You are here

BA (Hons) Politics and History

Open Days

The best way to find the right university for you. Meet your lecturers, discover more about your course and take a look around the campus. 

RS2725 Open Day (5) (2)
UCAS code: 
L290
Institution code: 
S82
Location: 
Ipswich

Duration: 

Three years full-time.

Four and a half to nine years part-time.

Course Options: 
Professional Placement
Study Abroad
Typical Offer: 

112 UCAS tariff points (or above)
BBC (A-Level), DMM (BTEC).

Please see Entry Requirements below.

Introduction

During a period of profound and unprecedented political upheaval, a degree in politics and history will equip you with the skills necessary to lead and succeed in a changing world.

Combining your politics degree with the study of history is a smart choice. Everyday politics at local, national and international level provides the material out of which history comes to be understood.

As well as exploring British and international political structures, our course offers a distinct focus on ‘political action’ across party politics, campaigns and community politics, all within the context of history.

Throughout the course, we maintain a critical focus on how political ideas and policies have translated into ‘real, felt’ political action and outcomes ‘on the ground’. This includes relating theory to issues of historical and contemporary social justice and social policy.

Politics and history graduates have an important range of analytical and organisational skills applicable to many graduate opportunities. Jobs directly related to this degree include Government and Civil Service roles, covering public affairs, consultancy and research. Jobs in the field of marketing, media, public relations, and local government are also popular.

The political landscape is changing. New relationships are being forged between the left and right, and between localism, nationalism and globalism, but there are always lessons to learn from the past. There has never been a more exciting time to study this degree.

Course modules

Full downloadable information regarding all University of Suffolk courses, including Key Facts, Course Aims, Course Structure and Assessment, is available in the Definitive Course Record.

Social Science Skills

This module introduces you to academic study at university level. Its purpose is to enable you to reflect on and develop your skills as you progress through your first year of study. This is achieved by introducing you to the key study and academic skills required to succeed at university level study and supporting you as you develop your competencies in these skills. You are also introduced to the principles and core concepts underpinning your field of study, and social science research more generally. A developmental approach is emphasised throughout the module, and, as part of the module’s approach to learning and teaching, you will regularly meet in small groups with dedicated tutors.

History of Political Thought

This module introduces you to major themes in the history of political thought. It studies important questions around the formulation of political and social order, as well as topics such as legitimacy, justice, power, authority, rights, liberty, sovereignty, democracy, the relationship between the citizen or the individual and the state, and others. In doing so, the module links to the works of key thinkers in the history of political thought. The module seeks to broaden and enhance your understanding of political theory by examining the origins of early modern political thought, as well as the development of political ideas from the Enlightenment until the early twentieth century. It also poses questions regarding the importance of these ideas in understanding and informing current political affairs and debates by reflecting to the intellectual ideas that constitute the basis of today’s politics.

Current Political Disputes

This module introduces major themes in the study of global politics and international relations, thereby exposing you to the international dimension of the study of politics. This is achieved through studying a range of contemporary international political disputes. This provides an opportunity to examine the context behind current political disputes, including trends in international history, and a range of factors at international, regional, national and local levels. Attempts to resolve political disputes and institutionalise cooperation at the international level are also examined. The module also explores various theoretical explanations and models which have been put forward in an attempt to explain how international politics works.

From Westphalia to Metternich: The Great Powers and the world, 1648-1848

From the peace of Westphalia to the revolutions of 1848, this module explores the transition from the early modern to modern periods of European history, especially through the domestic and foreign policies of the ‘great powers’, and surveys the key developments in Europe’s relationship with the wider world, particularly through the lens of imperialism. It is primarily intended as a survey module, providing you with an introduction to events, nation-states, actors, and concepts that will provide a foundation for further study at Levels 5 and 6. However, you are also encouraged to engage with historiography and primary source analysis, while also developing your skills in historical debate and writing.

Making Modern Britain 1830-1985

This module will provide a broad introduction to the social, cultural, and political history of modern Britain over the period 1830-1985.  It will adopt a thematic approach, focusing on experiences such as the impact of industrialization, the growth of mass democracy, relations with Ireland, shifts in social relationships and the influence and meaning of class, gender, racial and ethnic identities, the rise and fall of Britain as an imperial power and the impact of total war.  It will provide you with an understanding of historical development over time, to foster an appreciation of the complexity and diversity of past situations, events, and mentalities and to explore concepts such as change and continuity.

