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Black and white photo of the Houses of Parliament, London

BAHistory & Politics & International Relations

Why this course?

Studying history – the story of humanity through the ages – develops your knowledge of the past and gives you a better understanding of the present.

Throughout your studies, you'll receive excellent training in areas such as problem-solving, communication, research methods and interpretation.

Our classes cover some of the most important and interesting historical periods at home and abroad, including Scotland’s ‘Highland Problem’ in the 16th century, Slavery in World History and Cold War Europe, 1945-1991.

As a politics student, you'll look at the work of governments and their policies and study the behaviour of those who govern - and who they are governing - both at home and abroad. You'll also gain knowledge of domestic and international institutions and issues relating to conflict and cooperation.

We cover diverse and relevant issues, such as international terrorism to the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum.

Politics graduates can go on to work in a number of areas, with many pursuing academic research careers in the UK, Europe and North America.

Our BA degrees in Humanities & Social Sciences are initially broad-based. In Year 1 you'll study three subjects, including your chosen subject(s).

History

What you'll study

Year 1

Two classes (19th-century Britain and 20th-century Britain) look at the origins and shaping of our modern world by introducing themes including industrialisation, empire, political reform, war and social change.

Year 2

You'll choose from a range of national history classes, most of which cover a period of a century or more.

Year 3

If you intend to study to Honours level you must take the class in Historiography and Research Methods. You also choose further classes from a list that includes: Theory and Practice of Oral History, Slavery in World History and Scotland and the Americas in the 17th century and many more.

Year 4

In your final year you'll write an Honours dissertation on a topic of your choice. You'll also take further classes from the third-year range (subject to additional assessed work) and choose one of our specialist subjects.

Major projects

All Single Honours History students, and many Joint Honours students, complete a 10,000-word dissertation, in which they demonstrate their research skills on a topic of their own choosing. The dissertation draws on scholarly literature and as much primary source material (documents, for example) as students can acquire. Honours students often say that this is the most satisfying part of their History degree.

Facilities

Our location in the Lord Hope building provides a social hub and access to student services such as the library, cafés, meeting areas and exhibition spaces.

Politics

What you'll study

Year 1

We introduce you to the key themes of politics and investigate the behaviour of politicians and citizens through the study of institutions and concepts.

Year 2

Second-year is organised around three core classes:

  • Modern Political Thought
  • International Relations
  • Global Politics
Year 3

If you wish to continue to Honours Year you're required to take our Research Methods for Political Scientists class. You can choose your other classes from a wide range of options, including:

  • American Politics
  • European Politics
  • Scottish Politics
  • War, Terrorism and Conflict
  • Contemporary British Governance
Year 4

In Honours Year, you'll have a wide selection of classes to choose from, covering Britain, the EU and the international arena. Many of our classes focus on highly topical issues, such as Difference and Democracy, in which you will debate questions of identity and multiculturalism.

Study abroad

We have a wide range of partner universities abroad.

You can study for up to one full year in Europe, North American, Australia and Hong Kong.

This exchange is undertaken in the third year of study and you must successfully complete second year study to participate. 

Course content

Year 1

History

History 1A

This class focuses on the history of the British Isles from 1700 to 1914. It was a period of phenomenal change in terms of who ruled the country, the main economic activities, emerging cultural expression and attitudes and the growth of British power overseas on an unprecedented scale.

In the class we'll use the British Isles as a historical 'laboratory' to discuss key themes that have shaped the modern world.

We'll look at:

  • the formation of the British state
  • the ideas that were shaped by the Enlightenment, in which Scottish writers played an important part
  • why Britain industrialised and Ireland did not
  • the often dire social consequences of industrialisation
  • how and why Britain created the Empire
  • the growth of British overseas trade will be looked at
  • the impact of Britain on Asian, African and American societies
  • the ideological effects of the American War of Independence, the French Revolution and the 1798 rebellion in Ireland
  • the meaning of Victorian values in Scotland and the development of modern political parties and the growth of democracy
  • the roles of gender and class in shaping modern British and Irish society
This class will enable students to understand the origins of both modern British society and the beginnings of an increasingly integrated global community. In the tutorials, each meeting will involve the examination of a key document or two, as well as a discussion of that week's topic.
History 1B

This class follows on from History 1A and takes the story up to the end of the 20th century. We'll look at:

  • the effects of World War I on Scottish society and why Ireland broke away from the United Kingdom
  • the growth of the Labour Party and the rise of socialism will be traced
  • the effects of the Great Depression of the 1930s on British society
  • the reasons why the British government formulated a policy of appeasement, to show how foreign policy and domestic policy were inextricably linked
  • the impact of World War II on British society
  • the demands that led to the creation of the Welfare State will be explored
  • the new international realities facing Britain in 1945
  • the beginnings of the Cold War, to show how effectively Britain adapted to the loss of Great Power status
  • post-war society and the cultural revolution of the "Swinging Sixties". We'll ask whether a generation gap emerged
  • the long slow march of women's rights
  • the impact of immigration, to show the ways in which British society was changing fundamentally
  • the collapse of the traditional industrial economy in the 1980s and changes in Scottish family life, to show how social norms were being overturned
  • the advent and effects of devolution in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Just as in the first semester History class, we will use carefully selected documents in tutorials to help us analyse each topic.

