Modern History and Politics (BSc Econ)

History and Politics are a well established combination of subjects recognised to be complimentary.

As part of this integrated degree, you will benefit from a generous choice of optional modules on historical and political themes which are central to an understanding of public life in the modern world.

In your first year you will concentrate on core modules. In your second and final years you choose from a wide range of optional modules.

Politics as an area of study develops your knowledge and understanding of governments, governance and societies. Politics is central to our everyday lives. It explores people and power and involves drama and events of great significance both today and historically. Think of the electoral struggle between Left and Right, the power play of the Cold War, and the great enterprise of European integration. Studying for a politics degree means investigating how politics works and delves into how parliaments and governments function while also allowing you to evaluate political ideas such as power, freedom, democracy, conflict, legitimacy and accountability.

The study of history enables you to learn about the different worlds of people in the past and to better understand the present. History gives you an insight into the process of change from Ancient Greece and Rome through the Medieval period to the modern day. You may study the history of societies in diverse parts of the globe, from India and China, through Germany and France, to Britain, Wales and Cardiff. You will learn to think independently and to analyse a body of material, assess its strengths and weaknesses, and present your conclusions in well-written, lucid prose, as well as verbally.

Key facts

Duration3 years
Typical places availableThe School of History, Archaeology and Religion typically has 320 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School of History, Archaeology and Religion typically receives 1800 applications.
Scholarships and bursaries
Typical A level offerAAB including History. (General Studies is not accepted)
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerWelsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma with a Grade A in the Core and grades AB at A-level, including History
Typical International Baccalaureate offerConsidered on individual merit
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Specific admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme can be found online.
Please see detailed information about alternative entry requirements here.
QAA subject benchmark

Politics and International Relations, History

Academic School
Admissions tutor(s)

Mr Jonathan Kirkup , Course Administrator

    The first year is an introductory year. It is the results of the second and final years of study that determine your degree classification. The degree is made up of compulsory modules as well as optional modules, allowing you to tailor your degree to reflect your specific interests.

    A particular feature is the option of writing a dissertation in your final year. This is highly regarded by employers because it indicates that you can do original research.

    Year one

    The first year provides a graduated transition to studying history and politics at degree level, and offers instruction in the skills, techniques and arguments that you will use in your other courses. You can take further courses in the humanities and social sciences thereby developing the range of skills and knowledge required of the historian, and providing a broad based first year which equips you with a range of skills and knowledge.

    Year two

    In your second and final years you choose half your modules (in terms of credits) from Politics and half from History.

    Module titleModule codeCredits
    Exploring Historical DebateHS170230 credits
    Approaches To HistoryHS170130 credits
    From King Coal To Cool Cymru: Society and Culture in Wales, 1939-2000HS175630 credits
    History and ICT: A Guided StudyHS170530 credits
    India and The Raj 1857-1947HS176530 credits
    Medicine and Modern Society, 1750-1919HS179930 credits
    British Politics since 1945PL928720 credits
    International Security - Concepts and IssuesPL928820 credits
    Democracy in Crisis?PL928920 credits
    Politics and Policies of the European UnionPL929020 credits
    Global JusticePL929220 credits
    Conducting Political ResearchPL929620 credits
    International Law in a Changing WorldPL929920 credits
    Justice & Politics: Contemporary Political TheoryPL929120 credits
    Political Thought from Marx to NietzschePL929320 credits
    O'r Groegiaid i GymruPL928520 credits
    Credoau'r CymryPL928620 credits
    Into The Vortex: Britain and The First World WarHS178730 credits
    Making Empires: Britain and the World, 1541 - 1714HS179330 credits
    Political Thought from Machiavelli to RousseauPL929420 credits
    The British Civil Wars and Revolution, C.1638-1649HS174230 credits
    Building the Modern WorldHS174430 credits
    Being Human: Self and Society in Britain from Darwin to the Age of Mass CultureHS174830 credits
    Nations, Empire and Borderlands from 1789 to the presentHS174930 credits
    "An Empire for Liberty": Race, Space and Power in the United States, 1775-1898HS176030 credits
    The Search for an Asian Modern: Japanese History from 1800 to the Post-War EraHS176830 credits
    The Soviet Century: Russia and the Soviet Union, 1905-1991HS177630 credits
    Revels and Riots: Popular Culture in Early Modern EnglandHS174330 credits
    A Great Leap Forward China Transformed 1840-PresentHS175230 credits
    Diwydiannaeth, Radicaliaeth a'r Bobl Gyffredin yng Nghymru a Phrydain mewn Oes Chwyldro, c. 1789-1880HS175730 credits
    Radicalism and the Common People, 1789-1880HS175830 credits
    Latin American HistoryHS176130 credits
    A Jagged History: Germany in the 20th CenturyHS176330 credits

    Year three

    In Year 3, you take 60 credits of Politics modules and 60 credits of History modules. If you wish, you can write a dissertation on a topic of your choice in either discipline.

