History special subjects restricted

first_imgThe History Faculty has cut the number of Special Subjects open to the largest number of students. Only three subjects will be “24-capped”, offering up to 24 places, the maximum number for Special Subjects.Special Subject options for historians are decided using a balloting process, where each student registers three choices for the paper, one of which must be a course with 24 places, the largest number available.Dr Andrea Hopkins, History Faculty Administrative Officer, explained, “Because so many of the most popular subjects have a cap of 8 or 16, we have to hold a ballot to determine which students can study them. The students must therefore give two other alternate Special Subject choices in the event that they are unsuccessful in the ballot. One of these must be for a subject with a large cap – 24.”However, the three Special Course options capped at 24 this year are all either ancient or early modern history. As a result, some students expressed concerns over being forced to choose a Special Subject option that falls outside their area of interest.Dr Sue Doran, Senior Research Fellow in History at Jesus College, pointed out that the problem with uncapped subjects, “has been an issue for many years.”Dr Robin Briggs, Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer in Modern History at All Souls, stated, “the situation would indeed be rather ridiculous, if the only available second choices were in a period very few students would naturally opt for.”In addition, other Special Subjects were dropped altogether, although one option on Nazi Germany, for which some historians had been learning German in preparation, has since been reinstated by the History Faculty.A historian at Exeter commented, “I luckily wasn’t one of the ones left in the lurch when the Nazi Germany paper was briefly called off, however there is a disappointing lack of choice in the so-called Special Subjects, and it is a shame that whole areas of history, such as gender, social and cultural, have been excluded from the capped subjects.”Dr Briggs further commented, “The reason for the caps is simply that there are not enough tutors for some courses. That tends to vary from year to year as well, because particular academics take research leave, something that has become more of a problem now there are so many schemes for extended leave. So there could be particular bottlenecks in any given year.Dr Hopkins also pointed out that, “in 2013-14, 215 students got into their first choice subjects, and 76 had to go into another subject.” She went on to say, “the percentage is that 74% got into their first choice subject.”One second year historian said, “After your first and second choices you have to go through a reserve list of another three choices before you get left with your 24-capped option. That means you’ve got five chances before you have to do something you’re not particularly interested in. Although they’re called special subjects, they’re really just normal subjects. There shouldn’t be such a fuss.”last_img read more