MRes Early Modern History

The MRes degree is a research programme with some provision for taught modules.

It is aimed at those who wish to move beyond taught work and are prepared to engage in research in depth for a substantial postgraduate thesis, but who also wish to take modules that help develop research and related skills, and to study broader historical subjects with other postgraduates.

After consultation with your academic supervisor, you can pursue a research project in any aspect of British and European history and focus on political, military or diplomatic history, or the history of early modern religion, culture, society or ideas.

The Department of History was ranked first in the country in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.

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

  • 20,000 word thesis (120 credits)
  • Historical Methods module (20 credits, autumn)
  • Sources and Methods for Early Modern History (20 credits, spring)
  • Research Preparation (20 credits, autumn & spring)

Modules are assessed in various ways – by examination, coursework, presentation, transcription and attendance.

Why study this course

  • The Early Modern History MRes is run out of the Centre for Reformation and Early Modern Studies (CREMS), one of the most dynamic concentrations of early modern historians in the country.  We have more than half a dozen full time academic staff with expertise in the period c.1500-1800 in History alone, with geographical coverage including Tudor and Stuart England, local (West-Midlands) history, Germany, Italy, and the wider world.  CREMS also has excellent links with staff in English, the Shakespeare Institute, History of Art, and elsewhere.
  • CREMS supports a vibrant postgraduate community and, since its creation in 2004, has developed a thriving seminar culture that reflects the diverse research interests of staff and students across the departments of History and English, meaning that you’ll be able to gain insight from a range of academics and peers from across the College of Arts and Law.
  • In 2014 the Department of History was ranked first in the country in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.  


Historical Methods (20 credits)

This module, which runs throughout the autumn semester, is your chance to meet students from across the range of masters programmes offered within the department, from ancient and medieval through to modern and contemporary history.  Together, you will consider the key approaches, theories and concepts that have shaped historical practice since the Second World War. These include developments such as the Annales School, historians’ response to Marxism and to anthropological theory, cultural history, the linguistic turn, gender and critical social theory.  The focus is on the application of ideas to historical practice. You will investigate how early-modernists have adapted these theories and methods to their particular field of study.

Sources and Methods for Early Modern History (20 credits)

In the second semester, this module introduces in more detail the hands-on study of early modern history by interrogating a range of important sources, from ecclesiastical documents and court records, through state papers, printed books, diaries and letters to maps, music, and visual and material approaches.  These sessions will familiarise you with important practical and methodological issues, as well as giving a sense of how these kinds of material have been used by historians to enhance our understanding of the past.

Research Preparation (20 credits)

This module, which consists of a number of different elements, runs throughout the academic year, and provides important training and support as you develop your research skills, and devise your own unique dissertation topic.  In the autumn you will receive intensive training in palaeography (reading old handwriting), and in the spring your supervisor will help prepare you to give an oral presentation on your dissertation topic, alongside an annotated bibliography of primary and secondary sources, and an outline dissertation plan.

Related staff

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2016/17:

  • Home / EU £4,110 full-time; £2,055 part-time*
  • Overseas: £13,680 full-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.

* For UK/EU postgraduate research students the University fee level is set at Research Council rates and as such is subject to change. The final fee will be announced by Research Councils UK in spring 2016.

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

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

Entry requirements

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.

Additional Guidance for applicants to the PhD Distance Learning study mode.

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

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.

The University has been recognised for its impressive graduate employment, being named ‘University of the Year for Graduate Employment’ in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016.

In addition, the global edition of The New York Times has ranked the University 60th in the world and 9th in UK for post-qualification employability. The rankings illustrate the top 150 universities most frequently selected by global employers and are the result of a survey by French consulting firm Emerging and German consulting firm Trendence.

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. The University also offers a wide range of activities and services to give our students the edge in the job market, including: career planning designed to meet the needs of postgraduates; opportunities to meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs, employer presentations and skills workshops; 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.

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.

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.


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.

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.