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BA Politics and Modern History / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

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Course description

Muneera Lula

I knew I wanted to study History and Politics, but Manchester was such a fantastic place when I came to visit. It felt homely and kind with so much to offer both academically and through extracurricular activities.

During my degree, I had the opportunity to study such a huge range of history and politics. My study of colonial history was amazing and eye-opening.

Muneera Lula / Policy Advisor, Civil Service & 2017 Graduate

BA Politics and Modern History is one of the longest established programmes of its kind in the country, combining an investigation of the historical development of the modern world with a study of its political machinery and an examination of its political thought in a historical setting.

Broad course units in history, government institutions and political thought constitute the core of the degree in the first two years, with more specialist options in Year 3, including a 12,000-word thesis.

Studying politics and modern history together aims to give you a unique insight into how societies work in both past and present.

The course combines two complementary ways of looking at the world and will give you the tools to understand the workings and history of political systems, international relations, conflict and cooperation in Britain, Europe and beyond.

The degree will take you through various stages, at each step developing both your background knowledge in politics and history and, crucially, the skills of critical analysis and logical argument.

Throughout, you will engage with a broad range of themes in both subjects, ranging from globalisation in historical perspective to the politics of modern China.

Aims

Studying Politics & Modern History (PMH) together aims to give students a unique insight into how societies work in both past and present. It combines two complementary ways of looking at the world and gives students tools to understand the workings and history of political systems, international relations, conflict and cooperation in Britain, Europe and beyond.

The PMH degree takes students through various stages, at each step developing both their background knowledge in Politics and History and crucially, the skills of critical analysis and logical argument. Throughout, students engage with a broad range of themes in both subjects, ranging from Globalisation in Historical Perspective to the politics of Modern China.

Supported by Faculty who are both dedicated teachers and world-leading experts in their fields, and with whom students interact daily in lectures, seminars and one-to-one meetings, the course aims to develop a range of essential and transferable skills. By writing essays, projects and dissertations on both subjects, students learn how to develop their ability to write, present and discuss complex ideas and arguments. By engaging with an exciting and demanding course students also develop habits of self-management, independence and collaborative work.

In addition, PMH students can (and do) develop further their interests by joining a wide range of student-led societies, including the Politics and History Societies, and a dedicated PMH Society which organises social events and invites a range of speakers to campus. There are also many other popular societies focused on politics, media and sport.

Special features

Placement year option

Apply your subject-specific knowledge in a real-world context through a  placement year  in your third year of study, enabling you to enhance your employment prospects, clarify your career goals and build your external networks.  

Study abroad

You may apply to spend one semester studying abroad during the second year of your degree. Exchange partners are offered in Europe, through the Erasmus Exchange scheme, or via the Worldwide Exchange scheme, in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong or Singapore.

Connect with like-minded students

Join the dedicated Politics and Modern History Society, which organises social events and invites a range of speakers to campus, or the History Society, which plays a key role in building a community among History students at Manchester by organising trips (in the UK and on the continent), hosting social events, and coordinating the student magazine, The Manchester Historian .

Teaching and learning

You will learn through:

  • lectures;
  • seminars;
  • web-based seminars;
  • small group tutorials.

You will spend approximately 12 hours a week in formal study sessions. For every hour spent at University, you will be expected to complete a further two to three hours of independent study. You will also need to study during the holiday periods.

We will encourage you to undertake supervised, independent study and original research at every level of the course.

The individual study component could be spent reading, producing written work, or revising for examinations.

Coursework and assessment

You will be assessed in various ways, including:

  • written and oral examinations;
  • coursework essays;
  • research reports;
  • practical tests;
  • learning logs;
  • web contributions.

Many course units are assessed through a mixture of techniques.

In your final year, you will write a dissertation which provides 22% of the final mark.

