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Politics and History BSc

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Study mode

3-year full-time; 4-year thick-sandwich

UCAS code

LVG1, LVF1 with professional development

Start date


Study location

Brunel University London campus

Entry criteria

BBB (A-level)

Placement Offered This course has a professional development option


Politics at Brunel is ranked 6th in London (The Complete University Guide 2018)

History at Brunel is ranked 6th in London (Guardian University Guide 2018)

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.

Brunel University London’s impact on the future wages of its graduates is among the best in the country compared to other universities, according to a new analysis of government data by The Economist (2017).

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.


Contact our Enquiries team.
Course Enquiries: +44 (0)1895 265599 (before you submit an application)
Admissions Office: +44 (0)1895 265265 (after you submit an application)

Course content

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.

Level 1


  • Research Design and Qualitative Methods
  • Modern Political Thought
  • Modern British Politics
  • What is History?


Choose 2 from the following:

  • 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

Level 2


  • Comparative Political Institutions
  • Historians and their Craft
  • Explaining Politics: Quantitative Political Science in Practice


Choose 3 from the following:

  • Democracy and Democratisation
  • US Foreign Policy from World War 2 to the End of the Cold War
  • Issues in American Politics
  • Theories of International Relations
  • National Security Intelligence
  • Ancient Greek Political Thought: Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Politics
  • Unity and Cultural Diversity
  • The Holocaust
  • Slavery and Abolition in the Atlantic World
  • 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

Level 3


  • Dissertation (This may be taken in Politics, or jointly between Politics and History)
  • European Union Politics: Problems and Prospects


Choose 3 from the following:

  • Empire, Imperialism and Hegemony
  • Media, Politics and Power in America
  • Marx and Marxism
  • Parties and Voters in the UK
  • Public Policy Analysis
  • Parliamentary Studies
  • History of Political Thought
  • Terrorism 1960-2016
  • Fascism
  • The Second World War
  • 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.


Sandwich Degree

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.

Careers and your future

A major attraction of our courses is the wide variety of career opportunities to which they can lead. Some go into Politics and the civil service and have worked for Members of the Parliament such as John McDonnell MP, or former Labour party general secretary Baroness McDonagh. Other graduates 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.

Work placements

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 2019/20

  • GCE A-level BBB (all subjects considered).

  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma DDM in Business, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, Public Services or Health and Social Care.

  • BTEC Level 3 Diploma DD in a related subject AND an A-level at grade B.

  • BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma D in Business, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, Public Services or Health and Social Care AND 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.

A minimum of five GCSEs are required, including GCSE English Language grade C or grade 4. GCSE Mathematics grade C or grade 4 is also normally 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)

You can find out more about the qualifications we accept on our English Language Requirements page.

If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you must prove knowledge of the English language so that we can issue you a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS). To do this, you will need an IELTS for UKVI or Trinity SELT test pass gained from a test centre approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and on the Secure English Language Testing (SELT) list. This must have been taken and passed within two years from the date the CAS is made.

Should you wish to take a pre-sessional English course to improve your English prior to starting your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider for the same reason.

We offer our own BrunELT English Test and have pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet requirements or who wish to improve their English. You can find out more information on English courses and test options at the Brunel Language Centre.

Teaching and learning

Staff expertise

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.

Student support

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.

Assessment and feedback

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.

Special features

  • Politics at Brunel is ranked 6th in London (The Complete University Guide 2018)
  • History at Brunel is ranked 6th in London (Guardian University Guide 2018)
  • You will have access to some ofthe 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.

Fees and funding

Fees for 2019/20 entry

UK/EU students: £9,250 full-time; £1,000 placement year

International students: £15,400 full-time

Some courses incur additional course related costs. You can also check our on-campus accommodation costs for more information on living expenses.

UK/EU students can opt to pay in six equal monthly instalments: the first instalment is payable on enrolment and the remaining five by Direct Debit or credit/debit card.

Overseas students can opt to pay in two instalments: 60% on enrolment, and 40% in January for students who commence their course in September (or the remaining 40% in March for selected courses that start in January).

Fees quoted are per year and may be subject to an annual increase. Home/EU undergraduate student fees are regulated and are currently capped at £9,250 per year; any changes will be subject to changes in government policy. International fees will increase annually, by no more than 5% or RPI (Retail Price Index), whichever is the greater.

There is a range of financial support available to help you fund your studies. Find out about undergraduate student funding options.