College: what will we be taught in a level in historical past?

Job vacancies, workload, qualities required… Are you wondering if a history degree could be made for you? L’Etudiant offers some ideas to clarify this.

The history course is a generalist university course that aims to study four major historical periods: ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary history.

What subjects are studied in a history course?

According to the universities, “the four periods are covered together at each level, or one or two per year in a degree in history”, specifies François Cadiou, director of the history department at Bordeaux Montaigne University (33). Added to this are additional courses, in the form of a major/minor or opening course: sociology, law, political science, geography, etc.

Maxime, for example, studied history at the same time as other social sciences at the faculty of Caen before entering the research master’s degree in Paris Nanterre (92). “We studied two fundamental periods per semester. We had two hours of lectures and two hours of tutorials, then options in history, methodology…” Eloeïz, who shared his license between Arras and Rennes, recalls having taken “one or two complementary courses such as geography and options, language, heritage and archeology, film history…”

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Autonomy and curiosity, two essential qualities

As is often the case in college, autonomy is essential in a history course. “There is a very large part of personal work, in particular reading”, confirms François Cadiou. “Lectures and tutorials are far from sufficient for training. We hope that the student will read and be curious beyond the course: go to the library, see exhibitions, historical documentaries…

“A degree in history offers a substantial foundation of general knowledge and if you are not at least curious about everything, it is better not to engage in this type of study,” adds Maxime. Loves literary subjects and has good writing skills it is also important because “we write a lot”.

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Several possible outputs, in addition to teaching

In France, the history license “remains deliberately general so as not to confine students with the objective of being a historian”, underlines François Cadiou. Of course, one of the “priority and privileged” vehicles continues to be teaching, be it Capes or the aggregation of history.

But, “a student who has a taste for history, without a defined project in education, can take this leave without disconnecting from other means”, assures François Cadiou. Among them, as shown by an integration survey carried out by the Faculty of Nantes in September 2021, the professions of book, culture, heritage, project management or journalism, adds the manager.

“In the history of L3, specialties have been offered to us. I chose the course of historical and archaeological sciences, before joining the master’s degree in heritage and culture to be a librarian“, says Eloeïz, whose course prepares him for the competitions of archivist, librarian or curator. “Friends took a master’s degree in heritage, cultural mediation or political science and one joined the Assas journalism school”, continues Maxime, who opted for teaching and research.

It’s unfortunate that we sometimes hear that the industry is a little too broad, laments Eloeiz. I would like to know that after graduating in history, I could graduate in heritage professions!”

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