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History, Politics & International Relations BA

UCAS code VLN1
Year of entry 2017
  View 2018 entry »
Course Length 3 years full time
Department History »

This joint degree offers a combination of disciplines which allows you to gain a greater understanding of both past and present.

Studying History is exciting and rewarding; it encourages you to appreciate the human experience in other places and at other times. Exploring what people have felt, thought and done in the past expands our self-awareness. It will help to satisfy your curiosity about the past, acquire understanding of specific periods and problems, and make discoveries.

Our internationally renowned academics are developing the very latest thinking on historical problems; this cutting edge knowledge informs the curriculum and will enhance your learning experience. By studying History at one of the largest and most influential departments in the country you will be able to choose from an exceptionally broad range of subjects, enabling you to spread your studies across the medieval and modern worlds, from Ancient Rome through to modern China, from Saladin through to Margaret Thatcher.

  • 96% say that our teaching makes the subject interesting and 94% find the course intellectually stimulating (National Student Survey 2016).
  • World-leading and internationally excellent research which is ranked joint first for its impact on greater society (Research Excellence Framework 2014, 4* and 3* research).

Politics and International Relations looks at political ideas and processes, as well as global issues such as war and security, diplomacy and development. You will gain a solid foundation in politics, the history of international relations and IR theory, studying subjects such as democracy, decolonisation, democratisation, international organisations, foreign-policy making, human migration and human rights. As you progress, the flexible nature of the course allows you to specialise in those aspects of domestic politics, political theory and international relations that most interest you, for example, the recent global economic crisis, changes in the European Union, human migration and the threats posed by terrorists and new communications technologies.

  • Ours is an active and engaged student community, and there are opportunities to take part in debating, Model United Nations and party political societies on campus
  • We offer students research placement opportunities with our staff, gaining valuable experience of working at the forefront of political enquiry

Core modules

Year 1

History: History and Meanings

This module examines the development of historical writing and debates around the meaning of history. Overall, the framework is chronological, taking you on a journey from Herodotus and other historians of the ancient world, through to the development of history as a professional discipline in the nineteenth century, and finally on to more recent debates about ‘postmodernism’. Both western and non-western history-writing traditions are discussed for comparative purposes. On the way, in both lectures and in small tutorial groups, you will need to think about the nature of historical ‘truth’ and objectivity, and will be asked to reflect upon your own status and practice as historians.

History: Public History

History has never been so popular. This course explores the development in recent years of ‘public history’, or the ways in which the past is used and written about by academic and popular historians, the heritage industry, journalists, the state, and the wider public. The module examines the nature of ‘public history’ through a series of case-studies, including topics such as how history is presented on the television and in film; history in museums and heritage sites; community and oral history; the memory of the Holocaust; debates in European societies about ‘making amends’ for slavery and the colonial past; and the uses of history in contemporary South Asia. You will be given the opportunity to make your own contribution to the field through your own ‘public history’ project.

Politics and International Relations: Introduction to Politics and Government

This module will introduce you to the academic study of politics and to the ‘real world’ of contemporary politics. As a foundational course, it will give you all the essential tools to understand the nature of politics and analyse the way different political systems work. You will be introduced to key concepts such as politics, power, rights, ideologies, democracy and representation, and will learn about the different actors, institutions and processes that make up politics today.

Politics and International Relations: Introduction to International Relations

This module offers a broad introduction to theory and history in international relations since 1870. You will look at a variety of different theoretical lenses, ranging from orthodox to critical perspectives, in order to understand events from the collapse of the Bismarckian European order and the origins of World War 1 to the contemporary War on Terror. Along the way you will also explore the origins and the end of the Cold War, decolonisation and the End of Empire, the rise of international institutions, humanitarian intervention and new security issues.

Year 2

History: Independent Essay

This module allows yous to undertake a small research project of your own. You will sign up for one of approximately twenty-five advertised thematic ‘workshops’ run by academics within the department, and through a series of seminars will explore key themes and debates that allow you to identify a project of your own choosing. The course also includes training in research and writing skills, and is excellent preparation for your final-year dissertation.

History: Research Skills

This module will ensure that you have a cogent, practicable and interesting research topic to write your independent essay, and that you are equipped with the appropriate skills and a timetable for undertaking and producing research and writing in a timely manner. You will be encouraged to consult with the module leader and your supervisors to develop your research topic.

Year 3

History: Dissertation

You will write a 10,000 word dissertation on a topic of your own choosing, with an academic supervisor vho will provide regular consultation.

