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Undergraduate course

Politics and History BA (Hons)

Interested in how the world we live in was shaped and what forces are at play as it continues to develop around us?

Student at the minster library

If you seek to understand the institutions, processes and events which shape our lives then History and Politics are essential disciplines to study. Contemporary states, politics and ideas cannot be fully understood without analysing their historical drivers. Moreover, historical events inform the concepts and theories of political analysis that you will be engaging with.

York campus

  • UCAS Code – L2V1
  • Duration – 3 years full-time
  • Start date – September 2021
  • School – School of Humanities

Minimum Entry Requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2021 entry £12,750 per year full time

Discover why York St John is The One

Course overview

By looking back at how society and political institutes were shaped you can understand the forces shaping them here and now. Through studying this Politics  & History course the relationship between the past, the future and the present will be investigated whilst you  pursue subject-specific interests in each discipline.

By studying History you’ll focus on significant social and political developments over the 19th and 20th centuries from across the world. These may include periods of British, American, European and Russian history through the investigation into historical processes such as revolution, conflict and international organisation.

Through studying Politics you’ll develop a fundamental understanding of the institutions and processes of modern states, both democratic and non- democratic. Including a focus on the domestic government and politics of the UK with a comparative international perspective, examining and theorising social and
political institutions and processes.

Going beyond national-level analysis, you will have the opportunity to explore politics from an increasingly global perspective. From Edwardian Britain to
the collapse of the USSR, from democracies toauthoritarianism, peaceful protest to the Arab Spring; combining the study of history and politics will allow
you to gain an in-depth knowledge and understanding of events, institutions and policies and their impact on people and society over time.

Course Structure

Level 1


Modules include:

Introducing Politics: Key Concept and Skills
This module introduces students to the academic study of Politics. It will introduce students to basic terms, concepts, methodologies and issues in the study of politics in preparation for their degree programme. A key focus will be exploring the diverse definitions and the scope of politics.

‘Politics and …’: An Interdisciplinary View
This module is designed to demonstrate to students that the ‘real world’ does not neatly divide itself into discrete subjects and disciplines. Students will be guided through a series of case studies that bridge and incorporate perspectives from politics and at least one other academic discipline.

UK Politics: Tradition and Change
This module examines the contemporary British state and its relationship with wider society. There is a focus on the enduring dominance of traditional state institutions, practices and perspectives, and the extent to which these impact on, or are impacted by, social, political and economic perspectives within different groups of society and the individuals that are at the forefront of these.

International or Global? Globalization in Debate
The module introduces students to the debate surrounding the nature and extent of ‘globalisation’ and its impact on the role and power of contemporary states.

Researching and Presenting the Past provides students with a foundation for the study of history at university. The course will focus on the key skills of researching and writing for essays and exams as well as aiming to enhance students' ability to analyse and evaluate primary and secondary historical sources.

The Making of Britain offers an introduction to British history from pre-Roman times to the present and examines the importance of national identities in the history of the British Isles.

War & Society examines war and its impact on society through case studies drawn from early modern Europe and the 20th century

Popular Protest examines the causes, dynamics and impact of popular protest in a variety of historical contexts, using examples of ‘history from below’ as an introduction to the analytical and methodological approaches involved in the study of social history.

Level 2


Modules include:

Political Analysis: Theory and Method
The module provides a comprehensive overview of different theoretical and methodological approaches to studying the political world. There will be critical coverage of schools of political analysis broadly focused around structural and agential approaches. These may include: behavioural analysis; rational choice; institutionalism; Marxism; constructivism; feminist approaches; political psychology.

Political Ideologies
The module explores the origins and evolution of the political ideologies that have shaped major social and political developments from the 18th Century to the present, and those ideological movements that have arisen as critical responses to the mainstream. There will be a broad coverage of ideological traditions, which may include: liberalism, conservatism, socialism, anarchism, nationalism, fascism, feminism, fundamentalism, environmentalism, multiculturalism.

The module explores the development and evolution of democracy from concept and various models of democracy to institutions (executives, legislatures, judiciaries) and processes (electoral and party systems), engaging students in a comparative analysis of democratic states throughout the world. The module will examine established democracies, and also democracies in transition.

International Relations: Theory and Practice
The module introduces students to theories of international relations, such as realism, liberalism, neoliberalism, Marxism, critical theory, constructivism, feminism, postcolonialism. Using case studies and coverage of historical and contemporary events, students will critically examine how they can be applied to developments in state relations, taking into account the growing institutions and processes of globalisation.

The Age of Revolution explores an important period in modern European history, the era of the French and industrial revolutions. The main events of the period will be studied from a variety of social, political, intellectual and cultural perspectives

International Organisations in the Twentieth Century examines of the function, impact and practices of international organisations during the twentieth century in the maintenance of international peace and security; on the global economy; and on international society.

Reds: Rise and Fall of Soviet Communism examines the philosophical underpinnings of communism; The Soviet experience including the causes of the Russian Revolution of November 1917, Stalinism, de-Stalinisation, Gorbachev’s reforms and the collapse of Soviet Communism; and Soviet foreign policy.

The Sleeping Dragon: China 1911-1997 studies the processes of revolution and change in 20th century China.

An Employability module

Level 3


Modules include:

Revolutions are infrequent but hugely significant phenomena, drawing on and impacting political ideologies, the futures of wholes societies and the balance of state relations. The module explores the theoretical explanations that have developed to account for social revolutions, examining the works of scholars like Barrington Moore Jr, Theda Skocpol and Jack Goldstone, and applies their work to major social revolutions such as in America, France, Russia, China, as well as more contemporary situations such as the Arab Spring.

The module examines the persistence of authoritarian rule in the 21st century. Students will study the characteristics of authoritarian systems, the structures, actors and actions that foster and maintain them, the place of authoritarian systems in international politics, and examine the relationships with totalitarianism and democracy. Case studies will be used to illustrate and analyse theoretical and conceptual approaches to authoritarianism.

The Middle East
The module explores the politics of the Middle East. Starting with the historical context, students will examine interconnected internal and external factors affecting the region, such as rising Arab identity and nationalism and a rejection of colonial rule. Students will then explore a range of more contemporary issues, which may include the regional economy, the role of Islam, conflict, women, dictatorship and democracy. Students will also examine the Middle East from an international relations perspective, focusing on the interests of the international community in the area – particularly the USA and Russia. As part of this students may study critical and ongoing situations such as the Arab-Israeli Conflict.

US Conflict in the East Asian Mainland examines the wars in Korea and Indochina from both western and Asian perspectives and the historical debates to which they have given rise.

The Empire Strikes Back: Mikhail Gobachev and the Collapse of the Soviet Union will explore the dramatic events of the final years of the Cold War and will place the collapse of the USSR in its proper domestic and international contexts. With a central focus on Mikhail Gorbachev and his failed attempts to reform the Soviet system, the module will examine why the Soviet experiment imploded in 1991 and will question whether the final collapse was inevitable.

Late Victorian and Edwardian Britain examines the main themes in British history between the early 1880s and the First World War, including the so-called ‘Edwardian crisis’ of the years immediately prior to 1914.

Dissertation/Special Study
This year-long, double-weighted module will involve the student working independently to research a topic in the field of Politics, and is the culmination of the Politics degree. The purpose of the module is to enable students to plan, research, and write a substantial piece of work which demonstrates the ability to structure a sustained argument, think independently, and deliver a document to a required standard of presentation.

Teaching & Assessment

Teaching & Learning

We use a range of teaching styles and settings to help support you during your time at University. You will attend lectures, seminars (groups of students with a tutor), tutorials (one-to-one meetings with a tutor), workshops, and experience collaborative learning (working with your fellow students), events, field trips, as well as independent study sessions, and times when you will need to use online resources through the University’s Virtual Learning Environment. In the classroom you may find yourself leading a class discussion, or doing a non-assessed presentation. To gain maximum benefit from class contact time, you will need to engage fully with academic literature, notably academic books, academic journal articles, original texts, archives and primary sources, and official reports, where relevant. For all modules, individual tutorial contact between tutor and student is an integral part of the timetabled learning experience and is a crucial vehicle for providing formative feedback on your work, addressing individual study needs and fostering your personal academic development.

Assessment & Feedback

At York St John we are committed to authentic, real-world assessment. As such, Politics modules will be assessed entirely through coursework, with no exams. You will experience a wide range of assessment modes designed to help you develop new skills and prepare for graduate employment, which may include essays, portfolios, individual and group presentations, video presentations, posters, group reports, book/article reviews, and case study reports. The assessment for most History modules includes a combination of course work and timed assessment. The course work in most cases would include an essay component but other types of written assignment are also used, such as reviews, documentary exercises, site reports, photo-essays, and case studies). This varied approach to assessment is to ensure that the kinds of work you are doing through the degree reflect the kinds of work graduates undertake, in professional employment or further study.

Feedback is essential in identifying what you have done well and how you can improve. Not only will you receive detailed feedback on the summative (credit-bearing) assessments on each module, but you will also have the opportunity to check your understanding and develop assessment skills through formative assessment. Formative assessment moves the focus away from end-result grades towards the your learning process and positive, qualitative feedback. This can take the form of written and oral work, concept checking and mapping exercises, submitted and class-based activities. Ultimately, this will positively impact on your academic performance.

Entry Requirements


The minimum entry requirements for this course are:

104 UCAS Tariff points

3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) including English Language

International Students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements. Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our international pages.

If your first language is not English you must show evidence of English language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

Foundation Year

This course is available with a foundation year. This option is ideal if you do not yet meet the minimum requirements for entry straight onto a degree course, or feel you are not quite ready for the transition to Higher Education. A foundation year prepares you for degree level study, giving you the confidence and skills needed to make the most of your course. Passing it guarantees you a place on this degree course the following academic year.

Foundation courses

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages.

Fees and funding

To study for an undergraduate degree with us, you will need to pay tuition fees for your course. How much you pay depends on whether you live inside the UK or EU, or internationally (outside the UK/EU). Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

UK and EU 2021 entry

The tuition fee for 202 entry onto this course is

  • £9,250 per year for full time study
  • £6,935 per year for the first 4 years if you study part time.

These prices apply to all UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

You can find out more about funding your degree by visiting our funding opportunities page.

Funding Opportunities

Placement year funding

If you choose to take a placement year, and your course offers it, you can apply for the Tuition Fee and Maintenance Loan for your placement year. How much you are awarded is based on the type of placement being undertaken and whether it is a paid or unpaid placement. The tuition fee for your placement year will be reduced.

International 2021 entry

The tuition fee for 2021 entry to this course is £12,750 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all students living outside the UK/EU.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a student visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your degree.

International Fees and Funding

Additional costs and financial support

There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation.

Course-related costs

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

Study Abroad

For more information on tuition fee reductions and additional costs for studying abroad, please visit our study abroad pages.

Accommodation and living costs

View our accommodation pages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

Financial help and support

Our Funding Advice team are here to help you with your finances throughout your degree. They offer a personal service that can help you with funding your studies and budgeting for living expenses. 

All undergraduates receive financial support through the York St John Aspire card. Find out more about the Aspire scheme and how it can be used to help you purchase equipment you need for your course. 

Aspire Card

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