History MA by distance learning

This two-year distance learning programme offers you the opportunity to explore a number of historical themes, drawing on the Department of History’s broad range of expertise. You may pursue one of three pathways through the MA: Contemporary History; Global History; or History of Christianity. This will determine your choice of core modules and the theme of your dissertation, but you also have the opportunity to study two optional modules in other areas which suit your particular interest.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Distance learning

Study Options: Distance learning, part time

Duration: 24 months part-time

Start date: September

Details

You will follow one of three pathways through this MA: Contemporary History, Global History, or History of Christianity. Each pathway has two specific core modules:

  • For Contemporary History: Mass Society and Modernity 1914-1945; Globalisation since 1945
  • Global History: Global Histories: Comparisons and Connections; Making Sense of the World: Themes in Global History
  • History of Christianity: Writing the History of Christianity (double module)

Two additional core modules are common to all pathways:

  • Historical Methods: Research Skills
  • Research Methods & Skills: Dissertation Preparation

You will also choose two optional modules from the other pathways of this programme.

You will complete the MA with a 15,000 word dissertation on a topic of your choice, but which is related to your chosen pathway.

Modules

You will study two pathway-specific core modules:

Contemporary History pathway

  • Mass Society and Modernity 1914-1945
    The module examines various aspects of the first half of the twentieth century, focussing particularly—but not only—on Europe and America. It examines the rise of mass society and modernity as social and cultural phenomena; the rise of mass politics in Europe, America, and beyond; the phenomenon of mass statelessness; the main strands of totalitarian ideology and liberal democracy; mass mobilisation in war and politics; economic and military conflict; and the growing ascendancy of the United States.
  • Globalisation since 1945
    The module examines various aspects of global history in the second half of the twentieth century. It takes its cue from a growing literature which sees ‘globalisation’ as a key feature of global history over the last half century. It will explore key areas in the process of globalisation: the creation of international institutions of truly global reach after the Second World War, in particular those connected to the United Nations and Bretton Woods; decolonisation, and the subsequent globalisation of the nation-state as the standard state form within a new world order, and of new conceptions of state ‘technopolitics’ to go with it; the global political, military, and cultural confrontation of the Cold War; the international political economy of oil; the global politics of the environment and of population control; and the global spread of a universalising discourse of human rights.

Global History pathway

  • Global Histories: Comparisons and Connections
    This module is an introductory survey of global history. It will draw on considerable chronological depth and regional breadth in order to present you with a truly global perspective. Content will range from the decline and fall of ancient empires, such as Rome and China, through new medieval empires in Afro-Eurasia, early modern voyages of exploration to the age of revolutions which gave birth to new nations in the midst of global political ruptures.
  • Making Sense of the World: Themes in Global History
    This module will be split into two parts: ‘Understanding the Past’ and ‘Past Understandings’. The former deals with key issues in global history, such as: the formation of the world’s geography at the macro-level of continents; periodisation and the issues of how to distinguish between historical periods on such a grand scale; the creation of border regions; and the importance of the environment in human history. The second section will explore different ways in which past peoples have understood the global world. This will examine the importance of religion, debates about the status of indigenous knowledge and finish with an in-depth look at a key text bringing together many of the themes of the course, Amitav Ghosh’s In An Antique Land.

History of Christianity pathway

  • Writing the History of Christianity (double module)
    This double module, which runs across two terms, provides a grounding in the methods and concepts required to study the History of Christianity while paying close attention to how this relates to the history of religion more generally. Key approaches will be introduced, including Church history, the cultural history of religion, anthropologies of Christianity, intellectual history, the history of Christian architecture and archaeology.

    In the first term, these themes will be introduced through 'classic texts' covering periods from early Christianity to the present, each of which employs one or more of the above approaches. In the second term, we investigate these themes through primary sources from Lives of Constantine to oral history interviews. These core modules provide a wide range of concepts and approaches to choose from in embarking on your own research. They also provide grounding in key historical events and processes, from the spread of Christianity in the ancient world to the crusades, the emergence of African Christianities and globalised movements such as Pentecostalism. 

You will also take two core modules in research and dissertation preparation:

  • Historical Methods
    This module introduces you to 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, the linguistic turn, gender and critical social theory. The focus is on the application of ideas to historical practice, investigating how medievalists, early-modernists and modernists have adapted these approaches to their particular field of study.
  • Research Methods and Skills: Dissertation Preparation
    This module covers what the dissertation project will entail. You will be expected to produce a short dissertation proposal for submission and you will be allocated a tutor who will supervise your dissertation preparation work.

Your remaining two modules are optional, and will be chosen from those available on the other pathways of the MA; other modules may be available in any given year. 

Fees and funding

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

  • Home/EU: £3,105 part-time
  • Overseas: £7,070 part-time

As this is a part-time programme, the above fee is for year one only and tuition fees will also be payable in year two 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 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.

Entry requirements

You will need an Honours degree in a relevant subject, normally of an upper second-class standard.

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

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Learning and teaching

Although much of the course is delivered through our ‘virtual learning environment,’ support is always available. You will have a personal tutor and dissertation supervisor to guide you and answer any questions, and you have access to a wide range of online resources too.

You also have the opportunity to meet other students and academic staff through online chats and discussion forums.

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.

Support with academic writing

As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.

International students can access support through the English for International Students Unit (EISU).

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.