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Undergraduate Course

Politics and History BA (Hons)

Discover how the events of the past shape the world we live in today. Investigate the political forces which will determine our future.

A student looking at artefacts through a magnifying glass

Studying History and Politics will give you a deep understanding of the institutions, processes and events that shape our lives. Contemporary states, politics and ideas cannot be fully understood without analysing their historical background. This degree emphasises the relevance of history to modern life, as you combine historical investigation with the discussion of debates and issues in contemporary politics.

93% of History students felt that their lecturers were good at explaining things. (National Student Survey 2021)

90% of History students were satisfied with their course. (National Student Survey 2021)

York campus

  • UCAS Code – L2V1
  • Duration – 3 years full time, 6 years part time
  • Start date – September 2022
  • 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 Politics and International Relations at York St John University

Course overview

By looking back at how society and political institutes were shaped throughout history, you can better understand the forces shaping them today. Throughout this course you will investigate the relationship between the past, the future and the present.

In your History modules you will 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. You will investigate historical processes such as revolution, conflict and international organisation.

Throughout the Politics section of this course you will learn about the institutions and processes behind modern states. This will include a focus on the domestic government and politics of the UK, but you will also have the opportunity to explore politics from a global perspective. We will investigate crucial debates about how states interact with each other, the changing role of the state, and how states should respond to collective dilemmas such as climate change.

The course includes a wide range of optional modules, and you could find yourself studying anything from Edwardian Britain to the Arab Spring. Combining the study of History and Politics will allow you to gain an in depth understanding of events, institutions and policies and their impact on people and society over time.

We do everything we can to help you graduate into a great career, and you will study a specialist Work Related Learning module in your second year. Our connections include York Museums Trust, York Explore and Yorkshire Film Archive.

Course structure

Year 1

Our academic year is split into 2 semesters.

How many modules you take each semester will depend on whether you are studying full time or part time.

In your first year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • 2 compulsory modules and 1 optional module in semester 1
  • 3 optional modules in semester 2.

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You must study at least 1 module from both History and Politics every semester. You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Optional modules will run if they receive enough interest. It is not guaranteed that all modules will run every year.

Modules

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module is your introduction to the academic study of Politics. You will become familiar with basic terms, concepts, methodologies and issues in the study of politics, preparing you for the rest of your degree. We will explore the diverse definitions and the scope of politics, and discuss what politics means to you. We will also introduce you to some of the essential skills you will need to succeed a degree level, including academic writing, researching and referencing.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

The world and its issues and debates do not neatly divide into discrete subjects. This module is about how politics overlaps and interacts with other fields of study. You will consider case studies that incorporate perspectives from both politics and other subjects as you gain an interdisciplinary approach to politics. This will mean learning from staff from across the university who are experts in a range of topics.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module will help you gain the most important skills needed to be a successful historian. Focusing on analytical interpretation rather than historical narrative, this module will prepare you for the independent study skills required for degree level study. You will explore how historians:

  • Examine primary sources
  • Write and engage with secondary sources
  • Construct arguments and apply theories
  • Work with established historical concepts
  • Question conventions and established time periods in history.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module is your introduction to the history of York, from medieval to the Regency period. This will mean exploring the city, making use of its resources and thinking critically about how we can assess changes through time. Taking York as a case study, the module explores social and cultural development within the city. You will also consider the dialogue between York’s evolution and changes in national and global history. We will take a thematic approach, focusing on ongoing developments such as trade, public health and religion.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will focus on how war impacts society. Examining different types of war from different periods will build your skills in comparative analysis. You will also engage with contemporary historical debates about the relationship between war and society. We will examine case studies to discuss themes such as:

  • The causes of war
  • Who wins wars and why
  • The effect of war on technological and historical development
  • The role of citizens
  • The importance of the state.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will examine the contemporary British state and its relationship with society. Focusing on the dominance of traditional state institutions and practices, you will consider the impact of these in society. We will also take a historical perspective, acknowledging that the present cannot be fully understood without analysing the past. Studying political economy will also help you to understand the nature and impact of economic policy.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will engage with debates surrounding the nature and extent of ‘globalisation’ and its impact on the role and power of contemporary states. You will learn how states are situated in the international political and economic system, and interrogate the relative power of states and international organisations in the context of globalisation.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will explore the theme of revolution across different times and places within European history. We will consider revolution in a broad way, defining it as episodes of significant and rapid political and social upheaval. You will consider the causes, developments and consequences of both successful and failed revolutions. The case studies we cover may include:

  • The English Revolution
  • The French Revolution
  • European revolutions of the early nineteenth century
  • Revolutions in the early twentieth century, including Russia, Germany and Hungary
  • Revolutions and the World Wars.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module will give you a broad understanding of the history of the USA, from both a domestic and an international point of view. You will learn about America’s gradual emergence as a leading international power, economically, militarily and politically. We will explore historical developments in the American experience, including political, social and economic changes. You will consider the continuing tension between unity and diversity in American history, exploring topics such as the Civil War, industrialisation, consumer culture, foreign policy and immigration.

