MA Global History

Start date
September
Duration
1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught
Fees

We charge an annual tuition fee.
Fees for 2020/21:
UK / EU: £9,250 full-time
International: £18,450 full-time
More detail.

The aim of this course is to put something very big under the microscope. 

By expanding the scale at which historians would normally operate, our Global History MA will present you with an opportunity to think with growing confidence and imagination about your world, its origins, its complexities and continuous transformations across a uniquely broad geographical and chronological scope.

You will be taught the latest skills, concepts and approaches to the subject, and you will share in the imaginative challenges and intellectual vistas that this exciting new field of history is opening up. It is from this largest of historical perspectives that you will be invited to choose your own specialist research topic, culminating in a supervised 15,000-word dissertation.

Birmingham’s Department of History is ranked the best in the country*, with 87% of its research rated as world leading or internationally excellent in terms of its quality. Research in the department spans the medieval to the modern, including topics such as China’s Middle Period, the material culture of the early modern household, and non-governmental organisations in modern Britain. 

This research expertise is evident within our teaching within our programmes drawing on the diverse regional and chronological expertise available in the Department of History.

*Research Excellence Framework 2014

 

The School of History and Cultures hosts workshops and seminars throughout the year in which students are invited to come and listen to the leading experts in respective fields discussing their work. They actively encourage student engagement, which creates a lovely sense of participation and contribution.

Rose

Why Study this Course?

  • Research strengths – Times Higher Education ranked the Department of History first in the country for its performance in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework exercise.
  • Excellent reputation – the University of Birmingham has been ranked as one of the world's top 100 institutions to study History in the 2019 QS World University Rankings.
  • Extensive expertise – we have a wide range of staff with research interests in global history who contribute to the programme and/or offer dissertation supervision.
  • Be a part of an exciting department – you will join a lively postgraduate community with opportunities to enhance your learning through events and research seminars.
  • Access to academic support services – as a postgraduate student you will have access to services such as the Academic Writing Advisory Service and the Bank of Assessed Work which will aid your transition from undergraduate to postgraduate level, or back into academia after a time away. 

The postgraduate experience

The College of Arts and Law offers excellent support to its postgraduates, from libraries and research spaces, to careers support and funding opportunities. Learn more about your postgraduate experience.


Modules

You will study 4 core modules and 2 optional modules before completing your programme with a 15,000 word dissertation.

Core modules

You will take two core modules focused on global history:

Global Histories: Comparisons and Connections

This Autumn core module offers an introductory survey of global history arranged in a chronological manner. It draws on chronological depth unique in the UK and considerable regional breadth in order to present you with a truly global perspective. Depending on staff availability, content will range from the decline and fall of ancient empires through the spread of new religions across the multiple shifting political formations in Afro-Eurasia, to early modern voyages of exploration and intellectual movements, and the age of revolutions which gave birth to nations in the midst of global political ruptures. The emphasis is on providing points of cross-cultural, cross-regional ‎comparison and to develop your awareness of key connections, such ‎as trade networks, cultural flows and exchanges, forms of migration, shifting political structures and ‎the emergence of modern states, nations and empires.

Seminar topics will typically include (subject to staff availability): Decline and Fall of Ancient Empires; Empire and its Holy Cities: Caliphate and the East; The Silk Routes; The Long Fourteenth Century: The Rise and Eclipse of a Pre-Western World System; Age of Exploration; India from Colony to Empire; Empire, Development and Decolonisation; Neoliberal Globalisation.
Assessment: Written assignment

The Making of the World: Themes in Global History

This Spring core module is conceived around some of the major processes that shaped history and the key concepts that historians use to make sense of the past. Using case studies of considerable regional breadth and chronological depth, you will familiarise yourself with the building blocks of past and present societies. These key processes and themes include: the importance of the environment in human history; issues of space, geography and the formation of border regions; time and temporality; religion and notions of value; and historically and culturally diverse constructions of subjectivity and social order including gender, sexuality, class, race, and ethnicity.