Course content for year 1

Designed to assist students with the intellectual transition to university study, level 1 modules focus on introducing students to key conceptual and theoretical issues in relation to Politics and History. All students take History in Practice, in which students learn important skills in research and writing to equip them for historical study at university level, and compulsory modules in Politics that provide foundational understandings of key theoretical issues.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
History in Practice HIST10101 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Comparative Politics POLI10202 20 Mandatory
Introduction to International Politics POLI10601 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Political Theory POLI10702 20 Mandatory
From Reconstruction to Reagan: American History, 1877-1988 AMER10002 20 Optional
Constructing Archaic Greek History CAHE10011 20 Optional
From Republic to Empire: Introduction to Roman History, Society & Culture 218-31BC CAHE10022 20 Optional
The Odyssey CAHE10101 20 Optional
The Making of the Mediterranean CAHE10132 20 Optional
Discoveries and Discoverers: Sights and Sites CAHE10282 20 Optional
Defining Digital Humanities DIGI10011 20 Optional
Key Concepts in International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response HCRI11021 20 Optional
Institutions and Governance HCRI11081 20 Optional
Modern China: from the Opium Wars to the Olympic Games HIST10152 20 Optional
Histories of the Islamic World HIST10171 20 Optional
Capitalism in Historical Perspective: 1700-1913 HIST10181 20 Optional
Imperial Nation: The Making of Modern Britain, 1783-1902 HIST10191 20 Optional
An Introduction to the Medieval World HIST10262 20 Optional
States, Nations and Empires. Europe, c.1750-1914 HIST10312 20 Optional
Science & the Modern World HSTM10221 10 Optional
Bodies in History: An introduction to the History of Medicine HSTM10272 10 Optional
Science and the Modern World (20 Credits) HSTM10721 20 Optional
Exploring Enterprise MCEL10001 10 Optional
Entrepreneurial Skills MCEL10002 10 Optional
Standing on The Shoulders of Giants: Foundations for Study in The Arts SALC10002 20 Optional
Religion in Modern South Asian History SALC10222 20 Optional
Foundations for Interdisciplinarity SALC10411 20 Optional
Living and Dying in the Ancient World SALC10602 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 28 course units for year 1

Course content for year 2

Modules become increasingly specialist and the programme offers significant choice and flexibility. Students get to choose between a History or a Politics Long Essay, which is an extended piece of coursework supervised on a one-to-one basis on a topic of the student's choice.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
From Jamestown to James Brown: African-American History and Culture AMER20141 20 Optional
The Conquering Hero: The Life, Times and Legacy of Alexander The Great CAHE20041 20 Optional
The Roman Empire 31BC - AD235: Rome's Golden Age CAHE20051 20 Optional
Politics and Society in Classical Greece CAHE20062 20 Optional
Roman Women in 22 Objects CAHE20532 20 Optional
Introduction to the History and Culture of Pharaonic Egypt CAHE21441 20 Optional
Weimar Culture? Art, Film and Politics in Germany, 1918-33 GERM20262 20 Optional
Making of the Modern Mind: European Intellectual History in a Global Context HIST20181 20 Optional
Winds of Change: Politics, Society and Culture in Britain, 1899 -1990 HIST20252 20 Optional
Independent Research Project HIST20390 20 Optional
Late Imperial China: From the Jesuits to the East India Company HIST20422 20 Optional
The Cultural History of Modern War HIST20482 20 Optional
Crisis and Prosperity in Twentieth-Century Europe HIST21112 20 Optional
Colonial Encounters: Race, Violence, and the Making of the Modern World HIST21122 20 Optional
From Catastrophe to Crusade: Europe in the Aftermath of the Vikings HIST21141 20 Optional
The Stuff of History: Objects Across Borders, 1500-1800 HIST21152 20 Optional
From Cholera to COVID-19: A Global History of Epidemics HSTM20031 10 Optional
From Cholera to COVID-19: A Global History of Epidemics HSTM20081 20 Optional
The Crisis of Nature: Issues in Environmental History HSTM20092 10 Optional
Information visions: past, present and future HSTM20282 10 Optional
The Crisis of Nature: Issues in Environmental History HSTM20592 20 Optional
Information visions: past, present and future HSTM20782 20 Optional
Aesthetics and Politics of Italian Fascism ITAL20501 20 Optional
History of Modern Islamic Thought MEST20501 20 Optional
The Politics of (in)Security POLI20332 20 Optional
Questions About International Politics POLI20521 20 Optional
Politics & Society in Britain Since 1940: From Blitz to Brexit POLI20531 20 Optional
Arguing About Politics: Political Theory in the World POLI20602 20 Optional
The Politics of Globalisation POLI20711 20 Optional
The Politics of Development POLI20722 20 Optional
Gender and Politics in Comparative Perspective POLI20742 20 Optional
The Politics of Policy Making POLI20802 20 Optional
Ideals of Social Justice POLI20881 20 Optional
How to Conduct Politics Research POLI20902 20 Optional
Environmental Politics POLI20982 20 Optional
Comparative West European Politics POLI21001 20 Optional
Southern European Politics POLI21012 20 Optional
Asia-Pacific Security POLI21041 20 Optional
Religion, Culture and Gender RELT20121 20 Optional
Goddesses, Demons and Stories in South Asian History: From Early Epics to the Present Day RELT21222 20 Optional
100 Years of Revolution: Russia from Lenin to Putin RUSS20242 20 Optional
The Making of Modern Russia RUSS20251 20 Optional
The 1989 Revolutions and their Aftermaths RUSS20472 20 Optional
All about Eve: Encountering the First Woman from Antiquity to Today SALC21132 20 Optional
History of Latin America SPLA20362 20 Optional
Essential Enterprise UCIL22001 10 Optional
Essential Enterprise UCIL22002 10 Optional
The Art of Enterprise UCIL24002 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 48 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

