IB: 33 points overall with Three HL subjects at 655
3 years full-time or 4-5 years part-time
This programme is an innovative and interdisciplinary exploration into how social, cultural, and political institutions, decisions, and events have shaped societies and nations around the world.
There is much cross-over to explore between the disciplines of History and Politics. The BA History with Politics at Goldsmiths combines and synthesises methods and concepts from both disciplines to inform and stimulate study. Many History modules, such as those dealing with revolutions, ideas, and social movements, are, of course, centrally connected to politics. Meanwhile, Politics modules on feminism and anarchism are strongly informed by the historical precedents of modern movements and ideologies.
Combine the study of History and Politics
Rather than focusing on chronology or strict historical periods, combining History and Politics encourages and facilitates explorations and analyses of key issues, controversies, themes, and debates. The study, analysis, and understanding of the past are as important today as they have ever been. Understanding past societies fosters emotional intelligence and allows us to appreciate the diversity and adaptability of human life. Understanding our pasts can help us to shape our futures in more intelligent, insightful, and compassionate ways.
By combining the two disciplines, you will be able to peel back the formal veneer of political parties and institutions to reveal the major ideological, economic, social, and cultural conflicts which must be investigated to understand our world. This programme crosses boundaries between the traditional and the more radical understandings of political phenomena. Politics is much more than simply what happens in parliaments, it pervades the whole of society, domestically and internationally.
Throughout this degree, you will have the opportunity to study the historical roots of issues facing nations and societies today, while also being able to consider the nature of the ‘political’ in all its dimensions. These approaches come together in Year 3 Special Subjects, where you will spend half the year focusing on a specific subject and writing your dissertation on it. Special Subjects can be taken from a range of options both at Goldsmiths and at other colleges of the University of London, meaning that the scope of political subjects on offer is vast.
Learn across two expert departments
The academic staff in the Department of History and Department of Politics are at the forefront of research excellence and research-led teaching, delivering modules and conducting research about Asia, Africa, the Americas, the British Isles, Eastern and Western Europe, and the Middle East. Find out more in the About the Department section below.
Gain valuable career skills
Alongside intellectual and personal development, we equip you with the skills and experience you need to progress into a rewarding career. This might be through our History in Practice work-placement module or through other career-orientated opportunities and forms of assessment.
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Professor Alex Watson.
What you'll study
For 2020–21, we have made some changes to how the teaching and assessment of certain programmes are delivered. To check what changes affect this programme, please visit the Programme Changes page
The programme can be undertaken full-time (three years across three levels) or part-time (four to six years across three levels). You take a total of 360 credits, 120 credits at each level.
In your first year, you will take the following compulsory modules.
|Year 1 Compulsory Modules||Module title||Credits|
|Historical Perspectives||15 credits|
|Reading and Writing History||15 Credits|
|Global Connections: the violence and exchanges that shaped the modern world||30 credits|
|Historical Controversies||30 credits|
You will also select two 15 credit modules from a list approved annually by the Department of History.
You will take 75 credits of modules offered by the History department. Up to 30 credits of these may be a 'related studies' module offered by another Goldsmiths department, and a further 30 credits may be a University of London intercollegiate group II module.
You will also take 45 credits of Politics and International Relations modules from a list approved annually by the department. The following is an indicative list.
|Year 2 politics modules||Module title||Credits|
|Making Modern Japan||15 credits|
|Political Economy||30 credits|
|Modern Britain: Politics from 1979 - today||15 credits|
|Rough Politics||15 credits|
|Security Studies||15 credits|
You will choose a Special Subject module offered by the Department of History, which is coupled with your dissertation and worth 60 credits. You will also choose 45 credits of modules offered by the Department of Politics (indicative list below), and 15 credits offered by the Department of History.
|Indicative list of year 3 politics modules||Module title||Credits|
|New Radical Political Economy||30 credits|
|Feminist Politics||15 credits|
|Armed Politics and Political Violence||30 credits|
|The Politics of Popular Music||15 credits|
The programme is cumulative and progressive, with knowledge and skills building on previous years and growing year on year. Basic skills and competencies are delivered in the first year which sets the broad agenda for the programme as a whole. In the second year, the modules contain increasingly challenging and demanding material which provides the foundations for the significant independent scholarly work required and undertaken in the final year.
