BA (Hons) History & Politics

  • UCAS
  • Entry requirements
    A-level: BBB
    IB: 33 points overall with Three HL subjects at 655
  • Length
    3 years full-time or 4-5 years part-time
  • Department
    History, Politics and International Relations

Course overview

This exciting degree lets you explore the ways in which thinking about politics is vital to a study of history, and how the past development of social and political institutions and ideas is crucial to an understanding of contemporary politics.

Why study BA History & Politics at Goldsmiths?

  • You'll have the opportunity to gain precious industry-standard experience and apply your academic skills within the workplace through our placement scheme
  • We offer something different and exciting – we use innovative, interdisciplinary approaches to the subject, and will encourage you to explore issues, controversies and themes rather than chronological periods
  • We'll defamiliarise you from what you think you already know, and encourage you to look at the subjects from a different perspective
  • You'll work with staff who are enthusiastic researchers as well as being excellent teachers, many being recognised as international leaders in their field
  • We're only 15 minutes by train from the centre of government and decision-making at Westminster and Whitehall, and you'll be able to make use of the many museums, galleries and exhibitions available in London
  • The degree will give you access to a wide range of careers by developing your critical, analytical and communication skills; we help you think beyond the traditional boundaries of subjects in ways which employers really value
  • We have a lively events programme that attracts renowned speakers, meaning that you'll have the opportunity to hear the latest political and historical arguments, theories and ideas

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr John Price

Modules & structure


Taught jointly by the Departments of History and Politics and International Relations, this degree applies methods and concepts from both areas to inform your studies, and you are encouraged to examine links between the two disciplines. Our interdisciplinary approach will give you insights into the ways that social, cultural and political institutions have shaped, and continue to shape, our society.

Throughout the three years you study a range of units offered by both Departments - including a core unit for the study of History and Politics and International Relations, and a variety of complementary units - and are encouraged to examine links between the two areas.

Your study of the relationships between Historical processes and politics will be enhanced by Goldsmiths' growing reputation as a centre of excellence in cultural and social processes.

Level 4

At Level 4 you take:

Module title Credits
  Concepts and Methods in History 30 credits

You also take one of the following History modules:

Module title Credits
  Dictators, War and Revolution 30 credits
  Religion, Peace and Conflict 30 credits
  Self, Citizen and Nation 30 credits

And the following two Politics modules:

Module title Credits
  Political Theory and Ideologies 30 credits
  UK and European Comparative Governance and Politics 30 credits

Level 5

You take the following compulsory module:

Module title Credits
  Modern Political Theory 30 credits

You also take politics and international relations modules of up to 30 credits, and two history options. You can also take a module in a modern foreign language or apply to take a ‘related study’ – a relevant approved module from another department.

Level 6

You undertake an interdisciplinary dissertation (30 credits) for which you are given special supervision on a subject of particular interest to you.

A range of specialist modules from the two departments are taken, and you also have the option of taking a Special Subjects module selected from the 40 or so available through the other University of London institutions.

Find out more about the History modules


Assessment consists of coursework, extended essays, reports, presentations, practice based projects or essays/logs, group projects, reflective essays, and seen and unseen written examinations.

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.

Download the programme specification. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Entry requirements

A-level: BBB
International Baccalaureate: 33 points overall with Three HL subjects at 655

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.

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of qualifications equivalent to the ones listed above. This includes:

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

If your qualifications are from another country, find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us. 

For this programme we require:

IELTS 6.0 with a 6.0 in writing and no element lower than 5.5

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for degree-level study.

Read more about our general entrance requirements


History at Goldsmiths is ranked 11th in the UK for the quality of our research*, and in the world's elite**


History at Goldsmiths isn't just a sequence of events - we study the past thematically as well as chronologically.

You will be taught by research-active, publishing historians whose wide range of expertise across different periods and many countries will help you to explore the diversity of past human experience through themes like madness, medicine, revolution, religious beliefs, identitities and the body.

You'll be thinking about the way history is informed by a wide range of other subjects and how knowledge of the past can help you to understand the world we live in today.

Find out more about the Department of History

*Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings
**QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017

Voted one of the top political universities in the UK by students* and ranked in the world's elite**

Politics and International Relations

Politics and International Relations at Goldsmiths doesn’t just examine parliaments, voting systems and the formal arenas of political power. We explore ‘the politics behind politics’ – the major economic, social and cultural conflicts that are hidden by the formal veneer of institutions, but are central to everyday life.

We study politics and international relations for the 21st century, in which anarchism may be as important as liberalism, and in which Asia and Africa are as economically and geopolitically important as Europe and North America. 

Find out more about the Department of Politics and International Relations

*Which? University 2016
**QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017

Skills & careers


Degrees in history and combined subjects develop your critical and analytical skills, your ability to express ideas clearly and your expertise in gathering insights from a range of subjects. Historical research enables you to gather and select from a range of materials – literary and visual. It teaches you to write with imagination and clarity.


