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.

Times Higher Education ranked the Department of History first in the country for its performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise.

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.”

MRes programmes offer a unique opportunity to deepen and develop your knowledge of the subject by combining taught elements with research training and an individual research project. They can lead to doctoral research, and will also provide the chance for you to undertake scholarly research as an enrichment of undergraduate study or for career development purposes.

The Twentieth Century British History MRes includes three taught modules:

  • Sites and Sources in Modern British Studies 
  • Historical Methods
  • Research Skills

You will then complete 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.

Why study this course

  • Undertake an extended research project: 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.
  • Research expertise: The Department covers a wide range of British, European and world history from the early medieval period to the present. Times Higher Education ranked the Department of History first in the country for its performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise.
  • Transferable skills: The programme enables you to apply the intellectual insights of the taught modules to a sustained body of work, to develop the advanced interpretative skills necessary for doctoral work, and to develop transferable research skills and advanced critical analysis.

Modules

Taught modules

You will study three taught modules:

Sites and Sources in Modern British Studies

This module introduces you to the rich and diverse sources through which historians and other scholars of modern Britain have tried to understand the past. Moving beyond a focus on social and political elites, we will explore the sources through which historians have explored the contours of everyday life. In so doing our aim is to think through the ways in which we might understand the pluralistic and inchoate messiness of ordinary life and historical change. A seaside postcard can be just as useful (and important) to a historian as a work of art. Using sources like these, however, presents different problems and possibilities. This module will introduce you to these issues, and give you a broad grounding in the interpretation of diverse primary sources in studying the past.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

Historical Methods

This module introduces you to the major developments in historical approaches since the Second World War and to some of the major schools of, or tendencies in, historical research such as the Annales School, the English historians’ response to Marxism, cultural history, the linguistic turn, gender, history of science and critical social theory (Geertz and Foucault). The focus is on the application of the ideas to historical practice then and now.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

Research Skills

This module will provide an introduction to research skills training and as sucyh will vary according to your interest and requirements. All students will receive bibliographical training and some training in IT, and other training will be offered including linguistic, palaeographical and quantitative methods.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

Thesis

The programme is completed with a 20,000-word thesis, supported by expert academic supervision.


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 2019/20 are as follows:

  • UK/EU: £6,030 full-time; £3,015 part-time
  • International: £17,040 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 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 2019-20 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 2019-20 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

Application deadlines

International students requiring visas

Monday 1 July 2019 is the application deadline for international students who require a visa to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2019 made after this date - a new application should be made for September 2020. Applications will reopen for 2020 entry in early October 2019.

UK/EU students

We would recommend that you aim to submit your application and supporting documents by the end of July. However, we would encourage you to apply at the earliest opportunity, to allow adequate time to prepare for starting your studies once receiving a decision on your application.

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, which includes detailed advice on research proposals and how to write them.

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.

Over the past five years, 93% 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, museums or the armed forces; others use their transferable skills in a range of occupations from financeto fundraising. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include: Royal Air Force; Ministry of Defence; University of Birmingham; 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

The Guild of Students hosts over 250 student groups and societies to suit a wide range of interests. These include the Postgraduate and Mature Students Association which runs a regular and varied programme of events specifically tailored to postgraduate students.

In addition, you will find that each Department runs its own social activities, research fora and student groups.

Accommodation

We offer accommodation for postgraduates on or near to campus, although many of our students also choose to live privately in student accommodation, shared houses or flats. If you do choose to live in private accommodation, the University has dedicated support services to help you to find properties from accredited landlords.

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.