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Students are assessed by a two hour exam (50%) and a 4,500 word essay (50%). Students are also required to submit three 1,500-2,000 word non-assessed essays and attend a revision class in the summer term. Although the short essays are non-assessed, they are required for completion of the module.

Essay Deadlines and Submissions:

Please make a careful note of the essay deadlines.

  • Short Essay 1: 5pm Friday, Term 1, Week 7
  • Short Essay 2: 5pm Friday, Term 2, Week 3
  • Short Essay 3: 5pm Friday, Term 2 Week 8
  • Long assessed essay: please refer to History department website for the deadline and submission details here.

Late/non submission of essays will be penalized. If you think you are in danger of missing a deadline and you have good reason for doing so then you must seek permission for an extension. In the case of short essays speak to me, the module tutor. Extensions for long essays can only be granted by the director of undergraduate studies: if you are seeking such an extension ask the Undergraduate Secretary for an essay extension form.

Where an extension has not been granted, assessed essays handed in late will be subject to a penalty of 5% per working day.

A mark of zero will be recorded for the non-submission of any long or short assessed essay. The average for the overall assessment mark will in such cases be calculated over the total number of essays required, not of the number which count towards assessment.

For coversheets and further details on essay submission, see

General Essay Guidelines

  1. Short Essays are 1,500-2,000 words excluding footnotes.
  2. The Long Essay is 4,500 words excluding footnotes.
  3. Papers should be word-processed and double-spaced. Please include a word count at the end of your paper.
  4. Be sure to cite all references. Whether you are paraphrasing, using direct quotes, or borrowing ideas, you must note the source.
  5. Make a separate bibliography page at the end of your essay. For the short essays, you should consult at least six sources of at least chapter or article length. For the long essay, you should consult at least 10 sources of at least chapter or article length.
  6. For more tips on essay writing, please refer to the Undergraduate Handbook. For advice on style and footnoting, please see Appendix II of the Handbook.


Note that significant overlaps in content between different pieces of assessed work (e.g. essay topics, exam answers, or overlaps between assessed essay topics and exam answers) will be penalized.


Guidelines for the long essay

  1. You are expected to choose your own topic and forumulate your question. You're very welcome to discuss your ideas with me, in person or via email. You need to have your question agreed by me by the end of the Spring Term.
  2. If possible, try to include a couple of primary sources in your long essay. The reading lists for most weeks have a section on primary sources. The Modern Records Centre at Warwick is an excellent resource for certain twentieth century topics and well-worth considering.
  3. You will need to read much more widely for the long essay than for the short essay. Read at least 10 items (books, book chapters and journal articles) and preferably 13-14.
  4. Clear argument and structure are essential for extended pieces of work. Think carefully about what you want to argue and how you will do so before you start writing and leave yourself time to edit your work to ensure that your argument is clear and coherent.
  5. Good luck!



Candidates are allowed two hours and must answer TWO questions. Answers should NOT include any significant amount of material already presented in ANY assessed essays.  

  1. How successfully did the Second Empire modernize the French environment?
  2. Did peasants become Frenchmen between 1870 and 1914, as Eugen Weber suggests,?
  3. Was there a crisis in gender relations in fin-de-siècle France? If so, why?
  4. Was the period 1870-71 a turning point in French social history?
  5. Why did the Dreyfus Affair prove so divisive?
  6. How divided were the French during World War I?
  7. Why did the Vichy regime seek collaboration?
  8. To what extent was Liberation in 1944 a break from the past?
  9. “May ’68 succeeded as a cultural revolution but failed as a political one.” Discuss.
  10. How useful is Rousso’s concept of the Vichy Syndrome?