required: reading well and taking good notes; asking good questions of sources, classmates and teachers; turning notes into essays; developing persuasive arguments in essays and presentations; identifying and using historiography; writing well; revision and improvement. A training session on presentation skills is also included.



7 hours and 30 minutes of workshops in the MT.

1.5 hour workshop each week in weeks 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7 of the Michaelmas Term only. 

Formative coursework

Formative work for this course involves step-by-step drafting of an essay for HY113 or HY116.

Indicative reading

Ludmila Jordanova, History in Practice (2nd edn., 2016).

Mary Abbott, History Skills (2nd edn, 2008).

Black and MacRaild, Studying History (3rd edn. 2007).


There is no summative assessment for this course.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: International History

Total students 2019/20: 76

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Capped 2019/20: No

Value: Non-credit bearing

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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