Teaching may be delivered in the form of lectures and seminars or other forms of contact time such as extended seminars, workshops, field trips, and film screenings. Lectures introduce subject specific skills and understandings and provide the basis for discussions, activities, group work, and debates. Seminars linked to lectures provide a space for further exploration of the lecture topics and materials and they reinforce the knowledge gained from the lectures and from independent reading and studying. Seminars also involve field-trips and site visits to relevant places including museums, galleries, archives, and sites of historical interest.
Throughout the programme students are taught to critically engage with the inter-relationship between history and Politics. In the final year, this interdisciplinary knowledge, understanding, skill, and experience is tested through the compulsory dissertation project. The variety of theoretical and empirical material throughout the programme, covering a wide range of topics, periods and regions, provides students with the opportunity to pursue their own interests while examining and interrogating the linkages between the two disciplines. Under close co-supervision, students develop a substantial and sustained individual project in which they form and present their own critical arguments in an extended format. In the context of this joint degree, students are required to produce a genuinely interdisciplinary piece of work that reflects their abilities to analyse and assess historical evidence, their awareness of political ideas, methods, and concepts, and a knowledge of relevant empirical work and debates in each discipline.
Lecturers also make themselves available for tutorials either during their Consultation and Feedback hours or by appointment. These provide opportunities to ask questions about modules and their content, to receive support and guidance on independent work, and to receive feedback on submitted work.
The following information gives an indication of the typical proportions of learning and teaching for each year of this programme*:
- Year 1 - 13% scheduled learning, 87% independent learning
- Year 2 - 13% scheduled learning, 87% independent learning
- Year 3 - 11% scheduled learning, 89% independent learning
How you’ll be assessed
A wide and innovative variety of different methods are used to assess learning, these include essays, reviews, source analyses, blogs, videos, walks, presentations, exams, and dissertations. Some modules are assessed by portfolios of coursework, or by a combination of coursework and an examination. Others are assessed by long essays or dissertations on topics approved with the tutor. Assessments vary in length according to the type of assessment and/or level of module.
Assessment supports student progression across the programme, as assessments in the first year aim to measure a set of baseline skills and competencies which are enhanced, deepened and broadened in subsequent years. Lecturers return assessments and provide useful and constructive feedback in a timely manner so as to ensure that students learn from the feedback and have the opportunity to improve subsequent work.
The following information gives an indication of how you can typically expect to be assessed on each year of this programme*:
- Year 1 - 69% coursework, 31% written exam
- Year 2 - 81% coursework, 19% written exam
- Year 3 - 100% coursework
*Please note that these are averages are based on enrolments for 2019/20. Each student’s time in teaching, learning and assessment activities will differ based on individual module choices. Find out more about how this information is calculated.
Credits and levels of learning
An undergraduate honours degree is made up of 360 credits – 120 at Level 4, 120 at Level 5 and 120 at Level 6. If you are a full-time student, you will usually take Level 4 modules in the first year, Level 5 in the second, and Level 6 modules in your final year. A standard module is worth 30 credits. Some programmes also contain 15-credit half modules or can be made up of higher-value parts, such as a dissertation or a Major Project.
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
We accept the following qualifications:
International Baccalaureate: 33 points overall with Three HL subjects at 655
Access: Pass with 45 Level 3 credits including 30 Distinctions and a number of merits/passes in subject-specific modules
Scottish qualifications: BBBBC (Higher) or BBC (Advanced Higher)
European Baccalaureate: 75% preferably including History
Irish Leaving Certificate: H2 H2 H2 H2
At Goldsmiths we offer innovative and challenging degrees in history, as well as a stimulating environment amongst a diverse and exciting community of students. Many of our students have achieved very high A-level grades, and that is reflected in our standard A-level offer.
But above all we're looking for potential students who can demonstrate the range of skills, talents and interests necessary for this work, either through traditional A-levels or otherwise. We believe that all able students of whatever age and background who have the ability should have the chance to study at Goldsmiths, and we actively encourage applications from students with a wide range of relevant qualifications, especially the access diploma. We also offer a year 0 (foundation year) for students who need more preparation and experience before embarking on the BA. This is a longstanding commitment and practice. Consequently, over many years, a large number of our students have come from non-traditional backgrounds.
