This programme is offered jointly by our Department of History, Classics and Archaeology and our Department of Politics, which gives you the opportunity to study current political ideas and events in combination with an understanding of the wider historical context of the modern world. The study of history and politics develops the ability to understand how people lived, acted and thought in the past, and the ways in which they act politically in the present. We encourage you to assess written and material evidence and to question accepted histories and explanations, and to construct and present your own arguments.
The course includes a wide variety of options across both disciplines, from the history of Asia, Middle East, Africa, Europe and Britain, to the study of social and political theory, the analysis of authoritarianism and repressive regimes, and parliamentary democratic practice. The degree provides a mix of core modules which establish disciplinary approaches and methods, and a choice of modules which will allow you to pursue particular themes that interest you. You will gain a mix of skills drawn from the 2 disciplines: the ability to analyse data of different types, to understand the context and meaning of events, and to relate the study of the past to current political issues and developments.
How to apply
Application deadlines and interviews
We encourage you to apply as early as possible, though we still consider applications up to the end of September.
Contemporary History and Politics (BA): 4-year, part-time (Part-time)
The programme consists of 12 modules of 30 credits each, for a total of 360 credits. There are 3 kinds of module: compulsory Level 4 modules in core skills; Level 5 option modules which develop knowledge across broad areas of study; and Level 6 option modules which provide focused study on advanced topics. You take a balance of modules between the 2 disciplines.
The course structure is as follows:
- In Year 1, you take 2 compulsory Politics modules and 1 compulsory History module.
- In Year 2, you take 2 compulsory History modules and a Level 5 Politics option module.
- In Year 3, you take a Level 5 History option module, a Level 5 Politics option module, and an additional Level 6 option module, chosen from either discipline.
- In your final year, you take a Level 6 History option module, a Level 6 Politics option module, and a Level 6 option module from either discipline.
Read more about our current teaching timetable.
Year 1 History compulsory modules
Year 1 Politics compulsory modules
Year 2 History compulsory modules
Year 2 Politics compulsory modules
History indicative option modules
Body Politics: Health, Illness and Death in Britain
Contested Nation: Germany, 1871-1918
Crime, Poverty and Popular Protest in England, 1500-1800
Family, Society and Culture in Britain 1832-1918
Later Medieval London 1450-1560: Community Politics and Religion
Literature, Culture and Society 1914-1945
Popular Culture in American History, 1870 to the Present
Sexuality, Society and the State in Britain, 1914-2000
The Athenian Empire
The Colonial Gaze: Western Perceptions of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 1600-1960
The Empire of Letters: Correspondence in the Roman World
The Ottoman Empire
The Third Reich
Work and Play in Early Modern Britain
Politics indicative option modules
We welcome applicants without traditional entry qualifications as we base decisions on our own assessment of qualifications, knowledge and previous work experience. We assess each individual application for potential and talent and admission is by a combination of application and interview.
UCAS tariff points
Alternative entry routes
Access to Higher Education Diploma with a minimum of 15 credits achieved at Merit or Distinction in humanities or social science units.
Both Birkbeck's Certificate of Higher Education in Higher Education Introductory Studies and Certificate of Higher Education in History and Archaeology can lead to exemption from Year 1.
International entry requirements
If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.
If you don’t meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.
Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.
Part-time home/EU students: £
paPart-time overseas students: £
Payment and Fees Discounts
Funding and Financial Support
Careers and employability
Teaching and assessment
Teaching will be through a mixture of lectures, seminars and one-to-one tutorials.
Most modules are assessed through a balance of examination (held in the summer term) and coursework, with coursework usually comprising 2 essays of c.2000 words for each module taken.
You can choose whether or not to pursue a final-year dissertation project.