BA History and International Relations
Immerse yourself in contemporary issues and untangle their historical roots with our BA History and International Relations degree.
At the University of Reading, our three-year joint course is offered by the Department of History and the Department of Politics and International Relations.
The Department of History’s expertise covers a wide range of regions, from Europe and Africa to America, South Asia and the Middle East. Module choices cover diverse periods and topics, such as:
- medieval magic
- history of the Atlantic world
- punk politics
- the making of modern South Asia.
The Department of Politics and International Relations offers expertise across applied political theory, comparative politics, public policy analysis, conflict, security, strategy, and international relations. You will have the opportunity to gain a broad overview of the subject through a wide range of specialist core and optional modules, which cover topical issues, such as:
- feminism and political theory
- international terrorism
- politics of nuclear weapons.
Combining history and international relations will deepen your understanding of both: concepts from politics and international relations will help you to analyse historical events and processes, while your historical studies will give you an essential background to contemporary politics.
Your learning environment
The University of Reading is ranked in the top 200 in the world for History (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023).
The University of Reading is 6th highest in the UK for research outputs, and you will benefit from a learning environment driven by 'world-leading' and 'internationally excellent' research. (Times Higher Education analysis of the latest REF 2021 – Politics and International Studies, when scoring by GPA Output.)
Our teaching staff in the Department of Politics and International Relations have direct professional experience and act as policy advisers to the government and international bodies such as the EU and UN.
You will learn in small, interactive seminar groups, encouraging discussion and debate with your lecturers and fellow students.
Bring your studies to life
In your first year, your history core modules will explore people, politics, and revolution in past, while you will acquire a firm grounding in the fundamental elements of international relations, such as political ideas and international relations theory.
As your degree progresses and your interests develop, your module choices will become more specialised and you will engage in learning experiences with real-world applications, such as:
- producing a weekly political radio show
- participating in a crisis simulation in the Model United Nations module
- working with external partners on a public-history project.
We will also teach you the skills you need to study and research history through an individual project of your choice, and you will experience new areas of history on field trips, which will take you across the UK and abroad. Past examples include the National Trust in Winchester and Westminster and further afield in Paris and Berlin.
You may also choose to spend a term in your second year at one of our partner universities in Europe, the USA, Canada or Australia. Here, you will develop independence, knowledge of different cultures, international communication skills, and adaptability.
Placements offer opportunities to demonstrate how to apply your skills and knowledge in real-world settings. You can, therefore, boost your undergraduate by taking an integrated year in industry, a summer placement, or a two-week work experience, supported by our dedicated placement team in the Department of Politics and International Relations. You can also engage in placements during History's second-year module, Going Public: Presenting the Past, Planning the Future. Here, you can work with external partners in museums, heritage, and media organisations.
In your final year, you may also choose optional modules in history that offer placements of 10 working days in local archives and secondary schools.