HST209: Writing History

Formerly HST209: Course Assignment (2017-18)

20 credits (semester 2)

Module Leader: Professor Martial Staub (2018-19)  Dr Simon Stevens (2019-20)


Pass in at least two of the Level One modules offered by the Department of History.

Module Summary

This is an extended essay written alongside either a Document Option or one of your Option modules. You will nominate the module to which you will attach your Writing History assignment in the module allocation process towards the end of Level 1.
It is an opportunity to undertake detailed independent study on a topic emerging from your work at Level Two, with collaborative feedback and support both from a supervisor and from a group of students exploring similar subjects.
The Writing History assignment and its associated seminar series and workshop on electronic sources will enable you to develop your research and academic writing skills, as you:

  • define a subject area in conjunction with your seminar tutor
  • identify relevant secondary literature to assist you in framing your research question
  • locate appropriate evidence to support your arguments, which should include some engagement with primary sources
  • formulate and structure an argument grounded in that material
  • convey the results of that research and argument in clear prose

Through the seminars, workshop and any desired meetings with your seminar tutor, you will be able to seek advice on how to devise and carry out an appropriate project. Your seminar tutor will also need to approve your choice of title.

The word limit for the Writing History assignment is 5,000 words, including footnotes, but excluding any bibliography and any appendices, should these be necessary. Writing History assignments which are 5-15% over the word length will be penalised by a deduction of 5% of the mark awarded; pieces more than 15% over the word length will be penalised by a deduction of 10% of the mark awarded. Students should declare the word length on all pieces of coursework.

Supervisors may read and comment on either a draft of one section of the Course Assignment (1,500 words maximum). There is no official deadline for submitting your draft, however you must allow your supervisor two weeks to give feedback.



  • Introductory lectures: Thursday 7 February 2019 at 4pm – Students' Union, Lecture Theatre/Cinema.
  • Library lecture: Thursday 14 February 2019 at 4pm – Students' Union, Lecture Theatre/Cinema.
  • Course Assignment registration/synopsis form deadline: Friday 1 March 2019 at 12 noon.
  • Course Assignment submission deadline: Tuesday 14 May 2019 at 12 noon.

Submission of a piece of work which falls very substantially under the word limit may also be subject to penalties, where the markers do not regard the submission as representing a satisfactory completion of the module.

Your Writing History assignment should be prepared in accordance with the department's guidelines on the presentation of written work, including the proper use of footnotes (see History Department's Style Guide). You must submit one copy through the 'Turnitin' plagiarism detection service.

Teaching and Assessment

Two introductory seminars offering guidance in the subject area within a collaborative learning environment; a workshop on electronic resources available within the broad subject area; and further guidance from your seminar tutor, by arrangement.

Information on assessment can be found at: http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/history/current_students/undergraduate/assessment/level2

Intended Learning Outcomes
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