Year 2

In your second year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • 3 optional modules in semester 1
  • 1 compulsory module and 2 optional modules in semester 2.

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Optional modules will run if they receive enough interest. It is not guaranteed that all modules will run every year.

Modules

Credits: 20

Optional module

Explore the origins and evolution of the political ideologies that have shaped major social and political developments from the 18th century to the present day. You will look at the ideological movements that have emerged as critical responses to the mainstream. The ideological traditions you study may include:

  • Liberalism
  • Conservatism
  • Anarchism
  • Nationalism
  • Fascism
  • Feminism
  • Environmentalism
  • Multiculturalism.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Democracy is the dominant form of political organisation around the world, and it is essential to fully understand how it is put into practice. You will explore the development and evolution of democracy. This includes discussions on the concept and various models of democracy, as well as the institutions (executives, legislatures, judiciaries) and processes (electoral and party systems) that rely on it. You will complete a comparative analysis of democratic states throughout the world, examining both established democracies and democracies in transition.

Credits: 20

Optional module

The European Union (EU) is one of the most significant intergovernmental organisations to have developed in the post-war period. This module examines the historical origins of European integration, using various theoretical and conceptual approaches. You will explore the institutions and policies of the EU. You will also discuss contemporary debates and issues surrounding the EU, such as the democratic deficit, enlargement and withdrawal, and the Euro.

Credits: 20

Optional module

International Relations addresses the fundamental nature of power in the international system, and the approaches used in this module are essential for understanding regional, international and global events. On this module we will introduce you to some of the major 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, you will consider how you can apply these theories to developments in state relations, taking into account the growing institutions and processes of globalisation.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will have the chance to take part in work related learning and explore the possibilities your degree will offer for your career. We will help you see how you can transfer the skills and knowledge you acquire throughout the course to the workplace. You can choose to complete a minimum of 10 days work experience, or focus on a work related project. It is your responsibility to find your placement, with advice on how to do this included within the module.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module is a great opportunity to improve your employability and start thinking about your career. You will consider how history, and the skills you have developed by studying it, relate to potential career paths. As part of this module you will participate in a 75 hour work placement. You will need to secure this placement yourself, but you can take advantage of the many connections we have established with heritage organisations in York and the wider region.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Our politics degree teaches you to understand not just political concepts, but also how politics is studied and researched. This module will give you an overview of the different theoretical and methodological approaches used to study the political world.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module focuses on the 2 main parties of government of recent years, Labour and Conservative. There will also be a consideration of nationalist parties at the devolved and national levels, as well as the rise and influence of smaller, issue-based political parties. You will also examine the fundamental function of MPs as representatives, and consider notions of good political behaviour in light of a variety of political scandals.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Foreign policy is a critical aspect of the state’s external relations and engagement with the international system. It is important to understand the decision making of key actors, examining how states seek to advance their interests around the world. On this module you will explore the key actors, both individual and institutional, the contexts they operate in and the motivations and rationale behind their decisions and actions. You will approach this theoretically and conceptually, examining case studies to illustrate and evaluate approaches to foreign policy analysis.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module builds on the Year 1 module Research and Presenting the Past, allowing you to develop your research skills even further. You will conduct project work in groups and engage in independent research that will prepare you for the dissertation module in your final year. We will discuss the importance of primary sources for understanding an event, period or theme. This may include opportunities to work with local archives. We will also look in detail at various schools of historical theory and methodology.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will take a gendered and cultural approach to 16th century British history. This is a fascinating period to study the changes in power, autonomy and image of women. You will find new perspectives on a much discussed period in history, exploring how political and religious movements affected the lived experiences of women from across society. We will consider how these women presented themselves, and how they have been represented since.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will study the history of the Soviet Union, from the October Revolution in 1917 to the collapse of the Soviet experiment in 1991. In doing so you will identify the underlying reasons for both the rise and the fall of the Soviet state, as well as assessing its impact on the rest of the world. You will examine Soviet communism from various different perspectives, taking in political, economic, social, military and cultural history.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will focus on the experience of African Americans both as enslaved people and slavery and in the years following the abolition of slavery. You will learn about the origins, development and abolition of slavery in the USA, assessing the impact and nature of the American slave system. We will frame these discussions through the contemporary responses of both African Americans and white Americans concerning slavery, relationships between races after slavery ended, and the emergence of cultural expression among African Americans.

