BA (Hons) Politics & International Relations and History

About the course

Our Politics and History programme gives you the opportunity to study current challenges in national and international politics while gaining an understanding of the wider historical context of our modern world. 

The course brings together the two naturally close disciplines of Politics and History through a focus on political history. Studying history and politics in tandem will develop your ability to understand how people lived and thought in the past, and the ways in which they act politically in the present.

You’ll study with a top history department – we’re ranked first in the country for the social and cultural impact of our research - and be taught by political historians working at the cutting edge of their research disciplines.

Alongside core politics modules in your first year introducing you to contemporary British politics and international relations theory, you’ll study history modules that will give you an insight into the making of the modern world, such as campaigns for freedom and equality and America from Hamilton to Trump. 

Modules devised for this joint degree such as Political History: Milestones, Change and Continuity provide a bridge between history and politics. In your second year you’ll continue this interdisciplinary approach with a module on Nation and Identity, which examines the growth of new states and the political landscape of interwar Europe.

Just as an historical approach brings breadth and depth to your study of politics, the theories of political science you’ll study in our core politics modules will give you the analytical tools to explore the implications of major historical events, alongside their socio, economic and political impacts. 

In your final year, you demonstrate your research skills by producing a dissertation on a topic of your choosing. Previous students have been inspired by their year of study abroad, while others have worked on women code breakers at Bletchley Park, the Notting Hill riots, and vice and sexuality in 17th -century London. You’ll also have the option to follow an oral history project, or study modules ranging from the challenges and opportunities of Brexit, to terrorism and security, to the politics of gender.

Why choose this course?

We give you:

  • A flexible programme of study across two complementary disciplines that allows you to concentrate on areas you find especially interesting
  • Exceptional teaching by academics conducting world-leading research
  • Innovative courses that enable you to understand the rewarding connection between these two disciplines
  • Transferable skills built through [work placements, internships and] extra-curricular activities
  • The chance to study for a year at one of our many partner institutions across the world

What will I study?

Our history and politics students benefit from being part of a diverse and active academic community. Our interactive seminars and workshops help you find your feet in the academic environment, and establish ways of working confidently, creatively and collaboratively. We see our students as fellow researchers, and we place a great deal of importance on sharing and developing skills. 

You will have the opportunity to get involved in activities that will complement your studies. Not only do these enhance your experience, they also make for a more impressive CV. We offer extra-curricular modules in debating and model United Nations, while our renowned staff-student Oral History team has taken students to Australia and produced a BBC Radio 4 documentary, which was commended at the 2018 Royal Historical Society Public History Awards.

What job can I get?

Employability is central to everything we do. Our history students can take up a work placement in a local museum, archive or heritage site, while our Politics and International Relations programme offers an optional year-long work placement, giving you practical experience and valuable transferable skills. Your studies in history and politics will help you to analyse issues critically, think creatively and present arguments convincingly – all skills useful for careers in political advocacy, government or non-governmental organisations, the media, marketing, teaching, the law, civil service, and the voluntary sector.