BA History and Politics
|Typical offer||AAB-ABB; IB: 34-32; BTEC DDD-DDM|
|Location||Cornwall (Penryn Campus)|
US field trip
Optional field trip to the United States where you’ll gain insight into the latest global issues and a first-hand perspective on the American political system. Find out more.
The History and Politics course at Penryn has been specially designed to incorporate historical practice with in-depth political analysis to broaden perspectives on contemporary issues. From our state-of-the-art eco campus in Cornwall you will look back at changes in society conflict, culture, religion, politics and science to find new and creative ways to address urgent issues around development, marginalised communities, poverty and the environment. As a modern History department, we have a specific emphasis on public history with expertise in areas such as local party politics, environmental politics, modern conflict and 19th and 20th century North American History. The Politics department has expertise in war and conflict, international relations and foreign policy, politics in Asia and the Middle East, environmental politics, American politics, comparative politics and political theory.
Set in 100 acres of countryside and located close to the coastal town of Falmouth, this flexible course introduces you to centuries of history from the early Medieval period to the 21st century. Students can experience and contribute to cutting-edge research through current projects our expert faculty are undertaking in areas such as the history of Britain, continental Europe and on world and public history. With support from your tutors, you will learn essential skills like source evaluation, interpretation and historical writing to hone your abilities as an independent researcher. In the first year, you will cover modules such as Key Concepts in Politics and International Relations, Foundations in European History, Power, Inequality and Global Justice, and World History. In year two, expose the complex history of slavery, organised crime and inter-imperial rivalry in the Middle East. You also have the opportunity to customise the course to suit your needs, by selecting optional modules that you’re passionate about.
The University of Exeter is ranked in the top 100 worldwide for both subjects. In UK subject rankings History is in the top 5 in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018 and the Complete University Guide 2019, and politics in the top 10 in the Complete University Guide 2019 and The Guardian University Guide 2019. You benefit from having the weight of a Russel Group university behind you whilst enjoying an intimate teaching environment that offers close contact between staff and students. Here, you join a friendly and passionate community that will nurture your talents as a historian and political scientist.
The BA History and Politics degree at our Penryn campus is progressive, allowing you to build a programme that’s right for you. We have a departmentally subsidised field trip to the United States for you to gain insight into the latest global issues and obtain a first-hand perspective of the American political system. You can also choose to spend a year studying abroad by working with our international partner universities, studying a different language and specialising in new areas. Our students are currently in Australia, the Netherlands, Japan and the US amongst other places. You can also choose to spend a year working in the industry to learn valuable experience and skills that will help you secure a job straight after you graduate.
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.
Full module descriptions
For full module descriptions please visit the History website.
Entry requirements 2019
AAB-ABB; IB: 34-32; BTEC DDD-DDM
Additional selection criteria
We are looking for well-qualified students with a genuine interest in and enthusiasm for the subject.
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.
International students should check details of our English language requirements and may be interested in our Foundation programme for Humanities, Law and Social Science.
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.
Studying History and Politics involves not only desk-based research but often undertaking field work within a given context, in order to witness the evolution of political processes and their impact on society first hand. Such field work can take a variety of different forms, ranging from interviews with important stakeholders, to focus group discussions with community members, and the analysis of politicised spaces and public forums.
As part of your studies you can go on our optional, departmentally-subsidised* field trip to the United States where you’ll gain insight into the latest global issues and a first-hand perspective on the American political system. Taken before the start of your third year, the six-day field trip to New York will provide you with the basic training required to carry out ethical field work under a controlled, supervised setting. This is a unique opportunity which is only available to students studying Politics at our Penryn Campus in Cornwall.
Sample programme^(each day begins at 09:00 with a briefing)
- Statue of Liberty
- Ellis Island
- Debrief in study groups
- Portfolio development
- World Trade Center
- Global capitalism, American wealth, power, and inequality – a walking tour which includes The Bowery and Chinatown to Wall Street and South Seaport
- Portfolio development
- America in the News - collection of newspaper clippings discussing current affairs in the USA and New York
- Group discussion about what these newspaper reports say about contemporary USA
- NYU - seminar and discussions with NYU students about life and politics in the USA
- Portfolio development
- City Hall
- United Nations
- Close of scheduled activities, portfolio development
- ABC News: How are editorial decisions about the news made? What kind of operational considerations are taken into account?
- A behind the scenes look at 'The View' (current affairs), and the US Presidential race
- Walking tour - the High Line and the west River Park from W 67 St. Private vs public spaces
- Whole Group Conference
You will keep an ethnographic notebook of your travels, collect photos of meaningful sites, conduct interviews with key individuals and critically assess the politics of commemoration and the negotiation of space in New York, so as to produce a report on the city's politics.
* Flights, hostel accommodation, breakfast, metro pass, entrance fees, and transfers to and from JFK Airport are included. Other meals will need to be paid for, although the hostel has excellent kitchen facilities. You will also need to have a valid passport and the necessary visas. Guidance on how to prepare for the visit will be provided by the module tutor.
^Please note field course destinations and the exact itinerary may be subject to change.
History graduates from the University of Exeter have an excellent reputation with graduate recruiters and compete very successfully in the employment market.
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:
- Retail Management
- Finance and Accounting
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
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.