Politics

Politics 1A: Concepts

This class provides an introduction to the study of politics. In order to study politics fully, we devote attention to domestic and international politics and how they interact.

We cover a series of key concepts, the meaning of power, democracy and authoritarianism, structures and institutions – including elections, referendums and international organisations - that are essential to understanding how modern politics works.

While these subjects primarily relate to domestic politics, considerable attention is given to the impact of how international processes between states and external events affect domestic outcomes in contemporary politics.

Politics 1B: Government & Governance

This class provides an introduction to the actors, processes and outcomes that are key to modern government and governance. It covers a range of political processes that take place within democratic and non-democratic states and beyond; including, for instance, the role of the media. Considerable attention is given to the impact of international processes on outcomes in contemporary politics. The class examines a range of outcomes that influence the lives of citizens and residents of states, including the policies associated with modern welfare states and international trade agreements.

Year 2

History

Choose three from this list

Scotland: Renaissance and Reformation

This course will focus on the period from the final establishment of the territorial boundaries of the Scottish kingdom in James III’s reign through to the Union of Crowns in 1603. In covering the era of the Renaissance and Reformation in Scotland, as well as the regnal union of 1603, it will focus on the reigns of successive Stewart monarchs and their subsequent accession to the English and Irish thrones, thereby creating a British imperial monarchy.

Scotland’s contact with Europe and its strained relations with England form core themes but political history will be studied in the light of the social, religious, economic and cultural developments that lend early-modern Scotland its distinct identity, thereby examining issues such as trade and economic development, the impact of the Renaissance in Scotland, literacy and the spread of reforming ideas, the arts, education and issues of identity.

Disease & Society

This class provides a broad introduction to the historical relationship between diseases and human societies in the early modern and modern periods.

It examines the core thesis that diseases and other health conditions have had dramatic impacts on history, shaping economic relations, political and social structures and cultural and religious beliefs.  However, it also explores the reverse of this, the thesis that human activities, ideas and behaviours have radically altered the diseases and conditions that afflict our societies over the last five hundred years.

The course is grouped around three themes:

  • infectious disease
  • chronic disease
  • society's responses to disease

Lectures in the first two sections focus on exploring the origins of key diseases/debilities, the ways in which social structures/behaviours have caused or abetted these conditions, and their impacts on society, economics, politics and culture.

In the final section, lectures focus more on the ways in which societies have sought to conceptualise, control and cure diseases. The key questions that students should be able to answer by the end is how have diseases and debilities shaped human societies, and how have human societies shaped diseases and debilities?

History of Scotland 1700-1832

This course will explore Scotland’s political, economic, religious, intellectual and social development in the aftermath of the Union of 1707 through to 1832.  The benefits, disadvantages and tensions that arose from the process of becoming part of the British state will be explored through such issues as:

  • causes and impact of union
  • the significance of Jacobitism
  • the nature and consequence of agricultural and industrial change
  • Empire
  • the role of the Scottish Enlightenment.
Modern Europe

This class examines some of the principal developments in international history of twentieth century Europe. It pays particular attention to:

  • the causes of the First World War
  • the impact of the war upon the international system
  • the rise of new powers within the international community after 1919
  • the causes of the Second World War
  • the Cold War and the forces driving European integration since 1945
  • the role of the USA and USSR in recent European history
In terms of geographical coverage the class will seek to balance consideration of Europe-wide developments with finer-focus treatment of French, Italian and German history. The class will introduce students to some of the main debates in the academic literature and encourage them to look at a range of relevant primary sources.

Politics

International Relations & Global Politics

This class introduces students to the academic study of International Relations (IR).

This class is taught from a "levels of analysis" approach that separates out the different actors in the international system. Each of the traditional "big" IR paradigms are presented in the relevant level. After examining how each level affects the perception of interstate politics, the course then examines topics such as the changing nature of war, international security and international institutions.

Modern Political Thought

This class provides an introduction to fundamental political concepts, such as justice, democracy, power, authority, liberty and equality. It considers the relationship between the normative evaluation of political systems and how we study them. Students also become familiar with the basic ideologies necessary to understand political debate.

Comparative Politics

This class focuses on the comparative study of institutions in democratic and authoritarian political systems and what influences their performance and stability. You'll learn what forms economic, social, cultural and political institutions take, and what their effects are on democratic and authoritarian political systems.

This class enhances that knowledge by outlining research questions about democracy in its various forms and ways they can to be addressed by empirical evidence.

Year 3

History

Oral History: Theory and Practice

Please note that this is compulsory for students who wish to use oral history in their dissertation.

Oral history is a way of engaging with the past via the experiences and memories of those who were there. ‘Oral history’ is a multifaceted term that refers to the sources (interviews), the methodology (interviewing), theory (analysis), and products (of which there are many).

This new class aims to alert students to the possibilities of using oral history as a way of understanding the past. It will examine key concepts and methodologies in oral history and explore how oral history has helped to shape historical understanding.

This class also has an important practice-based focus – students taking the class will gain an opportunity to develop practical skills in oral history interviewing and analysis as well as to reflect critically on theory in relation to practice. They will also get an opportunity to explore the application and use of history in the public arena through engaging with work on oral history and public history.

Because of the practical nature of this class and the limited supply of equipment, numbers are capped at 25.

