Can you do a history degree without history A level? DS 2nd year misery

(23 Posts)
buckingfrolicks Thu 05-Oct-17 17:37:35

My DS finished, just, his first year in Scotland doing Politics and International Relations. He got a 2.1 in the exams.

He hated every minute of it. He bailed out of the second year and is at home.

He is thinking about two options - first, apply to an English Uni, for entry into second year, same subject.

OR, apply to an English uni, first year, to study HIstory. He is a history obsessive. But he didn't do A level history as his not so DS did, (twins) and he baulked at their studying in the same class in A level.

Any advice? can he apply to do history with no A level? He has Geog, Econ and Maths at A level.

Thank you

OP’s posts: |
Heratnumber7 Thu 05-Oct-17 17:46:32

Would probably depend on the uni. Check the prospectuses (prospecti?) on t’internet for course requirements.

User5Million Thu 05-Oct-17 17:48:21

I don't see why not. I don't have an English A Level, I've just completed my undergrad in Literature and am now studying an MA in it. for arts and humanities, unless it's something like languages, most unis just seem to want A Levels at a certain grade/certain number of UCAS points.
The skills in a lot of arts and humanity subjects are transferable.

LIZS Thu 05-Oct-17 17:48:42

Unlikely for the more popular unis I suspect but do check those he may be interested in. He may have more luck with joint honours.

User5Million Thu 05-Oct-17 17:48:46

You would be best off checking the uni websites, they have the entry requirements on.

Serafinaaa Thu 05-Oct-17 17:49:13

He might've been best asking his original uni if he could transfer courses? I was told I could if I got a 2.1 in my first year. I did get it and I did transfer courses. Straight into second year. American studies to English. I had an a level in English though. It just wasn't a high enough grade to initially be accepted.

Sandsnake Thu 05-Oct-17 18:04:31

Has he considered dropping the IR part and just doing straight Politics for his second year, possibly at a different uni? I did Politics and IR and against my expectations completely hated the IR element. It was incredibly dry and theoretical. I changed to just Politics for my second and third years and really enjoyed it. There was a lot more history involved, which I enjoyed far more than the theoretical side. Good luck to him, whatever he decides.


KnobOfStork Thu 05-Oct-17 18:06:55

I did a foundation year instead of resitting my a levels and lots of people on my history course don't have a levels at all smile

BertrandRussell Thu 05-Oct-17 18:08:49

Is it the course or the university he didn't like?

Leeds2 Thu 05-Oct-17 18:53:51

I would ask the same question as Bert? What was it he didn't like? The course, the city/town, the people? And why does he think an English uni would be better? If you live in the south east (England), could it be that he was homesick, rather than not liking the course? Is he "jealous" (for want of a better word) of something he perceives his twin has at uni that he doesn't (assuming twin is at uni)?

SleepingSoundly Thu 05-Oct-17 19:41:00

Check out the funding situation. As far as I'm aware he will now only qualify for loans for a new course starting in second year as he's already (presumably?) had 2 years of funding. Unless you are in a position to cover the course fees and maintenance loan for his first year elsewhere yourselves that could limit his choice significantly.

Flisspaps Thu 05-Oct-17 19:56:52

DH is Head of History in a secondary school.

He has a History and Politics degree but no A level. Your DS should be able to do a History degree without A level History.

goodbyestranger Thu 05-Oct-17 20:17:50

He really would have to check the individual dept entry requirements. Durham insists on History at A2 as does UCL and Bristol. No doubt a number of others do too, though I'm sure some won't and might well be interested in an applicant who has a very genuine interest despite a lack of A2.

