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History and Politics

LV21 BA (Hons) 3 years


History at Queen Mary spans a range of historical approaches and periods. You could study the Black Death, Women and Gender in Medieval Islam, and the Crusades. Or in the modern era you will examine the social, technological and cultural forces that shaped our world. You could investigate topics such as the portrayal of the face in Western art and medicine, the representation of war in contemporary British popular culture or the lifestyle and values of Victorian Britain.

Why study History and Politics at Queen Mary?

In the 2013 National Student Survey, 95 per cent of Queen Mary History students said that staff were good at explaining things and 95 per cent that staff were enthusiastic about their teaching.

In the last Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008), History at Queen Mary was ranked among the top 15 departments in the UK. Our academics are internationally renowned in their fields, and our track record in both research and teaching is excellent. We count the former President of the Royal Historical Society and five fellows of British Academy among our number.

Our staff regularly contribute to academic and public life with books, journal papers, and media broadcasts. Broadcasts from History staff include: BBC Two series Ian Hislop’s a Stiff Upper Lip-An Emotional History of Britain, a series in which Dr Thomas Dixon was a consultant and interviewee. BBC Two’s Behind Closed Doors and At Home with the Georgians and BBC Radio 4’s Voices from the Old Bailey by Professor Amanda Vickery. Professor Julian Jackson delivered a programme on Charles de Gaulle called Monsieur Non for Archive on 4; and Dr Tom Asbridge developed and presented The Crusader’s Lost Fort for BBC2’s Timewatch.

Our intellectual diversity is a key feature of our community. This will enable you to study political history alongside the history of art or film. By following cultural and intellectual themes you could investigate topics as diverse as: the lives of Oscar Wilde; the representation of war in contemporary British popular culture; or the Medieval Islamic world.

You will have membership to the Queen Mary Library and the University of London Library, Senate House, both of which have extensive collections. You will also enjoy reading access to the other college libraries within the University of London, and can take advantage of Queen Mary’s London location and ready access to a wealth of other libraries, museums and archives.

In the National Student Survey 2011, 88 per cent of Politics students were satisfied overall with the quality of their experience and 90 per cent were employed or doing further study six months after graduation. In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008), the School of Politics and International Relations was rated very highly for the quality of our research. Our staff have diverse research interests, and this is reflected in the choice of modules available to students.

There are huge benefits to studying History and Politics in London, with national political institutions, party headquarters, high-profile international organisations and think-tanks all based here. We are home to the Mile End Group, which is a forum for the exchange of ideas between government, policy makers, civil servants, and students. Through the Mile End Group, we have a range of high-profile and inspiring speakers who come to campus. Speakers have included Jack Straw MP, David Willetts MP, Alistair Campbell, Baroness Williams, Lord Adonis. There is also a student-run politics society who organise debates and events of their own.


Year 1

History core module:

  • History in Practice

History modules may include:

  • Europe in a Global Context since 1800
  • Unravelling Britain: British History since 1801
  • Building the American Nation 1756-1900
  • Reformation to Revolution: Europe and the World 1500-1800

Politics core module:

  • Introduction to Politics

Politics options:

  • Background to British Politics
  • Introduction to International Relations

Year 2

Students must take one of the following modules:

  • Modern Political Thought
  • History of Western Political Thought

History modules may include:

  • Cities of Empire
  • Kingdoms, Empires, and Colonisation in African History
  • From the Tsars to the Bolsheviks: Russia 1801-1921
  • A Century of Extremes: Germany 1890 - 1990
  • A History of Terror in the Modern Age 1858-2008

Politics modules may include:

  • British Politics
  • Global Governance
  • International Politics of the Developing World
  • International Relations: Theories and Contemporary Issues
  • War and Security in World Politics
  • Comparative European Politics
  • US Politics

Year 3

Compulsory History module:

  • History Special Subject (this includes a dissertation)

Special Subjects may include:

  • The French Civil War 1934-1944
  • The Kennedy Years
  • Making Thatcher's Britain: the Thatcher Revolution, 1975-1997
  • The War on Terror 

Politics modules may include:

  • US Foreign Policy
  • Analysing Public Policy
  • Globalisation: Issues and Debates
  • Gender and Politics
  • The Politics of the Post-Colonial Middle East​
  • Twentieth Century Political Thought
  • Nationalism & Ethnicity in International Relations
  • Parliamentary Studies
  • Race and Racism in World Politics
  • Utopia and Dystopia: Political, Economic and Literary Dreamworlds
  • The Political Economy of South East Asia
  • Contemporary Russian Politics
  • Political Violence and Liberal Modernity
  • Global Ethics
  • The European Union
  • The Politics Research Project
  • The Political Life of Security Methods

Entry requirements


ABB from 3 A-levels including History

Excluded subjects: General studies and Critical Thinking.

