Ethan Harding in Brynmor Jones Library

Department of History

Illuminating the past. Engaging the present. Shaping the future.

History has never been more relevant to understanding the challenges of the present day. At Hull, our world-leading research places contemporary issues such as human rights and the environment in their deep historical perspective.

As a student, you'll work closely with us as we explore a programme that is global and diverse. Our focus on employability also means that you’ll gain the skills you need for the workplace while studying a subject you love.

Through our research, teaching and outreach, we study the past in order to build a brighter future.

Head of department

jenny macleod

Dr Jenny Macleod


Hull History Centre

Steeped in history

Our students benefit from access to specialist historical resources, including Hull History Centre, which contains archives documenting Hull ranging from 1086 all the way through to our year as UK City of Culture in 2017.

Our community

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Hull History Network

The Hull History Network was founded in 2019 to provide a plethora of in-study vocational opportunities that complement our student's degree journey. Students have had the opportunity to work with the Hull: Yorkshire Maritime City Project, the Blaydes Maritime Centre, Hull Museums and Galleries, the Treatied Spaces project and the Department of History. Other members of the network have embraced opportunities to do paid teaching work, volunteer with dementia charity reminiscence therapy, conduct exhibition research, act as tour guides to cultural sites and get involved with the delivery of world class cultural events like the Freedom Festival.

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Showcasing Queer voices from the past

Students from the department had an exciting opportunity to help curate content for the Pride in our City exhibition by the Humber Museums Partnership. Their research showcased how Hull is an inclusive space for everyone and drew upon art history modules at the University of Hull. They wrote about the queer identities of art held at the Ferens Art Gallery and this partnership was showcased at a national heritage conference on Queer Voices in Museums featuring the Tate, National Maritime Museum, Queer Britain and our friends at Hull Museums and Art Gallery. Such activity complements our work to embed queer histories and historians throughout our curriculum.

Inspiring Olympians

Watch: our research empowers all communities and embraces the individual identities that make us who we are. During the last two years, History staff and students have been working with Team GB to explore the racial, cultural and religious diversity that have underpinned Olympic success since 1896. This short film produced by Team GB features research by our colleagues Dr Jenny Macleod and Dr Catherine Baker, and students Lewis Carter and Grace Hawkins.

Open lightbox

Research that makes an impact

Our online lectures, regular podcasts, and appearances in the media ensure our work has an impact around the world. Recently Professor Joy Porter from the Treatied Spaces Research Cluster delivered a keynote lecture 'Who Fights for Canada as the Climate Changes?' at the British Library. Meanwhile, webinars by our historians at the Wilberforce Institute on critical issues including the legacy of slavery, human rights and 2020 Black Lives Matter debates have been attended by people from over 50 countries.

Inspiring postgraduates

Our talented pool of graduate students is at the intellectual heart of our research culture. Their research, which covers topics from ancient Rome to contemporary race relations, has the power to reshape how we engage with the past. Research by Victoria Taylor is reframing our understanding of the Luftwaffe during the Second World War and through her appearance on the History Hit, is inspiring audiences to explore the military past. Former PhD student Dr Ryan Hanley won the 2019 Royal Historical Society Whitfield Prize for his monograph, meanwhile fellow alumnus Dr Michael Reeve won the 2020 Gordon Fraser Essay Prize for a peer-reviewed article in Northern History that drew upon doctoral research at our Blaydes Maritime Centre and collections held at the Hull History Centre.

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Undergraduate multimedia stories

The creativity of our student community is at the core of their success. While we are keen to encourage our students to embrace new ways of learning, we often learn as much from them. Dane Mellows became something of a social media star in the summer of 2020, sharing his digital literacy with his passion for our fantastic campus in a fun way that brought us all some much-needed cheer. Meanwhile, recent Graduate Intern Rebecca Kelly produced #RebeccasGuide, three short films that shared her top tips for bolstering your CV alongside studying for a degree in History. Her advice included making greater use of our wonderful careers service.

Excellent student satisfaction

Providing students with a quality learning experience is central to our teaching. We were thrilled that our final year students were so satisfied overall with the quality of their course that they placed the History department at Hull in the top 20 in England for overall student satisfaction.* We were keen to ensure that even amidst the pandemic lockdown our students could keep studying, supported by our excellent library resources. In this academic year, we’re keeping the best of what we learned about enhanced digital provision whilst we return to face-to-face lectures and workshops on campus.

*National Student Survey (NSS) 2021, HEIs only

Building upon Medieval foundations

The department’s Medieval historians have for decades ensured the spatial breadth of our teaching and research activity remains world class. Building upon pioneering work making the contents of the Domesday Book accessible to global audiences, recent research by Dr Colin Veach is helping to rewrite the history of England’s first overseas colony – medieval Ireland. In this recent recorded lecture he discusses the political role of powerful English magnates in subjugating Irish resistance to early colonisation. His latest work ‘The General Crisis’ will feature in the forthcoming multi-volume New Cambridge History of Britain which trace the causes and consequences of Magna Carta throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

Podcasts, webinars and blogs

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Historical research at Hull takes in a broad chronology, from the early medieval to the contemporary world.

We are in the top 20 in England for overall student satisfaction*
Students have access to archives stretching back to 1086 at the Hull History Centre
95% Graduate employability rating*


*National Student Survey (NSS) 2021, HEIs only

* UK domicile full-time first degree leavers; Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey for the academic year 2016/17, published by HESA 2018