The course has let me clearly identify my areas of interest

Biba Metcalfe
Biba Metcalfe
Final year undergraduate student
BA History
Biba explains how the flexibility in our module choices helped her to discover her key interest in gender history.
Biba Metcalfe

My experience so far has been great, I have made many life-long friends from my course who I believe I will stay in contact with long after I leave Sheffield. The course has ignited by passion for history even more and let me clearly identify my areas of interests.

Biba Metcalfe

BA History


Why did you choose to study at Sheffield?

I chose to study at Sheffield for two reasons: the city itself when I came to visit really appealed to me, it was completely different to other universities' situations in cities that I had visited, the greenness really appealed me and made it feel very homely.

Secondly, was the course itself. The course content was the best I had seen compared to the other universities I had visited. The variety and range of first year modules and historical study really set Sheffield aside from other universities.

Has your experience so far been what you expected?

My experience so far has been great, I have made many life-long friends off my course that I believe I will stay in contact with long after I leave Sheffield. It has ignited by passion for history even more and let me clearly identify my area of interest within History. So, it has exceeded my expectations.

What do you particularly enjoy about your degree?

What I enjoy about my degree is the ability and accessibility to study such a wide range of subjects and topics to really be able to let yourself identify and connect with history.

Within second year I discovered my love for gender history and specifically women's history through both the Historians and History module and a more direct Gender and Sexuality module. I then found that I was then able to apply such an interest to other modules and topics that were not directly about women's history.

For instance I then went on to write my mini-dissertation (Writing History) on women's role in the Third Reich, to allow myself to express my passion further, this is my highest graded piece of work to date.

What are you studying this year? Are there any modules that you've particularly enjoyed?

This year I am studying the thematic option of the comparison of Revolutions and my special subject on Permissive Britain 1956-74, from which my dissertation will be based on.

The special subject module combines my interest from previous years; through the study of both modern history and specifically women’s history in the in depth analysis of the influence of the 1960's as a decade. I have enjoyed most of my modules at Sheffield but by far the second year was my favourite when I studied two modern history modules (my period of interest) doing gender and sexuality and Nazi Germany.

I enjoyed these because they combined modern history with both social history. From this I was then able to develop a closer view into women's and gender history to look at topics that I have great interest in and express personal opinions.

If you’ve undertaken any extra-curricular activities, what do you feel these have added to your time here?

I have taken part in being an Academic Rep this year for the history department and this has added greatly to my time here.

Mainly due to the fact I am able to raise issues from my peers to higher members of staff to connect the bridge and allow such topics to be discussed. I have also taken part in the Oral Histories volunteering project last year, this had added to my experience also.

It allowed me to look into histories of older generations and tell their personal stories for the use of both the University and then for their family, it was a fulfilling experience.

How would you sum up your overall experience of studying at Sheffield?

My overall experience at Sheffield has expanded my knowledge of history greatly. It has allowed to me identify my interest and connection to women's history and ignited my passion for study in this field. Therefore, it exceeded my expectations.

What skills have you learnt that you'll be able to take away from your degree?

I have gained many skills that I will be able to take away from my degree, I have learnt the ability to be analytical and critical of other reading and writing.

It has highlighted my area of interest of history and thus, most likely what I want to do career wise. I have the ability to summarise information at a great speed.

It has improved greatly both my time management and organisational skills, to keep on top of independent work and assessment.

Do you have any plans for after graduation?

Applying for post-graduate jobs.

What do you like about the University and/or living in Sheffield?

The city itself combines the busy feel of living in a city, with the greenness of living in a suburb or in the country, being a bus ride away from the peaks. Further, the history of the city itself is a point of interest and there is a lot to do here.

Is there anything else you want to add?

I have enjoyed the curriculum and modules for each year in Sheffield, and I believe that even the core modules that are less interesting have added greatly to my ability as a historian and have learnt practical things that I can use in my Third Year and dissertation. Thus, I believe that all modules at Sheffield are extremely valuable in becoming the historian you can be.

Would you recommend studying at Sheffield to a friend?

Yes, for both the experience of being a student at the University of Sheffield and specifically to do a history degree here as I truly believe, after having spoken to peers in other Universities that Sheffield offers the most varied and the widest range of history modules/courses.

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