BA History and Politics

Duration3 Years
Typical offerAAB-ABB; IB: 34-32
  • History
  • Politics and International Relations
Location Cornwall (Penryn Campus)


The globalising world in which we live presents us with a multitude of opportunities and challenges. Urgent issues such as conflict, development, marginalised communities, poverty and the environment require creative solutions. In this dynamic programme you will explore, understand and engage critically with contemporary socio-political problems through an examination of the past, present and future.

History and Politics at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus is a unique, integrated degree programme that genuinely combines the research expertise of staff in both disciplines. This programme is committed to using both historical practice and political analysis to gain multiple perspectives on contemporary problems. We offer a diverse range of modules from the Early Modern period to the present day. Module choices include the politics of war and counterinsurgency; British imperialism in the Middle East; race relations in North America; propaganda; protest and NGOs; environmental change; gender; science and technology; and security and intelligence.

This programme will equip you with graduate skills sought after by the most competitive employers in the public and private sectors. Our degree in History and Politics is particularly relevant for those interested in a career in diplomacy, NGOs, law and advocacy, teaching, journalism, the Civil Service and international development.

University-funded US field trip

You will have the opportunity to combine academic study with real-world experience. In year three, you can participate in a University-funded US field trip where you will gain insight into the latest global issues and a first-hand perspective on the American political system and its origins.

Our small class sizes, supportive environment and innovative teaching methods will ensure every History and Politics student reaches their potential.

Programme variations

Programme structure

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

The History and Politics degree programme is made up of compulsory (core) and optional modules, which are worth 15 or 30 credits each. Full-time undergraduate students need to complete modules worth a total of 120 credits each year.

Depending on your programme you can take up to 30 credits each year in another subject to develop career-related skills or just widen your intellectual horizons.

Please note that modules offered are subject to change, depending on staff availability, timetabling, and demand.

Year 1

The first year gives you a foundational knowledge historical and political theory and concepts. You will also gain important analytical techniques that will be useful across a range of subjects and research tasks.

Compulsory modules

HIC1000History Foundation Course 30

Optional modules

Select 30 credits of History Level 1 optional modules.

Select 30 credits of Politics Level 1 optional modules.

HIC1300World History 1: Globalization 15
HIC1301World History 2: Science, Environment and Sustainability 15
HIC1600People's History 1: Everyday Life15
HIC1601People's History 2: Politics, Place and Identity15
POC1003British Government and Politics15
POC1014The Public Policy Process15
POC1015Power, Conflict, Inequality: Issues in Global Politics15
POC1016Resistance and Transformation: Struggles in Global Politics15
POC1017Classical Political Ideas: And Why They're Still Useful15
POC1018Foundations in Political Thinking: From Early Christianity to the Renaissance15
POC1019Green Politics in Theory and Practice15
POC1020Global Environmental Politics15

Year 2

In the second year you will advance your grasp of historical and political knowledge and methodology through a set of compulsory modules. Optional modules enable you to develop specialist knowledge on a range of topics.

There are two possible pathways for level 2.

Pathway A: students take CHP2000, Interdisciplinary Project; 60 credits from the list of History level 2 modules; 30 credits of Politics level 2 modules.

Pathway B: students take CHP2000, Interdisciplinary Project; 30 credits from the list of History modules and 60 credits of Politics modules.

Compulsory modules

CHP2000Interdisciplinary Project for History and Politics30

Optional modules

HIC2302Development and Underdevelopment: Less Developed Countries Since 194530
HIC2316The Occult in Victorian Britain15
HIC2321Militarism, Authoritarianism and Modernisation: Japan from 1800 to 194515
HIC2323Early Modern England 1500-1700 - A Social History15
HIC2324Organised Crime in USA15
HIC2330Past Actions, Present Woes, Future Possibilities: History in the Anthropocene30
HIC2331Birth of Modern America: The USA 1865-194115
POC2021Research Inquiry in Practice15
POC2023Doing Politics Research30
POC2027The Politics of War30
POC2029Global Governance and International Relations30
POC2051Political Psychology of Masses15
POC2052NGOs: Responding to Global Challenges15
POC2059Political Psychology of Elites15
POC2061Order Out of Chaos: Radical Democracy in Theory15
POC2062Order Out of Chaos: Radical Democracy in Practice15

Year 3

The centre-point of the final year is the dissertation. This provides you with the opportunity to explore an area of interest and to demonstrate what you have learned over the previous years of your degree. You will also take up to three other specialist modules to create a programme of work fully reflecting your interests.

Pathway A: students take CHP3040, Interdisciplinary Dissertation; 30 credits from the list of History level 3 modules; and 60 credits of Politics level 3 modules.

Pathway B: students take CHP3040, Interdisciplinary Dissertation; 60 credits from the list of History modules; and 30 credits of Politics modules.

