MRes Twentieth Century British History

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 students 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, as well as understand and apply research methodologies to the study of twentieth century British history.

The Department of History was ranked first in the country in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Sam Humphries

“The course 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. The environment with passionate individuals each able to help you with your work has been immensely rewarding.”

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

  • 20,000 word thesis (120 credits)
  • Historical Methods (20 credits)
  • Sites and Sources in Modern British Studies (20 credits)
  • Postgraduate Research Skills: Historical Studies (20 credits)

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.
  • History at the University of Birmingham was ranked first among all History departments in the country in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise. The Department covers a wide range of British, European and world history from the early medieval period to the present.

Modules

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

Historical Methods (20 credits)

The purpose of this module 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: Written coursework

Sites and Sources in Modern British History (20 credits)

This introduces you to a variety of methodological and thematic approaches to the study of twentieth century British history. Team taught you will be exposed to the key methodological issues concerning the study of twentieth century British history and the problems and issues historians of modern Britain encounter with sources. 
Assessment: Written coursework

Research Skills Training (20 credits)

This module will provide an introduction to generic skills training for Historical Studies postgraduates. It will introduce a range of research, library and generic skills that will be applicable to your thesis and research experience, as well as subject/discipline specific training. The module is team-taught with contributions from across the departments of the School of Historical Studies helping expose you to the community of research experience within the School.
Assessment: Written coursework

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.


Please note that the optional module information listed on the website for this programme is intended to be indicative, and the availability of optional modules may vary from year to year. Where a module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you to make other choices.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2018/19 are as follows:

  • UK/EU: £5,850 full-time; £2,925 part-time
  • International: £16,320 full-time

The above fees quoted are for one year only; for those studying over two or more years, tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.

Fee status

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

We can also confirm that EU students who are already studying at the University of Birmingham or who have an offer to start their studies in the 2018-19 academic year will continue to be charged the UK fee rate applicable at the time, provided this continues to be permitted by UK law. The UK Government has also confirmed that students from the EU applying to courses starting in the 2018-19 academic year will not see any changes to their loan eligibility or fee status. This guarantee will apply for the full duration of the course, even if the course finishes after the UK has left the EU.

Paying your fees

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about postgraduate tuition 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.

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

Please refer to our six step process on applying for PhD, MA by Research and MRes opportunities for Arts subject areas.

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

The Twentieth Century British History MRes is taught by members of the Birmingham Centre for Modern and Contemporary History (BCMCH) and the Centre for Modern British Studies, 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 lively 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.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.

You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: History

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.

Some of our History postgraduates go on to use their studies directly, for example in heritage, museums or the armed forces; others use their transferable skills in a range of occupations from finance, to publishing, to fundraising. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include: Royal Air Force; Ministry of Defence; University of Birmingham; Big Lottery Fund; Royal Air Force Museum; and University of Oxford.

Birmingham has been transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Get involved

In addition to the student groups hosted by the Guild of Students, each school runs its own social activities, research fora, seminars and groups for postgraduates.

Accommodation

Coming to Birmingham to study might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

Support in your studies

We offer an Academic Writing Advisory Service, which aims to help your transition to postgraduate research. The service offers guidance on organising your ideas and structuring an argument, referencing and avoiding plagiarism, being clear and coherent and editing your work for academic style and linguistic accuracy. Individual support is provided by a professional academic writing advisor via tutorials or email, as well as through the provision of online materials.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and cultures, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work. Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.