History and Politics

BSc (Hons)

Are you ready to critically explore the past and understand the crucial role of politics in shaping the world's future?

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type
Full-time
Entry requirements

BBC (standard offer)

BCC (contextual offer)

Duration

4 years with integrated placement year (international students may opt out of the placement year)

UCAS code(s)

LV21

Start date

Course overview

The BSc (Hons) History and Politics programme offers a well-rounded combination of historical and political exploration with practical experiences like field trips to historical sites and hands-on research in local archives.

The programme delves into topics such as nationalism, state-building, war and peace, religious conflicts, and globalisation's historical context. Within the politics segment, you will explore topics such as security, political economy, democratisation, ethics, sports, gender, protests and religion.

With the help of the integrated placement year, studying history and politics together fosters critical thinking, independence, and advanced analytical skills, preparing you for a successful career in a range of industries. 

History and International Relations student, Aiyesha Swarnn

“My course was amazing. I learnt a lot of skills ranging from research to analytical skills. I made great friends who supported me throughout my time at Aston, and the lectures also provided me with great help and support. I was excited to graduate as I had learnt so much and was ready to apply what I had learnt to the real world!”

Aiyesha Swarnn
BSc (Hons) History and International Relations
Co-editor, Journal of Intersectional Social Justice

Why History and Politics at Aston University?

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Safe in our hands
We were ranked top 5 in the UK for ‘graduate prospects – on track’ (Politics; Complete University Guide, 2023)
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Opportunity to grow
100% of students felt positive about the learning opportunities available to them (History programmes; National Student Survey, 2023)
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Gold standard teaching
Aston University was awarded Gold - the highest possible rating for the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF, 2023)
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Our academics are clear
100% of students felt that teaching staff were good or very good at explaining things (History programmes; National Student Survey, 2023)
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Earn more
Our graduates are among the highest paid in the country, earning on average £36,100 five years after graduating (Longitudinal Education Outcomes, 2023)

Course description

BSc (Hons) History and Politics

Our BSc (Hons) History and Politics degree will equip you with an in-depth understanding of modern history, global dynamics, advanced analytical skills and real-world insights, preparing you for a successful career after graduation.

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What we will provide
First-class teaching in the UK’s second-largest city, delivered by a diverse array of staff who will inspire and excite you. You will benefit from applied learning, research-informed teaching and authentic assessment. As a student on this programme, you will be one of the first to know about advancements in topical research by staff across the department, even before it is published.

We are also an Adobe Creative Campus meaning you will have access to top-notch software licenses, including Adobe and Solidworks, commonly used in industry.

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What you will provide
It is important you learn how to adapt a growth mindset to your studies – understanding that intelligence and success come from applying yourself, a willingness to learn and an ambition and drive to excel. 

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What skills we teach
We will help you refine your historical insight whilst building crucial research, communication, analytical and critical thinking skills. Our graduates are articulate, creative and versatile communicators equipped with the practical skills needed to effect positive change in various professional avenues.

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Placement year
We all know that taking a placement year will boost your employability – it’s what makes Aston University graduates some of the most employable in the country. It’s for this reason that we encourage every student to take one. The placement year gives you the chance to put theory into practice, gain relevant work experience, and develop professional and transferable skills.

The placement year is compulsory for BSc (Hons) History and Politics students. International students can request permission to opt out of the placement year, but we strongly recommend that it is completed where possible.

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Career prospects
As an Aston University History and Politics graduate, you will be equipped for a range of different career options. Our recent graduates have gone on to work across the public, private and third sectors for organisations including: Birmingham City Council, Civil Service, IBM, West Midlands Police, Lidl.

How you will learn

Our programme is designed to give you a dynamic learning experience, equipping you with the skills for a successful career in understanding and analysing intercultural dynamics. Through practical teaching methods, including interactive lectures, group seminars, and workshops led by experienced academic staff, you will engage in lively discussions and explore diverse viewpoints.

You will also gain hands-on experience through applied modules, study trips and the integrated placement year, preparing you to tackle real-world challenges in an ever-changing global context. This practical approach not only helps you grasp historical and political science theories but also nurtures critical thinking and research skills essential in today's world.