Credits: 20

Optional module

In the early 20th century France had a pivotal role in both world wars, suffering both invasion and conquest and undergoing a traumatic process of decolonisation. On this module you will learn about France’s role on the world stage as a political, military, imperial and cultural force. You will consider both the impact of international forces upon France and the country’s influence on the course of world history.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will learn about the social and political history of Britain from the union of Scotland and England in 1707 until the crowning of Queen Victoria. This was a period of enormous political, social and economic change, which also saw Britain rapidly assuming a leading position amongst the world’s major powers. Topics you cover may include:

  • The Hanoverian succession
  • The Jacobite rebellion
  • Imperial expansion
  • Industrialisation
  • Trade, commerce and capitalism, including the slave trade
  • The American Revolution
  • The Napoleonic Wars.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will examine, confront and evaluate the historical debates surrounding the American Civil War. You will learn about the campaigns and strategies of the war itself, as well as its social and political impact and its lasting cultural legacy. You will also consider the social and political forces that have shaped how this period has been retold in historical and pop culture representations. This will open wider discussion about how wars are remembered and commemorated.

Credits: 20

Optional module

The 1960s were a turbulent time for the USA. President Lyndon Johnson was embarking on a series of reforms aiming to create “the Great Society” at the same time as the seemingly endless war in Vietnam. It was also a time of great achievements, with America leading the first moon landings. Topics you will cover on this module include:

  • The image and domestic policies of the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon presidencies
  • Radicalism and dissent, including counterculture, urban riots and student protests
  • The domestic impact of the Vietnam War.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will examine the traumatic history of China throughout the lifetime of Mao Zedong. You will confront and evaluate the historical debates surrounding China’s transition from the world’s oldest imperial power to a revolutionary Communist state. In doing so you will consider the political, ideological, economic, military, social and cultural forces that shaped these events. Given China's modern status as a major world power, learning about its turbulent past and Mao's legacy will help you to understand wider global developments.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will have the chance to get involved with some of the research taking place within our department. The content will be different every year, depending on the current research taking place in the academic team, the resources available and what you and your course mates are interested in. This is an opportunity to be part of our ongoing contribution to historical knowledge and to build your research skills before starting your dissertation in the final year.

Year 3

In your third year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • A Dissertation module. You can choose either a 20 credit option or a longer 40 credit option which is spread across semesters 1 and 2.
  • 2 optional modules in semester 1
  • Either 2 or 3 optional modules in semester 2, depending on which of the Dissertation options you choose.

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Optional modules will run if they receive enough interest. It is not guaranteed that all modules will run every year.

Modules

Credits: 40

Compulsory/Optional module

This year long module will involve working independently to research a topic of your choice, using primary sources, cultural literature and advanced secondary sources. It is the culmination of your degree studies, and your chance to explore a topic that you are passionate about. A dissertation supervisor will help you define and develop your project throughout the year.

Credits: 20

Optional module

As with the full dissertation, this module will see you plan, research, and write an extended piece of work on a topic of your choice. However, because this shorter option is worth 20 credits rather than 40, your final piece of work will be half the length of the full dissertation. While it is shorter, this version of the dissertation is just as much an opportunity to choose an area of Politics that particularly interests you and find your own angle on the topic.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will examine the persistence of authoritarian rule in the 21st century. You will study the characteristics of authoritarian systems, the structures, actors and actions that foster and maintain them. You will also consider the place of authoritarian systems in international politics, and examine their relationships with totalitarianism and democracy. We will use case studies to illustrate and analyse theoretical and conceptual approaches to authoritarianism.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will explore in detail the institutions, structures and processes of global governance. In particular we focus on the institutions of the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. We also cover regional organisations such as the European Union, and other intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations. Global issues will be examined to analyse the work of these institutions, which may include:

