Bachelor of History Programme

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Did you know that the word “history” comes from the Greek “historia” which means “investigate”? To do history is to investigate, a little like a detective who asks numerous questions to understand an incident and the world it lives in. This is, essentially, what the study of history is all about.

Taught by professors from Paris-Sorbonne (Paris 4), the Bachelor in History is about the study of our past and our present, so that we can understand today and anticipate our future. Combined with international affairs, this degree ensures graduates have a wide-angle view and in-depth understanding of the world around them, preparing for a limitless number of careers.

The Bachelor in History taught at the Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi is organised around a shared training courses and a specialisation, divided into two paths.

  • The shared training courses aim to understand and to analyse global major events in all the regions of the world and in the most important periods of history. It includes courses focused on understanding of ancient civilisations and contemporaries societies. It provides communication tools necessary to analyse today’s challenges and to acquire a wide range of soft skills that are highly demanded by employers.
  • The specialisation allows students to choose which one of the two paths best suits its professional goals: the first is focused on Civilisations & Communication and the second one on International Relations.

Each of these paths will be mentioned on the official diploma supplement delivered by the Paris-Sorbonne University.

Civilisations & Communication path International Relations path
This path allows to get a general knowledge about Human Sciences:Two minors have to be chosen among lectures proposed by the other departments:

  • Communication (Literature Department)
  • History of Art and Archaeology
  • Political Sciences (Philosophy and Sociology Department)

From the second year, History courses become more important even if minors are always available. Students can also choose the “Career & Employment workshop” to prepare their professional future.

A study trip is proposed for students during the fifth semester (the last year, it took place in Istanbul)

To see the programme click here

This path allows to get a general knowledge about International Relations and International Affairs in the today’s world:Students enrolled in this path will take lessons focused on International Relations:

  • Geopolitics
  • International Law
  • History of International Relations and diplomacy
  • Political Sciences

From the second year, lectures in connection with other universities will allow them to take English classes focused on International Relations

In a third year, they will have the opportunity to do one semester abroad (Paris, Beirut or Istanbul).

To see the programme click here

Lastly, many options can be chosen by students:

  • Foreign Languages (French, German, Italian, English, Arabic, Spanish)
  • Sports for students wishing practise it(you can include it in your academic cursus)
  • Personal works in connection with professional goals of students and their needs.
  • Cycle of conferences: lectures organised by the different departments in Human sciences.

To audit a course click here.

A degree in history is an active and significant tool in developing intelligence, reasoning and critical thinking. It gives the students a good work method and ethic, the ability to see the bigger picture and to have an in-depth comprehension.

The teachers alternate lectures and practical exercises. They give a real importance to interaction and students’ participation. The students are taught to analyse subjects and to examine documents (not only texts, but also coins, archives, paintings, photos, movies etc.)

Formed to develop their general culture, to know in-depth the international affairs and the civilisations, and to understand better our world, graduates can apply for numerous masters, which are not necessarily bound to a degree in history. 

For more information, please send a message to the department (yann.rodier@psuad.ac.ae)

 Good to know:

  • Our History degree courses don’t focus on the history of France, but are about the history of the world. During the first year, the topics are broad and deal with large spaces. In year 2 and 3, they are more precise, but very diverse from a geographical point of view. For instance, for the academic year 2013-14, third year students have been taught about the United States, China, Europe, Arab world and the Turkish world.
  • Students who aren’t knowledgeable about history can apply in this department. Our professors are aware that, in some syllabi, the human sciences aren’t taught much at school, and they will help the students. They believe that the students have to be motivated.

