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Coming to university can be a daunting experience, not least because of the new vocabulary that you are confronted with. We have assembled a glossary of key words and issues that provide you with some practical information about life at university.

You can also read a guide on making the transition to University and read some of the personal experiences of life as a student at Queen’s.


A - Z of Useful Terms

Click on a letter to view to a group of terms or browse the list below.



Academic Diary

An academic diary starts not on 1 January, but usually in mid-July and it finishes, not on 31 December, but in mid-August. It is a worthwhile purchase for all students. For example, end of semester exams are held in January, but you’ll want to note that down in September. An academic diary will allow you to do that.

Academic Year

The academic year runs from late September to late June. Please use the following link to find out the exact dates for the next academic year:

Term Dates

You might also wish to buy an academic diary to help keep track of important dates.


When you have decided to come to Queen’s to study, one of your first questions will be ‘where will I live?’. Many of our students choose to stay at home and commute to university every day. Others leave home and live in private, rented accommodation or in student accommodation (known as halls of residence) which is provided by the university. For more information about the latter option, please go to:

Student Accommodation Services

Adviser of Studies

When you matriculate you will be assigned an Adviser of Studies. This member of staff will help you choose what modules to take, bearing in mind what your degree is and what your interests are. They will act as your adviser throughout your undergraduate degree and you can ask them for advice about your studies, module choices and academic experiences.


Every module that you take will involve some form of assessment to gauge your progress. A typical module will use a number of different types of assessment to test a range of skills and knowledge. You will probably be required to complete an essay and to sit an exam. Your tutorial participation will also be assessed. Each assessment will be worth a certain percentage of your final mark, e.g. the essay will be worth 30%, the exam 60% and the tutorial participation 10%. Other forms of assessment include group presentations and individual presentations. The module handbook will outline the assessments, the criteria used to mark them and list any deadlines.

Audio-visual equipment/materials

Lecturers and tutors are always keen to make their classes as interesting and engaging as possible. Thus, they will use a range of audio-visual equipment to demonstrate and reinforce what they are teaching. For example, they might show a film clip or TV programme, or, they might use powerpoint or a slide show. They may also ask you to incorporate audio-visual equipment in your presentations.


Bachelor of Arts (BA)

All students studying arts and humanities subjects (e.g. history, modern languages, English) at Queen’s will be awarded this degree if they successfully complete all their modules.


A bibliography is a list of books, journal articles and sources. Module handbooks usually contain a bibliography to help students find reading materials that will be useful for preparing for lectures, tutorials and seminars, as well as for writing essays. You should include a bibliography at the end of your essays to demonstrate what sources you have consulted in your research.



The campus is the area occupied by the university. It includes the administration buildings, the teaching facilities and the various Schools. Some parts of the university lie outside the main campus, e.g. student accommodation and the Physical Education Centre (PEC), but they are still within walking distance of the campus.

The Lanyon Building is the most famous building on the campus. It contained all the teaching and administrative facilities for Queen’s College Belfast when it was opened in 1849.

Anyone can visit the university’s campus. If you are thinking of attending Queen’s, it is a good idea to visit, to get a feel for the place where you’ll be spending three years of your life. You can use the interactive map at the following website to find the School of History and Anthropology, and other places of interest: University Maps

You can arrange for a personal tour of the campus here: Campus Tours
The campus tour can also include a private meeting with staff at the School of History and Anthropology. We’ll be happy to meet you and your parents to discuss your degree options and answer questions about studying at Queen’s.


Your degree at Queen’s will take three years to complete, but it’s never too early to think about the career you would like after you have graduated.

Many of the skills that you develop as a history student can be transferred to the workplace and are sought after by employers.

The university provides a Careers Service for students which can help you identify your future career, gain work experience while at university, and prepare job applications and interviews. For more information, please visit the Careers Service website at: Careers

Or check out the careers website of the Student Guidance Centre: SGC Careers


The term class can be used in a number of contexts at university. Class can be used to describe all the students enrolled on a particular module, even if they do not attend the same tutorial or seminar. It can be used to mean a lecture, tutorial, or seminar. It is also used to describe the level of achievement reached when your final degree is awarded, for example a first class degree, a third class degree. To find out how the class of degree is determined, please consult this document:

Contact hours

For each module that you take in arts and humanities subjects, you can expect between 2 and 3 hours of contact time each week with your lecturer and/or tutor. You may have one 1-hour lecture and one 90-minute tutorial, you may have one 2-hour seminar, or you may even have two 1-hour lectures and one 1-hour tutorial.

