Course overview

Contemporary political ideas and practice are heavily influenced by modern history. For example, the political institutions and culture of contemporary America and France can only be understood with reference to the American and French Revolutions of the late eighteenth century.

Politics and history are complementary disciplines, using different methods of research and analysis. On this course you will use primary and secondary historical sources to research, write and debate history. You'll also learn how to compare and contrast different political institutions, systems and behaviours.

The second year History and Politics: A Problem or Solution? module is specifically designed for this course. In this module, you reflect on the complementary nature of the two disciplines. It sits alongside optional modules, covering a wide chronological and geographical range.

Your departments

For more information on what it's like to study with us, see the:

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level AAA

Please note: Applicants whose backgrounds or personal circumstances have impacted their academic performance may receive a reduced offer. Please see our contextual admissions policy for more information.

Required subjects

A level history

IB score 36; 6 in history at Higher Level

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

If you have already achieved your EPQ at Grade A you will automatically be offered one grade lower in a non-mandatory A level subject.

If you are still studying for your EPQ you will receive the standard course offer, with a condition of one grade lower in a non-mandatory A level subject if you achieve an A grade in your EPQ.

Mature Students

At the University of Nottingham, we have a valuable community of mature students and we appreciate their contribution to the wider student population. You can find lots of useful information on the mature students webpage.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

You will be taught via a mixture of large-group lectures and smaller, interactive seminars. You might also be taught through tutorials and supervisions. These are one-to-one meetings or discussions with an academic tutor.

All students are assigned a personal tutor at the start of each academic year. Your personal tutor oversees your academic development and personal welfare.

Teaching quality

97% of our class of 2019 graduated with a 1st or 2:1 degree classification. University of Nottingham Degree Outcomes statement

In the past six years, two of our academics from the Department of History have won Lord Dearing Awards. These awards recognise outstanding student learning and are nominated by students and academic colleagues.

29 of our academics from the Department of History have received Advance HE recognition for their contribution to education, becoming Teaching Fellows.

Peer mentoring

All new undergraduate students are allocated a peer mentor, to help you settle into life at Nottingham. Find out more about the support on offer

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops
  • Field trips

How you will be assessed

Your assessments will vary according to the topic studied. The majority of assessment is by essay and exam. However, other forms of assessment include:

  • individual or team presentations
  • work on the interpretation of document sources or images
  • poster presentations
  • reviews and reflections on the process of study

Assessment methods

  • Essay
  • Portfolio (written/digital)
  • Presentation
  • Reflective review
  • Written exam
  • Dissertation

Contact time and study hours

You’ll have at least the following hours of timetabled contact a week through lectures, seminars and workshops, tutorials and supervisions.

  • Year one: minimum of 12 hours
  • Year two: minimum of 9 hours
  • Final year: minimum of 7 hours

Your tutors will also be available outside these times to discuss issues and develop your understanding. In the latest National Student Survey (2020), 95% of students from the Department of History reported that they ‘were able to contact staff’ when they needed to.

We reduce your contact hours as you work your way through the course. As you progress, we expect you to assume greater responsibility for your studies and work more independently.

Your tutors will all be qualified academics with PhDs. Some of our postgraduate research students may also support teaching after suitable training. You will have a personal tutor from the Department of History and a joint-honours adviser from the School of Politics and International Relations.

Lectures on our largest modules, 'Learning History' and 'Introduction to Political Theory', are typically attended by up to 350 students. The corresponding seminars have a maximum size of 25. Year-two module lectures may be attended by up to 75 students. History special subject groups are limited to a maximum of 20.

As well as scheduled teaching, you’ll carry out extensive self-directed study such as:

  • reading, researching and note taking
  • analysing primary sources
  • planning and writing essays and other assessed work
  • collaborating with fellow students

As a guide, 20 credits (a typical module) is approximately 200 hours of work (combined teaching and self-directed study).

