Northumbria university joint programme specification to be completed in association with joint subject

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(to be completed in association with joint subject programme specifications; see guidance notes for completion)

Please note that from January 2005

  • Where a programme is delivered in more than one mode:

    • a full Programme Specification is completed for what is deemed to be the main mode

    • details of other modes (part-time, franchise deliveries etc.) are entered onto a Delivery Supplement which is attached to the main document

    • one or more delivery supplements may be included at the time of validation, or added when an additional mode of delivery is subsequently approved.

  • Any changes made to an approved Programme Specification are indicated on a Log of Changes sheet, and appended.

Sections 1-9 below indicate all modes of delivery and attendance, with the main mode highlighted by the use of bold type; sections 10-19 refer to the main mode of delivery.

Joint Programme Title and Award


UCAS or other Admissions Code

Northumbria Programme Code(s) please indicate the programme code(s) for the main delivery in bold


Mode(s) of Delivery please indicate the main mode of delivery in bold


Distance Learning



Mode(s) of Attendance please indicate the main delivery in bold




Other please specify

Location(s) of Delivery if other than Northumbria


Collaborative Provision if applicable





Partner Institution(s)

Date(s) of Approval/Review


Confirmation of existence of Joint Subject Programme Specifications



Sections 10– 19 relate to the main delivery as indicated in bold above.


Educational Aims of the Programme Specified in terms of the general intentions of the programme and its distinctive characteristics; these should be consistent with any relevant benchmark and with the Mission of the University. A rationale for the programme should be given. See guidance notes re. inclusion of aims for constituent ‘half’ programmes.

The overarching aim of the joint programmes in History is to produce graduates who are capable of independent critical thinking and judgement and who are equipped with excellent practical, communication and transferable skills. Graduates from the joint programmes in History at Northumbria will be highly motivated, flexible, and innovative. Their study of the subject matter and methods of historical enquiry will give them a richer understanding not only of the past, but also of the modern world. As such they will be well placed to use the History component of their joint degree as a basis for career development, life-long learning and as contributors to the community and the wider world in which they live.

The distinctiveness of the joint History curriculum at Northumbria lies in combining academic rigour with a concern for practicality and employability. At one level, the programme focuses on providing a breadth of historical knowledge and a thorough training both in current modes of historical thought and in the skills of the professional historian. The joint programme is designed to offer a broad portfolio of history modules, within an expansive geographical frame of reference, and including such sub-disciplines as cultural, social, economic, political and intellectual history. The wide–ranging nature of the joint programme in History also allows for creative and fruitful combinations to be achieved with a range of Humanities subjects, including English, and Social Science subjects such as Politics.
Whatever, the precise joint honours combination, the three, year-long, core modules at level 4, provide a strong grounding in both the theory and practice of History and allow for comprehensive coverage of both early and modern periods and different societies and cultures. These core modules provide a solid foundation in the main building blocks of the discipline of History, and underpin student choice in option modules at level 5 and 6 and in the final year dissertation (if a History dissertation is selected ). After level 4, the option programme is structured to allow students to cover both the pre-industrial and modern periods, while the emphasis on employability and skill development is continued via the year long core module, Planning a Cultural Heritage project.
The joint programme in History:

  1. aims to offer students a coherent, stimulating and effective programme of historical study, which will provide them with both a greater understanding of the past and the skills to necessary to achieve this historical understanding.

  1. aims to familiarise students with theory, methodology and historiography and with the possibilities of thematic and comparative programmes of study – all of which are central to the development of the practising historian.

  1. aims to encourage students to develop historical expertise across a range of temporal and geographical contexts, through the provision of a variety of core and optional modules

  1. aims to promote interdisciplinary study between History and appropriate subjects in the Humanities and Social Sciences

  1. aims to produce graduates who are skilled in the marshalling of evidence and in the ability to construct a coherent, reasoned and evaluative argument on the basis of it

  1. aims to empower students to progressively take ownership and direction of their learning through a curriculum that over time moves from an emphasis on direction to one based on more autonomous learning so that they may develop as independent life-long learners.

  1. aims to produce graduates who are literate, articulate and practical. They will have acquired skills in oral presentation and structured discussion, information technology and the interpretation of textual and documentary materials

  1. aims to provide students with a range of academic and practical skills that have personal as well as employment relevance. It aims to deliver support and learning opportunities which are responsive to the needs of students from diverse educational backgrounds.

