Issues in Contemporary History
Contemporary History and Politics
Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology
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.
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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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 then choose one of the following:
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.
The Age of Revolution
This module is core at second year level to all students on the Contemporary Military and International History and Contemporary History and Politics programmes. It will provide a detailed analysis of most of the major themes and issues in British and continental European history between the start of the French Revolution in 1789 and the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. Its main focus will be on the political and diplomatic development and consequences of the European alliance system, the emergence of Germany and Italy as new states, industrialisation as well as the major revolutions of the period. In addition to the French Revolution, the module will also examine the revolutions in France in the 1820s and 1830s, as well as the more widespread revolutions of 1848. 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.
You also choose one of the following:
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.
Utopias and Dystopias
Learn to understand the complex relationship between utopian ‘thinking’ and ‘real-world’ thinking by studying and debating representations of utopian societies; you will also study a variety of dystopian texts by authors such as Anthony Burgess, Margaret Atwood, George Orwell, and Ray Bradbury.
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.
You choose the rest of your modules from the below options:
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 1909-1994
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
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.
The Politics of European Union
You will learn about the history of EU enlargements, tracing the expansion of the EU to include more member states. You will also study the key ideas behind enlargement and the concepts that guide it.
The work project aims to mix classroom-based learning with project based work and employability skills. The module is intended to allow students to work independently with staff or outside organisations to produce. It is not timetabled as with normal classroom modules and provides students a degree of flexibility with their learning. However, the normal expectation is that students with spend around a day week carrying out their work and be consistent in terms of work and communication. There will also be some classroom sessions which students are expected to attend.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Arab-Israeli Conflict
This module offers an introduction into the Arab Israeli conflict since the beginning of the 20th century by examining the main events and actors that have helped shape its course. You will also undertake a computer-based simulation where you can decide on issues of war and peace from the perspectives of the Israeli Prime Minister and Palestinian President.
Populism in Politics
The module will introduce students to the key concepts, theories and debates in the study of contemporary populism in politics. You will examine the historical context shaping the emergence of a wide range of populist movements, parties and leaders in Europe and elsewhere. Additionally, you analyse the causes and consequence of populism in contemporary politics. This will involve discussions of recent and current populist leaders and movements such as Berlusconi in Italy, Trump in the US, and Euroscepticism across the EU.
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.
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.
BE A PART OF A CREATIVE, SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY
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.
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.
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.
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.
104-112 points. General Studies accepted, History or Politics desirable. Key skills accepted.
UCAS tariff points
BTEC National Diploma
Access to HE
Pass Level 3 Access to HE Diploma with 104-112 points
Irish Leaving Certificate
Pass Diploma with 71% overall
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.
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.
|Type of study||Year||Fees|
|Full-time home||2023/24||£9,250per year|
|Full-time international||2023/24||£15,120per year|
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.
All set? Let's apply
Course ID LV21