Compulsory modules

CHP3040Interdisciplinary Third-Year Dissertation in History and Politics30

Optional modules

HIC3300Britain and the Telecommunications Revolution30
HIC3301The First World War: Interrogating the Myths30
HIC3303The Three Klans: Ethno-Politics in the 19th and 20th Century US30
HIC3306Thatcher and Thatcherism30
HIC3311Indigenous History, Colonialism and Identity in Western Canada30
HIC3508Celtic Politics since 1880: 4 Celtic Nations30
POC3019China in World Politics30
POC3020The Politics of War30
POC3022Global Governance and International Relations30
POC3050The EU Policy Process 15
POC3052The Ethics and Politics of Humanitarian Intervention 15
POC3055Modern Political Thought: Rights, The Nation and The State30
POC3056Modern Political Thought: In Critique of Rights 15
POC3063The Politics of Climate Change30
POC3065Secrets, Lies and Spies15
POC3066Security and Liberty30
POC3064Foreign Policy 30

Full module descriptions

For full module descriptions please visit the History website.

Entry requirements 2017

Typical offer

AAB-ABB; IB: 34-32

Additional selection criteria

We are looking for well-qualified students with a genuine interest in and enthusiasm for the subject.

We receive a large number of applications from well-qualified applicants and may not be able to make offers to all those applicants who have achieved or are predicted to achieve grades in line with the typical offer shown above.

In addition to the specific requirements listed above, we look for excellent A level* results/predictions and we may also take into account results up to and including GCSEs* and AS Levels* as part of our holistic assessment of an application.

*Equivalent qualifications will be considered. For more information about our equivalencies for specific qualifications please contact our Admissions Office.

Programmes with Study Abroad

Entry for programmes ‘with Study Abroad’ is offered on the basis that you will spend your time abroad at an institution where the teaching and examining is delivered in English. However, we also have partners that teach in French, Spanish and German. Should you wish to study at one of these institutions you will need to take modules through the Foreign Language Centre up to ‘Advanced’ standard in the appropriate language. In order to reach this standard before the year abroad, students usually need to have entered the University with the equivalent of a good GCSE or AS level (or higher) in that language.

International students

International students should check details of our English language requirements and may be interested in our Foundation programmes.

Further information

Please read the important information about our Typical offer.

For full and up-to-date information on applying to Exeter and entry requirements, including requirements for other types of qualification, please see the Applying section.

Learning and teaching

We teach via a combination of lectures, tutorials and seminars, as well as self-directed learning. Students are also encouraged to use the wide range of web-based course material that we make available. Teaching comprises small-scale, interactive lectures, visiting practitioners, field trips, simulations and game exercises, and engagement with local issues and communities. In the first two years, we place considerable emphasis on teaching in small groups, which gives you ample opportunity to participate, as well as providing close contact between you and members of staff. In the third year there are few formal lectures and much of your learning is through seminars, in which the usual format consists of students presenting reports followed by class discussion. You will also carry out a piece of research and write a dissertation on a topic of your choice under the close supervision of a member of staff with similar research interests.

The ambience of the department is one of informality. Members of the teaching staff either maintain an open-door policy for student enquiries, or have a regular set of times when they can be consulted. On day one, you are allocated a personal tutor who acts as a mentor on academic work, as well as sources of advice for accessing wider Student Services.


Assessment is via a combination of written examinations, continuous assessment essays, oral presentations, group project work and a dissertation. As well as traditional academic essays, we also assess students via creative methods including written portfolios, reports, online communications (such as YouTube), and presentations.

Study abroad

A four year ‘with Study Abroad’ degree programme is available. A full year abroad, at one of our renowned partner institutions, is generally taken in the third year of a four year degree programme. You can apply directly for the four year 'with Study Abroad' programme, or transfer from another programme once you are at the University of Exeter.


History graduates from the University of Exeter have an excellent reputation with graduate recruiters and compete very successfully in the employment market. Six months after graduation 96.3%* of our History graduates are employed or in further study.

Studying History at the University of Exeter provides you with skills that are attractive to employers and relevant for a wide range of careers. Alongside in-depth subject knowledge you’ll develop skills in researching; analysing and assessing sources; written and verbal communication; managing and interpreting information and developing ideas and arguments. Our recent graduates have since secured positions in the Heritage and Arts sector, with organisations such as the National Trust and TVF Media.

Studying in History will also equip you with valuable skills for graduate-level work in other sectors. A degree in History provides good opportunities to develop skills that are attractive to many employers, such team work; problem solving and organisational skills. Our recent History graduates have pursued careers in:

  • TV
  • Education
  • Retail Management
  • Recruitment
  • Charities
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Journalism

Other recent graduates have progressed to postgraduate courses in:

  • MA Conflict, Security and Development
  • Graduate Diploma in Law
  • MA English Literary Studies
  • MA History
  • MSC International Management
  • PGCE


The services offered by the Humanities careers and employability team are complementary to the services offered by our central Career Zone, where you can participate in practical sessions to develop your skills; access paid internships and volunteering opportunities; explore postgraduate study options; meet prospective employers; get one-to-one advice and learn how to secure the right job for you. 

*First–degree University of Exeter graduates of History. HESA Performance Indicator sourced from the DLHE survey 2013/14.

‌‌‌Find out more about careers in History and Politics

Contact us

Streatham Campus, Exeter

Phone: +44 (0)1392 724202

Penryn Campus, Cornwall

Phone: +44 (0)1326 371801

Website: Visit the History website