You will have a certain amount of control over your timetable. While lecture times are fixed, you will usually be able to choose from a range of tutorial or seminar times, to suit your schedule.

To see an example of a typical undergraduate timetable, please consult this document:


You will take three modules each semester, so the average timetable will involve 6 to 9 hours of contact time each week. Each tutor also provides a 2-hour period every week (office hours) during which you can drop in to ask questions about the module and the work you must complete for it.

Please note these two important points. First, in the School of History we ensure that all our staff, whether they are lecturers or professors, teach an equal number of students each semester. This means that you will have contact every week with our eminent members of staff, the people who have helped make Queen’s a Russell Group university.

Second, remember that attending lectures, tutorials and seminars is only part of the learning experience at university. As a student, you are expected to take charge of your education and complete around ten hours of private study for each module every week. This means that though you have 6 to 9 timetabled hours, you should factor in around 30 hours of extra study, making studying for a Bachelor of Arts degree the equivalent of a full-time job.

In addition, a big part of the university experience is being part of the student community. Don’t underestimate the value of having a coffee with your classmates and discussing the lecture or tutorial you just attended.

You may wish to consult the section on part-time jobs.


This term is used synonymously with the term module, but to help prevent confusion, this glossary will always use the term module, e.g. module materials, module convener.


All assessment is marked according to a set of guidelines or criteria to ensure that students are assessed fairly and consistently in every module. Criteria are set for each type of assessment: participation and presentations, essays and exams. Please go to the specific sections to see the criteria used for each.

Note: the School of History uses a conceptual marking scheme. You may wish to read the marks section which explains what this is.

Critical thinking

Being able to think critically is one of the key skills you will develop as an undergraduate. It means developing the ability to question what you are presented with in lectures, reading materials, or in conversation. You should always be asking questions about the accuracy, relevance, importance, and central argument that is being presented.

Being able to demonstrate critical thinking is one of the key elements of a successful university education. Remember, this is a skill that can be learned and developed. Your lecturers and tutors, as well as the staff at the Student Guidance Centre can help you do this.



A deadline is the date on which a piece of work must be submitted for assessment. It is important that you note all your deadlines at the start of the semester (perhaps in an academic diary) and that you meet each one. Handing in work late, after the deadline has passed, often results in marks being deducted.


This is the name given to a complete course of study at university. As a history student, you will be studying for a Bachelor of Arts degree. You can achieve different classifications of degree.

Disabilities Service

(see Welfare)


This title before someone’s name in the School of History means that they have completed a PhD (as have Professors). Most members of staff are happy to be addressed by their first name in a classroom setting, but when you contact them by email it is polite to address them by their title and surname.


Electronic Resources

Queen’s students have a wide range of electronic resources available to them to help with their studies. All students have their own email account and free internet access. They also have access to our intranet Queen’s Online. Many of the scholarly journals that the library subscribes to are available online, as are some extremely useful primary sources such as The Times digital archive. The availability of electronic resources eases pressure on books in the library and ensures that students have access to the most up-to-date materials.


When you matriculate you will be given your own personal email address and account. Most communication from the university, as well as from your lecturers and
tutors, will be sent to you by email, so it is important that you check your email account regularly. Similarly, you may use email to contact staff and other students. Remember that emails to staff should be formal and polite.


This term is used in a number of contexts at university. You enroll when you first become a student at a particular university, but you also enroll on modules, that is, sign up to take the module. You enroll on all six modules that you will take each year (three per semester) at the start of each academic year.


You will be expected to write at least one essay for every module that you take. Essays are often used to assess students and tend to count towards 30% of your final mark. You will have written essays at school, but at university we expect you to build on your existing skills and develop more sophisticated ways of researching an essay question and producing an answer to it.

Level I modules are designed to help students develop essay writing skills and the feedback you receive on each essay that you submit will also help you improve over time. To see the School of History’s guide to writing essays, please go to:

You may also want to consult the section on Plagiarism.