Cold War Europe
Disability in Modern Britain

The aim of this class is for to gain an understanding of the key role that disability plays in the study of the historical past.

The class will explore the ways in which disability has been defined, treated and experienced. It will place developments in disability policy within wider social, cultural and political contexts. Students will engage with, and think critically about, primary sources ranging from official papers, newspaper articles, and oral testimonies, in addition to relevant secondary source material.

The use of oral testimonies in particular will help students to consider the lived experiences of disabled people and the ways in which society sought to define and treat disability. 

Medicine & Warfare

This class explores the role that health and medicine has played in the major wars of the twentieth century. In particular, it considers the vital contribution that medicine has made to manpower economy, discipline and morale.

Focusing predominantly on Britain, the USA and Europe, the class analyses the ways that different countries have responded to the medical issues posed by modern warfare in both military and civilian contexts. As such, it considers issues such as wartime disability, welfare provision, occupational health and psychiatry, and explores the role that military doctors, women and humanitarian organisations have played in shaping medical responses to war.

The key objective of this class is to place military-medical developments within their wider social, cultural and political contexts and to examine the impact of military health and medicine on the lived experience of war.

France at War

The class begins with the traumatic episodes of the Franco-Prussian War and the Communes of 1871. By analysing the often problematic political and cultural consolidation of the Third Republic, this class will explore the ‘culture wars’ and the internal divisions that culminated in the Dreyfus Affair. After the humiliation of losing its status as Europe’s dominant power, France sought greatness in colonial expansion in Africa and Indochina, while seeking to consolidate national identity by transforming ‘peasants into Frenchmen’.

You'll explore the experiences of the First World War, assessing the strength of French unity in the face of the German enemy. The interwar clashes between fascism and the Popular Front will then be examined and how the First World War impacted upon French foreign policy and attitudes towards future war.

You'll spend three weeks exploring the enduring controversies of the Second World War, focusing upon the collapse, resistance, collaboration, and French involvement in the persecution of the Jews, as France faced its ‘hereditary enemy’ once again.

The class concludes with an analysis of the French withdrawal from Indochina and Algeria and an assessment of France’s position in the post-war global order.

A variety of sources will be explored throughout the class, including paintings, monuments, films, literary sources, newspaper reports, memoirs and archival documents. 

Propaganda & War in the Twentieth Century

This class examines means by which states conduct informal activities to promote their domestic and foreign objectives during wartime. In particular, it analyses the role of propaganda throughout the twentieth century, focusing on the use of modern mass communication and technology by states involved in conflicts.

The class is structured around a number of historical themes, which help shed light on the emergence of propaganda as an important means of modern warfare. Key themes analysed throughout the course include:

  • the First World War as the first ‘total war’
  • the growth of international radio broadcasting
  • the creation of centralised propaganda machines in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union
  • home-front propaganda during the Second World War
  • propaganda, disinformation and the Cold War
  • the United States and the experience of Vietnam
  • information, media coverage and the Gulf War
  • 9/11 and the war on terrorism
During seminars, students will be exposed to relevant primary source material. Particular attention will be given to understanding the theory and practice of propaganda and analysing how technological developments have contributed to shaping modern information and mass persuasion.
Historiography

This class is compulsory for students who want to study history at Honours level.

This class will introduce students to the methods used by historians to reconstruct the past, exploring and analysing the techniques used by historians in doing primary research. The class is designed to demonstrate how students can use these techniques in their own work, particularly their 4th year/Honours dissertation.

Among the topics that will be covered are:

  • constructing bibliographies
  • using evidence
  • using academic conventions
  • constructing research plans
  • writing historical prose
The class will also introduce students to the subject of historiography – the history of history – and the ways in which our understanding and construction of history has evolved. The class is designed to promote independent learning and encourage students to reflect more deeply on the subject matter.
Madness and Society
Genocide in the 20th Century

The objectives of this class include introducing students to recent examples of genocide and related mass atrocities, and writing and thinking about these cases in a critical and engaged manner through analysis of primary and secondary materials.

Students will be introduced to historical, sociological, anthropological, and legal perspectives related to the occurrence of genocide and related atrocity crimes. Using case studies from the 20th century, we'll discuss:

  • contemporary issues related to the labelling of cases
  • the evolution of international legal, diplomatic, economic and military measures to prevent, interdict and punish atrocity crimes
  • the phenomenon of genocide denial
  • the politics of commemoration
  • the lingering legacies of violence on individuals and communities in the post-genocide period

Case studies will include clear-cut (recognized in international humanitarian law) examples of genocide, including:

  • the Armenian genocide
  • the Holocaust in Nazi-occupied Europe
  • the 1994 Rwandan genocide

Less clear-cut examples will also be looked at, such as:

  • Canada’s Residential School System
  • Stalinist crimes in Soviet Russia
  • Khmer Rouge atrocities in Cambodia
  • the scorched earth policies in Guatemala
  • ethnic cleansing surrounding the Bosnian War.
Society and Politics in Colonial India: 1880s-1947

This class will cover the political developments and social groups from the late-nineteenth century till the decolonisation of South Asia in 1947.

This is a key period in the social and political history of modern South Asia as it witnessed the growth of a mass-based anti-colonial struggle.  Simultaneously, the involvement of different social groups in this process led to the emergence of community and caste based identity politics.  Under pressure from demands for independence, the colonial state initiated a process of phased devolution of power, and decolonisation after the Second World War.  The class will compare these developments to raise questions about the 'modernity' of colonial society and polity.  The class will analyse how different social groups - such as the peasantry, the working class and tribal groups - participated in and shaped political movements in South Asia.

Students will also be encouraged to use the regional perspective of South Asian history to understand the different expressions of class, gender and ethnicity in non-Western societies.

Scotland’s Highland Problem

Historiography had tended to isolate Highland history from Scottish political development during the late medieval and early modern periods.  This class will re-address this trend, emphasising the Highlands as an integral part of Scottish society, at the same time exploring the division within Scotland between the ‘barbaric’ Highlands and the ‘civil’ Lowlands.

Students will study the nature and structure of clan society and place Highland events within the wider context of national and British politics during the sixteenth century.  While relations between the Scottish crown and its Highland subjects is the key theme of this class, students will analyse the extent to which such relations changed through time, and why.

The class will also highlight divergent policies within clan society itself, a factor which warns against treating the Highlands as a homogenous whole, instead taking into consideration regional, local and personal biases.  

Scottish Society since 1914

The class provides a broad survey of Scottish social history since 1914. The aim of this class is to explore the nature and development of Scottish society in the twentieth century by assessing the impact of industrialisation and the problems associated with de-industrialisation, as well as the development of an urban society.

By the end, the successful student should have expanded their knowledge of contemporary Scottish history and have a good idea of the diversity of issues, techniques and arguments which historians have deployed in the study of twentieth-century Scotland. Among the themes to be covered are:

  • the extent to which Scotland had a recognisable culture and identity
  • the myths and realities of 'Red Clydeside'
  • the notion that Scotland was a more intensely patriarchal society than the rest of Britain
  • the idea that Scotland was an anti-immigrant, racist and religiously intolerant society

Politics

Quantitative Methods in Social Research

This class teaches students a range of quantitative research methods. It will help you better understand the high quantity of statistics published by governments and in the media. Additionally, learning quantitative methods improves your job prospects and equips you better for study in Honours and beyond.

Research Methods for Political Scientists

On the basis of the knowledge acquired in this course, students will be able to critically assess the validity and reliability of published research, to develop a research design, and to collect, analyse and present data.

You'll learn about different methods of:

  • social science research
  • distilling information from academic work
  • collecting and analysing data
  • the basic design of surveys conducive to quantitative analysis and conducting of qualitative interviews
  • • the use of SPSS as an analytical tool used by many businesses and organisation
  • the basics of uni-variate and bi-variate statistical analysis
European Politics

This class provides a comprehensive overview of European politics, identifying the common characteristics of politics and government across the continent, but also the distinguishing features that make countries different. The class combines thematic topics with studies of politics and government in particular countries - France, Germany, Italy, and the countries of eastern and central Europe.

The first section of class examines the emergence and evolution of parties and party systems, focusing on the relationship between parties and society, ideological developments and modernisation processes. Particular attention is given to the emergence of ‘new politics’ and the rise of the far right.  This part of the class concludes with an examination of the different types of electoral system employed in Europe, and the effects they have on politics.

The second section focuses on government; the character of government at the centre, multilevel governance, and parliaments.

American Politics

This class introduces students to the basic concepts and theories relating to the study of political institutions, processes, behaviour, and policy in the United States. The first half of the class examines ‘American exceptionalism,’ and its political culture. The second half examines the institutions of the US political system, covering such topics as the constitution, federalism and the branches of the central government. The class will conclude with a survey of public policy in the United States, in several dimensions.

Class topics include:

  • the US party system
  • political participation and mobilisation
  • individual voting behaviour
  • public opinion
  • nominations and elections
  • media
  • interest groups
  • the question of where power lies
Scottish Politics

The class seeks to provide a comprehensive overview of Scottish politics contextualising it within UK, European and world politics, historical inheritance and contemporary Scottish society. It examines the practice of Scotland’s governing institutions, the changing nature of democracy in Scotland, the impact of devolution on policy and broader governance as well as Scotland’s constitutional status.

Local Politics

This class looks at the issue of who holds power in local politics in the UK as well as examining changing managerial and democratic practice. It asks fundamental questions about local politics, such as:

  • how is local democracy justified?
  • who holds power?
  • what is the basis of that power?
  • what is the role of citizens in localities today?
  • what is the role of local governing institutions?
  • how are local public services delivered
  • how is policy made and delivered?
War, Terrorism & Conflict

This course looks at the multi-faceted and ever-changing nature of war, conflict and terrorism, in the context of the end of the Cold War and the September 11 terrorist attacks. It addresses debates within the sub-discipline of Strategic Studies (i.e. the study of the use of force) and International Relations more broadly, relevant to the causes of war, the conditions of peace and strategies for dealing with terrorism and conflict.

Parliamentary Studies

This class is co-taught with staff from the UK Parliament and the Scottish Parliament. It also involves deliberative sessions with parliamentarians.

Contemporary British Governance

The class focuses on how Britain is governed, focusing particularly on how its main institutions and processes – with their own influences, conflict and dynamics – have risen to the multiple challenges of the modern world, ranging from demands for sub-national autonomy in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, to the opportunities and constraints afforded by Britain’s membership of the European Union.

