In many ways, a study of politics is incomplete without a study of history – each informs the other. On this cross-disciplinary programme you develop a broad knowledge, valuable analytical and research skills and an insight into the complexities of human behaviour and society.
The History and Politics joint honours course is split 50:50 so you will spend an equal amount of time studying in each area. In your first and second years, there are a small number of compulsory modules plus you can choose from the wide range of optional modules in each discipline. In your final year there are no compulsory modules, so you can tailor your degree to your own interests.
History and Politics student Sheleena applied via Clearing and shares her story and advice.
You are more than your grades
At Kent we look at your circumstances as a whole before deciding whether to make you an offer to study here. Find out more about how we offer flexibility and support before and during your degree.
Please also see our general entry requirements.
BBB including History, Classics-Ancient History or Classics-Classical Civilisation grade B
The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis.
If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.
Distinction, Distinction, Merit plus A Level History or Classics at Grade B
34 points overall or 15 points at HL including History 5 at HL or 6 at SL
Pass all components of the University of Kent International Foundation Programme with a 60% overall average.
International students should visit our International Student website for further specific information. International fee-paying students who require a Student visa cannot study part-time due to visa restrictions.
Please see our English language entry requirements web page.
If you need to improve your English language standard as a condition of your offer, you can attend one of our pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes before starting your degree programme. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.
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Duration: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time
The modules below are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.
This module has two aims: 1) to contribute towards equipping the students with the necessary practical and intellectual skills for them to think and write as historians at an undergraduate level; 2) to encourage them to think reflectively and critically about the nature of the historical discipline, its epistemological claims, and why we, as historians, do what we do in the way we do it.
It will focus on the process of 'getting used to' undergraduate history; the difference between university life from school/college. These sessions are reinforced with inhouse study skills sessions. This will be reinforced through the seminar teaching in the remainder of the module.
The module identifies and explores three main areas of history, asking: what is medieval history; what is early modern history; what is modern history? Students will also explore different central historical themes and approaches in historical scholarship, such as Marxism or nationalism, thereby introducing them to history at university level at both a practical and conceptual level. This will cover the development of university history in the broad sweep of history from approximately the twelfth century to the late twentieth century. It will also consider the impact of the Social Sciences on the historical profession during the twentieth century.
The seminars will reinforce these sessions through discussion of selected readings on relevant topics. Students will also study how to use and analyse a primary source and a variety of historical methodologies.
This module introduces students to the empirical study of the key structures, institutions, processes, outcomes and behaviour in political systems. It familiarises students with both the content and shape of political life and how academic scholars study it. But it also introduces the data, methods and techniques that allow students to study it themselves. Students learn about political life by learning how to do basic political research.
The module introduces students to a broad range of material and themes relevant to the history of medicine, highlighting changes and continuities in medical practice and theory as well as in medical institutions and professional conduct. The section on ancient medicine addresses the role of Greek writers such as Hippocrates. The section on medieval medicine focuses on major epidemics, the origins of medical institutions, and the role of medical care and cure in the context of social and demographic changes. In particular, this section addresses the role of the Black Death and subsequent plagues, as well as the history of hospitals. The section on early modern and modern medicine explores the development of psychiatry and the asylum system in the 18th century, the rise of public health and the welfare state, and the role of social Darwinism and eugenics in the 19th and early 20th centuries. For the late 19th and 20th centuries, the course will look at the role of gender and sexuality, medicine and modern warfare, health and disability, and modern medicine and medical ethics.
The module will focus primarily on the period from the 18th century onwards but will begin with an outline treatment of the British colonies in North America from initial European settlement. Interactions between Native American, African, African-American and European populations will be emphasised in the colonial period. Thereafter the module examines the first anti-colonial revolution in modern history and the creation of a new nation and concludes with the reconstitution of the nation after a bloody civil war and on the eve of large-scale industrialisation.
Themes include the causes and consequences of the Revolution, the new political system, the development of mass democracy, economic development and territorial expansion into the West, reform movements, sectional conflict between North and South, slavery, the Civil War and the re-establishment of a national order during Reconstruction.