International Baccalaureate:

32 with 6,5,5 in Higher Level subjects including History 

Vocational and other qualifications:

The College accepts a wide range of qualifications such as; Access and Foundation programmes, vocational awards, Irish Leaving Certificate, Scottish Highers and other Baccalaureates. Please visit our further information page.

Admission is based on academic merit and on the proven ability of the applicant to achieve success on their chosen programme of study. Every application to Queen Mary is considered on its individual merits with personal statement and reference taken into consideration.

Information for applicants from outside the United Kingdom, including English language qualifications

Learning and teaching

Learning and Teaching:

Most modules are taught in a one-hour lecture followed by a one-hour seminar each week. All of our seminar-based classes are capped at 15 students. Some modules will include extended field trips such as visits to art galleries, museums, the Houses of Parliament and longer study visits, for example study visits to other cities. In your final year you will take a Special Subject that is taught as a two-hour-long seminar. Most students have eight hours of classes per week. This is supplemented by one-to-one discussions in staff office hours and feedback sessions.

Independent Study:

For every hour spent in classes you will be expected to complete a further 2-3 hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; producing written work; completing projects; and revising for examinations.

The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions you attend, along with your reading lists and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.

Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.


Assessment is typically by a mixture of examination and coursework, but some modules are assessed entirely on coursework. Coursework may take the form of essays, diaries, case-studies or book reviews. Some modules use screen or slide tests as part of their assessment. Oral presentations may also contribute to your overall mark. You will be provided with feedback to help you improve your performance and understanding of the subject. In the final year you will have the opportunity to work on a special subject research dissertation. These special subject modules are worth half your final year mark and allow you to work closely on primary source material and carry out your own research in a specialised area which particularly interests you.

Fees and finance

Tuition fees for Home and EU students

2017 entry
Full-time £9,250

Tuition fees for International students

2017 entry
Full-time £14,500

You can either take out a Tuition Fee Loan (see Funding section below) to pay your fees or, if you are paying them yourself, you can pay in instalments.

Tuition fees for a year abroad or placement year on a full time undergraduate course will be a proportion of the full fee for the year in which you commence your time abroad or placement.

For information on field trip and other course related costs which are not included in your tuition fee, please contact the relevant Department/School.

See more general information about fees.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 7676


Queen Mary has a substantial package of scholarships and bursaries which will benefit around 50 per cent of our undergraduate student body.

Scholarships and Bursaries available at Queen Mary for Home/EU Students

There are a number of scholarships and bursaries available each year for home students. Visit our Bursaries and Scholarships page for more information.

Visit our Advice and Counselling website for more information about financial support.

Scholarships available at Queen Mary for International Students

There are a number of Scholarships available each year for International Students including bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas.

Find out more about international scholarships.

Some International students may also be eligible for a fee reduction.

Loans and Grants available to help with tuition fees and living costs

Student Finance England administers all grant and loans for your studies if you normally live in England.

If you live in WalesScotland or Northern Ireland you have an equivalent Student Finance department for your region.

Through Student Finance England, you can apply for (figures relate to programmes starting from September 2016):

  • A Tuition Fee Loan of up to £9,000 to pay all or part of your fees
  • A Maintenance Loan of up to £10,702 to help pay your living costs like rent, food and travel
  • Extra grants if you have a disability or you have children or an adult dependant
  • You might get a grant to cover some travel expenses if you normally live in England but study away from home. If you’re a medical or dental student you might also qualify for help with the costs of attending clinical placements in the UK.

Visit Student Finance Information to find out more about:

  • How to apply for student finance
  • What eligibility rules apply, including if you already have a degree or previous higher education study
  • What the income thresholds are and how much you might personally get for each element of Student Finance
  • What to do if you have problems getting your Student Finance

Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:

  • Additional sources of funding
  • Planning your budget and cutting costs
  • Part-time and vacation work
  • Money for lone parents

For more information visit the Advice and Counselling service website, or call +44 (0)20 7882 8717.