Chinese Politics

This class will provide a comprehensive overview of Chinese politics since 1949, contextualising it within the study of comparative politics, historical inheritance and contemporary Chinese society.

It will give you grounding in the dynamic evolution of the Chinese state and Chinese nationalism, China’s self-identified problems of weakness and underdevelopment, and the difficult political choices faced by political elites. It will also analyse how the country’s Communist legacy offers both opportunities and constraints for the present politics of China. The case of Taiwan is also included as a comparison.

Year 4

History

Compulsory classes

Special subject classes (taught over both Semesters 1 & 2)

The Scramble for the Middle East: Arab Nationalism, Zionism and European Colonial Powers, 1914-1939

The interwar years are central to any analysis of the decline of European colonial rule in the Middle East and the formation of nation states. It was in the 1920s and 1930s that British and French mandatory authorities faced the emergence of nationalist movements throughout the Arab world as well as the increasing competition and penetration of hostile forces.

Students will examine historical themes and events that are significant to the development of political and cultural identities in the Middle East. Through the analysis of primary sources, students will focus on:

  • the debate surrounding British and French colonial practices
  • the emergence of the Zionist movement and the creation of a Jewish home in Palestine
  • the radicalisation of Arab nationalism and its impact upon the relations between local political elites and European colonial powers
  • the increasing tension between Jewish and Arab communities in Palestine
  • the creation of the mandates in Palestine, Transjordan, Syria and Lebanon and the process that led to the independence of Egypt and Iraq
  • the challenge brought by German and Italian subversive activities to British and French strategic interests in the region
Twentieth-Century Czechoslovakia

The class will explore major themes in twentieth-century European history:

  • the post-World War I settlement
  • the rise of fascism
  • the origins and course of the Second World War, Soviet expansion, the Cold War, the social and political revolutions of the 1960s and the waning of the Soviet Union in the 1980s and 1990s -- from the perspective of a central European country which was created in 1918, dissolved in 1993, and whose opinions were seldom taken into account by the Great Powers.

Students will obtain a solid grounding in the history of Czechoslovakia from its creation to its dissolution. The class should also offer a useful introduction to themes in twentieth-century European history more generally.

Independent reading will concentrate heavily on source material, enabling students to taste the excitement as well as the frustrations of historical research. By being encouraged to view European affairs from a Czech perspective while at the same time having special responsibility for one other European country, students will be led to consider the problems of historical bias and subjectivity, and should develop historical empathy as well as considerable sensitivity to the complexity of international affairs.

Rwanda: Peace, Conflict & the Politics

The purpose of this special subject is to introduce students to the study of peace and conflict, broadly defined, and to encourage them to write and think about these subjects in a critical and engaged manner informed first and foremost by history-based discourse, but also borrowing from political science, anthropology, and related disciplines.

The module will focus on the case study of Rwanda, with individual classes proceeding chronologically.

The first semester will cover the pre-colonial period to the start of the second Hutu Republic in 1973, while the second semester will cover 1973 to present.

Throughout, students will analyse relevant primary and secondary sources to explore the benefits of applying a historical lens to understanding a nation whose recent history includes both periods of peace and political stability, and several manifestations of state-sanctioned violence, including colonialism, small-scale ethnic, regional, and political conflicts, civil war, genocide, and authoritarianism.

Students seeking careers in human rights advocacy, international law, diplomacy, and journalism will also find this course particularly relevant.

Plantation in Ulster

This class will explore the plantations that took place in Ulster during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.

Students will examine the emergence of the idea for plantation in Ireland, why Ulster was regarded as suitable for plantation, and the various endeavours by English and Scots to settle in the north of Ireland, whether by private enterprise or by the state. This will culminate in the official Plantation of Ulster, a 'British' project initiated by James VI and I in the early years of his reign as king of England, Ireland and Scotland.

Students will also look at a couple of cases studies of individuals who were involved in plantation, enabling a detailed study of the political, social, economic and confessional reasons why they chose to migrate to and settle in Ireland at this time.

Elective classes
France at War, 1870-1962

The class begins with the traumatic episodes of the Franco-Prussian War and the Communes of 1871. By analysing the often problematic political and cultural consolidation of the Third Republic, this class will explore the ‘culture wars’ and the internal divisions that culminated in the Dreyfus Affair. After the humiliation of losing its status as Europe’s dominant power, France sought greatness in colonial expansion in Africa and Indochina, while seeking to consolidate national identity by transforming ‘peasants into Frenchmen’.

You'll explore the experiences of the First World War, assessing the strength of French unity in the face of the German enemy. The interwar clashes between fascism and the Popular Front will then be examined and how the First World War impacted upon French foreign policy and attitudes towards future war.

You'll spend three weeks exploring the enduring controversies of the Second World War, focusing upon the collapse, resistance, collaboration, and French involvement in the persecution of the Jews, as France faced its ‘hereditary enemy’ once again.

The class concludes with an analysis of the French withdrawal from Indochina and Algeria and an assessment of France’s position in the post-war global order.

A variety of sources will be explored throughout the class, including paintings, monuments, films, literary sources, newspaper reports, memoirs and archival documents.

Medicine & Warfare in the Twentieth Century

This class explores the role that health and medicine has played in the major wars of the twentieth century. In particular, it considers the vital contribution that medicine has made to manpower economy, discipline and morale.