    Module titleModule codeCredits
    DissertationHS180130 credits
    Culture, Soc & I.D. in Wales 1847-1914HS186530 credits
    Class, Protest and Politics: South Wales 1918-39HS186830 credits
    Race, Sex and Empire & India, 1765-1929HS185530 credits
    The Dangerous City? Urban Society & Culture 1800-1914HS189630 credits
    Politics DissertationPL938620 credits
    Elections in the UKPL938720 credits
    Modern Welsh PoliticsPL938820 credits
    European Mind in the 20th CenturyPL939020 credits
    Cyfiawnder Byd-eangPL937720 credits
    Cenedlaetholdeb, Crefydd a Chyfiawnder: Hanes Athroniaeth yr 20fed Ganrif yng NghymruPL937820 credits
    International Relations DissertationPL938520 credits
    Deviants, Rebels and Witches in Early Modern Britain and IrelandHS182830 credits
    From Bismarck To Goebbels: Biography and Modern German History, 1870-1945HS182930 credits
    Parliamentary Studies ModulePL938020 credits
    US Government and PoliticsPL937420 credits
    International Politics of the Middle EastPL937520 credits
    The Limits of Ethics in International RelationsPL937620 credits
    Global International Organisation in World PoliticsPL939120 credits
    Gender, Power and Subjectivity in Twentieth-Century BritainHS189430 credits
    Slavery and Slave Life in North America, 1619-1865HS189030 credits
    Europe and the Revolutionary Tradition in the Long Nineteenth CenturyHS188730 credits
    Violence and Ideology in Inter-War Soviet RussiaHS188330 credits
    Glimpses of the Unfamiliar: Travellers to Japan from 1860 to the Post-War EraHS185830 credits
    The History of Thought in International RelationsPL931120 credits
    Political Economy and the Devolved UKPL931220 credits
    Female Voices in Political TheoryPL931320 credits
    City Lives: Urban Culture and Society, c.1550-1750HS182630 credits
    Cultures of Power: The Gentry of Tudor and Stuart EnglandHS182730 credits
    Conflict, Coercion and Mass Mobilisation in Republican China 1911-1945HS183830 credits
    Latin American HistoryHS185930 credits
    Socialism, Society and Politics in Britain 1880-1918HS186030 credits
    Llafur, Sosialaeth a Chymru, 1880-1979HS186230 credits
    War and Violence in Modern German History: Myth, Memory and MemorializationHS186330 credits
    Justice and the Politics of International LawPL939720 credits
    Free Speech in a Multicultural SocietyPL931420 credits
    The Politics of Violence and the Violence of PoliticsPL931520 credits
    Devolution in Practice: Welsh Law and Politics Work PlacementPL931020 credits
    The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.


    You will develop a range of intellectual skills: critical thinking, evaluating evidence, constructing evidence-based arguments, and presenting opinions effectively in writing and in debate. Additionally, you will gain practical skills such as team-working, independent research, and time management. Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, practicals, field trips, and one-to-one tutorials. You will also undertake independent study and research, with guidance from tutors. Assessment, including coursework, exams, practical work, and oral presentations, will test the different skills you have learned.

    Welsh language teaching

    History provides significant opportunities for learning and teaching through the medium of Welsh. Subject to staff availability, seminar teaching in Welsh is available on some or all of the major core courses, and at least one Welsh language option is offered in Years Two and Three. Welsh language supervision is also available for long essays (Exploring Historical Debate) and dissertations, and students may elect to write all or some of their assessed work and examinations in Welsh.

    Lectures provide a broad structure for each subject, introduce key concepts, and convey relevant up-to-date information. These are outlined in course syllabi.

    Seminars provide an opportunity to ask questions and discuss key ideas in a small group environment. Their purpose is to assist you to integrate the information and ideas you receive from lectures and readings and to explore issues critically and in depth. Set questions and readings form the basis for discussion by directing your attention to relevant aspects of the subject matter and to various types of sources of information. Giving presentations develops your capacity to gather, organise and synthesise relevant information and ideas and to communicate these in a logical and concise manner. Tutor-led and student-led discussion hones logical skills and gives you practice in applying different concepts, theories and methods to the subject-matter at hand. It also exposes you to different interpretations of political ideas and events. Group problem-solving helps to develop collaborative skills.

    Essays and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing your capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments. Prior advice and written feedback (for essays) are used to help you understand what is required.

    School of History, Archaeology and Religion
    In 2013/14, 92% of the School's graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.