The module is an introduction to the major themes, events and debates in U.S. history from 1880 until the present day. It will consider this period of domestic and international upheaval and trace key themes and ideas, including the connections between domestic and international developments, the evolution of the U.S. presidency, industrialization and reform, U.S. imperialism and isolationism, the growth of the national security state in the Cold War, post-war conformity versus 1960s radicalism as well as conservative politics in the 1970s and 1980s.
What happened when the Roman Empire collapsed? When did countries like England, France and Germany come into being? How violent were the Vikings? What was the Norman Conquest all about? Were the 'Dark Ages' really as grim as they are often made out to be? This module provides an introduction to the history of early medieval Europe (c.400–c.1100), examining the major political events and social changes that took place across this period. Along the way, we shall consider key aspects of warfare, religious life and intellectual culture. Students will obtain a clear understanding of the outlines of early medieval history between the end of the Roman Empire and the sweeping transformations of the late eleventh century, as well as a sense of what daily life was like for most people and of the types of evidence historians can use to understand this period. The weekly lectures guide students through the module, and seminars provide opportunities to explore key debates and historical problems in more detail through the analysis of primary sources.
This module is a survey of medieval Europe from c.1000 to c.1450. It includes elements of political, institutional, religious, social and cultural history.
The module is intended to provide students with a foundation that will allow them to make the most of other courses in European history, particularly those focusing on the Middle Ages and Early Modern period, by equipping them with a grounding in geography and chronology, as well as in a variety of approaches to the study of history.
This module examines the principal themes of the political, social and cultural history of Britain during the Victorian era (c. 1830 –1900). This period saw the building of one of the world's greatest empires, the transformation of Britain from a rural society into the world’s first and leading industrial nation, and the development of a modern state and new forms of democratic participation.
Europe's age of Revolutions 1700-1850 created our modern political and social system. It was time when the ancien régime was compromised and a completely new system of government, administration and law was put in place. This module will focus on the impact of Enlightened absolutism, and revolutionary reforms, on Europe during this vital turning point. Topics covered will include: Enlightened absolutism; Russia, Prussia; the Habsburg Monarchy; Poland-Lithuania; the French revolution; the Napoleonic Empire; Spain; Congress of Vienna; France 1830 & 1848; the revolutions of 1848.
This module will offer a comparative study of wars in Europe from the French Revolutionary Wars to the Cold War. The module will adopt the 'war and society' approach to this topic and so will focus on the social composition and combat effectiveness of the armies concerned, as well as the causes of the wars, civil-military relations and the various peace treaties. There will also be discussion of these wars at the strategic and operational level. This module will consider the French Revolutionary Wars, Napoleonic Wars, Crimean War, Wars of Italian and German Unification (including the Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussian Wars), Balkan Wars, First World War, Spanish Civil War, Second World War and Cold War. Students will thus gain an overview of the wars which shaped modern Europe and will also gain some insights into political and economic change in this period.
The course will provide a survey of the major events, themes and historiographical debates in modern British history from the early twentieth century to the 1990s. It will examine the roles of total war, imperialism and decolonisation, social welfare legislation, the advent of mass culture in shaping the nation. Subjects to be covered will include: crisis and reform in Edwardian Britain; politics and society in the Great War; stagnation and recovery in the interwar years; appeasement; the People's War, 1939-45; the welfare state; decolonisation; the affluent society and the politics of consensus; the end of consensus 1970-79; nationalism and devolution; Thatcher and the rolling back of the state; New Labour.
This module will provide a survey of the major events, themes and historiographical debates in early modern history from the Renaissance, through the Reformation to the Enlightenment. This period in European history witnessed the cultural and social upheaval of religious wars, the advent of print and the intellectual changes associated with Humanism, the formation of recognisably 'modern' nation states, and the beginnings of Europe's troubled engagement with the wider world. We situate Europe within a wider global context, examining how the experience of Europeans compared to that of people around the world.
This module will provide a survey of the major events in Eurasian history through the early modern period. It will cover the major social, cultural and religious changes in Europe including the Reformation and Counter Reformation, while also mapping the rise of the "gunpowder empires" of West and South Asia and the adoption of Shi'ism in Iran.