BubblesBuddy Thu 05-Oct-17 20:42:37

For example, Sheffield Hallam is more flexible and so is Royal Holloway. I would guess Russell Group universities would be more likely to require History. I would wonder if his lack of a History A level has been a hindrance when doing his present course. I would have thought History was ideal prep for that, academically. If he wasn't interested in doing History A level, why does he think he wants to do a History now degree now?

buckingfrolicks Thu 05-Oct-17 21:08:26

Thanks all

We are in SE England and he felt too far from home. He has bad anxiety and ended up just staying in his room for days at a time. He says he wants to be able to come home at weekends if he needs to (he came home a lot anyway but it was a 7 hr trip door to door)

No his twin is not at uni but drama school

He knows more than anyone I know, about history tbh. I think the idea of dropping the IR is a good one. And joint honours. Good food for thought.

I'm at my wits' end tbh it's been a week by week struggle with him this last 18 months.

OP’s posts: |
goodbyestranger Thu 05-Oct-17 21:44:45

OP I'd suggest he e-mails the admissions secretaries at a handful of places he thinks he might like, regardless of their stated entry requirements. If he really does have the level of interest you suggest, and given that his situation isn't standard, they might well look at him sympathetically. He did well at his Scottish uni after all, despite hating it. So yes on reflection I'd just sound out his favourites.

goodbyestranger Thu 05-Oct-17 21:50:44

This was a long time ago but my brother was a professional golfer, playing the Opens etc, got an injury and applied to King's to read History. King's offered him a place despite no History at A2, simply a very good knowledge of particular slices of history and a very strong interest (he didn't take the place in the end but even so).

Good luck to your DS. I hope he finds somewhere which makes him happier.

BasiliskStare Thu 05-Oct-17 22:14:24

I agree with some PPs
1) Did he not like the course or did he not like the university?
2) Phone admissions departments - In DS's experience they are much more approachable and friendly than you may think when going through a stressful time.

I would also say - and I say this as Devil's advocate - he should think it through and have a very good answer to the question if he is a History obsessive - why was studying in the same class as his brother such a show stopper. ( I am not a History admissions tutor ) but it is what I would be thinking. There may be a good answer.

Good luck

Moominmammacat Fri 06-Oct-17 10:04:41

I'm sure some places would take him without the A level but could he do it (the A level) this year? Give him something to focus on ...

BubblesBuddy Fri 06-Oct-17 11:08:54

Knowing about History is not quite the same as writing essays in it. I would suggest he looks at the details of the courses because there will be compulsory mudules which may not match his interests. Obviously it would dent his confidence to be in the wrong place again. I think he should address why he didn't do History A Level because I would have thought any admissions tutor would want to know why his interest was not pursued academically.

There are people on these threads who say admissions tutors never read personal statements so they wouldn't know if anyone was interested in the subject. If an applicant does not meet the entry requirements they may just be rejected so talking to them is probably the best idea.

Horsemad Fri 06-Oct-17 15:04:24

Geog/History Joint Honours at Newcastle might be an option.

I don't know if his lack of History A level would be a problem and Newcastle isn't far from Scotland(!), so might be too far North for his liking, but worth a try? Decent rail network at least!!

Oldie2017 Fri 06-Oct-17 16:24:37

So he probably hsa a 4 year student loan for Scotland and is probably at somewhere like Edinburgh (my twins by the way did 3 of the same A levels and shared classes even though they are very different it was fine and they both just started at Bristol -different halls).

Can he work backwards? Eg does he have a career goal and what does he need for that goal? Does he need a certain high standard of well regarded university or will the institution not matter for him? It sounds like the better places want history A2 and lesser places don't - if university for him is about reading history and career or status of university will not matter then consider the switch. If not then moving just to Politics.

Has he considered reading law and would he get in? It is a really interesting degree (or so I think anyway) and those A levels he has of Geog, Econ and Maths would work well for that as do any good subject A levels. he might have to start again with a 3 year degree in England but that is not necessarily a problem other than funding. he can always do history in his spare time - one of our leading QCs is also a historian and writes history books.

buckingfrolicks Fri 06-Oct-17 23:43:48

I think he’s abit lost tbh. He has always felt he has been in his twins shadow

Lots of great ideas to talk through with him this weekend, thanks everybody

OP’s posts: |

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