Students may specialise in the periods and subjects that they have found most interesting. Students get to choose between a History or a Politics Dissertation, which is an extended piece of coursework based on independent research and supervised on a one-to-one basis on a topic of the student's choice, which our students generally find to be the most enjoyable and fulfilling part of their studies.

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Thesis (40 credits) HIST30970 40 Optional
The Politics of the European Union POLI30032 20 Optional
Russian Politics POLI30071 20 Optional
The Politics and Philosophy of Nationalism POLI30192 20 Optional
Gender, Sex and Politics POLI30232 20 Optional
Elections and Voters in Britain POLI30242 20 Optional
Political Morality and Dirty Hands POLI30271 20 Optional
Chinese Politics POLI30281 20 Optional
Public Policy Problems POLI30291 20 Optional
Dissertation A POLI30300 40 Optional
Ethical Issues in World Politics POLI30321 20 Optional
Political Ideologies in Modern Britain POLI30361 20 Optional
Introduction to International Political Economy POLI30721 20 Optional
Gender, War & Militarism POLI30792 20 Optional
Africa & Global Politics POLI30862 20 Optional
War and Genocide in the 20th Century POLI30892 20 Optional
Ideologies of Global Capitalism POLI31002 20 Optional
War Memories and Reconciliation in East Asia POLI31012 20 Optional
American Politics: Why Do They Do That? POLI31061 20 Optional
Contemporary Parliamentary Studies and the British Political Tradition POLI32041 20 Optional
Postcolonial Politics POLI32061 20 Optional
Between War and Peace POLI32071 20 Optional
Race, Ethnicity, Migration POLI32162 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 23 course units for year 3

What our students say

Politics and History are subjects that fit together so well and overlap so often. The course at Manchester allows me to take modules in both disciplines and stretch myself in both subjects which I really enjoy. I love my degree and usually it's hard to get me to stop talking about some of the modules I study. The history department is a really comforting place where everyone can feel at home and I always feel really well taken care of. Muneera Lula, Politics with Modern History

Facilities

Manchester is a living history book, from Peterloo to the anti-slavery movement, from Roman and Anglo-Saxon forts to medieval monuments.

As a student in this historically rich city, you'll have the opportunity to draw on the abundant library, archive and museum holdings of the local area, including Chetham's Library, The Museum of Science and Industry, The People's History Museum and the Working Class Movement Library.

You'll also have access to one of only five National Research Libraries, including the special collections of The John Rylands Library, as well as the exclusive holdings of Manchester Museum.

The University of Manchester owns the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester Museum and Tabley House, giving you unique access to outstanding cultural and historical resources.

For more information, see Facilities .

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk