Politics and Modern History

Key Facts

Code V135
  • Typical A-level offer

    BBB with B in any subject

  • Course Length

    3 Years

Further details on entry requirements

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In choosing to study the Politics and Modern History degree at Aberystwyth University you will benefit from being taught by two of the longest-established departments in the University, the Department of International Politics and the Department of History & Welsh History. This degree scheme has been designed to allow you to concentrate on recent history and politics, and place the study of political ideas and institutions in the context of historical developments. It combines the expertise of historians and political scientists from two departments that enjoy notable reputations in their respective fields and whose areas of interest span the entire globe.

Top 10 in the UK for student satisfaction in the subject area of History (NSS 2016)

Department of History and Welsh: 95% student satisfaction (NSS 2016)

92% of undergraduates from the Department of History and Welsh History who graduated in 2015 were in employment or further education six months after graduating (DLHE 2015)

Department of International Politics: 95% student satisfaction (NSS 2016)

92% of undergraduates from the Department of International Politics who graduated in 2015 were in employment or further education six months after graduating (DLHE 2015)

  • Overview
  • Modules
  • Employability
  • Teaching & Learning
  • Student Views


The single honours Politics and Modern History degree scheme concentrates on recent history and politics and places the study of political ideas and institutions in the context of an understanding of historical development. It combines the expertise of political scientists and historians in an integrated course structure that allows you considerable latitude in the choice of modules. Teaching will be shared between the Department of International Politics and the Department of History and Welsh History, both of which have established notable reputations for teaching and research in their respective fields.

Why study Politics and Modern History at Aberystwyth?

All our lecturers are active researchers who publish their work, and you will benefit from being taught the latest theories and techniques. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014) assessment the university was placed in the top 50 institutions for research power and intensity. It submitted 77% of eligible staff and 95% of the university's research was of an internationally recognised standard.

In addition to a fine University library, as a student at Aberystwyth you will enjoy full membership of the National Library of Wales. One of only five copyright libraries in the United Kingdom, with over six million books, maps, prints and manuscripts, it is situated within a five-minute walk of the Department. You will find this especially valuable when studying your special subject and writing your dissertation in your third year.

Both departments have established links with a number of universities overseas, so we can also provide you with the opportunity to spend a period of time abroad immersing yourself in a different and exciting historical and political culture.

Both departments offer a number of degree schemes and modules taught entirely or partially through the medium of Welsh. Further details may be obtained from the Departments.

Our Staff

Department of History and Welsh History lecturers are all qualified to PhD level, and most also have a PGCHE.

Lecturers in the Department of International Politics are all research active and qualified to PhD level, and most also have a PGCHE.


Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.




* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh




* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh


Career prospects

The Politics and Modern History degree scheme spans the two different, yet complementary, disciplines of history and politics and opens up a range of diverse career options to you on graduation. The Politics component suggests a range of career pathways in the political and public affairs arena, such as Government research officer, social researcher, and Civil Service fast streamer, but would also be useful for such roles as local government officer, journalist, public relations officer, market researcher and work in the diplomatic services. The History component of your degree may lead to opportunities in the fields of archives, or heritage or museum management, or to related and non-related professional employment, including librarianship, records management, journalism, media, advertising, the legal profession, local government, business and finance, and a range of jobs which incorporate research or professional writing.

Transferable Skills

Studying for a degree in Politics and Modern History will equip you with a range of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers. These include:

• the ability to express ideas and communicate information in a clear and structured manner, in both written and oral form
• effective problem-solving and creative thinking skills
• the ability to work independently
• time-management and organisational skills, including the ability to meet deadlines
• self-motivation and self-reliance
• team-working, with the ability to discuss concepts in groups, accommodating different ideas and reaching agreement
• research skills

Year in Employment scheme (YES)
The University operates a Year in Employment Scheme (YES), which offers you a fantastic opportunity to take a year out between your second and third year to work in an organisation in the UK or overseas. YES provides a very rewarding and worthwhile experience, both personally and professionally, and can help you to stand out from the crowd in a very competitive job market. The University’s Career Service will help you to explore your options and secure a suitable work placement.

GO Wales
GO Wales is administered by the University’s Career Service, working with local businesses to create paid work placements of a few weeks’ duration for students. It gives you the opportunity to gain valuable work experience which will enhance your CV and make you more attractive to potential employers.

Teaching & Learning

What will I learn?

As a student on the Politics and Modern History degree scheme you will divide your time equally between the Department of International Politics and the Department of History and Welsh History.

In the first year you will follow core modules which are designed to ease you into your undergraduate studies. The modules identify new concepts and historical skills, new methods and periods, and some of the most exciting recent historical and political works. You will also choose from a wide selection of optional modules offered by the Departments of History and Welsh History and International Politics.

In the second year, you will take a compulsory module on historical method, which examines the way in which the meaning, methods and writing of history have changed over time. You will also follow one pathway from a choice of three which explore different aspects and periods of history. Alongside this you will select a number of modules offered by the Department of International Politics.

In your third year, as well as choosing a number of modules from an extensive range offered by both departments, you will select a special subject which enables you to study a specific historical topic in depth and allows for an extensive use of original sources, deploying the critical research skills of a practising historian. The dissertation module will allow you to focus on an area of particular interest from either discipline.

How will I be taught?

The aims of the History syllabus are to communicate the variety and excitement of current approaches to the academic study of history, and to teach key skills such as information retrieval, interpretation and self-expression. The Politics component of the degree programme adds a political dimension to your contemporary historical studies and allows you to explore stimulating topics from cyber warfare and espionage to international security or internet freedom.

You will be assessed by a variety of methods, including examinations, assessed essays, projects, book reviews, presentations, and a dissertation on a subject of particular interest to you.

You will be assigned a personal tutor throughout your degree course, who will help you with any problems or queries, whether these are academic-related or personal issues. You should feel free to contact them at any time for help and advice.

You will also have the opportunity to complete a Personal Development Plan (PDP) at Aberystwyth. This is a structured process of self-appraisal, reflection, and planning, which will enable you to chart your personal, academic and professional development throughout your time at university. By recording your academic performance, and highlighting the skills you already have and those you will need for future employability, the PDP portfolio will equip you with the necessary tools to plan effectively, develop successful approaches to study, and consider your future career options and aspirations.

Student Views

The Politics and Modern History course at Aberystwyth University provided me with an excellent opportunity to experience the expertise of two fantastic departments. The VI35 course is tailored especially for students who are fascinated about how our world has changed over time, and the important political components of that change. The ability to choose from an extended list of modules in both departments has allowed me to focus on the aspects of historical and political change that I find the most interesting. Furthermore, the staff and their expertise have provided me with an exceptional learning experience and outstanding student support. Alan Donaldson

Entry Requirements

A Levels BBB with B in any subject

GCSE requirements (grade C min):
English or Welsh

BTEC National Diploma:

International Students

International Baccalaureate:
30-32 points overall

European Baccalaureate:
70-75% overall

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