Undergraduate BA (Hons)

Contemporary History and Politics

Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology




Three year

Next enrolment

September 2022


In a nutshell

This fascinating modern history and politics degree explores the events that changed the world from the 19th 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.

You will:
  • Develop a thorough understanding of the most important historical and political events of the 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

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.

Our supportive course enquiries team can help you with any general questions you may have. You can also explore all of our History and Politics courses.


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

Issues in Contemporary History

This module introduces you to key issues such as how the study and understanding of history have evolved over the decades, different ‘schools’ of history, and how and why historians can produce radically different interpretations of the same events and the nature of historical evidence.

Britain and the World

In this module you will study the British political system, political parties and elections. You will also compare cabinet and presidential government and examine legislatures in detail. This module will also look at the international context, covering British foreign policy, decolonisation, and Britain's role in Europe and the 'special relationship' with the USA.

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.

Politics and Democracy

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.

You also choose one of the following:

International History 1789-1914

This module explores the claims and evidence about the impact of global media on international politics, particularly on the dynamics of international affairs, power relations among governments, foreign policy-making, conflict, security, diplomacy, development, and civil society.

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.

You then choose the rest of your modules from the below options:

Britain and the Cold War, 1945-1991

Using newly declassified archival material, oral testimony and popular film and television, the module charts Britain’s Cold War, both at home and abroad, from its origins through to the collapse of the Soviet Union. The story is told through the eyes of those working in Britain’s ‘secret state’ – intelligence officials and Whitehall Mandarins – through to ‘fellow-travellers’ and the fantasy world of James Bond. Subjects covered include Britain’s covert struggle against the Soviet Union, nuclear deterrence, popular media and the Cold War, and the recently released plans for World War III and the post-apocalyptic survival of the United Kingdom.

Regimes and Dictatorship in Twentieth Century

On this module, we question why the twentieth century might be seen as the ‘age of dictatorships’ by taking a global view of regimes and their ideologies you will explore how people’s life were impacted by the failure of democracy throughout the world including in Europe, Asia and the Americas. 

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.

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.

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.

Intelligence, Security and Politics in Britain 1909-1994

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. You will explore its activities primarily within the context of British domestic policy, while considering the links between the worlds of intelligence and politics.

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

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 History and Politics of Socialism

This module examines the rise and fall of the main socialist traditions from their origins in 19 century Britain and France to their global spread in the 20th century. You will study key aspects of the course of socialism in Germany, Britain, Sweden, Russia, and China.

Photography and Conflict in the Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries

Since 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 the conflict during the twentieth century. Addressing the photography conflict using Britain as its primary case study from the start of the First World War to the twenty-first century, this module takes a critical approach to a range of photographic imagery made and circulated in times of conflict including press, amateur, and protest photography. It examines the importance of news images in shaping public attitudes to conflict.

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.

Politics and the Internet

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.

Spanish Civil War

This module examines the Spanish Civil War from its origins to its aftermath in the formation of the Franco dictatorship. It considers the national, regional and international dimensions of the conflict. The Spanish Civil War can be seen as the result of class conflict; a crisis of an old regime faced with the pressures of modernity; a chapter in the larger European civil war of the first half of the twentieth century; a struggle of extreme ideologies – fascism and communism; a prelude to world war. It excited the interest, passions and participation of people all over the world. It ended with the creation of a dictatorship which lasted until the mid-1970s and left divisions which Spain is still in the process of coming to terms with.

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.

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.

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 your future goals.

Do you want to know more about this contemporary history and politics degree? You can sign-up to an Open Day or attend a campus tour.

Our supportive course enquiries team can help you with any general questions you may have. You can also explore all of our History and Politics courses.

Standard entry requirements

English Language 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.


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 level

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

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 

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 2021/22 £9,250per year
Full-time international 2021/22 £14,400per year
Full-time home 2022/23 £9,250per year
Full-time international 2022/23 £14700per 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.
We have a range of scholarships available for students applying for courses in 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. Our Global Gold Excellence Scholarship is worth £3,500 and our Global Silver Excellence Scholarship is worth £3,000 - both are available for students studying in our 2021/22 intakes.

We also offer the Salford International Excellence Scholarship which offers up to £5,000 discount on tuition fees. As this is a prestigious award we have a limited number of these scholarships available.

See the full range of our International Scholarships.

Apply now

All set? Let's apply

Enrolment dates

September 2022

UCAS information

Course ID LV21

Institution S03