Focusing predominantly on Britain, the USA and Europe, the class analyses the ways that different countries have responded to the medical issues posed by modern warfare in both military and civilian contexts. As such, it considers issues such as wartime disability, welfare provision, occupational health and psychiatry, and explores the role that military doctors, women and humanitarian organisations have played in shaping medical responses to war.

The key objective of this class is to place military-medical developments within their wider social, cultural and political contexts and to examine the impact of military health and medicine on the lived experience of war.

Cold War Europe
Scottish Society

The class provides a broad survey of Scottish social history since 1914.

The aim of this class is to explore the nature and development of Scottish society (and place it in a wider context) and to examine dominant narratives of Scotland and Scots in the twentieth century.

By the end, the successful student should have expanded their knowledge of contemporary Scottish history and have a good idea of the diversity of issues, methodologies and arguments which historians have deployed in the study of twentieth-century Scotland.  Among the themes to be covered are:

  • gender relations (for example, analysis of the Scottish ‘hard man’ narrative)
  • religion (including sectarianism and secularisation)
  • health and deprivation
  • the arts and culture (including festivals, theatre, cinema and television)
  • industry (and de-industrialisation and its impacts)
Overall, this class will explore the extent to which Scotland had a recognisable national culture and identity and assess and deconstruct narratives of Scottish society since 1914.
Scotland’s Highland Problem

Historiography had tended to isolate Highland history from Scottish political development during the late medieval and early modern periods.  This class will re-address this trend, emphasising the Highlands as an integral part of Scottish society, at the same time exploring the division within Scotland between the ‘barbaric’ Highlands and the ‘civil’ Lowlands.

Students will study the nature and structure of clan society and place Highland events within the wider context of national and British politics during the sixteenth century.  While relations between the Scottish crown and its Highland subjects is the key theme of this class, students will analyse the extent to which such relations changed through time, and why.

The class will also highlight divergent policies within clan society itself, a factor which warns against treating the Highlands as a homogenous whole, instead taking into consideration regional, local and personal biases.  

Madness and Society
Genocide in the 20th Century

The objectives of this class include introducing students to recent examples of genocide and related mass atrocities, and writing and thinking about these cases in a critical and engaged manner through analysis of primary and secondary materials.

Students will be introduced to historical, sociological, anthropological, and legal perspectives related to the occurrence of genocide and related atrocity crimes. Using case studies from the 20th century, we'll discuss:

  • contemporary issues related to the labelling of cases
  • the evolution of international legal, diplomatic, economic and military measures to prevent, interdict and punish atrocity crimes
  • the phenomenon of genocide denial
  • the politics of commemoration
  • the lingering legacies of violence on individuals and communities in the post-genocide period

Case studies will include clear-cut (recognized in international humanitarian law) examples of genocide, including:

  • the Armenian genocide
  • the Holocaust in Nazi-occupied Europe
  • the 1994 Rwandan genocide

Less clear-cut examples will also be looked at, such as:

  • Canada’s Residential School System
  • Stalinist crimes in Soviet Russia
  • Khmer Rouge atrocities in Cambodia
  • the scorched earth policies in Guatemala
  • ethnic cleansing surrounding the Bosnian War.
Society & Politics in Colonial India

This class will cover the political developments and social groups from the late-nineteenth century till the decolonisation of South Asia in 1947.

This is a key period in the social and political history of modern South Asia as it witnessed the growth of a mass-based anti-colonial struggle.  Simultaneously, the involvement of different social groups in this process led to the emergence of community and caste based identity politics.  Under pressure from demands for independence, the colonial state initiated a process of phased devolution of power, and decolonisation after the Second World War.  The class will compare these developments to raise questions about the 'modernity' of colonial society and polity.  The class will analyse how different social groups - such as the peasantry, the working class and tribal groups - participated in and shaped political movements in South Asia.

Students will also be encouraged to use the regional perspective of South Asian history to understand the different expressions of class, gender and ethnicity in non-Western societies.

Politics

Theories & Practices of Regulation & Governance

The aim of this class is to introduce students to the concepts, theories, institutions and processes of regulatory governance. The transnational and international dimension of regulatory governance is also taken into account.

Governance & Development

This class aims to investigate the political determinants of peace and prosperity, conflict and poverty. It also deals with the recent literature on conflict, inequality, and globalisation. A special emphasis will be placed on providing an understanding of the contemporary challenges facing developing countries.

Political Parties

This class adopts a comparative approach to the study of political parties and party systems, focusing on Europe and the United States. We discuss the main functions and organisational and ideological characteristics of the different types of parties found in these regions, and the way in which parties adapt to social change.

We look at the relationship between parties and voters from the alternative theoretical perspectives of class voting, partisan identification and rational choice. We also examine party systems and party government.

Comparative Politics

The class focuses on how we do comparative politics (methodology). We'll consider the comparative method, and how the scientific method can be applied to the study of politics. We consider the problem of only having a relatively small number of cases to compare, and how we select these, as well as the difference between case-study driven, small-n and large-n studies. We also consider the use of ideal types – the importance of finding a language to compare very complex systems.

Green Politics

This class is divided into four main blocks:

  • green political theory
  • environmental attitudes & behaviour
  • environmental movements
  • green parties
Political Behaviour

The focus of this class is the individual voter. Individual characteristics, such as education, socio-economic status, political attitudes and values, or involvement in social and political networks are looked at. However, contextual factors, such as the institutional framework, can also play a role for a wide range of political actions.