    In 2013/14, 96% of the School's graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.

    Politics at Cardiff is a respected recruitment pool for a variety of employers within this sector with the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales, the Department for Education, Oxford City Council, the UK Border Agency and a range of political parties all recruiting from the last graduating year.

    Outside of the political sector, the degree is of interest to employers in both the public and private sectors, with graduates taking up management training opportunities within EY, Enterprise Rent A Car, Zurich Insurance and King Worldwide.


    3 Year(s)

    Next intake

    September 2016

    Places available

    Typical places available

    The School of History, Archaeology and Religion admits around 260 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes. The School of European Languages, Translation and Politics admists around 230 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes.

    Applications received

    Typical applications received



    QAA subject benchmark

    QAA subject benchmark

    Politics and International Relations, History

    What are the aims of this Programme?


    Politics at Cardiff is an exciting, extensive and challenging academic programme which covers a broad range of areas in the study of Politics, including International Relations, Political theory, European Union, domestic political systems and public policy.

    Our students can study not just Single Honours Politics, but also International Relations & Politics and Joint Honours Politics with a wide range of other subjects, including Law, Economics, Sociology, History, Languages and other Arts subjects. Further our Cardiff-Bordeaux programme, which is an innovative four-year scheme, allows students to obtain both a Cardiff Politics Bachelor's degree and a Bordeaux Politics diplomafrom the prestigious Sciences Po in Bordeaux (one of nine Instituts d'Etudes Politiques in France).

    In the Politics programme we aim at

    ·         Providing a flexible structure that facilitates a broad and balanced education in the key areas of politics

    ·         Producing  graduates with the intellectual and employability skills appropriate both for further study and for a range of working environments

    ·         Providing opportunities for students to fulfil their academic potential, acquire research and transferable skills, maximise their career potential and achieve personal growth

    ·         Providing students with a sound basis of knowledge, understanding and skills in the main areas of politics.

    A degree in politics from Cardiff is highly respected by employers, both within the political environment and outside. Our graduates are able to demonstrate a wide portfolio of acquired skills, such as oral and written communication skills, research skills and analysis, teamwork, self-management and problem solving skills which are in demand across both public and private sectors.


    History at Cardiff provides students with a critical understanding of the broad patterns of historical change, and of particular events or themes. Students therefore acquire a broad knowledge of at least two of Medieval, early Modern, and Modern History, and that provides a context for successively more specialised study in Years Two and Three. The programme is ‘research led’, in the sense that tutors do not pass on an agreed body of knowledge about the past, but provide students with the skills to assess the existing state of knowledge about a particular historical problem, its strengths and weaknesses, and understand its assumptions, frameworks, and methods. Equipped also with the skills to test hypotheses, analyse sources and present conclusions, students are able, in the final year, to produce original historical work of their own in the form of a dissertation. BA History thus provides skills that are transferable to professional employment, as well as providing a solid foundation for those who wish to move on to progressively more independent learning at masters’ and doctoral levels.

    What is expected of me?

    ·         Attend all Lectures and seminars

    ·         Engage with all forms of in-course assessment to allow self-reflection on progress towards the learning outcomes

    ·         Engage in independent study in addition to taught study. Increasing independence of learning is expected as the programme progresses

    ·         To complete the required reading and self-directed study.

    ·         Students are expected to adhere to the Cardiff University policy on Dignity at Work and Study.

    How is this Programme Structured?

    The first year is an introductory year. It is the results of the second and final years of study that determine your degree classification. The degree is made up of compulsory modules as well as optional modules, allowing you to tailor your degree to reflect your specific interests. A particular feature is the option of writing a dissertation in your final year. This is highly regarded by employers because it indicates that you can do original research.

    Will I need any specific equipment to study this Programme?

    Any equipment required will be supplied by the School.

    What skills will I practise and develop?


    This degree programme will allow you to develop a number of valuable skills. Students who are awarded a Single or Joint Honours Politics degree will be able to:

    ·           Gather, organize and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of sources;

    ·           Develop a reasoned argument, synthesize relevant information and exercise critical judgement;

    ·           Reflect on their own learning and make use of constructive feedback;

    ·           Manage their own learning self-critically.

    ·           Communicate ideas effectively and fluently, both orally and in writing;

    ·           Use communications and information technologies for the retrieval and presentation of information;

    ·           Work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time-management;

    ·           Collaborate with others and contribute to the achievement of common goals. 


    Students will develop a range of discipline-specific skills that employers also value. Students learn to assess critically a body of knowledge, to develop hypotheses, test them against qualitative and quantitative evidence, and present conclusions both in writing and orally. They learn to work both independently and as part of a team. 

    How will I be taught?


