This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- At Stage 1 you’ll study two compulsory modules that will introduce you to a broad range of subjects in the arts and humanities and social sciences.
- Next, in Stage 2, you’ll study two further compulsory modules, one in history and one in politics.
- Finally, in Stage 3, you’ll study two modules, choosing one period in history and one aspect of politics to study.
You’ll begin with a stimulating introduction to the arts and humanities, studying diverse topics from across multiple cultures and historical periods. You will then progress to studying a range of social science subjects (criminology, economics, environmental studies, geography, international studies, politics, social policy and sociology) and learning the tools of social sciences.
Stage 2 includes two compulsory modules. In your politics module you will explore how political ideas, institutions and processes help govern our world. In your history module you will learn all about the British Isles in a period of rapid transformation, when it was the workshop of the world.
At Stage 3, we offer a choice of history modules: the rise and fall of Empires since 1492; conflict and change in twentieth-century Europe; or Welsh history from the twelfth century to date. For your study of politics, you’ll choose between exploring the key areas of change and major problems in international relations or considering the ways in which political ideas ‘live’, demonstrating their relevance for understanding contemporary issues in national and world politics.
We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 17 March 2020.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BA (Honours) History and Politics uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- finding external/third party material online
- working in a group with other students
- working with specialist reading material such as works of art and musical manuscripts.
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer.
Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment
This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:
- Knowledge and understanding
- Cognitive skills
- Practical and professional skills
- Key skills
The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.
It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.
You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide evidence of your previous study.
For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.
Classification of your degree
On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you'll be awarded the BA (Honours) History and Politics degree. The class of degree (first, upper second, lower second or third-class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.
You'll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.
There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification.
At The Open University we believe education should be open to all, so we provide a high-quality university education to anyone who wishes to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.
Even though there are no entry requirements, there are some skills that you'll need to succeed. If you're not quite ready for OU study we can guide you to resources that prepare you, many of which are free.
Answer a few quick questions to check whether you're ready for study success
How much time do I need?
Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner
- Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
- This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
Preparing for study with an Access module
Students who start their study with an Access module are more likely to be successful when they advance to Stage 1 of their qualification. They’re specially designed to give you a gentle introduction to OU study, boost confidence in your study skills, and help you gain a broad overview of your chosen subject area.
You’ll also benefit from:
- feedback from your tutor through regular one-to-one phone tutorials
- support from a dedicated team throughout your study
- detailed written feedback on your work.
The Access module we’d recommend studying in preparation for this qualification is our:
Arts and languages Access module
What you will study
This multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the arts, humanities and languages. It's perfect preparation for your study with The Open University as you'll develop both your subject knowledge and your study skills. It explores a range of subjects, including art history, English, English language studies, history, and popular music. The module also offers an opportunity to explore other subjects, such as modern languages, classical studies, religious studies and creative writing.
View full details of Arts and languages Access module
People, work and society Access module
What you will study
This multidisciplinary module provides an excellent introduction to studying with The Open University; you'll get to cover a wide range of subject areas, including childhood and youth studies, social science, psychology, health, business and law.
View full details of People, work and society Access module
Skills for career development
Studying history and politics will provide you with an adaptable set of skills that can lead in many directions and are greatly valued by employers. Beyond subject knowledge these include critical thinking, analysis, synthesis and communication. You’ll sharpen your IT, writing, and independent thinking and information auditing skills, as well as develop an ability to assimilate and evaluate relevant information when constructing an argument to a variety of audiences. These are key skills in complex organisations and independent endeavours, and are highly sought after in the world beyond study – whether you’re already working,volunteering, starting, changing or looking to progress your career.
Studying history and politics requires and fosters an understanding of human activities in diverse cultural and political environments and historical contexts. The breadth of study and range of ideas and objects analysed, combined with clear thinking and communication, make the BA (Hons) History and Politics relevant to a wide range of careers, including:
- public administration, central and local government, the civil and diplomatic service, art and museum institutions, and social services
- advertising, journalism, publishing, creative industries and public relations
- legal work
- business, banking and retail
- human resources
- charities and campaigning.
Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.
Exploring your options
Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice. This includes online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.
In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree:
- museum curator
- heritage management
- policy adviser
- economic analyst
- information archivist
- local government and NHS management
- arts administration
- civil servant
- tourism officer.