Feminism & Politics

This class provides a critical introduction to feminism and its implications for politics. Over the last few decades, feminists have systematically challenged the long-standing view that politics is gender-neutral by uncovering masculinist bias and drawing attention to the neglected experiences, values and arguments of women.

Feminists have also reconstructed key political concepts and practices and expanded the range of issues and ideas understood to be political.

International Relations Theory in a Global Age

This class explores debates about key concepts in International Relations theory, in the context of what is widely seen as a new era in the analysis and practice of global politics. The class investigates the 'cutting-edge' of IR theory and makes connections with social and political thought more generally.

International Security: Concepts & Issues

Students are introduced to the literature and research agendas related to security and conflict studies. Specifically, the course will explore various aspects of civil war, terrorism, international conflict, arms transfers and refugee security.

Analysing Religion & Politics

The impact of faith upon politics is evident in many ways, including:

  • the 1979 revolution in Iran
  • conflicts in Afghanistan and the Middle East
  • the Catholic Church's contribution to democratisation efforts in Latin America and Eastern Europe
  • the role of religious actors in current debates on Islam in the EU

The class introduces students to the systematic study of these phenomena based on a quantitative methods perspective. Qualitative approaches are also considered. As part of the class assessment, students will conduct an empirical case study.

Assessment

History

You'll be assessed using methods including group work, projects, presentations, dissertations, document analysis, essays and exams.

Politics

The School of Government & Public Policy encourages independent learning by reducing reliance on assessment through formal exams and introducing more flexible forms of class assessment.

All classes are of single semester length. In pre-Honours classes, students are examined at the end of the appropriate semester; short examination diets with two-hour exams are held at the end of each semester. For most classes, a formal essay-based exam at the end of the class still provides for two-thirds of the class assessment.

In pre-Honours classes on research methods, assessment is entirely by class-work. In some other classes, essays are supplemented by or, in part, replaced by project work or book reviews. At Honours level, all single-Honours students are required to complete a 10,000-word dissertation in Politics.  

Learning & teaching

History

As a history student you'll be expected to attend lectures and seminars and take part in group projects. Bibliographic search sessions in the University Library will also be provided. We encourage close, critical reading of texts and the evaluation of historical controversies to help self-directed learning and improve your analytical skills.

Politics

In Politics Years 1 to 3, lectures and tutorials are the main form of teaching. In methods classes, lab sessions and practical group work are used. At Honours level, all classes are taught in a small group seminar format.

Tutorials, seminars and student presentations form an essential part of your learning and development. In addition, work on essays, book reviews and other class projects are part of the teaching and learning environment.

At Honours level, students work on a specific project for their Honours dissertation under the personal supervision of a member of the teaching staff.

Entry requirements

Minimum grades

Required subjects are indicated following minimum accepted grades.

Highers

1st sitting: AAAA

2nd sitting: AAAAB

Required subjects

  • Higher English B, plus one from the list below
  • Maths/Lifeskills Maths National 5 C or equivalent

Higher subjects

  • Classical Studies
  • Drama
  • Economics
  • French
  • Gaelic
  • Geography
  • German
  • History
  • Italian
  • Modern Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Psychology
  • Religious Moral & Philosophical Studies
  • Sociology
  • Spanish

We recognise a wide range of Highers, however, your profile must reflect a good grounding in essay-based subjects.

A Levels

Year 1 entry:

Minimum entry requirement: BBB (GCSE English Language B or English Literature B, GCSE Maths C)

Typical entry requirement: ABB (GCSE English Language B or English Literature B, GCSE Maths C)

Year 2 entry:

Minimum entry requirement: ABB (two core subjects at AB)

Typical entry requirement: AAA (two core subjects required)

International Baccalaureate

36 (Maths SL5)

HNC/HND

Year 1 entry:

HNC Social Sciences: A in Graded Unit; Maths National 5 C or equivalent

Irish Leaving Certificate

Subjects and grades as for Highers.

Additional information

Personal statement

It is important to take care over your personal statement. We look for information about your academic and career interests, and your range of skills, abilities, and relevant experience. Your personal statement should show evidence you have a strong awareness and interest in the subject you are applying to.

Deferred entry

Deferred entry normally not accepted.

Applicants with Highers

Due to the high level of competition for the number of available places, it is unlikely that Conditional Offers will be made to anyone attaining less than ABB at the first sitting of Highers.

Second-year Entry

Second-year entry for A Level/Advanced Higher candidates is possible with AB in the two subjects you are planning to study.

Admission to Honours

All students will be admitted as potential Honours students. Students may exit with a Bachelor of Arts degree at the end of Year 3 of the programme if they have accumulated at least 360 credits and satisfied the appropriate specialisation requirements. For admission to the final year of the Honours course, a student must have achieved an approved standard of performance.

Widening access

We want to increase opportunities for people from every background. Strathclyde selects our students based on merit, potential and the ability to benefit from the education we offer. We look for more than just your grades. We consider the circumstances of your education and will make lower offers to certain applicants as a result.

Find out if you can benefit from this type of offer.

International students

Find out entry requirements for your country.

Degree preparation course for international students

We offer international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the entry requirements for an undergraduate degree at Strathclyde the option of completing an Undergraduate Foundation year programme at the International Study Centre.