Revolution, Nationalism, Empire and War: International history since 1848

This module introduces you to key themes and events in modern international history, from 1848 to the present day. It focuses on four key themes – revolution, nationalism, empire, and war – as agents of historical change. You will be encouraged to debate these themes, and their relative importance, in explaining the turbulent course of international history over the past century and a half. Avoiding a Eurocentric approach, the module will cover case studies ranging across Africa, the Americas and Asia.

Contemporary Political Theory

This module explores contemporary political theory and enables you to engage with some of the key themes which define current political debates, including freedom, toleration, equality and social justice. The module explores a number of key political thinkers and political movements from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries which discuss these themes. In this way, this module builds on the first year module ‘History of Political Thought’, but examines more recent approaches to political theory. Throughout the module you will be encouraged to apply themes in contemporary political thought to the contemporary practice of politics.

Social Justice and Policy

This module examines the nature of social justice and the range of policies that have sought to make societies fairer. The module examines different conceptions of social justice, including the conceptions advanced Rawls and Sen. The module also explores the welfare state and some of the major policies used to try and increase social justice across a range of dimensions, including housing, education, health, income transfers, pensions and access to legal rights. The module also seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of social policies in a variety of countries increasing social justice using international data and evidence.

Sex and Gender in British Society since 1500

This module builds on the foundational knowledge of British history gained at Level 4 and provides you with the opportunity to develop greater specialism by exploring the British past through the particular lens of gender. The module offers you the opportunity to study the role of sex and gender in the lives of British men and women over the past five hundred years, and to question the extent to which both informed the lives of Britons. You will explore how and why ideas about appropriate gender roles and sexual mores were formed, contested, and adapted across the centuries, and the consequences this had for the social, material and cultural lives of women and men. In addition to considering the position of men and women in relation to each other, you will also be encouraged to consider the variety of experiences within the categories of male and female, and connections with other key markers of identity and hierarchy such as class, race, age and religion. The module will introduce you to the varied approaches, theories and debates within the field of gender history and you will be given the opportunity to engage with historiographical debate and to foster an appreciation for the complexity and diversity of past mentalities, beliefs, identities and customs.

Dictators and Democracy in the era of Total War, 1900-1948

How did ideological conflict and total war shape European history in the climactic first five decades of the twentieth century? Building on first year teaching and learning connected to European politics, society and historiography, this module seeks to develop understanding and awareness of key concepts and events in modern European history. It will introduce you to primary source materials related to the key actors and events under investigation and will encourage you to adopt a comparative approach to assessing the nature and impact of total war, ideology and revolution, through which competing historiographical interpretations will be evaluated.

Political Argumentation and Persuasion

This module introduces you to politics as a process of discussion and compromise between various actors seeking influence. The module examines the political landscape, the actors operating in that landscape and critically examines the approaches used by those actors to persuade others and seek influence in the political process. The module pays particular attention to the key features of political argumentation and persuasion, and critically examines the role of rhetoric, communication and negotiation. Much of the module is practical in nature and seeks to develop your own skills in communication, argumentation, persuasion and negotiation.

Globalization

Globalization is a much-used term and one that is seen by many commentators as the major force behind social, economic, political and cultural change over the past 30 years. It is also a much-misunderstood concept and provokes much heated debate between those who argue free markets are the motor of globalization to the constant benefit of humankind and anti-globalization critics who see many of the world’s ills stemming from the increase in globalization. The module aims to equip you to get behind the ‘woolliness’ of much popular discussion of globalization. This module intends to examine definitions of globalization, the dimensions of globalization and the evidence to evaluate the extent to which globalization is now a key element in important aspects of social life. Recent indications that there may be a reversal in globalization will be critically considered. You should be able to engage with these debates by evaluating a range of data and arguments about globalization.

