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About the School

Welcome from Dr Hiram Morgan, Head, School of History

Hiram Morgan Profile pic

I would like to welcome our new students to the School of History and indeed to extend a warm welcome back to our returning students in years two and above. You are entering or continuing to study, read and research in  a vibrant School, one of the largest in the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences. We endeavour to provide you with a stimulating learning environment that will be rewarding and engaging.  

On this website you will find the details of the diverse range of courses on offer and the contacts for staff, and links to further information and services. Please also remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. The website will help you make the choices you want and guide youthrough the structure and the requirements of the degree. Please make sure to make contact with staff and stay in touch. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

We have an outstanding range of academic and administrative staff who are prepared to discuss issues, module or option choices or indeed the content of the history you choose to study. All staff have office hours and you should make full use of them to complement your formal studies; your engagement with the programme and the community of historians is crucial   to your success. Our staff are experts in their respective fields, collectively and individually we have a strong research and publication record, a reputation for teaching excellence and a thorough engagement in the community and international academic events.  

We are committed to research led teaching based not only on the expertise of the academics but also on providing you with opportunities to engage directly with research and to become authors of your own historical projects from first year through to the third year dissertation.  You will be taught in classes of different sizes from large lecture halls that cover the core curriculum to the smaller options that will be delivered through lectures, seminars, tutorials, on-line discussion and eLearning or technology enhanced learning.  The School has a number of ‘blended’ learning options and online facilities; we are engaged with the Digital Humanities. Apart from the diverse range of teaching and learning we also inculcate a range of skills and attributes that will help you with your employability. Work Placement is an option within the School.

As an undergraduate you will also have the opportunity to specialise in the area or period that suits your interests most. This website outlines the range offered within the school from the Medieval, Early Modern, Modern Irish and European to the International. Please read further details on the staff pages.

You will have the opportunity to practice the craft of history through various forms of writing and communication from essays to examination, reports to presentations, discussion groups to wiki entries. You will learn to handle archival material, digital sources, manuscripts and visual sources, to form arguments, gather and interpret evidence, read and evaluate secondary sources.

We attract a diverse range of students within the School from the local to global. We welcome traditional and non-traditional students. We welcome students in significant numbers from a variety of partner European universities through the Socrates programme and a range of North American states through the Semester / Year Abroad programme. The cultural exchange deeply enriches the School.

Academic and administrative staff are happy to answer any questions you may have or to provide you with any further information you may need. In the first instance please contact School of History administrator: Ms Colette Pettit at 

I hope that you enjoy your year, your studies and research and I look forward to meeting you over the semester.

Dr Hiram Morgan

September 2023

About the School of History

 Modern Times: 1994 to Present

Today the History Department combines the specialist functions of the three former Departments. Following the death of Professor John Barry (1989) and the retirement of Professor John A Murphy (1990), the three Departments were merged under the chairmanship of Professor Joseph Lee. Since 1993, History has grown, expanding its specialisms, enhancing its multidisciplinary approach to the subject, and increasing its teaching staff complement.

The History Department has approximately 30 full-time and part-time teaching staff, and is one of the largest Departments in the Arts Faculty in UCC. Undergraduate student numbers are large and growing, complemented by the highest number of graduate research students in the Faculty. The History Department has, also, in recent years become the most attractive Departments to visiting students, especially North American students.

Three History Departments: 1960s – 1990s

The 1960s ushered in significant changes in History at UCC. Three distinct departments were established of Medieval, Irish and Modern History. After Professor Hogan’s retirement in 1963, there was no immediate replacement. Instead, following the appointment of Professor Pender to Irish History, further recognition was given to specialisation. In 1965 John Barry was appointed Professor of Medieval History. Oliver MacDonagh took the chair of Modern History in 1968, and John A Murphy, attached to the History teaching staff since 1960, succeeded Professor Pender in the Irish History chair in 1971. After Oliver MacDonagh moved to the Australian National University, the Modern chair was filled by John Joseph Lee.

These developments accelerated trends already evident in Cork: increasing specialisation and growing numbers of staff, undergraduate and graduate students. Specialisation was facilitated by the increase in staff numbers and the recruitment of new staff bringing expertise in medieval, early modern and modern history, in Irish and international fields. This in turn allowed greater options in the growing field of graduate research. Graduate research numbers quadrupled from the 1960s to the early 1990s, to an average of over 50 students. The focus of research shifted also from mainly Irish topics to embrace a wide variety of fields in social, economic, cultural, political, intellectual and diplomatic fields, reflecting the wider interests of the supervisory staff.