The History subject benchmarks provide the basis for the joint programmes aims and learning outcomes. The educational aims of the programme are encompassed within the core and optional modules. In addition, the use of Student Progress Files (SPFs) monitors and documents students’ continuous academic and personal development throughout the programme. This is supported through the Guidance Tutorial system.

The educational aims are also:
1. Founded on the University’s mission to provide challenging and innovative learning and teaching that empowers the active learner, and the School’s Learning and Teaching strategy, which supports this by providing a stimulating learning environment that engages actively with research and scholarly activity.
2.Consistent with the University Learning and Teaching Strategy for strengthening the economic, environmental and cultural life of the region through opportunities in higher education, creating partnerships, integrating with communities, and generating and disseminating valuable knowledge and providing opportunities to engage with institutions and employers outside the University.
3. In line with the conditions of ‘Assessment for Learning’ developed by Northumbria’s Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. These conditions ensure that assessment is part of the learning process, that it is varied, that it is relevant and appropriate and that it develops students’ own critical awareness


How Students are Supported in their Learning/Employability/Career Development eg curriculum design, personal development plans, placements, fieldwork, practical projects. This section may make reference to information given under this heading in the full programme specification for the constituent programmes.

The University of Northumbria offers a range of pre-admission opportunities. These include taster days in History which aim to provide students with a flavour of what it could be like to study at University, Northumbria and HEFCE summer schools, and pre and post application open days.
The Induction programme is an important feature of Students introduction and preparation for University life. A student handbook of key academic information and an Assessment Guide are issued to all students at the start of each academic year during the induction period. During this week students meet their guidance tutor and are also inducted in the use of the progress file. The progress file encourages students to record and reflect upon their learning as they move through their degree and beyond it. Progress files are designed to encourage the use of Personal Development Planning (PDP), an important life skill that enables students to plan for their own educational, academic and career development. Students who engage with this process develop key skills that enhance their employability.
At the start of each module, students are issued with module specific guides including information relating to the delivery, content, teaching and learning method, learning objectives, learning resources and the assessment of the module. The University’s e-learning portal is also used to make much of this material available in an accessible electronic format. At level four, study skills are taught as a dedicated element of The Practice of History, providing guidance relating on maximising the effectiveness of study time, on the use of learning resources, on standards of what is expected in seminars, lectures, and tutorials and on good practice in the production and presentation of assignments. At a more implicit level, these skills are also embedded within all the core modules. When needed, additional study skills help is available from the University Study Skills Centre.
At the end of each module every student has the opportunity to complete an evaluative module feedback questionnaire. This reflects the general principle that students' learning needs to be supported by ensuring that curriculum design is appropriate to their various needs at the point of entry and that it helps them to maximise their potentials by the time that they complete the programme. The questionnaire is one mechanism used for checking on quality and appropriateness. However students are also consulted and involved in the running of their joint programme in other ways: there are programme questionnaires to supplement those for individual modules; there are open, staff-student liaison committees; students are represented at the relevant Programme Committees and in School committees. Through these procedural devices, students are consulted on such issues as the successful running of the programme and changes to the curriculum, with the results of this process feeding into Module and Programme Review. To close the loop there are also reports back to the student body on actions taken in response to their comments, through general announcements in taught sessions, or on the e-Learning portal, through the various committees and through the course representatives.

Student guidance and academic support to students is provided via Guidance Tutors and academic tutors. Guidance Tutorials enable students to plan and record their academic progress, skills and achievements throughout their course in a structured manner, using progress files. They also support the planning of assessed work, option selection and provide feedback. The University also runs a professional Counselling Service which is available to students either by direct approach, or upon referral from their Guidance Tutor, details are made available to staff in the Guidance Tutor Handbook. All academic staff are expected to operate in compliance with the University's published Duty of Care policy; this includes appropriate professional codes of conduct in dealings with students and such procedures as monitoring of attendance at seminars.

The City campus has open access computer facilities which are available to students during non-teaching hours. The School also offers students access to computers in the Lipman building and in its learning café. Students have 24-hour access to library catalogues (including the City and Robinson libraries), electronic databases and periodicals. The division also provides support for student learning via the e-learning portal which includes relevant documentation (e.g. Student Handbook, Module Guides), lecture material where appropriate, reading lists, staff contact details, discussion boards for staff and students, and notices relevant to the day to day running of the course. In addition, students have access to the well-stocked visual resources collection located in the School of Arts & Social Sciences.