Clearance and Famine: British Rural Society 1760-1850

This module will explore a period in which rural and agrarian societies across Britain were transformed and restructured by processes associated with population growth, structural economic change, market forces, and ideologies of improvement. The ‘modernization’ of Britain’s agricultural economy and society, although often widely understood as progressive and essential, was accompanied nonetheless by significant disruption and trauma. Traditional agrarian communities, and the distinctive regional and local cultures often associated with them, were in all parts of Britain routed by the forces of change, compounded in some areas by ecological disaster. These experiences continue to infuse and inform both popular memory and political narratives in parts of the British Isles and exert an enduring influence on landscapes and communities, particularly in the far north and west of the British archipelago. This module will employ a strongly comparative approach to the experience of agrarian transformation and social change across rural England and Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. It will highlight the repercussions of enclosure in England, the experience and consequences of clearance and agrarian change in lowland and highland Scotland and the deadly and transformative impact of sustained famine on rural Ireland.

The Global Cold War: from Berlin to Beijing

This module examines the origins, course, and consequences of the Cold War, from the end of the Second World War until 1991 (and beyond). It is designed to widen knowledge and apply conceptual understandings developed in earlier elements of the History programme. Through a focus on the ‘global Cold War’ concept, the course will provide you with the opportunity to move beyond the traditional emphasis on superpower relations. The ideological and political nature of the Cold War will be analysed alongside a consideration of the conflict’s social and cultural dimensions across the world. You will be given the opportunity to analyse a range of visual and textual primary sources, as well as secondary literature, as you debate and formulate your own analyses of the nature and significance of this conflict.

Understanding Research

This module grounds you in the principles of social science research and methods employed to develop our understanding of the social world. The module covers core aspects of the research process and offers you opportunities to focus on particular methods of interest and relevant to your field of study. The module aims to provide you with the knowledge and confidence to undertake independent, ethical and robust research in the social sciences. This module also acts as a precursor to the independent project module in the third year.

Researching History

This module is designed to develop practical research skills and increase your understanding of the methodological and historiographical underpinnings of historical research in preparation for dissertation research next year. You will develop skills in the location and interpretation of a wide range of primary source materials such as the census, newspapers and published discourse, local authority records, parliamentary papers, cabinet records, visual images, diaries and letters, interviews and oral history transcripts and material culture. The module will also introduce you to a range of historiographical and methodological approaches to researching history. Established historians will explain the nuances of their own areas of historical study and describe their own research methods and approaches. The module will also provide guidance on the framing, management, organisation, and execution of research projects. To provide a cross section of the deeper insights that primary source research can yield, the module will include workshops which will focus on a range of topics, periods and approaches, but the skills and lessons learned are intended to be applicable to any period, region or historical approach.

Independent project

In this module you will produce a final year project that allows you to exercise your independent judgement and skills in the development and execution of a project or dissertation relevant to your field of study. Under the supervision of an assigned tutor, the module provides you with the opportunity to independently apply the core subject knowledge and skills developed over the course of your degree. Over the course of the year you will undertake independent analysis and research, and communicate and present it to high professional standards. This project can take the form of a traditional research dissertation, but you also have the flexibility to undertake an alternative, such as a reflective report based on an independent project pursued in a practice / work setting.

Political Engagement and Professional Development

This module aims to prepare you for life after graduation, with a particular focus on careers in or related to politics. It offers you the chance to undertake a work placement or work shadowing or other relevant activity that can meet the portfolio and learning outcomes. You will begin to explore the current skills and attributes, explore career options using your degree and write a CV. There will be important elements to develop the skills of reflection and in particular to reflect upon a leadership activity. The module aims to allow you to build your confidence and develop plans and skills to take control of your future.

Comparative Politics

This module explores how the comparative methods is used to compare political systems, with a particular focus on democratic political systems. The module critically examines the role of the comparative method in the study of politics and fostering our understanding of how political processes work. The module examines core institutions (for example executives, legislatures, electoral systems) and non-institutionalised features (for example political culture) of political systems, how these institutions and features relate to each other in different contexts, and how the design of these institutions and features affects the quality of politics in different states. In studying this module, you will develop a broader global outlook on politics.