  • human rights
  • international terrorism
  • global inequality
  • the environment
  • conflict and peace.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Revolutions are infrequent but significant phenomena. On this module you will explore the theoretical explanations that have evolved to account for social revolutions. We will examine the works of scholars like Barrington Moore Jr, Theda Skocpol and Jack Goldstone. You will then apply their work to major social revolutions such as in America, France, Russia, China, as well as more contemporary situations such as the Arab Spring.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Explore the politics of the Middle East. Starting with the historical context, you will examine internal and external factors affecting the region, such as rising Arab identity and nationalism, and a rejection of colonial rule. You will then explore a range of contemporary issues, which may include the regional economy, the role of Islam, conflict, women, dictatorship and democracy. You 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.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will explore how policy making takes place in exceptional times. Each week we will examine a case study of a political crisis, considering how it unfolded and evaluating the responses. You will use the case studies to discuss the ideas of blame, agenda setting and crisis resolution in these contexts. Drawing on experience you gained in previous modules of designing policy briefs and political party manifestos, you will build transferable skills in prioritisation and working under pressure.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Global health concerns are becoming increasingly important to ongoing debates about the social impact of worldwide economic and environmental change. On this module you will learn about contemporary health issues from the point of view of both international relations and ethics, and explore the connections between these approaches.

You will study:

  • Infectious and non infectious diseases
  • The relationship between war and disease
  • The role of the World Health Organisation
  • Health in foreign policy
  • Responses to global health emergencies.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This is an opportunity to study a specialist area within your chosen historical era. The topics are closely related to staff research interest, meaning your work will be aligned with current research. This will help you develop your skills in research and historical investigation.

Through these special subject modules you can choose to explore topics such as:

  • Britain against Napoleon
  • The Korean War
  • The Russian Revolution
  • The Vietnam War
  • Reagan and his America
  • The Social and cultural history of the First World War
  • International Origins of the Second World War.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

We use a range of teaching styles and settings to support your learning. This will include:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops
  • Events
  • Field trips
  • 1 to 1 sessions with your tutor.

Alongside your timetabled contact time, you will be expected to study independently. You will need to read around your subject, engaging with academic literature. This will ensure that you get the most out of your degree, as well as building valuable time management skills.

You are encouraged to use the widest possible range of resources for your studies, including:

  • Books
  • Journals
  • Primary sources
  • Visual material
  • Archives
  • Official reports
  • The resources of the local community and region, such as museums, galleries and historic buildings.

Our teaching draws on both our research and professional experience. This means your learning is informed by the most current thinking in the subject area. You can find out more about our research and backgrounds by visiting our staff pages.

Assessment

We are committed to authentic, relevant assessment. This is to ensure that your work reflects the kinds of work you will go on to in professional employment or further study. You will experience a wide range of assessment modes designed to help you develop new skills and prepare for your career. This may include:

  • Essays
  • Portfolios
  • Individual and group presentations
  • Video presentations
  • Posters
  • Group reports
  • Book/article reviews
  • Study reports
  • Primary source exercises
  • Site reports
  • Open and closed examination
  • Reflective pieces.

You will receive detailed feedback on both the assessments which count towards your final grades and formative assessments which help you build your skills.

Career outcomes

Your future with a degree in Politics and History

This degree could lead you to a career directly related to Politics, such as working in local government or the Civil Service, or it could take you in a completely different direction, using the many transferrable skills you will develop. These include problem solving, developing arguments, analysing and evaluating information, collaboration, independent working, communication and more.

This degree could be the first step toward your career in:

  • Heritage and Tourism
  • Historic building conservation
  • Law
  • Archives and curation
  • Local government
  • The Civil Service (they offer a Fast Stream graduate scheme).

Discover more career options on Prospects careers advice pages.

You could also progress onto a postgraduate degree and take your learning even further.

Postgraduate degrees at York St John University

History MA

International History MA

 

Whatever your ambitions, we can help you get there.

Our careers service, LaunchPad provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice.

This support doesn't end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain experience and confidence to succeed. It's your career, your way.

Entry requirements

Qualifications

Minimum Entry Requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

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

Calculate your UCAS Tariff points

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 English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. You can read them on our Admissions page.

Mature Learners Entry Scheme

If you have been out of education for 3 years or more and have a grade C GCSE in English Language or equivalent, you are eligible for our entry scheme for mature learners. It's a scheme that recognises non-traditional entry qualifications and experience for entry onto this course. Information on how to apply can be found on our dedicated page.

Mature entry offer scheme

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 2022 entry

The tuition fee for 2022 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.

Tuition Fees

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

    International 2021 entry £12,750 per year full time

International 2022 entry

The tuition fee for 2022 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

For detailed information on accommodation and living costs, visit our Accommodation pages.

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. 

For advice on everything from applying for scholarships to finding additional financial support email fundingadvice@yorksj.ac.uk

Course highlights

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