Modern History and Politics

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Academic Year of Entry: 2023/24
Course overview
(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Modern History and Politics
University of Essex
University of Essex
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree
Politics and International Relations


Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

A-levels: BBB

BTEC: DDM, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

IB: 30 points or three Higher Level certificates with 555
We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programme Courses (formerly certificates) at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for.
We can also consider combinations with BTECs or other qualifications in the Career-related programme – the acceptability of BTECs and other qualifications depends on the subject studied, advice on acceptability can be provided. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Access to HE Diploma: 6 level 3 credits at Distinction and 39 level 3 credits at Merit, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

T-levels: Distinction, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

What if I don’t achieve the grades I hoped?
If your final grades are not as high as you had hoped, the good news is you may still be able to secure a place with us on a course which includes a foundation year. Visit our undergraduate application information page for more details.

What if I have a non-traditional academic background?
Don’t worry. To gain a deeper knowledge of your course suitability, we will look at your educational and employment history, together with your personal statement and reference.

You may be considered for entry into Year 1 of your chosen course. Alternatively, some UK and EU applicants may be considered for Essex Pathways, an additional year of study (known as a foundation year/year 0) helping students gain the necessary skills and knowledge in order to succeed on their chosen course. You can find a list of Essex Pathways courses and entry requirements here

If you are a mature student, further information is here

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College here.

Course qualifiers


Rules of assessment

Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.

Additional notes


External examiners

Staff photo
Dr Ingeborg Dornan

Reader in History

Brunel University London

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 23 October 2023 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory You must take this module.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Optional You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.

Year 1 - 2023/24

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  GV100-4-FY-CO  Introduction to Politics  Core  30  30 
02  HR173-4-FY-CO  Rebellious Pasts: Challenging and Creating Histories  Core  30  30 
03  GV103-4-AU-CO  Introduction to International Relations  Compulsory  15  15 
04    Option(s) from list  Optional  15  15 
05    History option  Optional  30  30 
06  HR510-4-FY-CO  History Works: Career Portfolio  Compulsory 

Year 2 - 2024/25

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  HR242-5-FY-CO  Exploring History: Research Workshop  Compulsory  30  30 
02    GV207-5-AU or GV252-5-SP  Compulsory with Options  15  15 
03    History option(s)  Optional  30  30 
04    History or Politics option  Optional  15  15 
05    Politics option  Optional  30  30 
06  HR510-5-FY-CO  History Works: Career Portfolio  Compulsory 

Year 3 - 2025/26

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01    Capstone Project  Compulsory with Options  30  30 
02    History option(s  Optional  30  30 
03    Politics option(s)  Optional  30  30 
04    History or Politics option(s)  Optional  30  30 
05  HR510-6-FY-CO  History Works: Career Portfolio  Compulsory 

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

  • Enable students to study a range of historical topics, providing a focused study on a selection of periods and themes in world history from c. 1770 to the present
  • Develop students' understandings of the relationship between the past and the present
  • Familiarise students with models of historical analysis and varieties of primary sources
  • Develop students' knowledge and understanding of some theoretical and conceptual foundations of the discipline of political science
  • Provide the opportunity for students to learn about political systems, political behaviour and political ideas
  • Develop an empirical base for the study of politics in different contexts
  • Enable students to examine past and contemporary events and processes in comparative perspective, with an understanding of their political and social contexts
  • Enable students to design and conduct an independent study on a specialist topic of their choice
  • Develop skills of research, analysis and argument that are valuable for subsequent academic study, lifetime learning, a wide range of future careers, personal development and social participation

  • Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

    On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

    A: Knowledge and understanding

    A1: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of European and World history and politics c.1770 to the present

    A2: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of specialised historical and/or political topics in greater depth

    A3: Demonstrate knowledge of some conceptual and theoretical perspectives within history and/or political science

    A4: Demonstrate knowledge of the main findings of existing political science research about political systems and political behaviour

    A5: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of sources available for academic study in history and/or political science

    Learning methods

    The structure of the degree is based on progression from outline topics in the first year (A1) to more specialised courses (A2-A4) in the second and third year.