Seminar topics will typically include (subject to staff availability): Boundaries and Geographical Space in Global History; Environmental Humanities: Energy and Politics in the Age of the Anthropocene; Religion and the Market: Ideas of Value in the Pre-Modern World; Race, Ethnicity and Social Hierarchy; Gender and Sexuality in Global History; Material Cultures; Temporality, Empire and Globe.
Assessment: Written assignment

You will also study two core modules focused on developing your research skills:

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 Methods and Skills: Dissertation Preparation

This module prepares you for your dissertation research. You will be expected to produce a short dissertation proposal and you will choose a tutor who will supervise your dissertation preparation work (for a list of tutors, see above). You will have one-to-one meetings with your supervisor, but you will also attend general sessions on research skills.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

Optional Modules

You will also choose two optional modules from a range which may include (subject to staff availability):

  • After the Mongols: Political Authority in Islamic Lands, 1200-1600
  • China in Revolution: China under Mao (1949-1976)
  • From Empire to Colony: Indian Society, Politics and Economy, c. 1757-1885
  • Globalisation since 1945
  • Mass Society and Modernity
  • Slavery and Freedom in Twentieth Century Africa

Alternatively, you may wish to choose a double special subject module. Topics available in recent years have included:

  • Britain, the Slave Trade and Anti-Slavery in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries
  • British Women and Internationalism in the Twentieth Century
  • Empire-wallahs: India in the British Imagination
  • The History of Grand Strategy
  • The Lure of the Modern: China Between Tradition and Modernity (1839 to the Present Day)

It is also possible to choose options from other relevant programmes in the School of History and Cultures - Classics and Ancient History, African Studies and Anthropology, other History programmes - with the approval of the Programme Director. See an indicative list of options.

Dissertation

In addition to your taught modules, you will conduct a piece of independent research with the support of a supervisor, culminating in a 15,000-word dissertation.

Fees

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2020/21 are as follows:

  • UK / EU: £9,250 full-time; £4,625 part-time
  • International: £18,450 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


For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to financial support available via student loans for the duration of their course. For more information take a look at the gov.uk website.

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.

How To Apply

 

Application deadlines

The deadline for International students to apply is Wednesday 1 July 2020. The deadline for UK/EU students is Thursday 10 September 2020.

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

Apply now

Our Standard Requirements

You will need an Honours degree, normally in any humanities or social science discipline, such as History, Politics, Cultural Studies, or Literature, and normally of an upper second-class standard. All applications are treated on their merits, and we are happy to consider applicants who may have travelled by non-standard routes. Such applicants should contact the programme convenor in the first instance.

International/EU students

Academic requirements: We accept a range of qualifications from different countries - use our handy guide below to see what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements: standard language requirements apply for this course - IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band.. If you are made an offer of a place to study and you do not meet the language requirement, you have the option to enrol on our English for Academic Purposes Presessional Course - if you successfully complete the course, you will be able to fulfil the language requirement without retaking a language qualification.

IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band is equivalent to:

  • TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 21 in Reading, 21 Listening, 22 Speaking and 21 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE): Academic 59 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced - minimum overall score of 176, with no less than 169 in any component

Learn more about international entry requirements

International Requirements


Learning and teaching takes on this course place via seminars, tutorials, reading texts on theory and methods and your own research on primary sources and secondary material. 

Course delivery

We have two teaching terms per year, the autumn term and spring term. Term dates can be found on our website. 

As a full-time student, you will typically take three modules in each term, followed by your dissertation. Depending on the modules you take, you can typically expect six to nine hours of classroom time per week, two or three per module. If you are a part-time student, you will typically take three modules across each year, followed by your dissertation. 

Each module represents a total of 200 hours of study time, including preparatory reading, homework and assignment preparation.

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 for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).

 

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for your future career, but this can also be enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University and the College of Arts and Law.

The University's Careers Network provides expert guidance and activities especially for postgraduates, which will help you achieve your career goals. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated  careers and employability team who offer tailored advice and a programme of College-specific careers events.

You will be encouraged to make the most of your postgraduate experience and will have the opportunity to:

  • Receive one-to-one careers advice, including guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique, whether you are looking for a career inside or outside of academia
  • Meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs and employer presentations
  • Attend an annual programme of careers fairs, skills workshops and conferences, including bespoke events for postgraduates in the College of Arts and Law
  • Take part in a range of activities to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to potential employers and enhance your CV

What’s more, you will be able to access our full range of careers support for up to 2 years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: History

Our History postgraduates 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 5 years, 81% of History postgraduates were in work and/or further study 6 months after graduation (DLHE 2012 - 2017). Some of our History postgraduates go on to use their studies directly, for example in heritage or in museums. Others use their transferable skills in a range of occupations including finance, marketing, teaching and publishing. 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.