You can also complete the online application form, or to ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers today.

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

Scotland/EU
  • TBC
Rest of UK
  • £9,250

The 2018-19 fee rate will be updated when it has been confirmed by the UK and Scottish Governments. Assuming no change in Rest of UK fees policy over the period, the total amount payable by undergraduate students will be capped. For students commencing study in 2017/18, this is capped at £27,750 (with the exception of the MPharm and Integrated Masters courses); MPharm students pay £9,250 for each of the four years. Students studying on Integrated Masters degree programmes pay an additional £9,250 for the Masters year with the exception of those undertaking a full-year industrial placement where a separate placement fee will apply.

International
  • £14,050

Additional fees 

Placement & field trips 

You'll incur travel costs for visits as part of the course. You'll be informed of this at your first lecture. Eg, if you're registered for Parliamentary Studies (L2313), you'll visit the Scottish Parliament and an off-peak travel return ticket for this costs approximately £12.60.  

Please note: All fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my studies?

Students from Scotland and the EU

If you're a Scottish or EU student, you may be able to apply to the Student Award Agency Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government. Scottish students may also be eligible for a bursary and loan to help cover living costs while at University.

For more information on funding your studies have a look at our University Funding page.

Students from England, Wales & Northern Ireland

We have a generous package of bursaries on offer for students from England, Northern Ireland and Wales

You don’t need to make a separate application for these. When your place is confirmed at Strathclyde, we’ll assess your eligibility. Have a look at our scholarship search for any more funding opportunities.

International Students (Non UK, EEA)

We have a number of scholarships available to international students. Take a look at our scholarship search to find out more.

Available scholarships

We have a wide range of scholarships available. Have a look at our scholarship search to find a scholarship.

Dean's Rest of UK Merit Scholarship

The Dean's Rest of UK Merit Scholarship recognises academic achievement. It's for students who are paying the Rest of UK tuition fee of £9,250 per year and achieve ABB or above at A Level (or equivalent). Successful applicants will receive £500 in each year of study at the University. Find out more.

Careers

History

Many History graduates progress to careers in education, social welfare, the Civil Service and the Scottish Government or in areas such as finance. Some graduates work in teaching, museums or heritage, while others find satisfying careers in library and information science, arts management and administration or journalism.

Many students expand their knowledge of history by taking further postgraduate study.

Politics

Politics graduates are employed in the media, management, teaching, sales and advertising, local government, further and higher education and social work.

Knowledge of the political process is also useful in a business career and this degree provides the normal route of entry into business traineeships. Employers are particularly interested in the high-level written and verbal skills of Politics graduates and their ability to research and analyse information.

Courses in Politics are recognised in the training of Modern Studies teachers, and a Politics degree is also particularly appropriate for entry to the civil service.

Students who specialise in research methods acquire social science research skills and expertise in the analysis of data, while the study of institutions is an extremely good background for those entering government service or communications, eg journalism, television and advertising.

There's also a tradition of Strathclyde Politics graduates entering academic research centres in the UK, Europe and North America.

Where are they now?

Recent job titles include:*

  • Analyst
  • Enrolment Officer
  • Policy Advocate
  • Trainee Manager

Recent employers include:

  • Black Rock
  • Consumer Focus Scotland
  • Glasgow Simon Community
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Michigan

*Based on the results of the national Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education.

Contact us

Apply

How to apply – 10 things you need to know

  1. All undergraduate applications are made through UCAS
    Go to the UCAS website to apply – you can apply for up to five courses.
  2. It costs £12 to apply for a course
    The cost is £23 for two to five courses.
  3. The deadline is 15 January each year
    This is the application deadline for most courses. However, please check the details for your particular course. View a full list of UCAS key dates.
  4. You might be asked to attend an interview
    Most of our courses make offers based on the UCAS application. However some might ask you to attend an interview or for a portfolio of work. If this is the case, this will be stated in the prospectus entry requirements.
  5. It’s possible to apply directly to Year 2
    Depending on your qualifications, you might be able to apply directly to Year 2 - or even Year 3 - of a course. Speak to the named contact for your course if you want to discuss this.
  6. There’s three types of decision
    • unconditional – you’ve already met our entry requirements
    • conditional – we’ll offer you a place if you meet certain conditions, usually based on your exams
    • unsuccessful – we’ve decided not to offer you a place
  7. You need to contact UCAS to accept your offer
    Once you’ve decided which course you’d like to accept, you must let UCAS know. You don’t need to decide until you’ve received all offers. UCAS will give you a deadline you must respond by.

    You’ll choose one as your firm choice. If the offer is unconditional or if you meet the conditions, this is the course you’ll study.

    You’ll also have an insurance choice. This is a back-up option if you don’t meet the conditions of your first choice.
  8. You don’t need to send us your exam results (Scotland, England & Wales)
    If you’re studying in Scotland, England or Wales, we receive a copy of your Higher/Advanced Higher/A Level results directly from the awarding body. However, if you are studying a different qualification, then please contact us to arrange to send your results directly.
  9. We welcome applications from international students

    Find out further information about our entry and English language requirements.

    International students who don’t meet the entry requirements, can apply for our pre-undergraduate programmes.

    There’s also an online application form.

    For further information:
  10. Here’s a really useful video to help you apply

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