Former students have forged careers in journalism and the media, museums and galleries, the Civil Service, teaching and research, law and the commercial world, but the skills learned are also applicable to many more industries and roles.

History at Work

History at Work is an exciting and innovative new initiative which offers some second and third year students taking History single and joint honours programmes the chance to apply their academic skills within the workplace.

Students spend one day a week over one term undertaking a project within a museum, archive or library: places which collect, process and present the 'raw material' of history. These organisations include the Wellcome LibraryRoyal Pharmaceutical SocietyLondon Transport Museum and the V&A Museum of Childhood.

The project might involve archiving, conservation, building an exhibition, or developing a public engagement project. Students will be invited to apply for places on the programme each February. It should give students a great chance to test out their career ideas, develop skills and increase their employability.

You can explore more of the career options open to you after graduation on our dedicated History and Politics careers pages. Find out more about general employability at Goldsmiths

Learning & teaching

On this degree you'll attend lectures and seminars where you'll hear about ideas and concepts related to specific topics, and where you'll be encouraged to discuss and debate the issues raised. This will enhance your academic knowledge of the subject, and will improve your communication skills.

But this is just a small proportion of what we expect you to do on the degree. For each hour of taught learning in lectures and seminars, we expect you to complete another 5-6 hours of independent study. This typically involves carrying out required and additional reading, preparing topics for discussion, or producing essays or project work.

This emphasis on independent learning is very important at Goldsmiths. We don't just want you to accept what we tell you without question. We want you to be inspired to read more, to develop your own ideas, and to find the evidence that will back them up. Independent study requires excellent motivation and time management skills. These skills will stay with you for life, and are the kind of that are highly sought after by employers. 

Learning and teaching on this degree will take place through:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Independent learning
  • Presentations
  • Assessments

Find out more about these learning and teaching approaches

Student profiles


"Goldsmiths is a wonderful place to meet extraordinary and very interesting people."

"Before Goldsmiths I studied history back in my home country of Lithuania. At the end of my second year  I realised that the course was not challenging enough for me. I moved to London -  perhaps the most cosmopolitan and open-minded city in the world – and started looking for a place to study where I could develop my ideas and generate new thoughts.

It did not take long before I came across Goldsmiths – almost every time I talked to someone about universities that would appreciate progressive thinking they would mention Goldsmiths. All I had to do was choose the course that could offer a modern and advanced attitude towards my favourite subjects. I found the course ‘History and Politics’. It is very demanding and sometimes I get very busy, but the course has definitely prepared me well for my future career.

Goldsmiths is a wonderful place to meet extraordinary and very interesting people. It's extremely open-minded. Before I started studying I was a professional musician and heavily involved in youth politics. At Goldsmiths I am free to share these interests and activities with like-minded people."


"You get to meet loads of awesome people with great ideas and aspirations."

"Before I came to Goldsmiths, I attended Southwark College in South East London, where I studied A-levels in English, Politics, History and Philosophy. Being a student at Goldsmiths is great. The lecturers are always at hand to help you with readings and essays. You also get to meet loads of awesome people with great ideas and aspirations. The main impetus behind my decision to come to Goldsmiths stems from the fact that it’s a University of London College and also the fact that it’s situated within New Cross. As a History and Politics student, I’ve been exposed over these two years to various political thinkers and historical perspectives; this experience has made me become more analytical when reading articles or watching the news; it has also made me become a better writer."


"Goldsmiths left me with a determination that I don't think I had beforehand; a determination to succeed and do well in anything I try my hand at."

"After coming to the open day I immediately felt the friendly vibe and relaxed atmosphere Goldsmiths has. It has elements of a campus with the layout but whilst still being in a big city with all the advantages that brings, such as the free museums and talks! The course options at Goldsmiths were a refreshing change from other universities I had looked at – there were vastly varying options and units that were different from the work I had done at school.

Goldsmiths taught me to be very confident and self assured when applying for jobs, which was obviously my main concern after leaving uni. My extra-curricular activities within Goldsmiths meant I was prepared for interviews and ready to hit the ground running when I got my current job.

I'm now working at The Pensions Management Institute, as Office Coordinator and Assistant Accountant. I look after the general management of the office, work with the finance team, and am the head of the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee and the Social Committee. I think I'm personable and confident, and both of these traits were developed at Goldsmiths – not only through the various experiences of running to be on the Student Assembly and a Trustee within the Students' Union, but also through the people I met and the course I took.

Goldsmiths also left me with a determination that I don't think I had beforehand; a determination to succeed and do well in anything I try my hand at which I think has helped immensely in my current job, and contributed towards getting promoted within 5 months – I hope this continues!"

Fees & funding

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University statistics for this course