(Original post by JordE)
Just to add a little to the above post, I have just finished my second year of V191 Modern and Contemporary History, but for all intents and purposes the current situation basically means that no matter which history course you choose (Apart from Welsh History) you will basically be doing the same regardless. For instance, a friend of mine also on V191 was unable to apply for some of the modern history modules he chose to do for third year because they were full, yet I know people studying Medieval and Early Modern history who got into these modules.
In regards to first year. You quite literally have nothing to worry about. For starters, the workload is essentially non existant. At some points I was doing less than 6 hours a week of lectures with maybe one seminar alongside them. Really there is nothing to worry about at all. When it comes to essays my advice is to put some real effort into them, use the library and learn how to access historical journals online, but you only need to reach the golden 40% to get into second year and your grades don't count towards your degree. To put it into perspective, I don't know anyone who failed first year, including people I know who didn't visit the library the entire second semester.
Second year I found things became a little more tricky. You do an awful module called Historians and the Writing of History
which lasts the entire year and culminates in a 3 day takeaway exam (3 essays, 3 days). You will also do an option module and a skills module in the first semester. The option module can be chosen from an extensive list and assessment for this will be 2 x 2,500 word essays and a 3 hour exam (3 hours, pick 3 questions from a list of arouns 12-14 questions). Each year there is a choice of two skills modules, and the assessment for that is 1 x 2,500 word essay and a 2 hour exam. Second semester you do another option module and a survey module (I think thats what its called, I honestly don't remember), the option module is obviously the same layout as the previous. The survey module is very different to anything you will have done so far. You pick again from an extensive list, but they only allow 10-15 people onto each one and it is just a single two hour lecture/seminar every week which sort of reminded me of being at college, where you learn and discuss along the way. Anyway for that you will do 2 x 1,500 word essays and you will then have to pick a project for which you will write 5,000 words. I know some of the survey modules, instead of doing 2 x 1,500 word essays, do a single 1,500 essay and some sort of assessed oral presentation.
The department itself is very good, in my opinion of course. The lecturers I have had have all been very good and most succeed in making their subjects interesting to learn about which is an added bonus. The administration staff are also very helpful.
Long story short. Good department. You will spend far less time in lectures than most other people you will meet from other courses (This will make them extremely jealous). First year workload is **** all, to put it bluntly. And second year doesn't get much harder, but you might find yourself wanting to put more effort into essays and revision and thus stressing a bit more, especially since the grades count.
Some advice would be to look up potential modules on the website in prearation for picking them, although they are liable to change. But even if you don't pick until you are sat infront of the person asking you for your choices you will most likely enjoy it. Some of my favourite modules have been ones I picked on a whim or ended up on because other modules were cancelled etc.
Anyway, good luck. That was one massive wall of text...