In your final year, you will undertake a major piece of independent research in the form of a dissertation. You will have the opportunity to choose from a range of optional modules including EuroSim, where students compete in an international intercollegiate negotiation simulation.

At the start of your course, you will be allocated a personal tutor who can offer individual study advice and guidance. You will also benefit from access to the University Library's extensive collection of over 25,000 books and electronic journals.

What you will learn

Driven by the needs of industry and individuals, our course provides you with a comprehensive understanding of key historical and political theories and concepts and an ability to critically analyse these, alongside the opportunity to specialise in areas of history and politics that interest you. 

First year

In your first year, you will grasp the foundational principles and concepts associated with history and politics. You will handle historical materials, engage with diverse historiographical approaches and explore how today’s political landscape was formed. You will investigate contemporary British politics and engage with current affairs to grasp real-world applications.

Second year

In your second year, you will refine your communication and teamwork skills, whilst building upon the foundations developed in your first year. You will master historical methods, analyse political ideas, institutions and systems, and navigate digital technologies. You will develop your ability to critically assess a range of evidence sources.

Placement year

The Aston University placement year forms an integral part of your educational journey and gives you the chance to put theory into practice, gain relevant work experience, and develop professional and transferable skills. Our award-winning careers and placements team are on hand to support you through every step of your placement journey.

Final year

In your final year, you will complete a research dissertation on a historical or political topic of your choice, showcasing your ability to conduct independent research with a clear consideration of ethics, theory and methods. You will specialise in topics you enjoy most by choosing from a range of optional modules.

Bart Stawera history and international relations student

My placement year at City Year UK

Bart Stawera spoke to us and reflected on his placement experience and his journey after graduating.

Course objectives

  1. Provides you with an excellent learning experience that draws on the research and other expertise of Aston University academic staff.
  2. Equips you as a well-qualified and highly employable graduate with key skills for lifelong learning.
  3. Imparts to you an understanding of the theories, values, structures, relationships and decision-making procedures of government and society at local, regional, national and international or global level.
  4. Develops your use of different methods of political analysis drawing on history, political philosophy and the social sciences.
  5. Encourages you to think critically about events and ideas, particularly with a national, international or supranational dimension.
  6. Provides you with a gamut of intellectual tools for addressing a wide range of questions of public concern.
  7. Develops your awareness, understanding and critical command of continuity and change over extended time periods, accessed through a range of primary data and secondary perspectives, and enables you to express the same in written or spoken forms.
  8. Achieves in-depth knowledge of contemporary and modern history since 1800 with special emphasis on British and world history and a thematic diet encompassing global and transnational connections, nationalism, internationalism, and other topics in social, political, and cultural history.
  9. Provides a grounding in a range of methods of data analysis, processing and interpretation, notably the approaches of digital history.

Modules

Modules and learning outcomes

Year 1 modules

In your first year you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Global History in Perspective15
Making Histories I: Methods, Theories, Controversies30
Contemporary Britain: from the Boer War to Brexit15
Introduction to Studying and Researching Politics30
British Politics since 199015
Total105

You will choose one of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
The Making of the Modern World15
What’s Trending (Current Affairs in Politics and International Relations)15

*Availability of any optional modules will be subject to staff availability and a minimum number of students who express an interest in studying the optional modules.

Year 1 outcomes

On successful completion of the first year, you will be able to:

  • Understand a substantial body of historical knowledge.
  • Understand the varieties of approaches to interpreting the past; and of concepts and theories derived from the humanities and social science.
  • Understand continuity and change over extended time spans.
  • Develop and sustain arguments in a variety of forms, formulating appropriate questions and analysis.
  • Interrogate, read, analyse and reflect critically and contextually upon primary and secondary sources.
  • Work collaboratively and participate in group work, as well as working independently and managing time.
  • Access a variety of audio-visual, paper and electronic resources, and use information and communication technologies (ICTs) appropriately for the retrieval and presentation of information.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the nature and significance of politics and international relations as human activities in national, regional/European and international or global frameworks.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of basic theories and methods used in the study of politics and international relations as applied to the analysis of political ideas, institutions and practices.
  • Present, evaluate and interpret qualitative and quantitative data, in order to develop lines of argument and make sound judgements in accordance with basic theories and concepts of political science.
  • Evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches to solving political problems, including European, international and global ones.