During the second year joint honours students in History undertake the Planning of a Cultural Heritage Project in order to gain an awareness of the contexts in which the techniques of historical study can be applied professionally. Opportunities to plan and think about future employment are also provided through the guidance tutor and using the Personal Development File. Students are introduced to and encouraged to make use of the University Careers Service which also offers guidance on interview techniques, preparing a C.V., job applications and job searches. Additionally, the Careers Service offers targeted careers sessions for historians and an annual Careers Fair for students.

A joint honours graduate in History is in a strong position to enter a variety of professions. Graduates demonstrate a repertoire of competencies and skills as articulate individuals who have been encouraged to consider, summarise and present difficult issues in a rigorous fashion. To date, graduates have gained employment in (for example) public administration, management, teaching, lecturing and research, public relations, the Civil Service, retailing and the business world.

Learning Outcomes of Programme Identify the learning outcomes from the joint subject programme specifications which are relevant here (give reference). Add learning outcomes specific to this joint programme. These should be specified in terms of performance capabilities to be shown on completion of the programme and aligned with the joint aims specified in section 10 above.

  1. Knowledge and Understanding

On successful completion of the History component of the joint programme, students will have demonstrated knowledge and understanding of:

  1. historical change and continuity

  2. the uses and deployment of diverse types of historical evidence, methods, concepts and perspectives

  3. problematic historiographical aspects of historical enquiry.

  4. current debates surrounding the nature of the inter-relationship between History and other related subjects in the Humanities and Social Sciences

  1. Intellectual Skills

On successful completion of the History component of the joint programme students will have demonstrated an ability to:

  1. engage constructively with documentary texts and discuss their content, context and implications.

  2. construct and present independent historical judgements and arguments.

  3. appreciate the importance of theory, concepts and hypotheses in the study of past societies.

  4. engage with current debates in, and construct reasoned responses to, the inter-disciplinary approach to historical explanation

  1. Practical Skills

At the end of the History component of the joint programme, students will be able to:

  1. manage study time and work to deadlines.

  2. show note-taking, bibliographic and information retrieval skills to scholarly standards.

  3. gather, sift, select, organise and critically evaluate large and varied amounts of data/material.

  4. use electronic learning resources to a competent standard in information gathering, research and analysis.

  1. Transferable/Key Skills

At the end of the History component of the joint programme, students will be able to:

  1. think critically and analytically.

  2. handle and apply concepts.

  3. work independently and effectively and have confidence in their own judgements.

  4. present and communicate ideas and knowledge to others orally, in writing and using IT.

  5. work responsibly as a member of a group, respecting the views of others and revising their own ideas on the basis of discussion and shared critical reflection.

  6. exhibit problem solving skills and strategies that support their employability.


Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy Specified to enable learners to achieve and demonstrate the above learning outcomes.

The learning strategy is designed to support students from a variety of different academic backgrounds and empower them as independent learners. The increasing degree of specialisation as the student progresses, ensures a level of expertise in the advanced study of History that builds confidence and critical awareness. By the end of their programme of study in History, students should feel secure in their knowledge, understanding and skills enabling them to approach the world of employment with self-assurance and a realistic sense of their own ability.