The Student Guidance Centre can also help you develop essay writing skills:

If you’d like to know more about how essays are assessed and the standard that we expect students to achieve, please download the School of History’s criteria:



Nobody likes to think about exams, but they are a central part of student assessment at university. You’ll be glad to hear though that you will only have one exam per module, and it should only last 2 hours. You will take three modules each semester, so you will have only 3 exams to sit at the end of each one.



Feedback is the name given to any comments you receive from your lecturers and tutors about your work. In particular, you will receive feedback on assessed essays and on presentations. The aim of feedback is to highlight what was done well in your work, but also to point out areas where there is room for improvement and to advise you on how to achieve it.

Field Trips

This is the term given to excursions organised by the School of History, student societies or by individual members of staff for educational purposes. In 2007/8, some students visited Madrid and others went to Berlin.

Madrid Field Trip

Berlin Field Trip


Staff make every endeavor to ensure that their modules are interesting and challenging. It is not unusual for staff to use films as a teaching aid. It may also be of interest to you that Queen’s has its own cinema – the Queen’s Film Theatre or QFT. It is on University Square and shows a mix of the latest releases and older films that you might not otherwise have the chance to see on the big screen. You can find their website at:



Graduation is the moment that all students look forward to. It is the day you are officially awarded your degree and your three years of hard work can be celebrated. Queen’s holds its graduation ceremonies in the Whitla Hall, and your parents, relatives and friends may all attend. After each ceremony there is a garden party on the quadrangle of the University.

Here is the academic procession. Staff representing all the Schools attend graduation:

Group Work

Being able to work as part of a team is a common requirement of employers today. To help students develop this skill, lecturers and tutors will often ask students to work in small groups. In tutorials, groups may be asked to discuss a particular question or engage with a particular source, and will usually be expected to report their findings to the whole class. You may also work in a group to produce a presentation. In this case, you may be given time in class to work together, but more likely, you will be expected to meet outside of class time to prepare.


Halls of Residence

(see Accommodation)


Every module has a handbook. It will be issued to you in the first lecture and contains all the information you need about what the module is about, how and when it will be taught, what assessment you will be required to complete and the deadlines for each piece of work, as well as what books and sources you should read. The handbook will also give you the contact details of the staff who are teaching the module.

Head of School

Our Head of School is Professor David Hayton. In addition to his other roles, it is his job to ensure that the School delivers a first class educational experience for all students and that the Russell Group standard of research by staff is maintained. Although running the School is a full time job for Professor Hayton, he still takes an active role in teaching.
Welcome to New Students from Professor David Hayton


Independent Learning

At university, students are expected to take responsibility for their own learning. This involves a number of different things, including:

  • Managing your time effectively so that you can attend all your classes, complete your assessed work on time, and work steadily and consistently at the weekly reading required for lectures, tutorials and seminars.
  • Taking the initiative when asked to complete a task, whether writing an essay or making a presentation, so that you use a wide range of sources, engage with the task in an enthusiastic and thoughtful way, and produce a good quality piece of work.
  • Monitoring your own progress so that you develop the skills required by the modules you are taking, take opportunities to improve your skills (e.g. by attending workshops offered by the Student Guidance Centre), and actively seek guidance and support if you are experiencing any difficulties (e.g. from your tutor, your Adviser of Studies or from the Student Guidance Centre).

    To see some of the workshops on offer at the Student Guidance Centre which are designed to help you develop independent learning skills, please follow this link:


    (see Electronic Resources)


    Journal Article

    Academics often publish their most recent research findings in the form of short articles in journals, like Irish Historical Studies, Past and Present, or Women’s History Review. Journals are published between 3 and 12 times a year and each issue contains around 5 articles.

    Reading journal articles is an essential part of a history degree and is great way to learn about a topic quickly. Queen’s library subscribes to thousands of journals, either in paper copy or electronically and students have access to all of them.



    Most modules are taught using a combination of lectures and tutorials. A lecture usually lasts an hour and is held one or twice weekly. It is attended by all the students who are enrolled on the module, any number from 30 to 350. The standard format of a lecture is that the lecturer will speak for the duration of the class on a particular topic, theme or problem. Lectures are an introduction to the topic, outlining its parameters, highlighting key controversies, and defining related terms or concepts. It is important to prepare for lectures by reading a chapter or a journal article on the topic to be discussed.

