Undergraduate BA (Hons)

Contemporary History and Politics

Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology




Three year

Next enrolment

September 2024


In a nutshell

This fascinating modern history and politics degree explores the events that changed the world from the 18th to the 21st century – and the politics surrounding them.

Throughout your course, you’ll examine history and politics in a range of contexts, including international history, intelligence and security and the policy decisions that impact our lives. The diversity of modules on offer will enable you to align your studies with the subject area that interests you most, taught by academic staff who are recognised as being internationally excellent in the field of politics and contemporary history.

As you move into the second and third years of your degree, you’ll have the opportunity to study abroad for some, or all, of the year. Students who spend the full year studying at a European university may also qualify for a tuition fee waiver. Would you prefer to gain hands-on experience in the UK? You can also choose from a number of placement opportunities to give your CV the edge, including our politics placement scheme.

Want to find out more about what a politics and contemporary history degree involves? You can sign-up to an Open Day or attend a campus tour.

If you want to read more about our programmes and explore the careers made possible by a Politics and History degree, you can access our subject guide online.

You will:

  • Develop a thorough understanding of the most important historical and political events of the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries
  • Choose from a diverse range of optional modules designed to explore the topics that interest you most
  • Be given the opportunity to apply your newly acquired skills in a variety of real-world settings

options available


students accepted

This is for you if...


You are passionate about the study of history and politics and have a keen desire to explore related topics in more detail.


You like to question why world events happen and debate the impact of political decisions.


Your questioning mind drives you to pursue your own research to find out the answers to the big questions.

Course details

All about the course

This degree programme begins by delivering a foundational background in the history and theory of contemporary politics. Building upon these skillsets as you move into your second year, You will choose modules that suit your personal interests and career aspirations, with the chance to partake in language modules and spend a year studying abroad.

Is there a particular area of history and politics that interests you most? If so, your third-year dissertation project gives you the opportunity to delve into the topics you are most passionate about. What’s more, you’ll be supported by an academic supervisor who will be on hand to provide constructive feedback at every step of the way.

Sound interesting? Find out more about what you’ll be covering in each module with our course breakdown below.

Year one

International History I

This module examines international history from the 1890s until the post-war period. You will study the European balance of power system, Wilsonian internationalism, the rise of powers such as Japan, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany and the outbreak of the Second World War.

International History II

You will continue your studies in international history by exploring the Cold War in Europe and Asia, decolonisation, European integration, the superpower relationship and the rise of China and Japan. You will also study the impact of US foreign policy and the global 'war on terror'.

International Politics II

Here you will explore a range of topics that are studied in international politics as well as gaining a more detailed introduction to the study of International Relations. You will analyse the core theories of International Relations and will be able to explain why the key decision makers act the way they do. Through an understanding of these approaches, you will also discuss contemporary developments (e.g., globalisation) in International Politics.

Introduction to Comparative Politics

An introduction to the foundation concepts of comparing political regimes (democratic and non-democratic) institutions, and the rules and norms of politics.

Digital Skills for Politics and Contemporary History

In this module you will develop technical-practical skills to prepare you for a wide range of politics and history related careers. You will develop skills in writing, research, and presentations, and earn a wide range of industry-recognised certificates to bolster your CV.

Making Public History

This module examines concepts, theories and problems related to representative democracies and representative institutions. Hence, it analyses the nature of different types of democracy, participation and citizenship and representation. The module considers the apparent growing dissatisfaction amongst citizens over past two-three decades and growing generational divides over politics.

Year two

Theories of Power and Domination

The module explores how political systems create mechanisms for controlling the population and generating legitimacy. At the heart of this study are questions about what makes individuals acts as they do and how political power often leaves them powerless whilst maintaining that they have complete control.

Age of Revolution: International History 1775 - 1914

This module will provide a detailed analysis of the major themes and Global issues between the start of the American Revolutionary War in 1775 and the First World War in 1914. It’s main focus will be on the global outbreak of Revolutions globally, considering events in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa. It also considers broader revolutions like the Industrial revolution, as well as the political and diplomatic development of the European alliance system. The module will also examine the major developments in cultural and social international history and will demonstrate how it is impossible to have an adequate grasp of the events of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries without first understanding the 'shape' of the century that preceded both of these.

