BA History and International Relations with Study Abroad

UCAS code VLF3
Duration 4 Years
Typical offer AAB-ABB; IB: 34-32; BTEC DDD-DDM
  • History
  • Politics and International Relations
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 BA History and International Relations course at our state-of-the-art eco campus in Cornwall takes you on a journey through the human race in historic times: our activities, ideas, creations, institutions and impact – teaching you to understand how the past has shaped the world we know today. By looking back at what has been, particularly world events that define key moments in time, we can draw conclusions and vital insight into the character and workings of world politics as they are now. In an ever-connected world, International Relations are developing at an exponential rate making this a fascinating area in which to focus your studies.

Set in 100 acres of countryside and located close to the coastal town of Falmouth, Penryn offers a unique university experience backed by the weight of a Russel Group university. Exeter has a longstanding reputation in History and Politics, ranked in the top 100 worldwide for both subjects.

From the Medieval period through to the current day, history subject modules will cover a range or themes including; international, economic, cultural and social history across many different geographies like the Americas, parts of Asia, Britain and Europe. Students can experience and contribute to cutting-edge research through current work 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 and interpretation and historical writing to hone your talents as a historian. You are able to customise the course to suit your needs, by selecting optional modules that you’re passionate about.

This degree is aimed as providing a strong foundation in your understanding of international issues with the freedom to specialise in areas of specific interest. With a range of teaching methods including lectures, collaborative team working, lively debates and written assignments you will build the confidence to communicate effectively about a range of topics. You will have the chance to specialise in an issue or region, and choose modules that include the Arab-Israeli conflict; authoritarianism; extremism and populism; decline and fall of empire; American politics; imperialism; race; gender; protest; security and intelligence; foreign policy; and political psychology. You will have the opportunity to participate in a US field trip where you will gain a first-hand perspective on these topics from the perspective of a global superpower.

The Study Abroad programme will help to broaden your studies. You will spend your third year at one of our partner institutions based in Canada, the USA, Japan, Australia, France, Spain and the Netherlands to name a few. Students who have studied abroad demonstrate initiative, independence, motivation and, depending on where they stay, may also have gained a working knowledge of another language – all qualities valued by employers.


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.

Year 1

Year 2

Final year

Full module descriptions

For full module descriptions from previous years, please visit our Humanities student website.

Entry requirements 2020

Typical offer


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.

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

If your academic qualifications or English language skills do not meet our entry requirements our INTO University of Exeter centre offers a range of courses to help you reach the required language and academic standards.

International Foundation programmes

Preparation for entry to Year 1 of an undergraduate degree:

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

History at Penryn is made up of a distinct collective of leading scholars who are drawn together by the interdisciplinary nature of their research and teaching. Research interests are varied but share an interest in the historical roots of issues which continue to resonate today. We focus on using history to understand the challenges posed by globalisation, ethnic conflict, scientific and environmental change. We are a modern department, focused on history from 1500 onwards, and have particular expertise in Cornish history, culture, memory and heritage, oral history and party politics, environmentalism and environmental politics, the First World War and 19th-20th century North American History.

A key characteristic of History at Penryn is our emphasis on public history. We encourage you to critically reflect on the purposes – both intended and unintended – of history and engage with the broad range of ways in which the public interact with history.

The educational experience in Cornwall, with its intimate, small-group teaching and close contact with academics, is incredibly well-suited to studying history. Emphasis is on innovative learning and teaching in a flexible, personal atmosphere and this is reflected in our outstanding ratings in the National Student Survey. 

Study abroad

Study Abroad is the opportunity to study at one of our renowned partner universities around the world. Last year over 300 College of Humanities students from all disciplines took advantage of a year abroad in countries across the globe.

All students in Humanities can choose to study abroad as part of their degree. The year abroad takes place 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 Exeter.

Why study abroad?

There are many good reasons why students choose a programme with a Study Abroad placement. First and foremost, living and studying in a different country offers exciting new experiences and the chance to broaden one’s horizons, academically and culturally. What’s more, it encourages you to become more self-confident and independent, as well as allowing the chance to specialise in areas that are possibly not available at Exeter. The willingness to adapt to new environments and to face new challenges are just two of the factors that make students with a Study Abroad degree so invaluable to future employers. For these reasons, amongst many others, Study Abroad is an opportunity that should be considered by all Humanities students.

Where can I study abroad?

Students in the College of Humanities are currently able to study abroad at universities in locations such as Canada, the USA, Japan, Australia, France, Spain, Netherlands to name a few. For a full list of the destinations available, please see our 'where can I study abroad' pages.

Find out more

If you have any questions about studying abroad as part of your degree, you can contact our Study Abroad team via:





Our degree in History and International Relations is especially relevant for those wishing to pursue a career in government (ie, the Foreign Office, intelligence agencies, diplomatic services); not-for-profit organisations; international law; the Civil Service; international organisations (ie, UN, EU); political analysis; and further study.

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:

  • 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. 

‌‌‌Find out more about careers in History and Politics

Contact us

Streatham Campus, Exeter

WebEnquire online
Phone: +44 (0)1392 724202

Penryn Campus, Cornwall

WebEnquire online
Phone: +44 (0)1326 371801

Website: Visit the History website