History and Politics BA (Hons)
BA (Hons) History and Politics
BA Hons History and Politics
Discover how the politics of the past have shaped the world we know today. On this BA (Hons) History and Politics degree, you'll retrace the political and social conflicts, revolutions and protest movements of yesterday in order to make sense of the here and now and create positive change.
Travel back to pivotal political moments in time from around the globe guided by our expert academics. Craft your own learning experience by choosing to study the historical and political subjects and eras that most inspire you, such as the French Revolution, post war Britain and Germany, or the American Civil Rights Movement.
As this is an interdisciplinary course, each year you'll also study a bespoke combined history and politics module as well as delving into each subject separately.
Through the course's overarching theme of 'changing the world', you'll use what you learn to rethink modern societal issues, such as social justice, racial and gender equality, and global migration.
You'll graduate with an insight into the powers and processes that have formed today's societies and how positive changes are made. Armed with this understanding of the past, you'll be empowered to address the challenges of the future.
The University of Portsmouth is ranked the number 1 modern university for research quality in Area Studies
- Study two fascinating and interwoven subjects from 1750 to today, through combined interdisciplinary modules and specialist modules in each subject area
- Bring new perspectives to contemporary social issues – such as social justice, human rights and environmentalism – through your studies, supported by the course's overarching theme of 'changing the world'
- Customise your course by choosing your own topics to focus on in years 2 and 3 - from censorship in modern Britain to the Opium War, from Nazi Germany to digital democracy, from the American Republic to anti-racism in the 20th century
- Immerse yourself in Portsmouth's rich heritage, thanks to our close links with the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth Records Service and the D-Day Museum
- Learn from staff who are members of the Centre for European and International Studies Research (CEISR), the UK's largest research centre specialising in humanities and social sciences
- Go on field trips to locations such as the Houses of Parliament and heritage sites on the south coast
- Take part in an interactive mock UN meeting called 'Model United Nations' and take on the role of a specific country
- Choose to spend a year building real experience on a work placement at a museum, law firm, government department, charity or other organisation of interest
BA (Hons) History and Politics degree entry requirements
- A levels – ABB–BBC
- UCAS points – 112–128 points, to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent, to include a relevant subject (calculate your UCAS points)
- International Baccalaureate – 25
You may need to have studied specific subjects – see full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept
English language requirements
- English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.
We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.
If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
Careers and opportunities
Studying history and politics together will give you transferable skills in critical thinking, collaboration, research, analysis and argument, all of which are highly valued by many kinds of employers.
You could also continue your studies at Master's or PhD level in history, politics or a combination of the two.
As a graduate of a Humanities and Social Sciences degree, your skills will give you the flexibility to take on "careers in a variety of sectors including in those of enormous social value".
What areas can you work in with a history and politics degree?
Graduates from our other history and politics courses have taken up roles in the following sectors:
- central and local government
- primary and secondary schools
- higher education providers
- financial services
- corporate governance
- trade unions
Our history and politics alumni have worked with organisations including:
- National Trust
- Office for National Statistics
- West Midlands Police
What jobs can you do with a history and politics degree?
Roles our graduates from other history and politics courses have taken on include:
- public affairs consultant
- museum curator
- development editor in publishing
- researcher and writer for TV
- political researcher, Houses of Parliament
- assistant to Member of Parliament
- civil servant, Department for the Cabinet Office
- senior policy advisor, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
- communications officer, House of Commons
- local government administrator, Government of Jersey
Get experience while you study with support to find part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities and work experience. Towards the end of your degree and after graduation, you'll get 1-to-1 support from our Graduate Recruitment Consultancy to find your perfect role.
Placement year (optional)
After your second year, you'll have the chance to do an optional year-long work placement to get valuable work experience in a sector of your choice.
Potential placement roles
Students from our other history and politics courses have secured placements at:
- The Ministry of Defence
- The House of Commons
- National Museum of the Royal Navy
- Freedom from Torture, a charity which supports survivors of torture who seek protection in the UK
- Shrewsbury Museums
- Law firms such as Darton Law Ltd
The sort of activities you could do during your placement year will depend on the field of your chosen placement. Among other activities, our previous placement students have curated exhibitions, worked as paralegals, organised charity events, or supported MPs in their constituency offices.
We'll help you to identify opportunities and approach possible organisations and businesses. You'll have support from our Placement and Internship Centre and a personal tutor throughout the year.
We can also help you find shorter placements, internships or volunteering opportunities in and around Portsmouth to complement your studies and build your CV. Previous students have done projects for community groups and worked with heritage sites, archives, political parties and local government.
What you'll study on this BA (Hons) History and Politics degree course
Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.
In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, four modules worth 20 credits and one module worth 40 credits.