Throughout the course of human history, developments in science and technology have changed the way we interact with one another and with the world at large. This team-taught module will showcase the breadth and depth of expertise of the staff in History by exposing students to examples of technological advances from the medieval, early modern and modern periods, and encompassing diverse sub-fields such as military history, environmental history, and the history of medicine. Moreover, the ten technologies included in the module will each act as a lens through which students can understand broader historical trends and themes – including the rise of literacy and civil society, the expansion and reduction of empire, travel across and beyond the Earth, the fight for gender and race equality, and the social implications of an increasingly online and interconnected world.
This course explores the history of empires on a global scale. It challenges students to grasp the history of empires by examining their structures, instruments and consequences. The course will cover the history of empire from the sixteenth to the middle of the nineteenth century. Themes will include the expansion of European empires (Spanish, Portuguese, British, French, Dutch and Belgian) in the Americas, Asia, the global rivalry for empires among European nations in the eighteenth century, the commercial expansion of the East India Companies in the Indian Ocean,, the expansion British colonies in India, slavery and the Abolition movement and the Revolt of 1857. It will provide students with a critical historical knowledge of imperialism and globalisation.
This course explores the history of empires on a global scale. It challenges students to grasp the history of empires by examining their structures, instruments and consequences. The course will cover the expansion of European empires from the end of the nineteenth to the middle of the twentieth century, in the age of decolonization. Topics include the conquest of Africa in the age of the so-called 'New Imperialism', the French and British Civilizing missions in Africa and Asia, the emergence of modern ideas of race, immigration, freedom struggles in Asia and Africa, and postcolonial cultural and political developments across the world. It will provide students with a critical historical knowledge of imperialism and globalisation and enable them to form a deep understanding of the postcolonial world.
Subjects to be covered will include: The Crimean War; The Franco-Prussian War and German unification; the origins of the First World War; the Treaty of Versailles; the League of Nations; the origins of the Second World War; the Cold War in Europe; the origins of the European Union; from détente in Europe to the fall of Communism.
One of the impediments to communication between different academic disciplines is their use of different ways of making, and validating, arguments and proofs. These differences are the product of diverging approaches to answering a single question: what counts as knowledge? A key element of the programme in Liberal Arts is enabling students to understand, appreciate and assimilate findings from diverse academic approaches. This module introduces students to the ways in which different academic disciplines conceptualise the nature of knowledge. Through a range of lectures, seminars and workshops the course will introduce the students to a range of ways that 'truth' is established across the sciences, social sciences and humanities by way of several key theoretical approaches that span these disciplines.
These questions will be introduced through a number of case studies in which several contemporary issues will be analysed from the perspective of different disciplines across several weeks.
A key element of a Liberal Arts education is the ability to critically understand and respond to current affairs. 'Understanding the Contemporary' will enable students to think critically about their own period, and analyse the forces and events shaping contemporary culture and society. Students will consider texts from a range of disciplines and will be selectively introduced to key ideas in contemporary theory and philosophy. They will apply insights drawn from their readings and discussions within analyses of contemporary situations. The focus of the module will be on the period since 2000, though where necessary it will reach back before that date to contextualise current issues. Students will be required to think critically about the ways different disciplines are formulating representations of the contemporary period, and to discuss themes and ideas that cross those disciplines. Seminars and lectures will address topics that define the present period and it is in the nature of the module that its study topics will vary from year to year.
Democracy in Britain does not appear to be in a healthy state. Citizens are less engaged with political institutions, and less trusting in politicians, than they used to be. Critical questions are being asked about the role and effectiveness of such key institutions as the electoral system and parliament. Meanwhile, the nature of political authority in Britain is changing rapidly. Power has been transferred upwards to the European Union, and downwards to devolved bodies in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London. Non-electoral actors such as the media also play an important role in shaping political decisions. Where does this leave the political system at the start of the 21st century? Is government in Britain effective and democratic? Or are Britain's political institutions failing? This module provides students with an introduction to some of the key issues facing the political system in Britain today. The module examines the challenges facing the political system, the effectiveness of existing political arrangements and the merits of institutional reform. While the focus is domestic, many of the same challenges are also faced by political systems in other west European countries, to which the course will make reference. The module thus aims to go beyond a simple focus on British politics, by introducing students to some of the key contemporary issues facing many western democracies.
