History and Area Studies

History and area studies offers a whole world to discover!

We are a dynamic and intellectually vibrant community of scholars and teachers with a special focus on the world and its peoples. When you study with us, you will be taught by scholars at the forefront of their fields. History is one of these, and for those who wish to expand their expertise in a particular region, we also offer specialisations in Asian, Australian, European and Gender Studies. 

History, Asian and European Studies are all offered as majors, while Australian Studies and Gender Studies can be taken as minors. Many courses across History and Area Studies are cross-listed, which provides you with many opportunities to expand your horizons in new and surprising directions.


UNSW history is uniquely global. Our expert knowledge covers Australia, the Pacific, the United States, Europe and most of Asia. Our world class historians at UNSW are known for their strengths in world history, in histories of migration, gender and empire, and histories of our region. You will have the opportunity to be taught by historians who are research leaders in their fields, as well as dedicated teachers. Beginning with the gateway course Global History, you will embark on a rich and invigorating program of study which includes options to study ancient, early modern and modern history and from courses in Asian, European, Australian and Gender Studies, many of which have a strong historical emphasis. See further details on our research strengths here.

European studies

European Studies explores interdisciplinary perspectives on European societies in the past and present. Beginning with gateway courses Concepts of Europe and Contemporary Europe in Crisis, you will consider the complex dynamics and crises of modern and contemporary Europe while also studying the diversity, richness and continuing relevance of earlier epochs. From early modern Europe through to contemporary Germany, studying European Studies offers you a range of temporal and thematic perspectives on a hugely influential and linguistically and culturally diverse region.

Asian studies

Asian Studies at UNSW explores Asia's cultural, political, historical, and literary landscapes through an interdisciplinary perspective covering East, South, Southeast, Central, and West Asia. You will be taught by an intrepid team of scholars and teachers who will encourage you to approach this dynamic, vibrant, and fast-evolving part of the world through its histories, the impacts of colonialism, people’s contemporary experiences, and the increasing influence it has on world affairs and the global economy. The gateway courses Concepts of Asia and Australia’s Asian Context will provide you with a rich overview and multiple entry points for ongoing study. You will be enthused to explore more Asian Studies courses where you can focus on popular culture, architecture, the media and/or gender, as well as the histories and cultures of specific parts of Asia, including China, Japan and Korea.

Gender studies

Gender studies at UNSW is a vibrant, cross-disciplinary area of study that situates women, feminism, gender, sex and sexualities at the centre of academic analysis and within global and historical frameworks. You’ll analyse gender as part of a wider context of social relations in which gender intersects with other categories of difference, including race, ethnicity, class and disability. You will have the opportunity to study popular and fascinating subjects including the gateway course Gendered Worlds, and History of Sexuality, Dressed to Kill, Sex, Human Rights and Justice, Gender in China, South Asia and Southeast Asia, and Global Feminisms. Throughout, you will be introduced to influential theories of gender and sexuality and encouraged to use these to analyse and understand the contemporary world.


Australian studies

Australian Studies at UNSW offers you the opportunity to examine Australian culture and society from the perspectives of a variety of complementary disciplines and other area studies, including History, Indigenous Studies, and Environmental Studies. The exciting and unique course Sydney: History, Landscapes, People is a rich gateway for you to explore and research a truly global and diverse city, and to be introduced to the interdisciplinary field of Australian Studies.

As members of a top-ranking research-intensive university, you’ll be invited to participate in original and cutting edge work. Our vibrant research environment is showcased by two events running each year on the topic of Imperial, Colonial and Transnational histories, attended by distinguished speakers from Europe and North America

Develop your own specific area of interest and conduct advanced research with honours and postgraduate research degrees.    

Pursue a career with history  

With critical thinking skills and an understanding of larger societal and human questions and problems, you’ll be equipped to approach jobs in any field and undertake roles such as:

  • archives management 
  • academic  
  • researcher 
  • communications specialist 
  • museum or gallery curator 
  • editor 
  • heritage consultant 
  • historian 
  • librarian 
  • journalist 
  • teacher (with further study). 

Study with us

  • Our undergraduate degrees begin with introductory courses and allows students to specialise in at least two different geographical areas in history. These include options in Ancient History including classical Greece, Ancient Egypt and Rome, and Modern History, including our expert historical study of Germany, India, Korea, China, and the French and British empires.  

    Our degree options 

  • Honours is available as a fourth year of study for high achieving students. The research produced as an honours student and your extended engagement in a relevant field of study will set you apart from other graduates when job seeking.

  • Our postgraduate research students conduct original research in a Masters by Research or a Doctor of Philosophy. You’ll have the opportunity to contribute to several UNSW research initiatives such as the Grand Challenge on Refugees and Migration, conducting research on migrants in Australia (especially Greeks, Indian, Filipino), as well as the history of displaced peoples in World War II and a history of Filipino migration.

    Our historians are also members of UNSW Arts, Design & Architecture and the Forced Migration Network. Research on disadvantaged communities is reflected in research on the homeless in Australia and Jewish history, especially The Holocaust.

    Find out more about our postgraduate research programs

Our people