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Home > Courses > Undergraduate > History, Politics and International Relations
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History, Politics and International Relations BA

UCAS code VLN1
Year of entry 2018
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

The core modules in History are:

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.

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.

The core modules in Politics are:

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.

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

The core modules in History are:

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.

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

The core module in History is:

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

Optional modules in History include:

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

 

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

 

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

 

Conflict and Identity in Modern Europe, 1770 to 2000

 

Mao to Mandela - Twentieth Century Leaders of the Non-Western World

 

Rome to Renaissance - An Introduction to the Middle Ages

 

Year 2

Optional modules in History include:

The Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic

 

The Persuit of Power - Europe, 1000 to 1250

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Medicine from Antiquity to the Medieval Near East

 

The Victorians - British History, 1837 to 1901

 

History of the USA, 1787 to 1877

 

Spain, 1898 to 1939

 

Spain from Dictatorship to Democracy, 1939 to 1989

 

Awakening China - From the Opium Wars to the Present Day

 

Science in Greek and Roman Antiquity

 

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

 

Optional modules in Politics include:

European Union - Politics and Theory

 

Comparative European Politics and Institutions

 

International Relations Theory

 

Introduction to Global Studies

 

Democracy in Britain

 

Contemporary Political Theory

 

International Political Economy

 

The Politics of Migration and Ethnicity

 

Empire and Decolonisation

 

Political Behaviour

 

War and Security in World Politics

 

Modern Political Thought

 

International Organisations

 

The Politics of Human Rights

 

Introduction to Political Communication

 

Year 3

Optional modules in History include:

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

 

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

 

Modernity and the Victorians - The Intellectual Response

 

Berlin - A European Metropolis from Kaiser to Kohl

 

The History and Historiography of the Holocaust

 

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

 

Christians and Pagans  - From Constantine to Augustine

 

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

 

Comparing Religious Fundamentalisms in the 19th and 20th Centuries

 

Migration, Identity and Citizenship in Modern Britain

 

The Age of Terror - Terrorism from 1945 to Present

 

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

 

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

 

Progress and its Discontents - European Culture, 1890 to 1914

 

Optional modules in Politics include:

Public Policy and Foreign Policy in the European Union

 

Political Sociology

 

The Politics of the Internet and the Information Society

 

The Politics of Modern Germany

 

Radical Political Theory

 

The British in India - a Social and Political History

 

The Politics of Toleration

 

Social Justice - From Theory to Practice

 

Contemporary Middle East Politics

 

Comparative Democracy and Elections

 

US Foreign Policy

 

Issues in Democratic Theory

 

Advanced Readings in Global Studies

 

Comparative Foreign Policy

 

The Making of Modern South Asia

 

Gendered Communities - Women and Nationalism in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia

 

Advanced Seminar in British Politics

 

Transational Security Studies

 

Resistance to Global Governance

 

The Politics of Africa

 

Defence in the Post-Cold War World

 

Thinking Security - The Theory, Politics and Practice of Security

 

War and its Aftermath

 

Chinese Foreign and Security Policy

 

Visual Politics

 

Global Crime

 

Statecraft and Diplomacy

 

Terrorism and Counterterrorism

 

Non-State Violence

 

Understanding China's Rise

 

Conflict and Law

 

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.

Study time

Proportions of study time will vary depending on modules taken, but typically:

Year 1

You will spend 14% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 86% in guided independent study.

Year 2

You will spend 14% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 86% in guided independent study.

Year 3

You will spend 10% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 90% in guided independent study.

Assessment

Proportions of assessment types will vary depending on modules taken, but typically:

Year 1

Written exams account for 43% of the total assessment for this year of study, and 57% will be assessed through coursework.

Year 2

Written exams account for 51% of the total assessment for this year of study, and 49% will be assessed through coursework.

Year 3

Written exams account for 34% of the total assessment for this year of study, 1% will be assessed through practical exams, and 65% will be assessed through coursework.

Typical offers

Typical offers
A-levels

AAB-ABB
How we assess your application:  predicted grades lower than our typical offers are considered.  Read more about what we look for here.

  • Where an applicant is taking the EPQ alongside A-levels, the EPQ will be taken into consideration and result in lower A-level grades being required.
  • Socio-economic factors which may have impacted an applicant’s education will be taken into consideration and alternative offers may be made to these applicants.
Required/preferred subjects

Required: At least five GCSEs at grade A*-C or 9 - 4 including English and Mathematics.

Preferred subject: History A-level.

Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate

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

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction*, Distinction*, Distinction in a related subject.
BTEC National Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction in a related subject plus an A-level Grade A.
BTEC National Extended Certificate Distinction plus A-levels Grades A,B.
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 AAB-ABB
Scottish Highers AAABB
Irish Leaving Certificate H2,H2,H3,H3,H3 at Higher Level.
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass with at least 24 level 3 credits at Distinction and the remaining level 3 credits at Merit. 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

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International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below

English language
requirements
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. For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer an International Foundation Year, run by Study Group at the Royal Holloway International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, students can progress on to selected undergraduate degree programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London.

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
  • KAYAK
  • NATO Headquarters
  • Oxford Business Group
  • Proctor & Gamble Quadrangle
  • Save the Children 

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

International students tuition fee per year**: £16,500

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 about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

*Tuition fees for UK and EU nationals starting a degree in the academic year 2017/18 will be £9,250 for that year, and is shown for reference purposes only. The tuition fee for UK and EU undergraduates starting their degrees in 2018 is controlled by Government regulations, and details are not yet known. The UK Government has also announced that EU students starting an undergraduate degree in 2018/19 will pay the same level of fee as a UK student for the duration of their degree.

**Fees for international students may increase year-on-year in line with the rate of inflation. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see fees and funding and our  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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