This module introduces students to the study of political concepts that are central to thinking about political life. Through the study of these concepts students will be introduced to the principal ideas of many of the major figures in the history of Western political thought (for example, Plato, Hobbes, Rousseau and Marx) and to the work of many contemporary political theorists as well (John Rawls, Michael Sandel, Richard Rorty, Susan Okin and others). In addition, lectures and tutorials will familiarise students with a variety of different debates about how best to understand any given concept (such as, debates about what constitutes 'human nature') as well as how to understand the relationship between different concepts (such as, whether a just society must be an equal one or not). Moreover, the module is designed to allow students to develop a set of 'conceptual tools' with which to interrogate and shape the political world in which they find themselves; a world which is saturated everyday with competing articulations of the political concepts that we will study in this module. As such, students should come to develop a subtle appreciation of how the concepts examined on this module are, to greater or lesser degrees, intrinsic to all of their studies in politics and international relations (and related subjects).
The module is designed to introduce students to the principle approaches to conflict and conflict resolution. Starting with a discussion of the pervasiveness of conflict in human existence, the module will engage with the key question of "what is conflict?" Students will be introduced to conflict management and conflict resolution approaches before engaging with conflict resolution processes such as negotiation and mediation. The module will rely on case studies and simulations to help students engage directly and better grasp the different theoretical approaches. Case studies will include an in-depth analysis of the Oslo process and a discussion of the specific difficulties linked to negotiations with “terrorists.” The students will emerge from the module with knowledge of the central paradigms and concepts of conflict analysis and resolution, and with an initial set of skills (negotiation and mediation) which can be used to further understand international politics but also in their personal engagement with others.
The module will discuss key issues, events, developments and trends that characterise today's global politics. The precise list of issues to be included will vary from year to year depending on the global political landscape and staff availability, but examples of issues that may be covered in a given year include climate change, globalisation, global dimensions of poverty and inequality, the global economy of waste, religion and global politics, global governance, global aspects of war and conflict, colonialism and imperialism, superpower politics and influence, weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, international organisations, refugees and migration etc. The issues chosen will be studied from multiple perspectives, starting from a basic, empirical analysis and progressing towards conceptual and theoretical issues suitable to the module level. Lectures will be complemented by small groups seminars and workshops.
The Politics Today module enables us to engage our first year students in debates on current political issues, typically on issues that dominate our newspapers and therefore are close to the students' own awareness and experience. However, in the introduction to the module we will also consider how such issues enter our awareness and why, and whether indeed 'relevance’ itself is a political construct. The module will be responsive to current world affairs, and therefore the precise selection of issues to be discussed may change from year to year. After a general introduction, 2-3 issues will be presented and analysed, typically by considering historical backgrounds, key political actors, configurations of interests, possible developments and outcomes. The module endeavours to help students appreciate and conceptualise the complexities of the modern world by discussing current national and/or world issues from diverse perspectives and angles. At the beginning of the course, students will also be given the opportunity to vote on issues of interest which are not already included in the curriculum. The issue with the most votes will then be added to the curriculum, and students will be involved in preparing the issue for discussion and analysis.
You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.
The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.
For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.*
The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.
There are no compulsory additional costs associated with this course. All textbooks are available from the library, although some students prefer to purchase their own.
Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details.
You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.
Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.
At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence.
The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of A*AA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.
Teaching is by a combination of lectures, providing a broad overview, and seminars, which focus on discussing particular issues and are led by student presentations. Lectures and seminars use a variety of materials, including original documents, films and documentaries, illuminated manuscripts, slide and PowerPoint demonstrations.
Assessment is by a combination of coursework and examination.
For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours. The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules. Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.
Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules. Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.
For programme aims and learning outcomes, please see the programmes specification for each subject below. Please note that outcomes will depend on your specific module selection:
History at Kent was ranked 1st for research intensity in The Complete University Guide 2021. Over 92% of final-year History students were satisfied with the quality of teaching on their course in The Guardian University Guide 2021.
Politics at Kent scored 89% overall in The Complete University Guide 2021.
Our graduates find employment in a range of fields, such as:
Both the School of History and the School of Politics and International Relations run employability sessions and workshops to help you hone your job-hunting skills.
The University also has a friendly Careers and Employability Service, which can give you advice on how to:
Alongside your subject-specific knowledge and skills, you learn key transferable skills that are essential for all graduates. These include the ability to:
You can also gain extra skills by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.
We are no longer accepting applications for the 2021/22 academic year. Please visit the 2022 entry course pages.
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