A third core module will be either Researching in Politics, or Researching in History: 

Researching in Politics

This module focuses on the key methodologies used in the politics and international relations disciplines as a means of preparing you for a Level 6 Dissertation. 

Researching in History

This module prepares you to become a researcher in history when you write a successful 12,000-word undergraduate history dissertation in Year three. It will give you a wider insight into the historical research methods appropriate to the historical discipline the diverse nature of historical sources and allows you to build vital analytical skills that you will employ on your dissertation. You will have the chance to visit and utilise local archives to enhance your research

You will choose from the following optional modules: 

Political Communication: Media and Democracy

This module explores the relationship between the media and politics in liberal democracies. You will focus on the nature of political media and reporting, the media's influence on politics, and how political actors use the media. You will also study the rise of the internet and new media technologies and what this means for democracy.

Regimes and Dictatorships from 1918

This module is based on the comparative history of a number of different dictatorships, beginning at the end of World War I - examples include Italy, Spain, Germany, Chile, China, Greece, Uganda and Hungary.

University Wide Language Programme

This module provides the opportunity to learn or develop a language with the University-wide language programme.

US Foreign Policy Since 1945

On this module we examine the role of the US in contemporary international relations. You will engage with US Foreign Policy after World War Two and understand key domestic and international factors that have shaped US Foreign Policy. You will develop a greater appreciation for how American presidents use their Foreign Policy to cement domestic and global power whilst understanding some of the diverse scholarly perspectives on the subject.

Intelligence, Security and Politics in Britain 1909-94

This module examines the British intelligence community from the birth of the Security Service (MI5) and the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6) in 1909 through to the 1994 Intelligence Services Act, exploring its activities primarily within the context of British domestic policy, while considering the links between the worlds of intelligence and politics. The module considers the reaction of the intelligence community to the Russian revolution, and its subsequent battle against the Soviet Union and Communism from the inter-war years through to the end of the Cold War.

Commemoration and Memorialisation from the Twentieth Century to the Present

Memory and commemoration of historical conflict, figures and events have become highly politicised in the twenty-first century. Remembrance has become the site of new cultural conflicts that often pit communities against political institutions with nationhood and identity as key factors in these battles. This module explores how the twentieth century saw the growth of commemoration of conflicts from the First World War which continued through the destruction and turmoil into the twenty-first century. 

Contemporary Information Warfare

In this module we will discuss various aspects related to contemporary information warfare, starting from important concepts, historical examples, and important tools to specific case-studies. Specifically we will attempt to understand the major theories and models of information warfare and the historical context that laid the group for the use of information warfare. We will also analyse the advantages and disadvantages of the use of information warfare and aim to understand the main principles and tools of information warfare Finally, we will critically analyse the roles of the major actors engaged in information warfare.

British Political History 1945-2007

This module explore the major themes and issues in post-war British History. It examines the It examines the rise of welfare state, the subsequent age of consensus and its decline. You will also examine the growing importance of new issues and policies such as the sexual revolution, environment and popular culture. There will be opportunities to examine some issues in more depth through case studies such as abolition of capital punishment, the deployment of troops in Northern Ireland, and the creation of comprehensive education.

US Political History

This module explores the development and complexities of US political history from 1789 to the present day. It offers an introduction to the social, political, economic, and cultural history of the US. The module considers race, gender, immigration, the emergence of the US as a global power, the Cold War at home and abroad, major social movements, political participation, and the media. 


Year three


You will complete a 12,000-word research dissertation on the subject of your choice. This is your opportunity to make a genuine contribution to scholarly research as you develop your ideas and investigate your chosen topic. The dissertation counts as two modules.

You also study four modules from a range of options. Typically, they include:

The First World War

This module explores the First World War as a Total War. It alternates between a chronological examination of military operations and thematic coverage of issues such as economics, mobilisation, diplomacy, and revolutions.

Corruption in Contemporary Politics

Studying political corruption in detail you will explore the dynamics and impact of this problem for western democracies through key theories and case studies.

Social media and politics: digital democracy

This module assesses the growing influence of internet on democracy and politics. The study of the internet is placed in context of the evolution of media technologies over past thirty years. In doing so, you examine whether the internet: is stimulating more global protest movements and also new form of terrorism; is a liberation technology potential undermining the power of authoritarian regimes; or alternatively is a tool for increased surveillance and control; is changing the nature of lections and election campaigning. These issues are explored through case studies such as: the rise of Corbyn in the Labour Party and the role played social media or, how the rise of so-called fake news is impacting on political debate.

