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MA or PGDip or PGCert

Key facts

Start dates

September 2020



Course length

Full time: PGCert: 4 months, PGDip: 9 months, MA: 12 months

Part time: PGCert: 2 semesters, PGDip: 3 semesters, MA: 24 months,


Our MA in History is a highly flexible programme, offered in a close, supportive, tutorial-style environment. It aims to build on your interest in History to help you develop your knowledge and skills as a practising historian.

The course has been shaped by leading researchers in our department. This means that our modules reflect the most recent developments in various historical fields.

We offer core skills training modules. You also have the opportunity to conduct research on topics of your choosing. This takes the form of independent study and dissertation modules. This freedom, combined with advanced training, enables you to graduate confident in your ability to research, write and develop your own work. And puts you in the ideal position to pursue further academic study, or new lines of endeavour.

Male student listening to a lecture

How to apply

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

You should normally hold a minimum of a second class honours degree (2:2), or equivalent, in History or in a related subject.

If it is some time since you completed your undergraduate education and you do not meet the standard requirement, it may be possible to consider your application based on evidence of other relevant personal and professional experience and the support of your referees.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you will need to satisfy the university's English language requirements:

  • IELTS 6.5 overall and including a minimum 6.0 in all components. 

Please also see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences


English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you meet the entry requirements for your postgraduate course and also familiarise you with university life in the UK.

Take a Pre-Master's course to develop your subject knowledge, study skills and academic language level in preparation for your master's course.

If you need to improve your English language, we offer pre-sessional English language courses to help you meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s course.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Application process

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home/EU full time
£7,500 (Masters); £6,500 (Diploma); £3,750 (Certificate)

Home/EU part time

International full time

Home/EU full time
£7,700 (Masters); £6,700 (Diploma); £3,850 (Certificate)

Home/EU part time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2020 / 21
Home/EU full time
£7,500 (Masters); £6,500 (Diploma); £3,750 (Certificate)

Home/EU part time

International full time

2021 / 22
Home/EU full time
£7,700 (Masters); £6,700 (Diploma); £3,850 (Certificate)

Home/EU part time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Fees quoted are for the first year only. If you are studying a course that lasts longer than one year your fees will increase each year.

Financial support and scholarships

There are International Student Scholarships available for 2020 and other scholarships and funding options for postgraduate international students.

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed below.

Learning and assessment

You will study four modules to gain your MA in History:

  • a compulsory core module
  • two elective modules
  • dissertation.

Shorter courses in History are also available: the postgraduate diploma and the postgraduate certificate. It is possible to transfer between these and the MA course.

Postgraduate diploma students take the compulsory core module and two elective modules.

Postgraduate certificate students take the compulsory core module and one elective module.

Female student studying with headphones

Study modules

The modules listed below are for the master's award. For the PGDip and PGCert awards your module choices may be different. Please contact us for more details.

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

Key Concepts and Methods in Historical Research

Every student takes this compulsory core module in advanced historical studies, which is designed to help make the transition from undergraduate to graduate-level work. You will be introduced to a variety of perspectives on theory and method in history, and you will acquire the advanced study skills needed to develop the capacity to engage in independent research. You will also receive training in the use of electronic research resources. This module is taken in Semester 1 and is assessed by two written assignments. There is no exam.

Optional modules

American Colossus: US Domestic and Foreign Politics, 1945-2012

This module explores the rise of the United States from the end of the Second World War, through the Cold War, and up to the present day. By looking at domestic politics, international relations, and economic and military affairs, you will have a keener appreciation of the evolution of the American state in the 20th century as an actor at home and abroad. 

Behaving Badly: Crime, Deviance and Civilization

This module examines comparative themes in the history of law, crime and 'bad behaviour' from 1500 to the present. You will be given the opportunity to study the fundamental issues that have pre-occupied historians of crime and the regulation of forms of behaviour society considers unacceptable. 

Monsters and Magical Beings: Medieval Lore to Pop Culture

This module integrates the seemingly contradictory narratives about magical beings into a coherent timeline that offers a longue-duree perspective from the Middle Ages to the present. It suggests sociocultural explanations for the various stages of these complex developments, investigating the influence the Enlightenment, the rise of a mass market for entertainment culture, and the modern cultures of childhood and youth. 

Religion, Doubt and Secularism in Modern Britain and the US

This module examines the complex history of belief and unbelief, faith and reason, during a time often associated with growing secularisation. It encourages you to think critically about the nature of morality in the Victorian period, in particular the spiritual eclecticism of those who sought to reject Christian dogma.

The Reformation and the Parish Church

This module considers the impact of the Reformation on the lives of ordinary people. The churches in which they worshipped were remodelled, whilst the traditional Catholic rituals and practices that governed their lives were reformed. In particular the module will examine the impact that the Reformation had upon art, architecture, music and sculpture.