Teaching and assessment strategies are designed to support this increasing emphasis on independent learning. Teaching aims to achieve an appropriate balance of lectures, seminars, workshops and group and individual tutorials. The emphasis at level 4 is on lectures and seminars with supporting tutorials. At level 5 - and particularly at level 6 - there is an increasing emphasis on seminars and extended written assignments. At these levels tutorials and workshops provide support for student learning.
The principles of ‘assessment for learning’ underpin the assessment strategy of the History component of joint programmes. This means that assessment is not simply a measure of student progress but is used as the means of enhancing and enabling student achievement. While a diversity of assessment methods are used, they are employed within a coherent strategy that is not overly reliant on ‘high stakes’ summative forms of assessment such as exams. Most modules are assessed by various kinds of coursework (essays, document exercises, presentations) to maximise feedback opportunities. Assessment is responsive to student needs whilst at the same time being both fair and rigorous.
Level 4: Establishing a Base
At level 4 intensive lecture programmes, supported by regular seminars, provide students with basic knowledge and understanding of their discipline. This is particularly true of the broad chronological surveys of Europe in the period c.1000-present (Pre-Industrial Europe and Contemporary Europe and the World). At this level, a preliminary awareness of historiographical issues is ensured by the Practice of History module; again this is something designed to be built upon at the higher levels.
The development of intellectual, practical and transferable skills is partly embedded in the substantive content and delivery of the level 4 modules, with lectures providing examples of historical scholarship at work, and seminars allowing students to experiment with the protocols of oral and group work. However there is also an explicit emphasis on practical, IT and study skills in the Practice of History. This is designed to ensure that students function as efficient and effective learners from as early as possible in their programme of study. The assessment strategy at level 4 also focuses upon skills and technique and as such, the role of assessment is primarily formative. The overall grade at the end of first year study does not count towards degree classification at the end of the third year. In addition, emphasis on short assignments and feedback that is rich and timely characterise the assessment of modules at this level. Coursework receives a grade, but feedback focuses on a diagnosis of weaknesses and a development of strengths. The use of progress files underlines the formative function of level four assessment, providing students with the opportunity to discuss their overall performance with Guidance Tutors.
Level 5: Stepping Up
At level 5 the curriculum is composed of substantive option modules, as well as a significant core module aimed at developing employability skills . In the options, students begin to identify their own interests in preparation for the specialised in-depth work and, potentially, the dissertation in the final year of study. In contrast to the basic surveys of level 4, the aim is to offer students the opportunity to sample areas and types of history that they might not otherwise have encountered eg Jews, Muslims and Christians, African-American Freedom Struggle, Women's History, Cities and Citizens. Level 5 options are delivered as single-semester 20 credit modules. With these relatively intensive courses of study go the expectations that students will be able to achieve a quality and depth of knowledge and understanding beyond that demonstrated at level 4.
The development of intellectual and transferable skills is largely embedded in the delivery and assessment of the substantive modules. Having provided the students with a carefully structured programme of assessment at level 4, the strategy becomes less prescriptive at level 5 in order to encourage independent learning, and this is achieved through the range of assignment topics offered. Enhanced practical skills figure particularly prominently in the level 5 curriculum. The Cultural Heritage Project focuses upon the practical applications of History in the larger community and its effectiveness in raising student awareness of the interfaces between History and the world of graduate employment.
Level 6: Achievement
By the time they reach level 6, students on the joint programme in History should have matured considerably as independent learners, taking responsibility for their own work. Wherever possible teaching is to be seen as a means of facilitating student learning, rather than as the prescriptive delivery of a set syllabus. There are two pathways for joint honours students to follow in Level 6.
If students decide to choose the History Dissertation (worth 40 credits) then they select only one further 20 credit option module in History. In the Dissertation, students demonstrate their competence as practitioners of the discipline. Under tutorial supervision and guidance, they evolve a research question and design, execute and present a major project of their own. They do so, building upon the body of knowledge, understanding and skills that they have accumulated over two years of study. Students have regular meetings with their allotted supervisor to discuss plans, methodologies, research practices and schedules.
If students select the Dissertation in the other of the joint subjects, then they select three option modules in History, worth in total 60 credits. Although they require more by way of common structured content than the Dissertation, here too an underlying principle is that the options should be flexible and responsive to student needs and preferences. So, for example, in Intellectual Revolutions I students are routinely invited to devise their own coursework projects, with tutorial approval. The available options are generally more specialised or more sharply focussed than those offered at level 5 and they reflect even more clearly the research and scholarly expertise of the staff who deliver them. This is particularly true of The American Century, Family and Society (and its sequel Marriage, Society and Kinship) and Byzantium and the Crusades, for example. In taught sessions and in assessed work, students will of course be required to display specialist knowledge and understanding of the subject matter of their options. But they will also be expected to demonstrate their overall achievement on the programme in terms of having embedded a relatively sophisticated historiographical awareness into their work, and of having, as it were, internalised the intellectual, practical and transferable skills appropriate to History graduates.
The assessment strategy at level 6 reflects the view that it is in the final year of their degree that students must produce evidence of what they have accomplished over the course of the programme. Almost inevitably, the balance between formative and summative assessment shifts in favour of the latter. Assessing second semester options by means of formal final examination is in part a reflection of this principle.
The learning strategy is designed to empower students as independent learners. The increasing degree of specialisation as the student progresses ensures a level of expertise in the subject area that builds confidence and critical awareness. By the end of their programme of study, students should feel secure in their knowledge, understanding and skills, with this enabling them to approach the world of employment with self-assurance and a realistic sense of their own ability.


Programme Structure This section should be completed with reference to the Modularised Framework for Northumbria Awards.2. Diagrams can also be used to demonstrate the structure.

