International History and Politics BA

Year of entry

2023 course information

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
3 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
Typical Access to Leeds offer
ABB and pass Access to Leeds
Full entry requirements

Course overview

two students talking in the library

BA International History and Politics will give you an unrivalled opportunity to study the principal international challenges of today in the light of their recent historical past. The course focuses on the modern and contemporary history of world affairs, from the late nineteenth century to the present. Beginning with the origins and outcomes of the First World War, the course also investigates the interwar period, the Second World War and its aftermath, and the Cold War, before moving into the post-Cold War period and the challenges of the 'war on terror,' its effects and implications.

Focusing on tensions and challenges in international history, this course investigates some of the most important changes on the world stage over the last hundred years or so. You can study the role of states and international diplomacy, and the rise of international organisations and non-state actors across the period. You can learn about security and insecurity, and how these concepts have shifted over time. You might focus on transnational questions, such as refugees in Europe, or revolutions in central and south America. You could specialise in the international history of particular regions, such as the Middle East or East Asia. Or you could choose to study histories of crisis, conflict and inequalities, and the legacies of the contested international past.

BA International History and Politics is a challenging, integrated single-honours degree. Compulsory modules will give you a firm grounding in key periods and themes. You will also develop the historical skills you'll need to succeed in your studies. You can choose modules in each year of your course to help tailor your degree to your own interests. With the support of expert tutors and access to excellent facilities, you'll also build wider skills that are highly valued by employers.


The University of Leeds has world-class facilities for historians. The University libraries are among the largest in the UK and they offer a course of workshops and webinars to help you make the most of their collections, digital resources and databases. Skills@Library also offers one-to-one support to taught students on a wide range of academic and research skills, including academic writing, statistics, and data analysis.

Take a look around our three main libraries:

Leeds has a strong collection of resources for international historians, including a wealth of archive material and political documents. The University library's recently refurbished Special Collections Research Centre is home to the Leeds Russian Archive, a resource for the study of Anglo-Russian relations in the 20th century. The Liddle Collection contains personal papers from thousands of people who lived through the First and Second World Wars, as well as papers from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and extensive correspondence from political figures from around the world.

Brotherton Library Reading Room

Course details

Year 1

Year 1 is about laying the foundations for your degree. Core modules will provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to understand International History and Politics, offering a grounding in archival and historiographical approaches, as well as political theories and methodologies.

Year 2

In Year 2, you'll build on this understanding by choosing from a range of optional modules to suit your interests. These could focus on imperial Germany, the Cold War, the international history of the Middle East or East Asia, or ‘history wars’ in contemporary Europe. You'll also receive additional training in primary source analysis and put your research skills into practice in a long essay that will help prepare you for the Final Year Project.

Year 3

In Year 3, you’ll work closely with an expert tutor on a research-based Special Subject module. This will require you to engage closely with primary sources, choosing from a range of subjects, such as Nazi Germany, transnational war volunteers, refugees or the British secret services. Partnered with the special subject, you'll also put your knowledge and skills into practice to undertake a Final Year Project on a topic of your own choice. In addition, you'll continue to choose from an exciting range of optional modules, spanning topics such as genocide, terrorism and political violence, or 20th-century southeast Asia.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read International History and Politics BA in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Skills and Concepts in International History 20
International History, 1919-1989: Conflict, Co-operation and Change 20
Consensus and Contention: Investigations in International History 20
International Politics 20

Year 2 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Documents and Debates in International History 20
International History and Politics Long Essay 20

Year 2 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
The Global Cold War 20
US Foreign Policy in a Changing World: the End of the Cold War, the Age of Terror, and the Resurgence of a Multipolar Order? 20
International History of the Middle East 20

Year 3 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
IHP Final Year Project 40

Year 3 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
The Third Reich, 1933-1945 40
From Byron to Bin Laden: Transnational War Volunteers 40
The Iron Lady Abroad: Margaret Thatcher and UK Foreign Policy from 1979 40
Indonesia from Revolution to Dictatorship, 1945-1967 40
Twentieth Century Southeast Asia: From Empire to Independence 20
'Parasites' and 'Cockroaches': Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide in the Modern World 20

Discovery modules

Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.

This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

Our tutors are experts in their fields and their teaching is informed by their own cutting-edge research. We use a range of learning and teaching styles to help you benefit from their expertise and to promote intellectual curiosity and debate.

You'll learn in lectures, seminars, one-to-one tutorials, online discussions, and by creating and sharing content (eg presentations, posters, blogs, reviews). To develop your skills and involve you in public-facing activities, two classes in each module take place outside the classroom. This might include field trips, archive visits or museum handling sessions. These learning activities are underpinned by digital technologies to structure your learning and intellectual development.

You'll have the opportunity to learn how to produce podcasts, digital exhibitions, blogs, text analyses, timelines, storyboards, maps, and bibliographies using the latest digital tools and platforms. Our online spaces are integrated with in-person teaching activities, allowing you to review lectures, ask questions, test ideas, and record and reflect on your learning.

