MRes Twentieth Century British History

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Twentieth century Britain is one of the most exciting areas of modern history. With new documents being released every year and new archives being added to all the time, new researchers are finding an incredible range of topics to explore, examine and reassess. Ideal for those interested in questions about Britain’s recent past, this course is designed to develop skills in critical analysis and academic research, enabling you to acquire research skills and to understand and apply research methodologies to the study of twentieth century British history.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Combined research and taught

Study Options: Full time, part time

Duration: 1 year full-time; 2 years part-time

Start date: September

Details

The degree consists of four elements which make a total of 180 credits:

  • 20,000 word thesis (120 credits)
  • Historical Methods (20 credits)
  • Approaches to 20th Century British History (20 credits)
  • Research Skills Training (20 credits)

The courses are assessed in various ways – by examination, coursework and attendance. 

Why study this course

The programme offers you the opportunity to pursue an independent research project, supported by taught elements and opportunities for group discussion. While it can be studied as a standalone qualification, it also provides an ideal stepping stone for doctoral research.

Sam Humphries "The course however offered lots more than I hoped for. It taught me crucial methodological understandings about how historians work and how to deploy and engage with them in my own research. These modules, alongside the fellow students and staff in the Centre, changed my work and approach to the subject for the better in ways I could not have conceived beforehand, changing my project fundamentally. The environment with passionate individuals each able to help you with your work has been immensely rewarding."

Modules

The degree consists of four elements which make a total of 180 credits:

Historical Methods (20 credits)

The purpose of this module, which is taken during the autumn semester, is to study some major historians of different 'schools' or 'approaches' along with the ideas which inform such historical work. It is taught by a range of specialists in the fields of political, economic, social, cultural and intellectual history. The module is compulsory for all MRes students in the Department of History and so provides both an intellectual and social forum. Assessment is by a 4000 word essay.

Approaches to 20th Century British History (20 credits)

This is the core module of the degree, to be taken in the spring semester. It introduces you to a variety of methodological approaches to the study of twentieth century British history. Team taught, by members of the Centre for Modern and Contemporary History, you will be exposed to the key histographical debates concerning twentieth century British history, problems and issues concerning sources and how each of the individual lecturers has contributed to the debate about 20th century British history. Assessment is by a 4000 word essay.

Research Skills Training (20 credits)

This module will vary according to your interest and requirements. All students will receive bibliographical training and some training in IT. In addition linguistic, palaeographical, quantitative methods and other training will be offered. This is quite a flexible module and, where appropriate, you may wish to substitute certain skills courses for a theoretical or historiographical essay related to your field of research instead.

Thesis (120 credits)

The main component of the programme is a 20,000 word thesis on an agreed topic which relates to the history of twentieth century Britain and which can be appropriately supervised by a member of academic staff. If you are interested in studying for this degree, you should contact the Department of History with a proposed topic of research so that a suitable supervisor can be found. We strongly encourage you to do this in advance of making your formal application, if at all possible: the sooner you have a clear idea of your basic research field, the better! The research interests and areas of supervision offered by staff in twentieth century British history are broad and embrace all aspects of modern Britain.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2015/16 are currently as follows:

  • Home / EU £4,090 full-time; £2,045 part-time
  • Overseas: £13,195 full-time; £6,597.50 part-time

For part-time students, the above fee quoted is for year one only and tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments.

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students

Learn more about postgraduate tuituion fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

University of Birmingham graduates may be entitled to a fee reduction through the College of Arts and Law Alumni Bursary scheme.

Entry requirements

Graduates on this programme will normally have a background in which the study of history, international relations and/or politics has been a substantial component.

For overseas applicants, an honours degree in a relevant subject, such as History or Politics, is required, normally at an upper second class level or its equivalent.

Mature students add diversity and experience to the learning community and we actively encourage applications from people over the age of 21 at entry who may not meet the standard programme entry requirement.

Learn more about entry requirements

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

Before you make your application

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Making your application

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Learning and teaching

The Twentieth Century British History MRes is taught by members of the Birmingham Centre for Modern and Contemporary History (BCMCH), which provides an intellectual forum for academic staff and postgraduates working within the field, and provides a base for research both for its members and in collaboration with other institutions.

BCMCH draws together the expertise of the School of History and Cultures, the Modern Languages Department, American and Canadian Studies and the Centre for Russian and East European Studies (CREES) meaning that you’ll be able to gain insight from a range of academics and peers from across the University. It also supports a research seminar series of invited speakers throughout the academic year as well as an annual lecture series and various informal reading groups. 

You will also become part of, and contribute to, the vibrant international community of the College of Arts and Law Graduate School, which offers dedicated research resources and a supportive working environment. Our team of academic and operational staff are on hand to offer support and advice to all postgraduate students within the College.

Employability

The University of Birmingham has been ranked 8th in the UK and 60th in the world for post-qualification employability in the latest global survey of universities commissioned by the International Herald Tribune.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School.

Birmingham’s History graduates develop a broad range of transferable skills that are highly valued by a range of employers. These skills include: familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage large quantities of information from diverse sources; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; critical and analytical ability; the capacity for argument, debate and speculation; and the ability to base conclusions on statistical research.

Over the past five years, over 92% of History postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Some of our History postgraduates go on to use their studies directly, for example in heritage, museum or archivist work. Others use their transferable skills in a range of occupations from finance to civil service to fundraising. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include: Alcester Heritage Network; HSBC; KPMG; Ministry of Defence; and the National Trust.