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1

History: Gods, Men and Power - An Introduction to the Ancient World from Homer to Mohammed

History: Republics, Kings and People - The Foundations of European Political Though from Plato to Rousseau

History: The Rich Tapestry of Life - Early Modern England, Europe and the Wider World, 1453 to 1789

History: Conflict and Identity in Modern Europe, 1770 to 2000

History: Mao to Mandela - Tentieth Century Leaders of the Non-Western World

History: Rome to Renaissance - An Introduction to the Middle Ages

Year 2

History: The Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic

History: The Persuit of Power - Europe, 1000 to 1250

History: The Flowering of the Middle Ages - Politics, Pestilence and War, 1300 to 1500

History: The European Crucible, 1914 to 1947 - Politics, Culture and Society

History: New World, Lost World - The Tudor Monarchy 1485 to 1603

History: The Georginas - Politics, Society, and Culture 1688 to 1832

History: Nineteenth-Century Europe - Society and Culture, 1789 to 1905

History: Twentieth-Century World History - The Middle East, Africa and Latin America

History: Medicine from Antiquity to the Medieval Near East

History: The Victorians - British History, 1837 to 1901

History: History of the USA, 1787 to 1877

History: Spain, 1898 to 1939

History: Spain from Dictatorship to Democracy, 1939 to 1989

History: Awakening China - From the Opium Wars to the Present Day

History: Science in Greek and Roman Antiquity

History: Mutiny to Modi - the Indian Subcontinent from the 19th Century to the Present

Politics and International Relations: European Union - Politics and Theory

Politics and International Relations: Comparative European Politics and Institutions

Politics and International Relations: International Relations Theory

Politics and International Relations: Introduction to Global Studies

Politics and International Relations: Democracy in Britain

Politics and International Relations: Contemporary Political Theory

Politics and International Relations: International Political Economy

Politics and International Relations: The Politics of Migration and Ethnicity

Politics and International Relations: Empire and Decolonisation

Politics and International Relations: Political Behaviour

Politics and International Relations: War and Security in World Politics 

Politics and International Relations: Modern Political Thought

Politics and International Relations: International Organisations

Politics and International Relations: The Politics of Human Rights

Politics and International Relations: Introduction to Political Communication

Year 3

History: Faith and Fire - Religious Culture in England, 1375 to 1525

History: The Origins and Impact of the Second Crusade, 1145 to 1149

History: Modernity and the Victorians - The Intellectual Response

History: Berlin - A European Metropolis from Kaiser to Kohl

History: The History and Historiography of the Holocaust

History: The Clash of Powers and Cultures - Sino-American Relations during the Cold War

History: Christians and Pagans  - From Constantine to Augustine

History: Victorian Babylon - Life, Work and People in London, 1840 to 1890

History: Comparing Religious Fundamentalisms in the 19th and 20th Centuries

History: Migration, Identity and Citizenship in Modern Britain

History: The Age of Terror - Terrorism from 1945 to Present

History: Talking Cures and Troubles: The Oral History of Health and Medicine in Britain, 1948 to 2000

History: Drawing the Line - Independence, Partition, and the Making of India and Pakistan

History: Progress and its Discontents - European Culture, 1890 to 1914

Politics and International Relations: Public Policy and Foreign Policy in the European Union

Politics and International Relations: Political Sociology

Politics and International Relations: The Politics of the Internet and the Information Society

Politics and International Relations: The Politics of Modern Germany

Politics and International Relations: Radical Political Theory

Politics and International Relations: The British in India - a Social and Political History

Politics and International Relations: The Politics of Toleration

Politics and International Relations: Social Justice - From Theory to Practice

Politics and International Relations: Contemporary Middle East Politics

Politics and International Relations: Comparative Democracy and Elections

Politics and International Relations: US Foreign Policy

Politics and International Relations: Issues in Democratic Theory

Politics and International Relations: Advanced Readings in Global Studies

Politics and International Relations: Comparative Foreign Policy

Politics and International Relations: The Making of Modern South Asia

Politics and International Relations: Gendered Communities - Women and Nationalism in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia

Politics and International Relations: Advanced Seminar in British Politics

Politics and International Relations: Transational Security Studies

Politics and International Relations: Resistance to Global Governance

Politics and International Relations: The Politics of Africa

Politics and International Relations: Defence in the Post-Cold War World

Politics and International Relations: Thinking Security - The Theory, Politics and Practice of Security

Politics and International Relations: War and its Aftermath

Politics and International Relations: Chinese Foreign and Security Policy

Politics and International Relations: Visual Politics

Politics and International Relations: Global Crime

Politics and International Relations: Statecraft and Diplomacy

Politics and International Relations: Terrorism and Counterterrorism

Politics and International Relations: Non-State Violence

Politics and International Relations: Understanding China's Rise

Politics and International Relations: Conflict and Law

Politics and International Relations: Dissertation


The course has a modular structure, whereby students take twelve course units at the rate of four per year. Some course units are compulsory while others are elective thereby offering versatility and choice.  

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials and seminars. Outside class, teaching you will work both independently and collaboratively with other students, researching topics in the in preparation for class discussion and producing your assessed coursework. Private study and preparation are essential parts of every course, and you will have access to many online resources and the University’s comprehensive e-learning facility, Moodle.

The department has a number of special online learning resources, such as access to the full collection of the prestigious Oxford Handbooks of Political Science and the entire Communication and Mass Media Complete journals database. All our academic staff hold regular drop-in consultation sessions with students and, when you start with us, you will be assigned a Personal Tutor to support you academically and personally.

Most modules contain an element of assessed coursework, such as an essay, a report, group work, a research blog, or a presentation, which contributes to the final examination mark awarded. The results of the first year exams qualify you to progress to the second year but do not contribute to your final degree award. The second and final year results do contribute to the final degree result, with the final year work counting double that of the second year.

