If you find you are studying at college and finding that you're spending most of your summer holiday twiddling your thumbs how about thinking about what to do next, here are some humanities and languages courses to help you understand what you might be taught at university, the way in which you are taught at university, and whether you actually enjoy it and want to go to uni! It will also give something to talk about on your UCAS form and when you go to interviews. Using our pick of humanities and languages courses to learn about what studying Journalism, Archaeology or Modern Languages is like at university. 

Empire: the Controversies of British Imperialism

The British Empire was the largest empire ever seen. It ruled over a quarter of the world’s population and paved the way for today’s global economy. But British imperialism isn’t without controversy, and it continues to cause enormous disagreement among historians today. This course will help you understand why. In this course you'll explore the British Empire through six themes - money, violence, race, religion, gender and sex, and propaganda. You’ll get to hear the stories of the fascinating individuals who contributed to both its rise and fall. 

World War 1: Lessons and Legacy of the Great War

What is your understanding of World War I? Brave men led to their deaths by stupid officers? A war of trenches, mud and barbed wire in which there was no victor? In this course you have the opportunity to uncover both the mechanics and the memory of the Great War. Focusing on the Western Front, the most important and bloody theatre of the war, you'll examine how the Allied armies experienced a ‘learning curve’. You'll see how they integrated new training, techniques and technologies, to end the stalemate of trench warfare, defeat the German invader and liberate Belgium and northern France from four hard years of military occupation.

The course compares and contrasts the reality of the First World War - a costly and wasteful conflict, but one that ended in a decisive victory over German aggression - with our memory of it today, a war that was both senseless and ineffective. Throughout, we will focus on the experiences of soldiers in the British, French, German and American armies, as these formed the majority of soldiers on the Western Front. This includes soldiers from the British and French empires, including Australian, Canadian, Indian, New Zealand, Algerian, Moroccan and West African soldiers. 

Korea in a Global Context

From a geopolitical perspective, South Korea is located in Northeast Asia, a region from which almost all security tension in East Asia emerges. Consider, for example, the long-standing Sino-Japanese rivalry and the unresolved territorial disputes in the East China Sea. It is often said that the territorial disputes between Tokyo and Beijing have reached a ‘boiling point.’ Also, the persistent security threats posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons and long-range missiles cannot be taken lightly. Most of all, the rise of China and the United States’ “rebalance” toward Asia is likely to generate a new dimension of global power politics.

From a global economic perspective, however, Northeast Asia is a region of cooperation and interdependence. For example, the share of intra-regional trade between China, Japan and Korea increased from 12.3% in 1990 to 22.5% in 2010. China is largest trading partner of both South Korea and Japan. South Korea is China’s third largest trading partner. 

South Korea faces both challenges and opportunities in such a dynamic region as East Asia. Furthermore, academics and policymakers alike tend to agree that the dominant issues of the twenty-first century would be decided in Asia-Pacific. As such, South Korea’s national interests will be shaped by how it perceives and approaches the political and economic issues of East Asia and (by extension) Asia-Pacific. At the same time, the evolving regional order and thus the 21st century global politics would be affected by how South Korea, as one of the key actors of East Asia, behaves toward other regional states.

In this respect, this course aims to understand South Korea within the context of complex and important dynamics concerning global politics and the international relations of Asia-Pacific. 

Archaeology of Portus: Exploring the Lost Harbour of Ancient Rome

The Roman harbour city of Portus lay at the heart of an empire that extended from Scotland to Iraq. Established by Claudius and enlarged by the emperor Trajan with spoils of the Dacian wars, the port was the conduit for everything the city of Rome required from its Mediterranean provinces: the food and, particularly grain, that fed the largest urban population of the ancient world, as well as luxuries of all kinds, building materials, people and wild animals for the arena.

On this course you will chart a journey from the Imperial harbour to its connections across the Mediterranean, learning about what the archaeological discoveries uncovered by the Portus Project tell us about the history, landscape, buildings, and the people of this unique place. Although the site lies in ruins, it has some of the best-preserved Roman port buildings in the Mediterranean, and in this course you will learn to interpret these and the finds discovered within them, using primary research data and the virtual tools of the archaeologist.

Largely filmed on location at Portus, the course will provide you with an insight into the wide range of digital technologies employed to record, analyse and present the site.  

Archaeology: from Dig to Lab and Beyond

This courses shows you around the University of Reading's field school – a month-long excavation at the Vale of Pewsey, which is a relatively untouched site compared to its world-famous neighbours, Stonehenge and Avebury. The Vale of Pewsey is an archaeological treasure chest and the jewel of its crown is Marden. Built around 2,400 BC, Marden is the largest henge in the country and one of Britain’s most important but least understood prehistoric monuments. Every object has a tale to tell and we’ll investigate how archaeologists paint a vivid picture of what life was like in Neolithic times through the astounding assortment of discoveries made in this beautiful part of England.

Drawing on case studies from the field school, you’ll find out about every aspect of archaeology, from deciding where to dig to the collection, recording and storage of artefacts. You'll investigate excavation techniques such as topographic surveying and scientific coring. And through distinctive discoveries at the Vale of Pewsey, you’ll take a closer look at what you can do with an artefact once you’ve found it.

This course is designed for anyone interested in studying an archaeology degree at university.

Cultural Studies and Modern Languages: an Introduction

Are you interested in other countries? Do you want to study and understand other cultures? This course takes you on a journey through a number of periods from the medieval to the modern day, from Russia to Europe and all the way to Latin America. You'll explore eight countries by looking at some of the slogans, books, monuments and images which emerged from them over different historical periods. By the end of the course you'll have an understanding of how language and objects/artefacts can reveal insights into nations. You’ll get the chance to discuss these with other learners online, and enjoy further reading, writing and research opportunities.

This course is ideal if you’re thinking about a degree in modern languages. 

Introduction to Journalism

This course is aimed at those curious about journalism and looking to gain a better understanding of what the subject entails. Run by a team of internationally-renowned scholars and journalism practitioners at the University of Strathclyde, it gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the professional world of reporters and editors.

The course contains six topics - what makes a good news story; writing news; writing features; opinion writing; politics and journalism; and investigative journalism - and explores these in relation to a case study running throughout the six weeks. Although the scenario is entirely fictitious, you will engage in tasks and discussions that reflect real-life situations in journalism. Each week contains a variety of learning activities that will introduce concepts, challenge assumptions, facilitate understanding and hone new skills. You’ll be encouraged to discuss your thoughts with peers and tutors, generate and edit small pieces of writing, and comment on others’ work.

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