    Lectures occasionally involve some form of student participation, but often this is limited to a question time at the end. Students can discuss lectures more fully in tutorials.


    This is a term that is popularly given to any member of the academic staff involved in teaching in a university. All lecturers have their own style of delivery in lectures. Some prefer the traditional style, in which the talk is delivered without audio-visual aids, even sometimes without notes. Many students would agree that this can be a very compelling style of delivery. Other lecturers prefer to break up their time between talking about a topic, showing related pictures or film clips, and involving the students in the class. Some students like this style of delivery. Indeed, you may find that you like a particular lecturer’s teaching style so much that you will choose his or her modules whenever you can.

    Taking notes during lectures is essential. The notes section in this glossary has a link to guides on how to take notes, as it is a skill that most students need to develop when they start university.


    A full-time degree takes three years. First, second and third year are equivalent to Level I, Level II and Level III. We use level rather than year so that part-time students can monitor their progress in the same way as full-time students, even though their degree takes longer.


    Much of the work you will do to prepare for lectures, tutorials and seminars will involve reading. Some sources will be made available to you by your lecturer or tutor, but you will also be expected to use the university library to find other materials to support your research.

    Queen’s has an excellent library, with a enormous amount of resources, both in paper copy and available electronically. Indeed, the library is perhaps the most important resource on campus, which is why the university is in the process of building a brand new one.

    Follow the link below to visit the library’s website. You can try using the library catalogue to find useful history books:
    The Library

    Follow this link to see the plans for the new library:
    The New Library


    Masters of Arts (MA)

    It may seem a little early to think about post-graduate study, since you are still considering your options for your undergraduate degree, but it you might like to know that the School of History offers a wide range of post-graduate programmes, including one-year Masters degrees.

    Every year thousands of students graduate and when you enter the job market you’ll want to be able to distinguish yourself from your peers. An undergraduate degree from a Russell Group university like Queen’s is a very good place to start, but you might also wish to study for a further year and receive a Masters.

    To see the full range of history Masters offered by Queen’s, please follow this link:
    Postgraduate Taught Degrees


    You will be awarded a mark for every piece of assessed work that you complete, be it an essay, exam or presentation. Marks are awarded on the basis of specific criteria.
    The School of History uses a conceptual marking system in which only certain numbers on the 0 to 100% scale can be awarded. Thus, for example, students being awarded a mark in the 60s can only be given a 62, 65 or 68. This helps make marking more streamlined and more comprehensible. While it may be difficult for you to understand the difference between a 62 and 63, for example, it is easier to grasp what separates a 62 and a 65.

    To read more about this system, please download the School’s guide:



    This is the process each new student goes through to enroll at university. You will matriculate at the start of your first year. This involves ensuring the university has your contact details, putting your financial arrangements in place and choosing your modules.


    The term module is roughly synonymous with the term course. It is a self-contained unit of teaching devoted to a particular topic. Most modules are one semester long and are taught using a combination of lectures and tutorials or using seminars. Each semester, you will take three modules.

    To view sumamries of modules click here.

    Module Convener

    The module convener is the member of staff in charge of a particular module. It is his/her responsibility to devise the module and ensure its effective delivery. The module convener is usually a lecturer on the module, and may also be a tutor.

    Module Evaluation

    At the end of every module you take, you will be asked to evaluate how successfully it was organised and taught. Student feedback on modules is very useful for staff as it helps them improve the modules they teach.

    Module Handbook

    (see Handbook)

    Module Materials

    This is the term given to all the secondary sources, primary sources, and audio-visual materials that are relevant to any given module. Lecturers and tutors will highlight to you which you should look at to prepare for lectures and tutorials, which will be useful to write your assessed essay and which will be helpful when preparing a presentation. All this information is given to you in the module handbook.

    The School prides itself on the range of module materials available to students. Some are held in the university library, others are made available through Queen’s Online. You may also be asked to by a module textbook. As with many aspects of studying for a degree, it is up to you to make the best use of the materials available to you, but you can, of course, seek advice from your lecturer or tutor, your Adviser of Studies, your Personal Tutor, or indeed from the Student Guidance Centre.

    You may also wish to read the sections on notes.