Year 2 modules

In your second year you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Case Studies in Global History30
Making Histories II15
Political Theories and Ideologies15
Comparative Government and Politics15
Total75

You will choose one of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
Humanitarian Action and Foreign Intervention, 1915 – today15
The Atlantic World: Slavery and Emancipation15
The History of Internationalism: From Karl Marx to Greta Thunberg15

You will choose one of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
West European Politics and Society15
North American Politics and Society15
East Asian Politics and Society: China and Japan15
South Asian Politics and Society15

You will choose one of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
The Politics and Policies of the European Union15
Introduction to Political Economy: Institutions and Rational Choice15

*Availability of any optional modules will be subject to staff availability and a minimum number of students who express an interest in studying the optional modules.

Year 2 outcomes

On successful completion of the second year, you will be able to:

  • Understand the complexity of reconstructing the past, and the problematic and varied nature of historical evidence.
  • Understand the varieties of approaches to interpreting the past; and of concepts and theories derived from the humanities and social science.
  • Understand comparative and intercultural perspectives, including the ability to compare the histories of different countries, societies, or cultures.
  • Understand theories, methods and ethical standards used for the empirical analysis of modern societies.
  • Develop and sustain arguments in a variety of forms, formulating appropriate questions and analysis.
  • Interrogate, read, analyse and reflect critically and contextually upon a variety of primary and secondary sources to apply them in new contexts.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and a critical understanding of the theories of politics and international relations as applied to the analysis of political ideas, institutions and practices.
  • Understand different national, regional/European and international political systems; the nature and distribution of power in them; the social, economic, historical and cultural contexts within which they operate, and the relationships between them.
  • Apply the concepts and principles of politics and international relations in contexts outside of which they were first studied, including an employment context.

Placement year modules

You will spend your third year on placement. You will be fully supported throughout the process by our award-winning Careers and Placements team.

Placement year

Module TitleCredits
Integrated Placement Year120

Placement year outcomes

On successful completion of the placement year, you will be able to:

  • Apply your key skills and competencies within a professional context. 
  • Demonstrate fluency and effective communication through written correspondence.
  • Reflect on your placement journey.
  • Demonstrate experience in making informed decisions in matters related to your placement.
  • Demonstrate increasing personal and professional development through a placement and articulate your application and potential transfer through applied reflection.

Final year modules

In your final year you will study the following core module:

Module TitleCredits
History Workshop30

You will choose at least one of the following dissertation modules:

Module TitleCredits
Dissertation (History)30
Dissertation (Politics)30

If you choose history as your dissertation subject, you will choose four of the following optional modules. If you choose politics as your dissertation subject, you will choose two of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
African Politics: From the Colonial Period to the Present Day15
America in the World15
The American Presidency15
Chinese Politics and Society15
Conflict and Intervention15
Diplomacy and Soft Power15
EuroSim: Learning Negotiation through Simulation Games15
Gender and Politics15
Interest Groups and Lobbying15
Politics and Islam: Past and Present15
Politics and Protest in a Globalised World15
Politics of Development15
Religion and Politics in Contemporary Europe15
Sport and Politics15
Technology and Digital Politics15
The International Relations of East Asia15
The Populist Radical Right in Europe15
Debates in Contemporary British Politics15
Political Parties15

If you choose politics as your dissertation subject, you will choose two of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
Twin Periods? The Interwar Years and post-1989 History15
Bullets, Bombs and Bitcoin: History and Technology since 199015
Rage, Shame and Hope: Emotions and Politics from the 19th to the 21st Century15
Teaching History in the 21st Century15

*Availability of any optional modules will be subject to staff availability and a minimum number of students who express an interest in studying the optional modules.

Final year outcomes

On successful completion of the final year, you will be able to:

  • Understand a substantial body of historical knowledge.
  • Engage in analytical and evaluative thinking.
  • Engage with and critically interpret layers of meaning within texts and other cultural products.
  • Design, research, and present a sustained and independently conceived piece of writing within the framework of a structured research project.
  • Demonstrate a systematic and critical knowledge of the key theories, methods and applications of political science and international relations.
  • Identify a research question and design, execute and report an extensive, empirically based research project.
  • Evaluate critically and comment on advanced political science and international relations scholarship.
  • Exercise personal initiative and responsibility and make informed decisions in complex and unpredictable contexts.
  • Communicate ideas, problems, solutions and research results effectively to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.