Britain and the European Resistance 1939-45

This module explores Britain’s role in encouraging and supporting resistance movements in Europe during the Second World War through the Special Operations Executive (SOE), the organisation established in July 1940 and instructed by Churchill to ‘set Europe ablaze’. The module makes extensive use of surviving SOE documents, now available at the National Archives, and considers their value within the context of official release policy and censorship under Section 3 (4) of the Public Records Act.

Chinese Foreign Policy Since 1949

The module provides a comprehensive introduction to Chinese foreign policy since 1949 in terms of its history, traditions and characteristics; examines the key economic, diplomatic, security and geopolitical issues so as to identify and explain Chinese foreign policy goals and their implementation; explores the sources of conflict, competition and cooperation in Chinese foreign policy behaviours, assessing competing theoretical explanations in International Relations for key events and policies. Moreover, the module investigates the implications of China’s rise for the distribution of power at the international and regional levels as well as for global governance.

British Counter-Insurgency Since 1945

This module allows you to examine Britain’s varied involvement in counter-insurgency operations since 1945. After an initial engagement with the theories and principles of insurgency and counter-insurgency, the module will cover the cases of Kenya, Malaya, Northern Ireland, Britain’s continuing involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and some lesser known cases.

Global Environmental Politics

This module explores the development and evolution of international environmental regimes and the impact on key issues such as: climate change, air pollution, whaling and fisheries, food and agriculture, hazardous waste, biodiversity and the management of oceans and seas. You will learn about politics of environmental protection and economic development, including North-South divisions in global negotiations. 

Photography and Conflict in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Since the announcement of its invention in 1839, the medium of photography has influenced human activity in fields as diverse as science and leisure, politics and personal relationships. Nowhere has its impact been more dramatic, however, than in the representation of conflict during the 20th century.

Addressing the photography of conflict, using Britain as its primary case study from the start of World War I to the 21st century, this module takes a critical approach to a range of photographic imagery made and circulated in times of conflict including press, amatuer, protest and even fine art photography. It also examines the importance of news images in shaping public attitudes to conflict.

Threats to Democracy

This module focuses a key question for contemporary politics: does the current rise of authoritarianism across the world mean that democracy as we know it is under threat? We try to answer this question by looking at the core concepts of democratic backsliding / autocratisation and democratic resilience, and by discussing a wide range of case studies, which include: the relationship between populism and democracy; the rise of the far right; transnational repression (how autocrats seek to repress dissidents abroad); autocratic diffusion (do authoritarian leaders learn from each other?); the rise of ‘anti-gender’ movements’; the role of disinformation and misinformation in autocratisation; and case studies of democratic resilience (the extent to which state and non-state actors are able to counteract the current wave of autocratisation). 

Politics Placement

An exciting and unique opportunity to work in an area relating to politics including with an MP in London or in their constituency office , Non-governmental organizations, and Trade Unions as part of your degree. There is also the chance to develop your own placement which would be accredited by us. You will put your research and communication skills to work in a challenging setting that places you at the centre of British politics.

International Political Economy

Develop your knowledge of political economy in this module, which aims to help develop critical ways of thinking about the contemporary world of work and the political economies of production our post-industrial world.

US Conflict in History and Memory

This module explores American conflicts in history and memory. It takes a chronological approach from colonial conflict to the 21st century and evaluates five conflicts. Each conflict will be dissected over two weeks – the first week will look at the history of the conflict itself, and the second week will look at how the conflict is remembered. The course considers how experience of war has shaped Americans' identities and definitions of citizenship, as well as the relationships among memory, place, and political power. Students’ will engage with the collective memory of war and peace as they examine questions of whose histories are remembered and forgotten, the ways myths of war are created for political purpose, definitions of heroism, and how memories of war shift over time.

University Wide Language Programme

This module provides the opportunity to learn or develop a language with the University-wide language programme.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What Will I be Doing?






Research briefs, seminar and workshop portfolio, p


As part of this contemporary history and politics degree, your timetable will include a breakdown of your scheduled lessons with timeslots for you to explore your independent research interests. Your classes will be based at our Peel Park campus.