    Module Textbook

    Most module conveners assign one book per module which students are expected to buy. It will have been chosen because it provides an introduction to the module topic or an overview of a particular period, in a particular country or region. The module textbook is only the starting point for your research, but should give you a broad understanding of the main dates, events and ideas.



    Almost every form of learning that you experience at university will require you take notes. You will take notes while listening to lectures and while attending tutorials. You will also need to take notes when you are reading books, journal articles and other sources to prepare for classes or to research essays and presentations. These notes will form the starting point for your exam revision.

    You will find it useful to develop your note-taking skills as quickly as possible. But don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to get help with this. The School of History has its own guide to note-taking:



    Part-Time Jobs

    More and more students find it necessary to work part-time while studying for their degree. This is not necessarily a bad thing in itself, but it is important to think carefully about what work you will do and how many hours a week you will work.

    If you have a particular career in mind, why not try to get part-time work which will help you develop skills and experience that will be useful to you in the future. The Careers Service can help with this:

    If you visit the contact hours section of this glossary, you’ll see that an arts degree is a full time occupation, even if you have less than ten timetabled hours. It is important, therefore, that you think carefully about how many hours of study you can afford to sacrifice to part-time work without jeopardising your academic achievements.

    Remember, too, that a big part of the university experience is being part of the student community and you’ll need some time in your weekly schedule for socialising and relaxing.

    Lastly, you might like to look at the welfare section for information about the financial support available to students at Queen’s.


    As a student, you are expected to involve yourself in tutorials and seminars. This means preparing for the class by researching the topic to be discussed, listening to other members of the class and responding to them, and answering and asking questions. You may also be asked to make a presentation to the class to help begin the discussion. Participation in tutorials and seminars is often assessed. Please use the following link to see an example of the criteria used to assess participation:


    From time to time, you may be asked to participate in a lecture either by asking questions or by taking part in (brief) small group work and reporting back.


    Once you have chosen your degree, you then choose your modules. The term pathway is used to describe the range of modules available to you, given your choice of degree.

    Thus if you are studying Single Honours Modern History, you choose modules from the Modern History pathway. To see the range of modules available to you as a Modern History student please go to the module section.

    Personal Development Plan (PDP)

    Attending university is about more than completing a degree in a specific subject. It is also about learning skills that will be useful in the wider world, gaining a range of experiences and taking the many opportunities open to undergraduates, including going on work placements (see careers), travelling, joining the student community, and so on. The Queen’s Personal Development Plan programme helps students to reflect on their needs, identify opportunities, and record the results of those experiences. When applying for jobs as a graduate, you will be able to use the evidence in your PDP to support and supplement your CV and application form.

    Personal Tutor

    All students in the School of History are assigned a Personal Tutor. This will be a member of staff, who you’ll probably meet again as a lecturer or tutor. Your Personal Tutor will remain the same throughout your degree and you will have the opportunity to meet with them several times a year. A Personal Tutor’s role is to help you reflect on your academic progress and, through a Personal Development Plan, offer advice about how to improve and get the most out of your time at university.

    PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

    It may seem a little early to think about post-graduate study, since you are still considering your options for your undergraduate degree, but it you might like to know that the School of History offers a wide range of post-graduate courses, including one-year Masters degrees and PhDs.

    A PhD is a three-year long research project at the end of which you produce a 80,000 word thesis discussing your findings. To qualify for a PhD, most undergraduates take a Masters first and then progress to doctoral study.

    A PhD is for you if you are enthusiastic about the study of history and are a dedicated, self-motivated scholar, who can work independently. You will be assigned two supervisors from our staff of expert historians, who will guide you through the process, but it will be up to you to make the best use of the excellent library and archive facilities on campus, in Belfast, and beyond.

    Students who take a PhD often wish to pursue an academic career, but other organisations such as the Civil Service recognise (and reward financially) PhDs as qualifications.

    To find out more, please go to:

    Physical Education Centre (PEC)

    One way of joining the student community is to take up a sport or use the fitness facilities available at the Queen’s Physical Education Centre. Queen’s has just completed a £7 million investment programme in the university’s sports facilities and boasts over 40 different student societies devoted to sports. To find out more try these web pages:



    This is the one negative word you will find in this glossary of terms. Plagiarism can be described broadly as copying the work of another and passing it off as one’s own. One example of plagiarism is when students cut and paste material from the internet into their essays without summarising it in their own words and without acknowledging where they got the material from. The School, and Queen’s, take plagiarism very seriously, and students are given full details about what it is, how to ensure that you do not plagiarise, and what the penalties are if you are caught plagiarising. You can follow this link to see the School’s rules regarding plagiarism:


    Plagiarism has been included in this glossary to demonstrate that the School rigorously upholds high academic standards, but also to help you think about your own essay-writing practices.