Study abroad

  • Explore the world, experience different cultures and gain valuable life skills by studying abroad
  • Options range from short summer schools, a single semester to a whole year abroad
  • Language support is available through our Language Centre where required
  • Boost your CV for prospective employers

See our study abroad pages for full information


Work experience gives you the skills and experience that will allow you to stand out to potential employers and is a crucial part of becoming 'workplace-ready'.

The History Society runs a schools volunteering project, which delivers school lessons and after-school clubs in primary and secondary schools around the Nottingham area.

You also have access to a wide range of work experience and volunteering schemes through the:

Study Abroad and the Year in Industry are subject to students meeting minimum academic requirements. Opportunities may change at any time for a number of reasons, including curriculum developments, changes to arrangements with partner universities, travel restrictions or other circumstances outside of the university’s control. Every effort will be made to update information as quickly as possible should a change occur.

Why study more than one subject?

Watch our animation about studying a joint honours degree with us.


Our year-one modules are designed as an introduction. They build everyone's knowledge to the same level, so you are ready to progress to year two.

You will take 120 credits of modules split as below:

  • Politics core modules (60 credits) – you will explore key themes in political theory, global politics and British political history
  • History core module (20 credits) – you will explore the nature of history as a discipline and develop the skills required to research, write and debate
  • History optional modules (40 credits) – these span a range of periods, from the medieval to the contemporary

You’ll have at least 12 hours of timetabled contact a week through lectures and seminars, plus additional tutorials.

You must pass year one, but it does not count towards your final degree classification.

Core modules

History optional modules

You will take 120 credits of modules, which are usually split as below:

  • Compulsory core modules (40 credits) – you will take the integrated module 'History and Politics: a Problem or a Solution?', which guides you through the complexities of studying history and politics together, plus one other core politics module
  • History and politics optional modules (80 credits) – History optional modules cover a range of different periods, geographical areas, and historical approaches. Politics optional modules explore a range of different issues in politics and international relations

You’ll have at least 9 hours of timetabled contact a week through lectures and seminars and additional tutorials.

You must pass year two, which counts 33% towards your final degree classification.

Core modules

And one of:

History optional modules

A typical list may include:

Politics optional modules

A typical list may include:

You will take 120 credits of modules, split equally between history and politics. Alternatively you may choose to major in history, with 80 credits of history modules and 40 credits of politics modules.

  • Dissertation in either history or politics (40 credits) - devise and carry out your own original research project in one of your two subjects
  • History Special Subject (40 credits) - choose from a wide range of themes and periods. Special Subject modules focus on a specialised area of history and develop your analysis of primary sources
  • History and/or politics optional modules (40 credits) - choose from a wide range in both subjects

You’ll have at least 7 hours of timetabled contact a week through lectures and seminars, plus additional tutorials.

You must pass year three, which counts 67% towards your final degree classification.


Choose one of the below:

History Special Subjects

A typical list may include:

Politics optional modules

A typical list may include:

History optional modules

A typical list may include:

Fees and funding

UK students

Per year

International students

Per year

*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

Essential course materials are supplied.


You'll be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to buy your own copies of core texts. A limited number of modules have compulsory texts which you are required to buy. We recommend that you budget £100 per year for books, but this figure will vary according to which modules you take. The Blackwell's bookshop on campus offers a year-round price match against any of the main retailers (e.g. Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith). They also offer second-hand books, as students from previous years sell their copies back to the bookshop.

Volunteering and placements

For volunteering and placements e.g. work experience and teaching in schools, you will need to pay for transport and refreshments.

Optional field trips

Field trips allow you to engage with source materials on a personal level and to develop different perspectives. They are optional and costs to you vary according to the trip; some require you to arrange your own travel, refreshments and entry fees, while some are some are wholly subsidised.

For additional costs relating to Politics, please see the Politics and International Relations BA course page.

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £1,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International students

We offer a range of international undergraduate scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

International scholarships


As a History and Politics graduate, you will have gained the following key transferable skills:

  • critical thinking
  • data analysis
  • constructing logical arguments
  • communication
  • teamworking
  • presentation

View our History graduate profiles

You can learn more about subject-related careers opportunities from our Careers and Employability Services:

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

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Important information

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.