We regularly review our modules to provide the best possible teaching and learning experience, incorporating academic developments, student feedback and employer feedback.

There may be some change to some of the modules on this course for 2025/26 entry.

We’ll make sure to let you know of any changes to modules at the earliest opportunity by updating our course webpages. 
 
We’ll do our best to provide as much optional choice as we can, but timetabling constraints may mean it isn’t possible to take some module combinations. The structure of some courses means that the order of modules or the streams you choose may determine whether modules are core or optional. This means that your core modules or options may differ from what’s shown here.


 

Entry requirements

  • A Levels

    BBC (standard offer)
    BCC (with EPQ or Core Maths minimum grade B)
    BCC (contextual offer)

  • Contextual offers

    Aston Ready is our contextual offer scheme that could reduce your undergraduate offer by one or two grades. Assessed at the point of application, there are no additional forms to fill in.

Contextual offer criteria

BTEC Extended Diploma – DDM (standard offer)

The University also accepts the BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate/BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma and BTEC Level 3 National Diploma/BTEC Level 3 Diploma for entry onto degree programmes, provided that they are studied in combination with other qualifications that are equivalent to three full A2 Levels.

29 points overall in the IB diploma with grades 5,5,4 in 3 higher level subjects.

You must also have Standard Level grade 4 in Mathematics and grade 5 in English Language.

We accept the QAA-recognised Access Diploma which must consist of 45 credits at Level 3.

You must obtain a minimum of 30 distinction and the rest must be at merit or distinction.

Please note that we do not accept the English and Maths components within the Access qualification and you must meet the GCSE entry requirement.

 

The following T Levels are accepted qualifications for this course:

  • Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction - grade D
  • Digital Production, Design and Production - grade D
  • Education and Childcare - grade D
  • Onsite Construction - grade D
  • Building Services Engineering for Construction - grade D
  • Digital Business Services - grade D
  • Digital Support Services - grade D
  • Health - grade D
  • Healthcare Science - grade D
  • Science - grade D
  • Accounting - grade D
  • Finance - grade D
  • Management and administration - grade D
  • Design and development for engineering and manufacturing - grade D 
  • Maintenance, installation and repair for engineering and manufacturing - grade D
  • Legal Services - grade D 

GCSE Maths – grade C/4

GCSE English Language or English Literature – grade C/4

Year 1 entry: We may consider applicants for year 1 entry who are undertaking a first year degree elsewhere. You must meet the GCSEs and A Level (or equivalent) requirements as listed. In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications and this must include an academic reference.
Year 2 entry: Please note that second year transfers are not part of the standard admissions process and is up to the discretion of the admissions team and tutor. Applications are only considered if there is space on that year of the programme. Typically, applicants for second year entry must meet the GCSEs and A Level (or equivalent) requirements as listed. Alongside this you must have successfully passed (or be expected to pass) your first year with 120 credits on an equivalent programme at another recognised university with very similar module content. The equivalency of the programme is reviewed by the Admissions Tutor and you will be required to provide an official copy of the programme specification of this. In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications and this must include an academic reference.
Year 3 entry onwards: We will not be able to consider any application for Year 3 or final year. 

International students

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students on many of our undergraduate programmes. Students from over 120 countries choose to study with us every year. Based in the centre of Birmingham, Aston is not only a great place to study, it’s also a great place to live.

Qualifications in your country

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification.

English language requirements

International students can enter at Year 2 of this course having completed an undergraduate year one programme at the required academic level with approved teaching partners ONCAMPUS Aston or NCUK.

Aston University provides a range of opportunities for international students to join our community and study on our campus. A key part of our strategy is our relationships with teaching partners, providing multiple pathways to Aston.

Aston’s professional work placements can improve your chance of securing a graduate job. Placements give you experience, confidence and opportunities and, as an Aston student, you’ll be better prepared for your future career. One of the great things about Aston is our focus on employability. Our close links with businesses, industries and professions make this possible.