History That Was Not: Counterfactuals and Alternate History

This module examines the uses and abuses of counterfactual constructions in historiography and in popular culture, including novels, games, movies and design. It focuses on the underlying problems of historiographical conception - especially questions of historical causality and so-called ‘laws’ of history - and the interrelations between historiography, philosophy, literature and art.

Worlds of Risk: Technology, Health and the Environment 'Risk'

This module encourages you to reflect on the novelty of the present age, and to explore questions about when and how understanding and managing risks became such a key feature of modern societies. It provides a critical and historical perspective on a series of contemporary risks, among them climate change and technological catastrophes, and the dangers that have accompanied the rise of new technologies, particularly synthetic chemicals, drugs, artificial foodstuffs, and the nuclear industry.

Engineering Society: Eugenics and Biopolitics, 1860-1945

This module examines comparative themes in the history of eugenics, racism, biopolitics, anthropology and modernity from 1800 to 1945. You will be given the opportunity to study the fundamental issues that have pre-occupied historians of biology, science and modernity since the 1800s and combine these with specific case studies from a wide range of European countries. 

The Hospital in History

This module provides a long-term analysis of the origins and transformations of the hospital in its social context. The module covers changing organisational forms, funding, medical specialisation, therapeutic innovations, patients, public perceptions, and the broader politics of hospital development within western and non-European contexts. 

Studying Civil War: Russia, Spain, Greece

This module examines three case studies in civil conflict in the 20th century. In analysing a variety of themes from international relations to the dynamics of clan violence, the module introduces students to the practice of comparative history, historical sociology and the analytical study of civil conflict. (This module runs in the afternoon.) 

Britain and Europe, 1950-2010

This module looks at how the subject of ‘Europe’ has come to dominate post-war British politics, splitting political parties, bringing down governments and Prime Ministers, and dividing opinion more bitterly and deeply than any other subject. This course will attempt to assess why exactly the subject was so divisive, and examine the different views taken about ‘ever closer union’ since 1950. 

Independent Study Module

You will also have the option of taking an Independent Study Module, which normally involves the completion of an extended, research-based essay (6,000 words) on a topic of your choice. 

Final project

Compulsory modules


This is the second compulsory, and the capstone of the MA in History. You will have the opportunity to conduct a major in-depth investigation into a historical topic of your choice, leading to the production of a 15,000-word thesis (including footnotes).

The topic may be related to one of your elective modules or may be chosen from another area of your interest. You will be supported in your research by individual supervision from a specialist tutor and by group workshops on advanced research design that take place in Semester 2 (for part-time students this is taken in Year 2). The dissertation is completed over the summer and is submitted on the last Friday in September.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

We use a range of teaching methods, including:

  •  small-group seminars
  •  discussion groups
  •  workshops
  •  individual tutorials 
  •  historiographical and bibliographical presentations.

As a part-time student you will attend the University one evening per week. You will need to spend an additional 12–15 hours per week on private study.

As a full-time student you will attend classes on two evenings per week. You will spend 30 hours per week in private study.


Assessment methods used on this course

You will be assessed entirely by written work. There are no examinations.


Our historians are regarded as experts in their field and their research informs some of the key debates in society.

Principal research areas in which our teaching staff specialise include:

  • Early modern history
  • History of religion from the Reformation onwards
  • Health, medicine and society
  • Social and cultural history
  • History of art and visual culture
  • History of crime, deviance and the law
  • Modern political and international history

As well as meeting to discuss and analyse central texts in the field, each group undertakes a number of activities including organising work-in-progress seminars, and offering support and feedback for external grant applications.

The department boasts a wealth of research expertise and two important research centres:

Female student working in library

After you graduate

Career prospects

Students who have completed the MA in History have developed a variety of careers. A significant number have gone on to undertake PhD study and secondary school history teaching. Others have taken up careers in:

  • archive management
  • law
  • accountancy
  • local government
  • the civil service
  • GCHQ.

All jobs which require excellent research and analysis skills. Our careers service provides practical tips, training and advice for up to three years after graduation.

Student profiles

Our Staff

Professor Johannes Dillinger

Dillinger is mainly interested in early modern history. He is currently working on the history of early modern terrorism, the cult of relics and a microstudy of a border community between France and Germany.

Read more about Johannes

Dr Katherine Watson

To understand our criminal justice system, it is crucial to understand the long-running historical debate on the nature, incidence and causes of crime, as well as the way in which medicine has played an active part in shaping legal, political and social change. Dr Watson’s specialist teaching focuses on the origins of these foundations of modern legal practice, while her broader teaching considers the wider socio-political contexts within which these practices developed.

Read more about Katherine

Programme Changes: On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website.

For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.