    You may wish to consult the essay section in this glossary to read about how to write a good university-level essay.


    A postgraduate is a student who has completed their first, undergraduate degree and has decided to continue studying. They may be working towards a Masters degree or towards a PhD.


    As you probably know, this is a computer programme which mimics the traditional slide show, but uses digital imagery and text instead. Powerpoint has transformed the way that lectures, tutorials and seminars are taught as it enables lecturers and tutors to display a wide variety of images and text, and to make the materials available to students via Queen’s Online. Powerpoint helps make lectures more comprehensible and more interesting for students, and is used by many staff in the School of History.


    From time to time, you will be asked to make a presentation to your tutorial or seminar group. You may be asked to present alone or as part of a group, and will usually be assigned a particular topic or question to discuss. In your presentation, you will be expected to engage with the topic, use handouts or audio-visual materials to make your talk interesting, and answer questions afterwards. Presentations are usually between five and ten minutes long. These may or may not be assessed (see assessment).


    We encourage students to develop presentation skills as they are often required by employers of graduates.

    Primary Sources

    (see Sources)


    A professor is a senior member of staff who has been promoted because of their service to the university and because of the high-quality research they have published during their career. In the School of History, professors teach the same number of students as other members of staff. That means that you will have the chance to work with the School’s most eminent scholars. Most members of staff are happy to be addressed by their first name in a class room setting, but when you contact them by email it is polite to address them by their title and surname.


    Queen’s Online (QOL)

    This is Queen’s University’s intranet. All students have access to QOL and it is an invaluable resource. Through QOL, students can enroll on modules, sign up for tutorials, access lecture notes and other module materials posted by staff, check their library record, read news bulletins from Queen’s and check their email.



    (see Module Materials and Notes)


    The term research covers a spectrum of activities at university. Undergraduate students conduct research to complete their assessed essays, postgraduate students are required to conduct research in the MA programmes and in their PhD work, and all the staff at the School of History pursue their own research in order to publish books and journal articles. It is the high quality of staff research that has ensured that Queen’s is part of the Russell Group. Learning how to research is a key part of the School of History’s Level I modules, and as our research active staff all are involved in undergraduate teaching you’ll also have access to specialists in the area you choose to study.

    Russell Group

    The Russell Group is comprised of the 20 major research-intensive universities in the UK, including Queen’s University, Belfast. This means that when you study in the School of History, you are taught by some of the most eminent scholars in the UK today.

    Please follow the link below to read more about the Russell Group:


    School of History and Anthropology

    At Queen’s, we divide staff up by School. The School of History and Anthropology is the umbrella organisation for a number of subject departments including History, Anthropology, Ethnomusicology, Byzantine Studies, Irish Studies, and Congnition and Culture. The main offices of the School are on University Square and occupy houses 15 to 17.

    The School of History’s website can be found at the following address:

    School Office

    This is your first point of contact with the School of History. It is here that you hand in essays, fill in paperwork and arrange appointments with members of staff (though you can also contact staff directly using email).

    Secondary Sources

    (see Sources)


    The academic year at Queen’s is divided into two semesters: autumn and spring. Each semester includes a twelve-week teaching period and an assessment period.


    A seminar is usually two-hours long and will be attended by 10-15 students. Most Level III modules are taught using seminars (that is, instead of using lectures and tutorials). A seminar is usually devoted to intensive discussion of a particular topic, source or question, which students will have researched in advance. Sometimes groups or individuals will make presentations to help begin the wider discussion. The seminar will be led by the module convener or another member of staff on the module. Their role in a seminar is similar to that of a tutor.

    Seminar Participation

    (see Participation)


    Attending university is about more than completing a degree (though obviously that is a big part of the experience!). It is also about learning skills that will be useful in the wider world. These are known as transferable skills and all our modules are designed to help you develop them. While studying for a history degree you’ll learn how to write essays and give presentations, you’ll learn how to work in a group and meet your deadlines. In the business world, these abilities are known as written and oral communication skills, team-work skills and time management skills. The School’s Personal Development Plan programme and the Careers Service can help you present your university skills in a way that employers understand.


