Skip to main content Skip to navigation


For assessment deadlines, see the Undergraduate Handbook.

  • Seminar contribution (10%)
  • 1500 word essay (40%)
  • 3000 word essay (50%)

For details of the submission of assessed work, click here.

NB Each assessed element will be marked according to the standard assessment criteria. Students should ensure that they follow the MHRA style guide carefully, especially for the presentation of the footnotes and the bibliography.

Seminar contribution

You will be marked above all for the quality of your contributions in discussions, both in the face-to-face seminars and online; I will also take the frequency of your contributions into account. I will provide you with feedback on your participation (though not marks) after reading week.

1500 word essay

Reporting a Historical Event

For this option, you need to put yourself into the shoes of a reporter in Europe writing for a newspaper somewhere outside of Europe. You report about some "big" event that has just happened: the election of Hindenburg in 1925, the impact of the Great Depression in Germany, the strikes in France in the summer of 1936, the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. It might also be a "smaller" event, like the endemic political violence in late Weimar Germany. I would strongly recommend writing about an event we cover in the first half of the module. Report about the event, and contextualize it -- but, of course, without the hindsight of knowing what happened afterwards. How do you explain to your readers the event? What are the causes (e.g., for an unexpected election result), what are potential consequences? Is this an indication of a larger trend, or perhaps the beginning of something new? Is this a dangerous development, or perhaps a cause for hope?

You will need to properly footnote the essay to indicate where you draw your information (description of events, larger contexts) from. When writing, however, keep in mind that this is a newspaper article (and not a historiographical discussion!), and that you do not know what will happen in the future. Begin your article by giving the place and time (e.g., Weimar, 14 August 1919, proclamation of the new German constitution).

Please email me with regards to the choice of event by the end of week 3 (pending confirmation of deadlines via tabula).

3000 word essay

This is a more traditional history essay. You will need to develop your own question for this essay, based on the topics covered in the module. Please email me the question by the end of week 7 for approval. While this is a deadline, I would very strongly encourage you to come and discuss the question, the sooner the better. (I might note that in the past, students who approached me early to discuss their plans for essays have often written the best essays.) Your essay should engage with a question you find intellectually challenging and interesting, as you will need to read more widely, beyond the assigned readings for the module. The essay question needs to be focused and original. Please avoid writing about overly general topics (e.g., Why did Hitler come to power?), unless you have something really original to say. The more focused you are, the more original you can often be. However, ensure that you can relate your question to "bigger" issues: for example, how does an understanding of a "crisis of masculinity" in the wake of World War One help us understand the rise of Italian Fascism.

Some key points to keep in mind when writing the essay:

  • Make sure you have a strong and clearly stated argument.
  • Place your argument into a historiographical context; that is, discuss historiography with regards to the argument you want to make.
  • Make sure your argument is supported by empirical evidence; that is, link the evidence you present to the argument you want to make. What does the evidence your present actually show?
  • Make sure the essay is well written: correct grammar and spelling; avoid lengthy sentences and paragraphs (rule of thumb: any paragraph with more than 300 words is likely to be too long; ideal would be less, roughly 250 words); avoid passive voice constructions - have strong verbs instead.
  • And use clear topic sentences that tell your readers what a paragraph is about and what argument it makes. Make sure the paragraph is then actually about what the topic sentence says (google the concept "topic sentence", if you want to know more). That is a way to create coherence when you write!
Feedback on assessment
  • written feedback on essay and exam cover sheets
  • student/tutor dialogues in one-to-one tutorials