You will benefit from a diverse range of teaching methods. 

Lectures will be where you gain an overview of the key concepts, ideas and events that relate to politics and contemporary history.

You’ll then be able to discuss these topics in more depth with your fellow students in seminars.

Workshops will give you the opportunity to learn and develop core skills that will be vital to your success on this course, and your wider career. Alongside your studies, you’ll also partake in debates, constructing and putting forward compelling arguments on a variety of issues.

A large portion of your studies will be managed by you, meaning that you will be in control of the direction and pace of your work. Finally, you will also be assigned a personal tutor who will be on hand to help you with all aspects of your studies.


Assessments will be an important part of your academic journey. They will help you to refine crucial skills that you can transfer into your career, as well as give you an indication of which areas you need to improve on. You will be assessed through a variety of methods, such as essays, presentations, podcasts and portfolios. Your module assessments will allow you to take on board any feedback prior to taking your final exam.


All our Politics and History courses are delivered by the Salford School of Arts, Media, and Creative Technology. Our focus is to ensure that you have the skills you need to pursue your dreams, and we encourage our students, past and present, to collaborate with each other and achieve great things.

Each year - through the Create Awards – our School rewards the incredible achievements and successes of our final year and postgraduate students.

Whatever you choose to study with us, you’ll be mentored and supported by experts. And once you graduate, it won’t end there. You’ll join a thriving alumni network across Greater Manchester and beyond, meaning you’ll be supported professionally and personally whenever you need it.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?


Achieving a modern history and politics degree will not only equip you with the subject-specific knowledge you need to secure a professional role in a related industry, it will also help you to develop wider transferable skills needed in any modern workplace. Whether it’s giving a presentation, carrying out in-depth research or communicating well with colleagues, you’ll have a range of tools under your belt that provide instant value to employers.

Our recent graduates have established successful careers in a variety of global businesses, as well as being elected to national parliaments and working in the civil service and local government organisations. They’ve also pursued roles in multinational companies, academia, teaching,  international charities and local political parties.


Graduates showing strong academic and research skills can pursue a further postgraduate path through our Postgraduate programmes on a full-time or part-time basis subject to a satisfactory proposal.

A taste of what you could become

A Historian

A Politician

A Civil Servant

A Publisher

And more..

Career Links

Past students now work for international governments and institutions such as the EU, multinational companies, international charities and local government and political parties with several currently sitting as elected members of the British parliament.


What you need to know


Do you have a keen interest in political events of the past? Or perhaps you see yourself working within the world of politics? If so, we’re looking for applicants like you.

To gain a place on this course, you should be able to show us that you have a genuine enthusiasm for pursuing your studies in contemporary history and politics. You must also be willing to contribute to class discussions and debate, to engage in independent research and to take pride in the quality of the written assignments you produce.

You’ll also have to submit a personal statement and meet our entry requirements. A personal statement is a personal summary (360 to 500 words) of your academic, professional/life experience and future goals. We’ll want to understand:

  • what motivates you and what you’ve learnt on your current academic journey;
  • your future career aspirations;
  • why the University of Salford and this course is right for your future goals.
Standard entry requirements


English Language at grade C/level 4 or above (or equivalent) is required. Maths at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) is preferred but not essential.

You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.

A levels

104-112 points. General Studies accepted, History or Politics desirable. Key skills accepted.

T levels


UCAS tariff points

104-112 points

BTEC National Diploma


Access to HE

Pass Level 3 Access to HE Diploma with 104-112 points 

Scottish Highers

104-112 points

Irish Leaving Certificate

104-112 points

International Baccalaureate

30 points

European Baccalaureate

Pass Diploma with 71% overall 

International students

We accept qualifications from all around the world. Find your country to see a full list of entry requirements.

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0, no element below 5.5, is proof of this. 

We also accept a range of other English language qualifications. If you do not have the English language requirements, you could take our Pre-Sessional English course.

Alternative entry requirements

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home 2024/25 £9,250.00per year
Full-time international 2024/25 £15,720.00per year
Full-time home 2025/26 £9,250.00per year
Full-time international 2025/26 £16,500.00per year

Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships for International Students

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships. Explore our international scholarships.

Apply now

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Enrolment dates

September 2024

September 2025

UCAS information

Course ID LV21

Institution S03