New dimensions would also be added to History too. In 1978 Gearóid O’Crualaoich established the Irish folklore studies within the department, and it would later form a distinct department of its own, An Roinn Bhealadois. In the 1980s, too, in recognition of the growing importance of Europe integration, the need to provide specific, focused European Integration Studies was recognised, with the Modern History Department anchoring the establishment of that programme in Cork. The early focus and drive in this area saw many benefits, including the award of a Jean Monnet Professorship in Integration Integration Studies to Dermot Keogh in 1989.

From Queen’s College Cork to University College Cork, 1849-1909

History has been offered at Queen’s College Cork (QCC) as an academic subject from its foundation. In 1849, History students were enrolled among the first group of scholars. The subject was offered as part of the Chair of English Language, Literature and History from then until the transition of QCC to a constituent College of the National University of Ireland in 1909.

Under the first Professor, Rev. Charles Darley, the History curriculum ranged from the third to the fifteenth century. Under Darley’s successor, William Rushton, the curriculum was extended to include the French Revolution and the end of the eighteenth century.

In 1909 the University was restructured, and University College Cork (UCC) emerged as a distinctive College of the three-member National University of Ireland. Patrick Merriman was appointed to the first separate Chair of History the same year. He had an immediate impact on the popularity of the discipline, offering History in four of the eight faculties of the university. These developments led to an increase in student numbers.

Between 1909 and Professor Merriman’s promotion to the Presidency of UCC in 1919, the number of History students increased thirteen-fold. James Hogan succeeded Patrick Merriman in the Chair of History in 1921 and occupied it until 1963. Hogan was noted for his ‘high seriousness of purpose, disinterested probity, dedication to learning and devotion to duty’. One might add devotion to his subject as History in UCC, which already had established a multidisciplinary approach, expanded its horizons even further. Professor Hogan pioneered approaches to the study of political science as reflected in his prolific published output. He also broadened the curriculum to embrace modern nationalism and internationalism, and heightened awareness of Irish history, catering for general and specialist approaches to history.

As teaching commitments grew, so also did staffing levels. A specific Research Professorship in Irish History was established in 1948 and held by Denis Gwynn until his retirement in 1963. He also succeeded Dr Alfred O’Rahilly as general editor of the Cork University Press in 1955. In that year Séamus Pender, attached to Cork since 1938, was appointed to the first chair of Irish History.

The range of the curriculum was by this stage broad, reflecting staff interests in European, Irish and International history – Medieval and Modern, from Antiquity to the Cold War - embracing political ideas, ecclesiastical history, ideologies, and social and economic issues.

Teaching and Learning in History

Teaching and Learning

Teaching takes place in lectures, seminars and small groups. Lectures give you the foundations of knowledge and guidance in interpretation. Small group teaching enables you to discuss historical topics in detail and to develop your skills in writing and analysis. Seminars are used to teach you to look more closely at evidence and arguments, and to refine your thinking and communication skills at an advanced level. 



HI2104 Special Research Project

HI2105 Case Studies in Research Skills and Historiography

HI3001 Historical Debate

HI3302 Special Research Project     

HI3200 History Research Seminars 



The purpose of these workshops is to assist students to become aware of the processes involved in academic and critical writing. Each session will introduce students to a process employed in scaffolding successful academic writing: close reading, note taking, journal keeping, concept mapping, free writing, project drafting, project reviewing and managing the writing project. These workshops will be interactive and will encourage students to discuss writing as a process and to improve their writing skills through workshop exercises.

This workshop supports   

HI2104 Special Research Project

HI3302 Special Research Project     

Download WritingYourDissertationGuide (143kB)




The purpose of these sessions is to foster a community of practice for tutor-historians in the School of History. Once a month, tutors will meet to discuss teaching historical thinking and performance, for example, reflective teaching methods employed to facilitate undergraduates learning to interpret and use primary and secondary sources. Through moderated online discussion, during the intervening period, tutors will be encouraged to reflect on and to share their emerging philosophies for teaching history in higher education. These workshops are specific to the teaching of the discipline of history, but compliment the accredited university-wide modules in graduate education: 

PG6003: Teaching for Graduate Studies and PG6012: Scholarly Approaches to Teaching and Learning in Higher Education co-ordinated by Ionad Bairre: Centre of Teaching and Learning. 

HISTORIANS ON TEACHING developed by Prof Alan Booth at the University of Nottingham (UK) is now live. This website features historians in Europe, Australia and North America talking about the processes of history performance and how it impacts on teaching and learning within the discipline, academy, and the public sphere. 

School of History

Scoil na Staire

Tyrconnell,Off College Road,Cork,Ireland.