Find out more about applying

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new Graduate Immigration Route which enables international students to remain in the UK for two years after you complete your studies to find work. This new post-study work visa applies to international students completing full-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Graduate Immigration Route

Fees and scholarships

Course fees

UK students
(2024/25)

Annual tuition fees:£9,250
During placement year:£1,250

International students
(2024/25)

Annual tuition fees:£18,250
During placement year:£2,500

Fees listed are for 2024 entry. For Sandwich courses the placement fee is £1250 for Home/UK students and £2,500 for International students. For Home students: Tuition fees for UK/Home students may change in line with government policy. When undertaking a placement year, a placement year fee applies. For International students: The International students fee is a fixed annual fee for the duration of the Programme, except whilst on placement when a placement year fee applies.

More information on fees

For Home students: Tuition fees for UK/Home students may change in line with government policy.

For International students: The International students fee is a fixed annual fee for the duration of the Programme, except whilst on placement when a placement year fee applies.

Scholarships

At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs.

Explore our scholarships 

Assessment

You will be assessed through a combination of written and oral examinations, class tests, individual and group coursework, projects, presentations and practical assessments. Special emphasis will be placed on authentic assessment.

Career prospects

Our BSc (Hons) History and Politics programme will prepare you for a range of careers across the public, private and third sectors. Our graduates are among the highest paid in the country, according to the 2023 Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO). This data shows that five years after graduation, employed Aston University graduates have the 15th highest median salary among all UK Higher Education Institutions, with a median salary of £36,100.

The transferable skills that our history and politics programmes provide mean that our graduates are successful in finding employment in a wide range of roles such as:

  • Area manager
  • Tax specialist
  • Journal editor
  • Research officer
  • Senior economic analyst
  • Account manager
  • Sales manager
  • Finance executive
  • Data insight consultant
  • Strategy analyst
  • Marketing executive
  • Business operations executive
  • Project manager
  • Teacher
  • Financial analyst
  • Policy officer
  • Data protection officer

Our graduates have gone on to work at companies such as Lidl, HMRC, West Midlands Police, PwC, HS2, Samsung and Birmingham City Council.

L'myah Sherae - Politics and Sociology graduate

One of the best decisions I made

L’myah Sherae knew she wanted to work in race relations and politics from a young age. She completed her placement year at the Houses of Parliament and now runs her own political campaigns company.

Our students achieve some amazing things during their time with us and after they graduate - whether it's setting up their own businesses, landing competitive graduate schemes, or making real differences within their communities.

Hear from our graduates

Alumni

Be part of our community

Once you have joined us at Aston University, you’ll always be part of our community, even beyond graduation.
 

Frequently asked questions

Why study history?

Why study history? Isn’t it a bit narrow? Dr Brian Sudlow, a history lecturer at Aston University, explains the benefits of studying history.

Read more

Why study politics or international relations?

Why study politics and international relations? Dr Laura Southgate, a lecturer at Aston University, explains the benefits of studying this discipline.

Read more

How will a placement year benefit me?

Whether you choose to study abroad or do a work placement, Aston University’s links with employers and universities around the world mean you will have a wide range of options to boost your employability and explore the world of work.

Our work placements give you the opportunity to apply what you have learnt on your course while gaining valuable professional and paid experience. It can enhance your graduate employment prospects and help you to make more informed career decisions. Around one in five of our placement students are offered graduate jobs by their placement employer.

Find out more

Is Birmingham a good place to study?

Our campus is based in the centre of Birmingham, the youngest major city in Europe and a great place to live, work and study.

  • Great music and entertainment with a vibrant nightlife. Bars, clubs, pubs, live music, festivals, concerts. Whatever your tastes, there's something here for everyone.
  • Fantastic food. Birmingham's diverse community means you can try anything from the famous Balti triangle, the Chinese Quarter, high street chains, halal and vegan food, and Michelin-star dining.
  • World-class shopping. The Bullring and Grand Central is a shopper's paradise. From the world's biggest Primark to luxury brands at the Mailbox.
  • Arts and culture. Museums, galleries, theatres, concerts and Birmingham's art collection is as wide as it is impressive - not to be missed.
  • Green, open spaces. One of the greenest cities in Europe, Birmingham has hundreds of publicly accessible parks and green spaces across the city.
  • Sporting action. Birmingham has some of the most exciting venues for watching or participating in sport in the UK.

Discover Birmingham

 

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