Programme Structure Refer if necessary to appended diagrams

Level 4

At Level 4, students study three year-long 20 credit modules:

  • The Practice of History (Year-long 20 credits)

  • Pre-Industrial History (Year-long 20 credits)

  • Contemporary Europe and the World (Year-long 20 credits)

Level 5

At level 5, Students study one year 20 credit module:

  • Planning a Cultural Heritage Project

And two 20 credit options, selected from:

Semester 1 (One option)

  • Medieval Thought & Culture

  • Pre-Industrial Empires

  • Cities and Citizens

  • Building America

  • Women’s History since 1850

  • Retail History

  • Constructing the Other: The Outsider in Modern European History

Semester 2 (one option)

  • Jews, Muslims & Christians

  • Early Modern Thought & Culture

  • Female Experience of Pre-Industrial Europe

  • African-American Freedom Struggle

  • Consumer Society

  • Italian Fascism

  • Barricades and Bullets

Level 6

At level 6 students chose either:
History Dissertation (Year long – 40 credits)
Plus One (20 credit) Semester 1 option selected from:

  • Family & Society

  • Intellectual Revolutions 1

  • Byzantium & the Crusades

  • Women, Crime and Subversion in the Early Modern Period 1

  • The American Experience: Foreign Policy

  • Age of Extremes 1

  • Visions of the People 1

  • Community, Power & Everyday Life 1

Dissertation (in the other joint subject – 40 credits)
And three (20 credit) options in History

Semester 1 – 2 x 20 credit options from:

  • Family & Society

  • Intellectual Revolutions 1

  • Byzantium & the Crusades

  • Women, Crime and Subversion in the Early Modern Period 1

  • The American Experience: Foreign Policy

  • Age of Extremes 1

  • Visions of the People 1

  • Community, Power & Everyday Life 1

Semester 2 -1x20 credit option from

  • Marriage, Society and Kinship

  • Intellectual Revolutions 2

  • Women, Crime and Subversion in the Early Modern Period 2

  • Italy and the Eastern Mediterranean c1250-1500

  • The American Experience: The Vietnam War

  • Age of Extremes 2

  • Visions of the People 2

  • Community Power & Everyday Life 2


Lower Level Awards Credit Structure and Programme Learning Outcomes for Lower Level Awards.

Please delete or add rows as appropriate, with reference to the Assessment Regulations for Northumbria Awards3 Learning outcomes should be specified for each lower level award in accordance with the QAA Framework for Higher Education Qualifications4 which also provides generic qualification descriptors for each level. The standard credit structure for each award is given below. The Modularised Framework for Northumbria Awards2 indicates permitted variations and allows programmes to be validated with some lower or higher level credit (e.g. the Certificate of Higher Education (120 credits at Level 4) can be validated with up to 30 Level 3 credits).


Programme Learning Outcomes may be completed with reference to section 13.

Certificate of Higher Education

120 credits at Level 4

At level 4 students will demonstrate description in relation to the PLOs

Diploma of Higher Education

240 credits:

120 credits at Level 4;

120 credits at Level 5.

At this level students will demonstrate critical reflection and synthesis in relation to the PLOs

Ordinary Degree
(by transfer of registration from Honours at the end of Level 4 or Level 5)

300 credits:

120 credits at Level 4;

120 credits at Level 5;

60 credits at Level 6.

Students will have completed core modules at levels 4 and 5 which cover appropriate programme learning outcomes. They will have completed 3 option modules at level 6 but not the dissertation. Students will have demonstrated critical evaluation and synthesis.

Variation from Assessment Regulations or the Modularised Framework Provide details of any approved variations from the Assessment Regulations for Northumbria Awards (ARNA)3 or the Modularised Framework for Northumbria Awards2.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes

This section shows how the individual modules (with module learning outcomes as written in the module descriptor) together contribute to programme learning outcomes. It should be presented as a matrix of programme learning outcomes (as identified numerically in section 12), against modules. Where a module contributes to a programme learning outcome it should be flagged. Standard practice will be for a single symbol to indicate a learning outcome addressed in the module. See guidance notes for discussion of alternative practices.

The following matrix is for a programme structure with 6 learning outcomes in each of the categories of section 12, with rows for modules in each of levels 4 and 5, and level 6. See guidance notes for a discussion of the treatment of option modules. The matrix should be extended as required. The matrix will show how some learning outcomes are developed at particular stages in the programme, while others may be developed through the three levels.

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