    The study of history is dependent on using sources. These fall into two categories, primary and secondary, and both are used in all our modules. Primary sources are original documents such as letters, diaries, newspaper accounts, census or court records, as well as posters, paintings, maps and artefacts. Secondary sources are works of scholarship like journal articles and books that seek to interpret primary sources in a meaningful way. Interpreting primary sources and engaging critically with secondary sources are skills that you will develop during your undergraduate degree.

    Student Community

    Over 25,000 students attend Queen’s. When you enroll at Queen’s you have a wonderful opportunity to meet new people. Joining such an enormous and diverse community can initially seem overwhelming, and making new friends can seem like a challenge. Most graduates, however, would tell you that they made some of their closest and longest lasting friendships at university – many found their future partners or spouses!

    There are lots of ways to make new friends at university. You may make them when you move into student accommodation, you may make them in your modules, but you may also make them by joining in with the many extra curricular activities (field trips, student societies), or by using the many student facilities (Students’ Union, Sports Centre) on campus.

    Student Societies

    Student societies form a central part of the student community. Whether you’re interested in sports or politics, music or photography, there is a society for you. Please follow this link to see all the student societies at Queen’s:

    Indeed, the School of History has its own History Society for undergraduates. It is open to students in Level I, II and III and is run by our own history students. The society organises a number of different social and academic events throughout the academic year, including a Formal held every spring which both students and staff attend.

    Students’ Union

    Queen’s Students’ Union is opposite the Lanyon Building in the heart of the campus. It was recently refurbished and boasts a number of shops, a bank, several bars and places to eat, and ‘Clements’ coffee shop.

    It is the hub of student activity on campus and the place to go if you want to be part of the student community. The Union is run by students, so there are a number of work experience and job opportunities to be found there too.

    Here’s the Union’s website:


    Teaching Facilities

    The majority of the School of History’s teaching is done in our modern, purpose-built Peter Frogatt Centre. It contains rooms to suit all sizes of classes, from lectures attended by 300 students to tutorials for 10 students. Every room is fitted with audio-visual equipment, including TVs and DVD players, and computers to enable the use of Powerpoint.


    (see Module Textbook)


    (see Contact Hours)


    Tutorials are led by a tutor. In modules run by one member of staff, the tutor will probably also be the lecturer and module convener. In modules with large numbers of students, you may have a different lecturer and tutor. A tutor’s role is different to that of a school teacher. A tutor is not there to provide information but to encourage you to use the information you have collected to think differently about a particular problem or issue.


    A tutorial is an hour or 90 minute long class, attended by between 5 and 15 students. Tutorials may be weekly or fortnightly. A tutorial is usually devoted to a discussion of a topic, question, or idea raised by the corresponding lecture of that week. You will be expected to do research beyond the information provided in the lecture in preparation for the tutorial. Sometimes groups or individuals will make presentations to help begin the wider discussion. On other occasions, the class might be divided into small groups to complete a task or to discuss a particular question and then asked to report back to the whole class.

    Here are some helpful hints about getting the most out of tutorials:


    Tutorial Participation

    (see Participation)



    This is the term used to describe students completing their first degree, in this case a Bachelor of Arts.



    Each semester’s teaching period is twelve weeks long and each week is usually identified by the appropriate number. For example, you may be told that week seven is a reading week or that you will be expected to give a presentation in week three. It is important to be clear at the start of each semester when each week will fall. An academic diary is particularly useful for this.


    The School of History and Queen’s take student welfare very seriously. Within the School you may turn to your Adviser of Studies for help in choosing your modules and for general academic advice. You can also turn to your Personal Tutor. Queen’s offers a range of support to students, including financial advice, help with study skills and a free counselling service. These services are all accessible through the Student Guidance Centre. Lastly, the Disabilities Service can help students with health issues to get the support and flexibility they require from their lecturers and tutors. The key thing to remember is that it is up to you, the student, to take advantage of the help and support available to you.

    To find out about the Disabilities Service, please follow this link:

    You might also wish to read the section on electronic resources.

    Short Cuts