    Knowledge of A1-A5 is acquired through lectures, seminars, independent reading and coursework.

    A5 is the focus of the third-year independent dissertation.

    Assessment methods

    Knowledge and understanding of A1-A5 is continuously assessed through coursework and examination.

    Essays are the principal form of coursework assessment, supplemented by a range of other assessments which may include document analyses, reviews and other shorter assignments.

    The independent dissertation tests knowledge of A5 in particular through a dissertation of up to 10,000 words.

    The ability to produce, under set time conditions and without access to notes, cogent arguments demonstrating the interconnectedness of themes, concepts and issues covered in the course components is assessed by the first-year examination of the pre-requisite module for the course.

    Examinations are principally unseen, essay based, of two or three hour duration.

    B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

    B1: Assemble, analyse and synthesise primary and secondary data

    B2: Formulate and answer questions relevant to history and/or politics

    B3: Evaluate and compare interpretations in history and/or politics

    B4: Explain historical and contemporary events, contexts and change with reference to social, political, economic and cultural forces and factors

    B5: Reconstruct the mentalities of past societies

    B6: Formulate and present ideas and arguments coherently and persuasively, using evidence according to the methods of history and/or politics

    Learning methods

    All skills are introduced and developed through in-class discussions, essays, and other written and oral assignments.

    The teaching environment of seminars, which emphasises student-focused discussion, enables students to develop all six skills through discussion and practice, and to receive feedback from peers and tutors.

    Assessment methods

    All skills are assessed through the usual means of coursework and examination: a variety of types of coursework across the curriculum assess skills specifically.

    The ability to understand questions and produce answers under set time conditions and without access to notes is assessed by the first-year examination of the History pre-requisite module for the course

    C: Practical skills

    C1: Critically read and evaluate secondary sources

    C2: Use theoretical terms correctly

    C3: Compile bibliographies and provide references according to accepted conventions

    Learning methods

    Participation in seminar discussion, focusing on prepared readings or set questions, develops skills C1-C2; preparation of written work and oral presentations develops skills C1-C3.

    The final year dissertation enables students to take skills C1- C3 to a higher level.

    Students are strongly encouraged to discuss their dissertation with members of academic staff but are required to conduct their own bibliographic research and formulate their own lines of investigation.

    Assessment methods

    Skills C1-C3 are assessed through the usual means of coursework and examination.

    C2 is assessed in particular through coursework and examinations in GV201 and HR211.

    The practical skill of working under pressure and without notes to produce cogent arguments in written work is assessed by the first-year examination in the History pre-requisite course for the scheme.

    D: Key skills

    D1: Communicate ideas effectively using means including essays and other written work

    D2: Make appropriate use of information technology to research and present materials

    D4: Analyse and explain evidence, understand and produce answers to essay questions, and manage work timetables

    D6: Use feedback from tutors to improve written and oral work and reflect on progress

    Learning methods

    Information technology is taught through independent learning supported by the University's online key skills package and the Computing Service.

    Use of email and the internet is part of effective course participation and students are required to check their University email account at least once a week during term-time.

    Students are strongly encouraged to produce coursework in word-processed form and it is a formal requirement that the final-year independent research dissertation is typed or word-processed.

    The use of electronic library catalogues and other relevant electronic bibliographic resources and the use and interpretation of relevant material via the internet is introduced in the first year.

    Students build on these skills in subsequent years.

    Where relevant, students are encouraged to use, present or evaluate information provided in numerical or statistical form.

    Problem-solving, communication, working with others and improving own learning and performance are implicit throughout the degree.

    Assessment methods

    Key skills are assessed through the usual methods of coursework, including evaluation of seminar performance, and also for D1 and D4 by examination.

    Management of work timetables is assessed by the requirement that students meet coursework deadlines and deadlines in the preparation and submission of their final-year dissertation.


    The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

    The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.


    If you are thinking of studying at Essex and have questions about the course, please contact Undergraduate Admissions by emailing, or Postgraduate Admissions by emailing

    If you're a current student and have questions about your course or specific modules, please contact your department.

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