MA West Midlands History

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Have you ever wondered how the cities and counties of the West Midlands developed?  Do you want to find out about the changing lives of local men, women and children? This part-time programme provides an opportunity for study if you are interested in any aspect of the history of the region. It is delivered by Saturday schools and taught by leading scholars. Students come from many different backgrounds and previous knowledge of history is not required. It is suitable for students who are retired or have family and work commitments which make full-time study difficult.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Taught

Study Options: Part time

Duration: 2 years part-time

Start date: September

Details

The programme is broadly chronological and covers the history of the region from the 11th century to the end of the 20th. It does not aim for a complete century-by-century coverage but will allow you to gain a  detailed knowledge of social, political, industrial, religious and cultural history.

You will study six core modules (full descriptions available below):

  •  People and Places in the West Midlands c. 1000-1500
  •  Reformation, Social Change and Civil War: The West Midlands in the 16th and 17th Centuries
  •  Transforming the Region:  Economy, Society and Politics in the West Midlands in the 18th and 19th Centuries
  •  Turmoil and Change: Economy, Society and Politics in the West Midlands in the 20th century
  •  Sources and Research Techniques for the History of the West Midlands in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods
  •  Sources and Research Techniques for the History of the West Midlands in the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries

You will take three modules per year, each of which is assessed by a 4,000-word dissertation. You will also complete a 15,000 word dissertation on a topic of your choice, under the supervision of one of the members of the Centre, using the many archival resources available to the region.    

To achieve the MA, you will need to complete all of these elements, totalling 180 credits; each module is worth 20 credits (120 in total) and the dissertation is worth 60 credits. However, if you wish to leave the course early, upon successful completion of 60 credits you will be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate, and for 120 credits you will receive a Postgraduate Diploma. 

 

Why study this course

Centre for West Midlands History site visit

The Centre for West Midlands History

The Centre promotes research into the history of the West Midlands, the publication of books, articles and electronic media which explore the region's past and the sharing of knowledge between academics, independent scholars and heritage professionals.  A recent initiative has been the History West Midlands project which publishes a quarterly magazine and creates films on the history of the region: see www.historywm.com 

Day schools for the public, seminars, conferences, the journal Midland History and opportunities to study for research degrees as well as the MA, provide historians and enthusiasts with the opportunity to develop their knowledge and exchange ideas on the history of the region.  The Centre also works with other organisations to create research projects.  There is an active Friends' organisation which provides a forum for communication for all of those with an interest in the history of the West Midlands. For more information please see www.birmingham.ac.uk/cwmh

Location and resources

Birmingham's central position within the region and its status as the largest city make it an ideal place to study and research the history of the West Midlands. The University library, the new Library of Birmingham and the record offices and local studies libraries of the region all offer excellent resources for this programme, both in terms of books and articles on the history of the region and archives for the dissertation.

Modules

You will study six core modules: 

People and Places in the West Midlands c. 1000-1500

This module studies aspects of West Midlands social, cultural and economic history during medieval times. Subjects include rural and urban settlements, castles and fortifications; the Black Death, social hierarchies and divisions, religion, standards of living, crime and the transition from feudalism to capitalism.   

Reformation, Social Change and Civil War: The West Midlands in the 16th and 17th Centuries

This module will allow you to explore the Reformation of the sixteenth century and its impact on counties and towns. This will be followed by the study of the English Civil War and its significance. Aspects of the material culture of the region will also be considered.  

Transforming the Region:  Economy, Society and Politics in the West Midlands in the 18th and 19th Centuries

This module explores the history of the West Midlands in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by focussing on the economic, political, social and cultural history of areas such as Birmingham, the Black Country, the Ironbridge Gorge, the Potteries and Wyre Forest. Social history themes include anti-slavery and the history of women and children.   

Turmoil and Change: Economy, Society and Politics in the West Midlands in the 20th century

Some of the themes are: the changes that have taken place in the region's communities during the century; the regional economy, urban growth, housing, politics, migration women and education.    

Sources and Research Techniques for the History of the West Midlands in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods and Sources and Research Techniques for the History of the West Midlands in the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries

The aim of these two modules is to explore the range of archival, visual and printed sources available for local study and consider different approaches to historical study. They will also help in developing skills which are helpful for working on your dissertation.  One of these modules is taught each year. Each module includes a full-day field trip.

Fees and funding

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

  • Home/EU: £3,105 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 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

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

The course is delivered through the Centre for West Midlands History, which promotes research into the history of the West Midlands, the publication of books, articles and electronic media which explore the region's past and the sharing of knowledge between academics, independent scholars and heritage professionals.  Members of staff in the Centre have expertise in archaeology, history of art, social science, the history of medicine, education and heritage as well as history, so you’ll be taught by experts in the field.

The course is delivered as Saturday schools (three per term), from 10.00am to 5.30pm, organised around lectures, seminars, small group workshops and field trips. A variety of ways of learning are pursued to help students develop the knowledge and study skills needed for success. Opportunities for individual tutorial support are provided outside of the times of the day schools.  

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).

Related research

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.

Historically, over 92% of our History students have been in employment or further study within six months of graduating.