Develop your critical abilities within two vibrant departments of like-minded students and expert scholars and gain a strong understanding of how History and Religious Studies intersect and influence one another. History's core first year module is designed to extend and deepen your knowledge of the past and introduce you to major historical topics and themes from the ancient world to the present day. You will gain insights into how historians conduct research and interpret the past and develop your own research, essay-writing and presentational skills. Many History students choose to take additional, specialised modules on topics ranging from the fall of the Roman Empire to histories of violence and empire in the modern world. In your second and third years you design your own degree, focusing on the themes, periods and nations which interest you the most, with options that include British, European, American, Asian and Middle Eastern history, from the eighth century BC to the twentieth century. The first year of a Religious Studies degree provides an introduction to the growth and development of the world’s major religious traditions and their primary characteristics. It also provides an overview of some of the forms religious belief takes in the contemporary world, as well as some of the problems and opportunities it faces. There is also a cross-cultural and inter-religious examination of key issues in the study of religion relating to, for example, ethics, politics, gender, and the character of the religious life. In the second and third years there is a range of optional modules on topics addressing a broad spectrum of subjects that provide an opportunity to study, in more depth, the world's major religious traditions and to debate the role of religion in the modern world. As well as developing skills in critical thinking, the courses enable a deeper awareness of cultural diversity and an informed understanding of the principal challenges facing religions. Key areas of analysis include: religion and violence; religion and gender; religion and politics; philosophy and religious thought; religion in relation to secularism and multiculturalism; interpretations of sacred texts; and new religions.