We host online webinars to give you the chance to find out more about our courses and what studying at Brunel is like.
Our recent Politics and History webinar can now be watched here.
About the course
This degree will help you gain knowledge of the exciting world of modern politics while examining the societies, life and significant events of the past. You will get an understanding of contemporary political issues by studying key institutions and players and will also explore the 17th to the 20th centuries’ world history.
Programmes in Politics will help you to address critical questions such as:
- Who has political power?
- Why do they have it?
- To whom are they accountable?
- In whose interest do they exercise it?
- What is globalisation?
- Is violent protest ever justified?
The History programme introduces you to the study of societies in the past – you will look at the history of Britain, Europe and the wider world in the modern period. Through an examination of life as it was lived in the past, you will begin to understand what it means to be human and how different yet still related present and past events are.
This degree draws on the skills and expertise of all the disciplines that make up the Department of Politics, History and the Brunel Law School.
In addition to the Politics half of the course, and the writing of a dissertation at Level 3, you will take modules in historiography and historical skills, covering a wide variety of historical periods and substantive themes.
The BSc consists of both compulsory and optional modules, a typical selection can be found below. Modules can vary from year to year, but these offer a good idea of what we teach.
- Political Science Methods
- Central Themes in Political Thought
- Modern British Politics
- What is History?
- Revolution, Liberty and the Origins of American Democracy
- Capital, Labour and Power: Britain, 1707-1939
- History, Memory and Culture in Europe since 1789
- The Making of the Modern World
- Migration and the Settler World, 1600-1914
- Democracy and Democratisation
- Comparative Political Institutions
- Historians and their Craft
- US Foreign Policy from World War 2 to the End of the Cold War
- Issues in American Politics
- Political Geography
- Theories of International Relations
- Slavery and Abolition in the Atlantic World
- The First World War - Causes, Course, Consequences
- Australia and The Modern World
- Themes in the History of Modern Africa
- The State and Revolution
- The History of Political Cinema
- History of the Women’s Movement in the West, c. 1790-1930
- Dissertation (This may be taken in Politics, or jointly between Politics and History)
- European Union Politics: Problems and Prospects
- The Arab-Israeli Conflict
- Monstrosity in Political Thought and Literature, 1500-1900
- Globalisation and Governance
- Empire, Imperialism and Hegemony
- Media, Politics and Power in America
- Marx and Marxism
- Parties and Voters in the UK
- Intelligence and National Security
- Public Policy Analysis
- Parliamentary Studies
- The Second World War
- The History and Politics of Heritage
- The British Maritime World, 1660-1815
- Crisis and Critique
Read more about the structure of undergraduate degrees at Brunel
and what you will learn on the course.
- Ranked third for History in The Guardian University Guide 2014, with only Cambridge and St. Andrews ahead of Brunel University London.
- Ranked first for Politics and third for History in the UK for student satisfaction (National Student Survey 2013).
- Ranked sixth in London for Politics in The Complete University Guide 2014.
- You will have access to some the best research facilities in the UK. Westminster and Whitehall are within easy reach.
- We have good links with key political figures and institutions. You will have the opportunity to study abroad at one of several European universities and participate in an exchange programme in China.
- You will be able to take advantage of the University’s exchange scheme with the State University of New York at Brockport. This includes optional work placement in Washington or Albany. We also have partnerships with EU universities in the Socrates programme, including the universities of Rennes, Stuttgart, Malta, Cyprus, Ireland and Helsinki (subject to change).
- Our courses are designed and taught by nationally and internationally acclaimed experts in the fields of politics, international relations, social policy and contemporary history.
Teaching and Assessment
Many of our lecturers are authors of books and well-regarded scholarly articles. They present papers to universities at home and abroad, as well as acting as regular media performers worldwide. Their research has led to major television and radio programmes. You will benefit from their exciting contacts and inside knowledge.
We are committed to helping you progress confidently through the levels of your programme. To achieve this, we devote as much care to your initiation into higher education, both by entry-level courses and study skills teaching, as to the completion of your learning at Level 3.
By your final year, therefore, you will benefit from the specialist research-led courses and will be prepared for the research and writing involved in your dissertation.
How will I be taught?
Modules are taught by a mixture of lectures and seminars. Depending on its credit-rating, you can expect to have one or two hours of lectures per week for each module and a one-hour seminar each week or fortnight.