You will take a study skills course during your first year, designed to equip you with and enhance the writing skills you will need to be successful in your degree. This course does not count towards your final degree award but you are required to pass it to progress to your second year.

Typical offers

Typical offers


The offer given will take into consideration:

  • subjects taken at A level
  • the educational context in which academic achievements have been gained
  • whether the Extended Project Qualification is being taken.
Required/preferred subjects

Preferred A-level subjects: History, Government & Politics, Law, Economics, Philosophy, Religious Education, English Literature, Sociology, Geography and Psychology.

Required: Five GCSEs graded A*-C including English and Maths.

Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate

6,5,5 at Higher Level including Higher Level History with a minimum of 32 points overall. Or 6,6,5 at Higher Level with a minimum of 32 points overall.

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in a related subject.
BTEC National Diploma Distinction, Distinction in a related subject plus an A Level Grade B.
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma Distinction plus A Levels Grade BB.
Welsh Baccalaureate Requirements are as for A Levels where one non subject specified A Level can be replaced by the same grade in the Welsh Baccalaureate - Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate
Scottish Advanced Highers AB at Advanced Higher Level including History plus Higher Level requirements or AA at Advanced Higher Level plus Higher Level requirements.
Scottish Highers AABBB at Higher Level plus Advanced Higher requirements.
Irish Leaving Certificate H2,H2,H3,H3,H3 at Higher Level.
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass with at least 30 level 3 credits at Distinction and 15 level 3 credits at Merit in a relevant subject area. Please note that the Access to Higher Education Diploma will only be acceptable if the applicant has had a considerable break from education.

Other UK qualifications

Please select your UK qualification from the drop-down list below

Please select a qualification

Please select a qualification

International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below

English language
IELTS 6.5 overall with 7.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in each remaining subscore. For equivalencies please see here.

For more information about entry requirements for your country please visit our International pages. Royal Holloway offers an International Foundation Programme and pre-sessional English language courses, allowing students to further develop their study skills and English language before starting their undergraduate degree.

This joint degree gained at Royal Holloway provides valuable training for many professions as well as a basis for further study. It will equip you with valuable specific knowledge on the workings of diverse political institutions, which places you well to develop a career in the public sector, as a parliamentary researcher, a civil servant or a journalist. It also demonstrates that you enjoy being challenged, are able to understand complex issues and have a understanding other values and cultures, which equips you to operate successfully in a fast-changing and increasingly globalised and multi-cultural environment. 

  • 85% of our most recent graduates were in employment or enhancing their skills with further study six months after graduation (Unistats 2015).
  • Recent graduates have very successfully entered a wide range of careers including working as curators (Imperial War Museum, Museum of London), in information management (British Museum), teaching, finance, law (a barrister in the Lord Chancellor's office), broadcasting (Director of the BBC), marketing/PR ,national defence (Royal Navy), performing arts, think-tanks, human resources, management and journalism. 
  • Our careers service offers a range of tailor-made careers events, one-to-one careers advice sessions and skills workshops specifically for history students.

Our outstanding record of success for work and further study puts Royal Holloway in the top 10 for graduate career prospects (Complete University Guide, 2015). It goes to show that our degree programmes not only promote academic achievement but also the means to hone the life-skills necessary to excel, post-graduation.

Adding a politics based degree into your studies at Royal Holloway provides you with a wide range of important transferable skills, enabling you to approach problems in a rigorous, analytical and critical way and to communicate clearly and concisely in both speech and writing. Our graduates leave us with skills and knowledge that not only makes them attractive to employers in a broad spectrum of careers, but prepares them for further advanced study and research.

Many of our graduates also go on to further study, entering postgraduate programmes both at Royal Holloway and at other prestigious institutions around the world. In fact, six-months after graduation, 90% of our most recent graduates are enhancing their skills with further study or forging careers in companies and institutions such as:

  • Bloomberg
  • The Church of England
  • Citigroup
  • The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
  • The Conservative Party
  • Ernst & Young
  • The European Commission
  • Global Capital
  • HM Treasury
  • The Henry Jackson Society
  • House of Commons
  • Ipsos MORI
  • The Labour Party
  • NATO Headquarters
  • Oxford Business Group
  • Proctor & Gamble Quadrangle
  • Save the Children 

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £9,250

International students tuition fee per year 2017/18**: £14,000

Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course

How do I pay for it? Find out more.

*Tuition fees for UK and EU nationals starting a degree in the academic year 2017/18 will be £9,250 for that year. This amount is subject to the UK Parliament approving a change to fee and loan regulations that has been proposed by the UK Government. In the future, should the proposed changes to fee and loan regulations allow it, Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for UK and EU nationals annually. If relevant UK legislation continues to permit it, Royal Holloway will maintain parity between the tuition fees charged to UK and EU students for the duration of their degree studies.

**Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for international fee paying students annually. Tuition fees are unlikely to rise more than 5 per cent each year. For further information on tuition fees please see Royal Holloway’s Terms & Conditions.

***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

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