Britain at War in the Twentieth Century

The military histories of the major global conflicts of the ‘short twentieth century’ are well documented at international level. But the military contribution to the First World War, Second World War and the Cold War also had significant social, cultural, and domestic political effect across the United Kingdom. This module explores the domestic national experience of warfare by examining the evolving relationship between the military, state, and society during periods of conflict during the twentieth century. By thematically examining aspects of the First World War, Second World War and Cold War you will be encouraged to draw comparisons and parallels across the period and consider the aspects that endured and those that changed. How did conflict induce industrial, cultural, and socio-economic changes that took place in the United Kingdom during the period? How did the experiences of British soldiers change throughout the period and which aspects endured? What influenced the evolving posture of air and maritime forces based in the country? How did the reaction to the threat of attack or invasion evolve over the period? Across the themes examined, you will be encouraged to consider the nature and character of conflict and the interactions between state, society, and the military. You will also be encouraged to analyse the experience of conflict from the point of view of individuals within the military and across broader society and consider how their testimony is valuable in understanding the wider national story. This part of the course will use your pre-existing knowledge of twentieth-century events and consider their effect at the national Level. The historiography of twentieth-century warfare will also be examined in order to challenge you to consider the value and limitations of the historical approaches that have been applied to the subject in the past.

Genocide in History and Memory

This course is designed to teach you both the importance and limitations of history as an academic discipline, and the dangers of history when misused in the construction of national and other group identities. In studying genocide, the attempt to annihilate people because of their membership of a real or perceived group, you are forced to confront core disciplinary issues. Are the historian’s tools adequate to explain this phenomenon? Is it possible to compare episodes of genocide? Why have lawyers and scholars disagreed over the fundamental definition of ‘genocide’?  How are ‘modernity’ and ‘progress’ related to the perpetration of mass atrocities? How have societies constructed ‘us and them’ dichotomies of difference and how have these been mobilized in genocidal projects? Can our historical understanding of genocide be enhanced through engagement with other disciplines such as anthropology and psychology? How do supposedly ‘ordinary’ people become genocidal killers? Why has the international community failed to prevent genocides? The module also tackles crucial questions connected to memory and memorialization of genocides, and the politicization of these issues.

Heritage in Practice

This module is designed to give you an insight into working in the heritage centre. It will introduce you to the concept of heritage and how it relates to history as an academic subject. It will provide you with an opportunity to meet and work alongside heritage professionals in order to gain an understanding of the possibilities and constraints of working in the sector. You will be encouraged to think about and explore how history and heritage interact and the tensions that often exist between the two. The development of the British heritage sector will be discussed and the current challenges it faces, including accessibility and decolonisation. The roles of community and public history and the contribution of history in education will also be considered. You will be given the opportunity to visit a number of local heritage sites to interact with heritage professionals and gain an understanding of the opportunities and challenges that exist and the career paths that will be open to them post-graduation.

Career opportunities

A degree in Politics and History opens the door to many careers and further study. Around 60% of graduate jobs are open to graduates of any discipline and Politics and History graduates are well equipped with the advanced skills and confidence to thrive in a variety of occupations.

Politics and History graduates go on to careers in teaching and academia, archive and library services, the museum and heritage industries, the civil service, local and national government, media and advertising, publishing and journalism, human resources and management, finance and industry and many more.

Politics and History students have a valuable reputation amongst employers for being ideas orientated, good at problem solving, possessing good analytical and research skills, being able to marshal, synthesise and prioritise large quantities of data effectively, communicate clearly, work independently or as part of a team, and above all for being flexible, confident and inventive.

Employability is taken very seriously at the University of Suffolk and innovations such as our work-placement module in the final year will help to equip you with the knowledge, skills and confidence to prosper in the jobs marketplace.

Fees and finance

2022-23*

  • Full-time tuition fee: £9,250 p.a
  • Part-time tuition fee: £1,454 per 20 credits (please contact the Student Centre for further information)
  • Full-time International tuition fee:  £12,996 p.a

Further Information

At University of Suffolk, your tuition fees provide access to all the usual teaching and learning facilities that you would expect. However, there may be additional costs associated with you course that you will need to budget for. 

* 2022-23 tuition fees are subject to change in line with inflation, or a government change in the fee cap.

Entry requirements

Course options

This course offers a Professional Placement and Study Abroad option.

Staff

Course Leader and Associate Professor in Politics and Associate Dean for Learning, Teaching and Student Experience

Associate Professor in History

Associate Professor in Sociology

Lecturer in Politics

Lecturer in History

Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Youth Studies