Postgraduate study

Photo of Philosophy students

The Centre for Modern and Contemporary History and the University of Birmingham are able to provide a unique learning experience for prospective postgraduate students interested in contemporary history.

The Centre co-ordinates the MA in Contemporary History as its key postgraduate course, yet also supports a broader community of postgraduates studying on a variety of courses alongside doctoral research. Postgraduates at the Centre are fully involved with the staff's seminar series and also run events and seminars of their own.

 

Taught study

 The centre coordinates the MA Contemporary History as its main taught based study, for other postgraduate programmes offered by the School of History and Cultures.

Contemporary History MA

This programme allows you to benefit from the expertise of the very large number of modern and contemporary historians at Birmingham. It will provide an understanding of contemporary history as a global phenomenon, with core modules covering world history in the twentieth century. For your optional modules and dissertation research you’ll be able to specialise on many areas of British, American, African, South Asian, Middle East and European History. The course can also be used as a route into MA by Research and PhD research.

Student testimony: Patrick Longson

“I was initially attracted to the MA in Contemporary History by the variety of material covered and the exciting opportunity to work more closely with senior academics on my favourite historical subjects. Over time it became clear that there was even more than this to be gained.

I relished the opportunity for debate that was offered during the main core modules. Throughout the course I was offered every opportunity to share and discuss my thoughts and opinions with other equally passionate people while gaining the debating and analytical skills used constantly in my PhD.


In truth the MA far exceeded my expectations. The selection of modules meant that I could pursue an eclectic mix of disciplines and specialisms in the first two terms, which allowed me to decide upon a fruitful and fascinating dissertation topic for the final term. The body of work I put together over the year could not have prepared me better for my doctoral studies. The open nature of module choices has allowed me to approach my PhD thesis from a much stronger base of historical understanding.


As a PhD student much of what I do involves thinking innovatively, airing ideas and learning to debate and argue points of contention – all skills which I learned and mastered during my MA at Birmingham. I am proud to say that the MA in Contemporary History at the University of Birmingham was fundamental in allowing me to pursue my passion for history further.”


More information: Contemporary History MA

Research-based study

The Centre prides itself on the quality and range of research undertaken by its members and students equally, offering the perfect environment for researching history from a global perspective from the end of World War One onwards. The centre will enable you to develop your research ideas and project through working with staff and fellow students.

With over 30 members of academic staff at the University of Birmingham associated with the Centre for Modern and Contemporary History makes it the perfect place for conducting your postgraduate research, whether at MA or Doctoral level. They include scholars from the  School of History and Cultures, the Centre for European Languages and Cultures (CELC), American and Canadian Studies (ACS) and the Centre for Russian and East European Studies (CREES),Department of Political Science and International Studies , (POLSIS) and the Centre for the History of Medicine.

If you are interested in a particular area of research do not hesitate contact one of the staff for further information about supervision through our Members Page.

Research-based programmes involved with the Centre include:

 

MRes Twentieth-Century British History

This course is designed for students to use the latest archival material with new theoretical insights to explore, examine and reassess Twentieth Century British history in relation to other countries and regions across the world. 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 understand and apply research methodologies to the study of twentieth century British history.

Student testimony: Sam Humphries

“I chose the Masters Research programme as it gave me the chance to pursue my own research project within a lively, resourceful and respected academic department. It combined the necessary taught elements and group discussion to hone and develop my academic research skills alongside working independently to make my project happen.

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.


The course also helps develop the ability to work autonomously and critically assess your own standards and approaches to the subject. It is tough yet immensely rewarding as it offers up opportunities that would never have materialised otherwise. The Masters Research programme helped me pursue my interest in history further alongside helping me to think creatively and to apply these ideas to my work and life.”


More information:  MRes Twentieth-Century British History

 

MRes Modern European History

The development and expansion of the European Union, the collapse of communism, the unification of Germany and disintegration of various states in Eastern Europe have significantly changed our perspective on the history of modern Europe and in particular on the role of the nation-state in that history. This programme, which draws on the notable strengths in social, cultural, economic and intellectual history at the University of Birmingham, is designed to offer you – as a research student working within a wide range of topics – practical training in research skills and methods as well as a broad overview of the history of the modern nation-state in Europe within a comparative and global framework.

More information: MRes Modern European History

 

Modern History PhD and MA by Research.

Areas of expertise include religion, war studies, race and immigration, the history of the West Midlands, the history of sexuality and emotion, and environmental history. We are also expanding our global coverage and welcome enquiries concerning possible research topics. Current topics range from questions such as how the media in depicting humanitarian disasters shaped NGO activity to an oral history of Kenyan South-Asian migrants in Britain.

Whatever your interest, whether it is cultural or social history, military or political history, economic or religious history, there is someone available to supervise your research.

Research degrees are best planned by individual discussion, so if you have a particular subject area in mind, please contact the staff member you deem to be most suitable for advice on formulating research proposals.

More information:


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