The training lasts three years and includes:

  • Courses and group work sessions on themes, places, and periods of history. All continents and all periods (from antiquity to the present day) are covered. Courses focus on major events and great men, alongside analysis of global societies (beliefs, political systems, economic situations etc.).
  • A general humanities education: during the first semesters, the curriculum is organized according to the major/minor. History students tend to take courses in related fields like archaeology, art history, literature, philosophy, sociology and law, as minor concentrations or options. This allows them to acquire a general knowledge in the humanities. From the second year, history courses become more of a focus, although elective courses are always part of the syllabus .
  • Courses on media and the world of communication are also offered for students who might choose to continue to study or work in journalism.
  • Courses to improve language skills in any of Arabic, English, German, Italian, or Spanish. French lessons for non-native speakers are also available.
  • Personal work like journals on introduction to research, prevocational journals, and presentations related to the current cultural environment in Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi Film festival, Qasr al Hosn festival, for instance), among others, are encouraged and included in the programme.
  • Sport and computer classes are also part of the curriculum for students who want it.
  • Extra-curricular activities
  • Click here to see the Semester 1 courses program (2015 – 2016)
  • Click here to see the Semester 2 courses program (2015 – 2016)

Our graduates have gone on to become executives and senior executives at the Executive Council in Abu Dhabi, Masters students in Law and International Relations, in International Commerce, in Business Administration (MBA), and in Education and Teaching. Some went forward with research Masters in History that could carry them towards an academic career in research and the study of history.

In fact, this degree is a good formation for the following fields:

  • Journalism and the media
  • Diplomacy, international affairs and NGOs
  • Culture sector and heritage sector
  • Political sciences
  • Research
  • Education field
  • International business
  • Public utilities.

Opportunities are very broad for a simple reason: the History degree gives a general culture and a critical spirit that are essential today, regularly highlighting the media. Our world needs men and women with a proclivity towards critical analysis and as we now live in a globalised world, employers prefer candidates who can understand different cultural environments, adapting to other ways of working… what we call soft skills (http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/education/cross-cultural-skills-much-sought-after-in-uae).

In France, according to the survey conducted by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, the employability rate of master graduates in 2009 is over 88 % for humanities and social sciences, with 84% of full-time employment (http://www.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr). And in 2013, in the UK, this rate is the same for students with an undergraduate degree in humanities (http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171776_337841.pdf)

On top of all that, the foreign languages acquired by our students during their degree have been an integral part of their success in their careers and further studies.

“When I have to introduce myself, I use to smile because I am Bulgarian, but I have spent a lot of years abroad! I am a globe-trotter because of the job of my father, who is a diplomat and I lived in Iraq, Syria, Tunisia and in the United Arab Emirates. I have a passion for languages and I speak English, Arabic, French, Spanish and Bulgarian, of course. After my high school diploma in the French School of Dubai, I have decided to apply for the Department History, Civilisations and International Affairs of Sorbonne Abu Dhabi. I am very interested in human sciences, especially international affairs and political sciences. And I don’t know yet what will be the next country I will live in!


“After my A-Levels, I got a degree in pharmacy. But after a few years of practice, during which my heart has not stopped beating for a subject that has always fascinated me, history, I decided to resume my studies. I joined this department and I was not disappointed: I learn a lot of things, I can objectively analyse, think more deeply, and especially  have a lot of fun!”


“I am Emirati and I went to an American high school. In 2010, I decided to learn French at the Sorbonne because I want to work later in the international sector. French is an official language of the UN and a useful language in the workplace, and is also an important language in the European Union and at NGOs. My history classes and summer school in Geneva last August reinforced my interest in international issues. I see a bright future in this sector. To build the future, I think we need to know our history.”


“I arrived at the Sorbonne Abu Dhabi in September 2012, having studied in France throughout my previous years. I decided to seize the opportunity to discover a new country following my parents’ transfer to the United Arab Emirates for work. Today, I do not regret my choice. My years in Abu Dhabi, at the university, allowed me to learn about new cultures and build relationships with people from around the world. Currently in my second year of the History programme, I plan to take the examination of CELSA in June 2014. I am very interested in the communication professions, especially those in connection with the press.”


“Studying history and geography in Paris, I wanted a semester in an Arab country to discover for myself that I knew through the course and my readings. Next year, I want to do a Research Master on Contemporary History of the Arab World, so I was very eager to explore the UAE. The experience I am having here is fascinating.”

Damian, Parisian exchange student