If you're interested in applying to Goldsmiths, whether you're currently studying or have been out of education for some time, we'd be delighted to hear from you. If you'd like further advice or have specific questions, please get in touch with the Admissions Tutor listed above.
Given the range of students that the programme is designed to attract, applicants may be asked to attend an interview, where the following criteria are evaluated:
- reasons for applying to study this particular degree
- reasons for applying to Goldsmiths
- background knowledge/expectations of the discipline(s)
- intellectual potential and analytic skills
- ability to express ideas verbally and engage in debate
- motivation to complete the programme
Performance at interview can alter the usual criteria for entry on a case-by-case basis.
We also accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.
If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 6.0 with a 6.0 in writing and no element lower than 5.5 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for degree-level study.
Fees & funding
Annual tuition fees
These are the fees for students starting their programme in the 2021/2022 academic year.
From August 2021 EU/EEA/Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for 'Home' fee status. EU/EEA/Swiss nationals will be classified as 'International' for fee purposes, more information can be found on our fees page.
- Home - full-time: £9250
- Home - part-time: £4625
- International - full-time: £17050
It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time if you require a Tier 4 student visa, however this is currently being reviewed and will be confirmed in the new year. Please read our visa guidance in the interim for more information. If you think you might be eligible to study part-time while being on another visa type, please contact our Admissions Team for more information.
If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.
In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.
There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments. Please check the programme specification for more information.
Equipping graduates with the flexibility, skills, and confidence needed to achieve their ambitions and ensuring that all students have clear opportunities to develop within, and beyond, their curriculum (through, for example, work placements and overseas study) are essential components of this degree programme.
History and Politics and International Relations are both very transferable disciplines and, in combination, they offer graduates a great many exciting and prosperous career options. Students who have studied the BA History and Politics programme could pursue careers in politics, business and management, central and local government, education, heritage, publishing, journalism, the museum sector, charities and non-governmental organisations, PR and communications, Social research organisations, and think tanks.
A wide array of transferable skills is acquired throughout the programme. All modules foster skills in: effective reading; critical analysis and evaluation; assessment of arguments, ideas, and evidence; independent thinking and working; academic writing within a specified word-limit; group-working and collaboration; designing and delivering presentations; and creating a wide variety of outputs and materials. Students learn how to: effectively manage their time and their timetable; meet deadlines, to sensibly and pragmatically schedule time and activities; present themselves with self-assurance and confidence. Information and resource management skills are developed and honed as part of wider research processes and a wide range of library and IT skills are also delivered.
Links with employers, placement opportunities and career prospects
The departments of History and Politics and International Relations establish and foster a range of partnerships with some of the leading historical, political, and cultural organisations in London and beyond, including the Black Cultural Archives, the George Padmore Institute, English Heritage, Historic England, Historic Royal Palaces, the Horniman Museum, the National Archives, and Queer Britain.
Students on the BA History and Politics programme can choose to undertake the Department of History’s work placement module, History in Practice. The module runs for two terms and, in the first term, students prepare for their placement through a series of classes and workshops on public history, museum studies, and working in archives and libraries. Students also choose their placement partner and visit them to identify and plan the activities they will be undertaking during their placement. The placement itself takes place in the second term of the module and consists of one day per week at the placement partner. Students continue to be supported throughout by the module convenor and, at the end of the module, are assessed on the work they have undertaken with the placement organisation.
In addition to the resources provided by the programme and by the department, the Goldsmiths Careers Services offer significant support to students as they pursue their career, with general support in such areas as preparing a CV and interview skills, as well as bespoke events that work in partnership with the degree programme.
About the department
You will learn from and interact with nationally and internationally recognised award-winning experts in their fields. Our interdisciplinary approaches to the subjects we teach encourage you to explore and study the past thematically, rather than chronologically, and we venture into often overlooked issues, areas, and topics.
Our staff are excellent educators who foster independent and progressive study in challenging but supportive environments. They will stimulate your critical and analytical thinking and encourage you to tackle the subject in creative and imaginative ways, taking you beyond its traditional boundaries.