At the University of Leeds, we have a wealth of resources for you to explore as you become an independent learner. You’ll be able to apply your skills and knowledge in a Final Year Project on a topic of your own choice. Self-motivated learning allows you to build valuable experience in independent working, managing time, critical thinking, and self-awareness.


Fieldwork in History involves exploring the past through archival resources, working with partners outside the University, and the physical evidence of the past that is around us in museums, buildings, and the landscape. Throughout your time studying International History and Politics at Leeds, you'll have the opportunity to engage in research outside the classroom. You’ll also conduct your own archival research in your Final Year Project. Funding is available to all students in their final year to help support this research.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


Your assessments will help you to communicate ideas and analysis in informed, relevant and appropriate ways. They will also help to develop 'real life' employability skills. Throughout your degree you'll be presented with choices about your assignments, whether selecting an essay question, choosing primary sources to analyse, developing an individual or group project, curating an exhibition or developing you own lines of historical inquiry in the Final Year Project.

You'll be using a mixture of primary sources (the raw material from the past) and secondary sources written by historians. As you progress in your degree the balance between the two shifts from secondary to primary, as you gain more experience and expertise in the critical analysis of a wide range of source material. You'll engage directly with historiographical debates, exploring not just what has been written about the past, but how we know what we do, how historians approach and interpret material differently, and the limits of historical knowledge.

Depending on the modules you choose, you’ll be assessed using a variety of methods. These may include ‘take home’ 48-hour exams and essays. Many modules use a wide range of other methods including presentations, podcasts, and other public-facing work. In addition, assessment can take the form of group work, oral presentations, source commentaries, annotated bibliographies, book/literature/historiographical reviews, blog postings, wikis, self-directed heritage trails, and vlogs. We offer lots of support, and there are extra classes on topics such as critical reading, writing skills and workload planning if you need them.

You'll get experience in all the different ways that history is presented and discussed both within academic settings and public history. These are not just moments where your competency as a historian is assessed. They also provide evidence you can use in the future to demonstrate your skills in critical thinking, communication, research, and time management.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAA

Other course specific tests:

When an applicant is taking the EPQ in a relevant subject this might be considered alongside other Level 3 qualifications and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you are taking A Levels, this would be AAB at A Level and grade A in the EPQ.

We welcome applications from mature students with Access qualifications, and from students with a wide range of qualifications.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Pass diploma with 60 credits overall, including at least 45 credits at level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. An interview and a piece of written work are required.


We will consider this qualification in combination with other qualifications. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.

Cambridge Pre-U

D3, D3, M2

International Baccalaureate

35 points overall with 17 at Higher Level

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

H2, H2, H2, H2, H2, H2

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AA in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers, or A in Advanced Highers and AAABB in Highers

Welsh Baccalaureate

The Welsh Baccalaureate is not typically included in the academic conditions of an offer made to you for this course. If you choose to undertake the Welsh Baccalaureate we would strongly encourage you to draw upon these experiences within your personal statement, as your qualification will then be taken into account both when your application is initially considered by the selection panel and again when reviewed by the admissions tutor at the time your A-level results are passed to us.

Other Qualifications

European Baccalaureate: 85%

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

Access to Leeds is an admissions scheme which aims to encourage applications from specific groups of potential students. These include students from low income households, those whose parents did not attend university, those from schools or postcodes that meet specific criteria relating to levels of participation in Higher Education, and those who have had their studies disrupted or delayed in some substantial way. Upon completion of the Access to Leeds programme, a typical Access to Leeds offer is ABB.

Find out more about Access to Leeds.

Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year

If you would like to study arts, humanities, and cultures at university, but don't currently meet the typical entry requirements for direct entry to a degree, you might be eligible to apply for the Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year course.


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information, contact the School of History Admissions team.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: £9,250 (per year)

International: £24,500 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 and 2024/25 are available on individual course pages.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.

Katrina Honeyman scholarships

All international students who are offered a place on our BA History or BA International History and Politics courses will automatically be considered for a Katrina Honeyman scholarship. These scholarships are awarded in recognition of outstanding academic performance.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

Read our guidance about applying.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of History

Contact us

School of History Undergraduate Admissions


Career opportunities

International History and Politics will equip you with a combination of specialist subject knowledge and valuable skills, enabling you to build a career in many different sectors.

You'll be able to think critically about information from a range of sources to form your own conclusions. You'll also be able to present them clearly, whether that’s verbally, in writing or in other formats. As a motivated independent learner, you'll have organisational, time management and research skills that will appeal to employers.

Recent graduates have gone on to work in careers as diverse as diplomacy, international finance and investment, journalism, the civil service, law, education and the Armed Forces.

Read more about graduate destinations.

The School of History is committed to helping you reach your goals. Student-run career groups allow you to meet other students with similar plans, while you could also become a peer mentor or apply for one of our paid internships. We offer career-related modules to help you develop your employability or explore your options.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. We have over 300 University partners worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

Work placements

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.

Student profile: Maddy Dawe

The range of modules were so impressive to me as I was discovering topics which I had heard about on the news or in my spare time but would never get the chance to study at school or college.
Find out more about Maddy Dawe's time at Leeds