Lectures – These provide a broad overview of key themes and ideas relating to your course and establish a framework from which to carry out more in-depth study.
Seminars – These relatively small groups examine the lecture material in more detail, theoretical concepts are analysed and applied in specific contexts. Seminars provide students with an opportunity for discussion, debate and the development of presentational skills.
One-to-one – You will get one-to-one supervision on your final year dissertation and at all levels you will have a tutor who is available to discuss personal and academic problems. If you go on a placement, you will also be allocated a work placement tutor who will ensure your progress and provide further support if you need it.
Private study – The bulk of every student’s work will undoubtedly consist of private study. On average this should absorb approximately 25 to 30 hours of your life each week. During your initial months at Brunel, you are given help and advice designed to encourage you to become an ‘independent learner’, capable of managing your work effectively.
External visits – We aim to introduce students to the benefits of observing politics in action and from the personal experience of other political systems and ideas. You will visit important political sites in the UK (such as Parliament) and depending on the options you select, may visit overseas.
Level 1 does not count towards your final degree mark. Level 2 is worth a third and Level 3 is worth two-thirds. The final year dissertation is worth a third of Level 3 marks.
Exact assessment patterns vary, but most are based on a combination of coursework and formal written exams. Typically, coursework marks constitute 25-50 per cent of overall module grades.
If you take a sandwich degree you will gain work experience alongside politicians and trained professionals, as well as in commercial and public organisations. This highly valued experience will enhance the academic study of politics.
A sandwich degree allows students to add an important dimension to their portfolio of achievements. It enables them to gain professional experience in commercial, political and public sector organisations.
A major attraction of our courses is the wide variety of career opportunities to which they can lead. Some graduates, like Margaret McDonagh or John McDonnell MP, opt for careers in politics. Others have joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Home Office, GCHQ and military intelligence.
Many have gone on to work in public and private sector organisations, such as Chase Manhattan, Marks and Spencer, British Airways, Coca Cola Schweppes, HSBC, and the NHS Confederation.
Significant numbers have taken further training to pursue careers in broadcasting, journalism, law, and teaching at every level.
A degree in history equips you for work as a researcher, teacher or librarian, as well as for careers in the museum and heritage sectors, in NGOs and government agencies, the civil service etc. Past students have also gained employment in company management, business, consultancy and law practice.
Our students have taken placements in a variety of settings, including: Politics International, Epolitix.com, Connect Public Affairs, William Hague's Office, Liberal Democrats, Information Unit, MPs' offices at the House of Commons, The offices of US Senators, HM Treasury, HM Customs and Excise, Competition Commission, Welsh Development Agency, Addenbrooke's NHS Trust, Kent County Council.
Read more about our Politics placements.
At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.
» More about Employability
Entry Criteria 2017/18
- GCE A-level BBB (all subjects considered).
- BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma DDD in a related subject.
- BTEC Level 3 Diploma DD in a related subject, with an A-level at grade B.
- BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma D in a related subject, with A-levels grade BB.
- International Baccalaureate Diploma 30 points.
- Access to Higher Education Diploma Complete and pass a related subject Access course with 45 credits at Level 3, with Merit in all units.
5 GCSEs to include Maths at Grade C and English Language at Grade C are also required.
Please check our Admissions pages for more information on other factors we use to assess applicants as well as our full GCSE requirements and accepted equivalencies in place of GCSEs.
Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.
International and EU Entry Requirements
If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions
This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.
English Language Requirements
- IELTS: 6.5 (min 5.5 in all areas)
- Pearson: 58 (51 in all subscores)
- BrunELT: 65% (min 55% in all areas)
Brunel University London strongly recommends that if you will require a Tier 4 visa, you sit your IELTS test at a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as being a provider of a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not all test centres have this status. The University can accept IELTS (with the required scores) taken at any official test centre or other English Language qualifications we accept as meeting our main award entry requirements.
However, if you wish to undertake a Pre-sessional English course to further improve your English prior to the start of your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider. This is because you will only be able to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Pre-sessional English course if you hold a SELT from a UKVI approved test centre. Find out more information about it.
Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accepts a range of other language courses. We also have Pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English. Find out more information about English course and test options.