Placement year (optional)
- Revolutions and Activism: History and Politics – 40 credits
- Societies, Nations, and Empires: Europe 1750-2000 – 20 credits
- World Histories: Introduction to Africa, East Asia, and North America – 20 credits
- Political Thought – 20 credits
- Analysing Politics: Britain and Beyond – 20 credits
There are no optional modules in this year.
- Changing the World – 20 credits
- Working With the Past – 20 credits
- Politics and Policy in Action – 20 credits
- Danger! Censorship, Power and the People in Britain, c. 1850-2000 – 20 credits
- Race, Ethnicity, and Nation: Imagining Post war Britain and Germany – 20 credits
- Empire and its Afterlives in Britain, Europe, and Africa – 20 credits
- Slavery and Resistance in the Atlantic World – 20 credits
- East Asian States and Societies – 20 credits
- People on the Move: Legacy, Integration and Development – 20 credits
- Rethinking Nazi Germany: Politics, History, Society – 20 credits
- Global Environmental Issues and Concerns – 20 credits
- Professional Experience L5 – 20 credits
- Introduction to Teaching – 20 credits
On this course, you can do an optional work placement year between your second and third years to get valuable experience working in industry.
We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.
- History and Politics Dissertation / Major Project – 40 credits
- The French Revolution – 20 credits
- The Opium War, 1839-1842 – 20 credits
- Thomas Jefferson and the Making of the American Republic – 20 credits
- Everyday Slaughter? Accidents and Safety in Britain, c. 1850-1970 – 20 credits
- Civil Rights USA – 20 credits
- Digital Media and Democracy – 20 credits
- Revolution and Repression: Spain – 20 credits
- Racism and Anti-Racism in Post War Britain – 20 credits
Changes to course content
We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.
Therefore, course content is revised and regularly reviewed. This may result in changes being made in order to reflect developments in research, learning from practice and changes in policy at both national and local levels.
How you're assessed
You’ll be assessed through:
- article reviews
- briefing papers
- close textual analysis
- group and individual presentations/podcasts
- website creation
You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.
You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.
Teaching methods on this course include:
- one-on-one tutorials
There's an emphasis on learning the skills to conduct your own research, follow your own initiative, and confidently present your ideas.
You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a web connection.
Teaching staff profiles
Dr Mathias Seiter
I am Course Leader for the BA History and Politics degree and the Subject Area Lead for History. My research focuses on German and Central European history during the long nineteenth century.
My research interests centre on liminal spaces, such as port towns and borderlands, as well as on identity formation, nation building, and German-Jewish history. Both of my current research projects combine questions of identity and liminality.
Dr Jodi Burkett
As a cultural and social historian of late twentieth century Britain, I am primarily interested in the many and varied ways in which the end of the British Empire has impacted on British identity.
In particular, I am interested in the ways in which British national identity has been re-imagined by some people as multi-cultural, multi-racial and multi-ethnic in the post-war period while others have resisted this transformation.
Dr Lee Sartain
I am a Senior Lecturer in American History and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. I am an expert on US civil rights activism and have worked extensively on the NAACP.
My research interests focus on the African American experience in the twentieth century civil rights struggle in the United States. In particular I'm interested in the history of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the longest surviving civil rights organisation in the US.
How you'll spend your time
One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.
We're planning for most of your learning to be supported by timetabled face-to-face teaching with some elements of online provision. Please be aware, the balance between face-to-face teaching and online provision may change depending on Government restrictions. You'll also do lots of independent study with support from staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle. Find out more about how our teaching has transformed to best support your learning.
A typical week
We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your History and Politics degree.
In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and workshops for about 13 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, independent reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course.
You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.
The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.
Supporting your learning
The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:
Types of support
Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.
As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next scheduled meeting.
You'll have help from a team of faculty learning development tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.
They can help with:
- Improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
- Delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
- Understanding and using assignment feedback
- Managing your time and workload
- Revision and exam techniques
As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University's Academic Skills Unit (ASK).
ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:
- Academic writing
- Note taking
- Time management
- Critical thinking
- Presentation skills
- Working in groups
- Revision, memory and exam techniques
If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.
Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.
You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.
If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.
They'll help you to:
- discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
- liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
- access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
- liaise with external services
Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.
The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.
Course costs and funding
Tuition fees (2023 start)
- UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
- EU students – £9,250 a year, including our Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £17,200 a year (subject to annual increase)
Funding your studies
Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.
Additional course costs
These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.
Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.
You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.
You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.
If you take a placement year or study abroad year, tuition fees for that year are as follows:
- UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £925 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
- EU students – £925 a year, including Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £1,800 a year (subject to annual increase)
How to apply from the UK
To start this course in 2023, apply through UCAS. You'll need:
- the UCAS course code – VL29
- our institution code – P80
If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.
You can also sign up to an Open Day to:
- Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
- Speak with lecturers and chat with our students
- Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join
If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.
How to apply from outside the UK
See the 'How to apply' section above for details of how to apply. You can also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.
To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.
If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
Admissions terms and conditions
When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.