    The Politics programme uses several different methods of teaching and learning. During your degree, you will attend lectures and participate in seminars. The lectures provide a broad structure for each subject, introduce key concepts, and convey relevant up-to-date information. These are outlined in course syllabi. The Seminars are kept small and usually average between 12-15 students. It provides an opportunity for students to ask questions and discuss key ideas in a small group environment. Their purpose is to assist students to integrate the information and ideas received from lectures and readings and to explore issues critically and in depth. The seminars are also designed to give students an ample opportunity to participate and to provide close contact between them and members of the academic staff.

    Furthermore, the programme is delivered through students’ independent reading, preparation of essays and presentations, as well as feedback on essays and presentations by academic staff.

    We also host guest lectures, as an extracurricular activity, which features visiting guest speakers, usually eminent practitioners and academics involved in various aspects of international relations and politics.


    History at Cardiff is structured around the successive acquisition of the skills and knowledge that are required to produce independent research: the ability to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of an existing body of knowledge and the assumptions that underlie it, to define a problem for investigation, to investigate the problem empirically, and to present conclusions in a reasoned and coherent manner, backed by evidence. The student will be able to relate their specific study to broader historiographical and historical issues, and will possess an understanding of the limits of those conclusions.

    How will I be assessed?


    These programmes are assessed mainly by essays and examinations. Other forms of assessment include seminar presentations, class tests, book and article reviews, and dissertation.


    Students receive feedback through formative written work, seminar discussion, written feedback on essays, essay tutorials, and Dissertation and Exploring historical Debate supervision sessions (which include oral and written feedback on bibliographies, research plans, and draft chapters).. 

    How will I be supported?

    • Each module uses the Central Learning website, a Virtual Learning Environment at Cardiff University. Through the Central Learning site you will have access to relevant materials for the module, such as multimedia materials, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises, discussion groups, etc.
    • Academic Tutors have office hours for students to meet and discuss any learning queries as well as the opportunity in seminars.
    • The School has a wide programme of visiting speakers and guest lectures and students are encouraged to attend.
    • There will be an opportunity for you to reflect on your progress and on the skills that you will develop through a section on the Central Learning site called Planning Personal Development.
    • Furthermore, centrally the university has a range of services to support you, including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.

    What are the Learning Outcomes of this Programme?


    Politics programmes aim  to develop in students a critical understanding of key aspects of modern politics, including International relations, domestic politics of key European states, European Union politics and political theory, along with a command of associated transferable skills.

    Students who are awarded a Single or Joint Honours Politics degree will be able to:

    ·           Identify and explain the central concepts of political science, and demonstrate familiarity with the vocabulary of political discourse;

    ·           Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key aspects of normative and empirical Political Theory;

    ·           Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key aspects of modern politics, including the structure and operation of selected European political systems at the national and European Union levels and international politics embracing global and regional studies;

    ·           Demonstrate particular expertise in Political Theory and/or European Politics and/or international relations in the case of Joint Honours students, and in the case of Single Honours students: for Political Theory this means a critical understanding of key ideas selected from the history of political thought and contemporary political theory; for European politics this means a critical understanding of the structure and operation of selected European political systems at the national, European and/or regional level, along with an awareness of the social, economic and cultural contexts of political behaviour and theoretically-informed views of the factors that account for political change; for international relations this means a critical understanding of the nature of the international system and of global power structures, with main foci in terms of agencies such as States, International Organisations and other Transnational actors, along with an awareness of international political theories;

    ·           Appreciate the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge;

    ·           Apply different concepts, theories and methods to the analysis of political ideas, institutions and behaviour;

    ·           Examine and evaluate different interpretations of political issues and events;

    ·           Make use of contemporary research, such as articles in refereed journals.


    Graduates from this programme will be able to:

    • demonstrate critical understanding of the past through study of historians’ work (historiography) and of source material;
    • demonstrate knowledge of the diversity of human history across a wide geographical and chronological range;
    • identify patterns of change and to locate detailed examination of particular themes, episodes and events within them;
    • demonstrate a general understanding of the various approaches adopted by historians to the study of the past and give a critical appraisal of their relevance to the study of particular periods and themes;
    • develop a reasoned, coherent, argument about specific problems, deploying appropriate evidence, and demonstrating awareness of the limits of their knowledge;
    • achieve the above objectives both independently and as part of a team;
    • produce a major piece of research of their own (dissertation);
    • demonstrate  understanding of debates concerning the place of history in contemporary society. 

    Other information

    ·      the emphasis on practical research skills that will benefit you throughout your career

    ·      the emphasis placed on independent learning in a supportive environment

    ·      Further information on schemes, modules, teaching methods and assessment can be found on the Politics website.

    Admissions tutors

    Mr Jonathan Kirkup , Course Administrator

      Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.