Graduate Employment

Graduates from Queen Mary’s School of History go on to work in a wide variety of careers. Some apply their degree knowledge directly, entering sectors such as government, media and politics whilst others transfer skills gained during study into roles such as research, law, marketing and a wide range of opportunities in the commercial arena.

The national 2012 destination survey confirmed that 81% of graduates from the School of History were in employment or study six months after graduation and 80% of these were already working or studying at graduate level. Queen Mary graduates have an average earning power of £23,000 six months after graduation.

The broad range of skills gained through courses in the department, coupled with multiple opportunities for extra-curricular activities and work experience, has enabled students to move into careers such as:

  • Management Graduate - Tower Hamlets
  • Marketing Assistant - MCBX
  • Business Development Executive - Dialogue Communications
  • Civil Servant - The Home Office
  • Charity Fundraiser - Global Foundation for the Elimination of Domestic Violence
  • Communications Coordinator - LB Design
  • Online Content Editor - Net Media Planet
  • Executive Officer - The Department of Work and Pensions

Throughout the course, students have access to an annual QM Careers and Enterprise Centre programme, to prepare them for internships and graduate level work. This includes employer led workshops on job applications and interviews as well as over 70 employer events to facilitate networks and help students to explore their options.

Recent careers events for the School have included an alumni speed meet with representatives from broadcasting, journalism, publishing and the media and workshops on career choice, applications, interview skills as well as careers fairs and part time jobs fairs.

Opportunities for work experience are substantial given Queen Mary’s location between Canary Wharf, the City and the Olympic Village. Students are encouraged to build their work experience throughout their period of study, through, for example, our QProjects work experience scheme, our QRecruit internships and temporary work hub, the part time work Experience Works event and QMSU Provide volunteering services. Over 1400 vacancies are available to browse on the QM JobOnline vacancy site.

Queen Mary’s extensive campus also provides over 1200 on-campus job and volunteer opportunities ranging from E-learning Assistant to Gym Instructor and from Society President to Student Mentor.

Read more about our careers programmes and range of work experience opportunities on the QM Careers and Enterprise Centre pages.



Name: Christina Haydon
Studying: BA History and Politics

“I chose to study at Queen Mary for three main reasons. Firstly, I found out from a range of sources that the College had a very good reputation in the subject area that I wanted to study. Secondly, I wanted to be very close to the centre of London for access to both research facilities and a variety of leisure pastimes. Lastly, I liked the fact that many of the tutors at Queen Mary are constantly working on new written works in their specific field of study, something which I feel makes the College’s teaching both progressive and modern for its students.

“In my opinion the best thing about my degree programme is the opportunity for discussion and debate both with my tutors and peers. I also appreciate having a good choice of modules, which means I can focus on the areas of the programme I find most interesting. The best thing about the College is its diversity and friendly atmosphere – for example the wide range of events and societies.”

"The best thing about my degree programme is the opportunity for discussion and debate both with my tutors and peers"

Jaspreet Sangha

BA History

“I chose Queen Mary not only because it is one of the top universities in London but also because of the friendly atmosphere that the campus had. The university allows each individual to feel valued and respected through its numerous societies and social events. The History course itself has some of the most renowned historians in the country that have a distinct passion for their field, and that passion is then absorbed by the students.

“The thing that I like the most about Queen Mary is the perfect balance of enhancing your academic ability and allowing you to have a fun social life through its societies and events on campus and in London itself. Queen Mary also helped me find part-time work within a prominent tuition school in London, which has allowed to me to gain the perfect experience I will need in the future for my career in teaching.”

Katie Choi-Yan Lo


Why did you choose to study at Queen Mary?

“I chose Queen Mary because of its renowned History department, with its wide range of modules covering various periods and countries.

The location of the university is also advantageous, the East End being an area rich with history itself, and the university being close to Canary Wharf and the City.

How did you find your academic and social experience at QMUL?

“Queen Mary has offered me great flexibility in my degree, allowing me to study a broad range of topics and specialising in areas of interest to me. The course itself is well-structured, yet diverse, with different methods of assessment, thus helping me to develop a range of key transferable skills. I have had the chance to join many clubs and societies, as well as participate in volunteering schemes, mentor and tutor local students, and complete various internships, exposing me to a wide range of career opportunities.

The tutors have been very supportive both in terms of my studies, but also in other endeavours, including their enthusiasm for the Queen Mary Undergraduate History Journal, for which I am currently the Managing Editor, and also in helping me to obtain a training contract and place at law school after my degree.”


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