MA History of Warfare

Start date
September
Duration
One year full-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught
Fees

Annual tuition fee for 2020/21:
UK/EU: £9,250 full-time
International: £18,450 full-time
More detail.

Take a global approach to the History of Warfare through our unique and flexible MA at the country’s best History department*.

This distinctive full-time MA programme provides you with an opportunity to study the history and historiography of warfare from a multi-disciplinary and multi-period perspective.

A thorough grounding is provided in research methods and in the historiography and economics of warfare, while a wide choice of options complements the broad range of possible dissertation subjects that can be supported by our staff.

Students take a global approach to study and our students explore all types of conflict from all types of regions of the world. The breadth and flexibility of the programme helps make it unique.

*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.

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Why Study this Course?

  • Taught by experts – You will have the opportunity to explore compelling and controversial areas within a rich and diverse environment. Our academics are all experts in their field which include military history and social and cultural history, so you will benefit from their professional knowledge. 
  • Research strength – Times Higher Education ranked the Department of History first in the country for its performance in the latest 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.
  • 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.  
  • 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.

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

Studied full-time over one year, this programme allows you to combine core and optional components to suit your experience and interests.

Core modules

All students take three core modules:

 

Economics of War

 

As events in the last two centuries have shown, the outcome of conventional wars is very much dependent on the economic power of the belligerents; and in case of asymmetrical warfare, on the question if the economical ‘superior power’ is willing to make the sacrifices. The module will introduce you to the economic problems of warfare since the Napoleonic era. Issues investigated will include: war finance; (industrial) production of war materials; organisation of wartime economies, including raw material provision; interruption of enemies’ economic systems; the ‘military-industrial complex’ and its influence; the impact political decisions have on the effectiveness and efficiency of armed forces; and the impact of spiralling procurement costs.
Assessment: Written assignment

 

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: Written assignment

 

Research Skills: Dissertation Preparation

 

The module will provide detailed guidance on the techniques necessary for the location of primary and secondary sources relevant to your dissertation research. You will become familiar with advanced bibliographical aids and with how to search in relevant libraries, archives and data sources. You will also undertake a detailed analytical survey of the secondary literature relevant to your dissertation topic. 
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

 

Students who did not take the BA War Studies degree at the University of Birmingham will also study an additional core module: 

 

Writing the History of Warfare

 

This module addresses general questions relating to the historiography of warfare and considers how the subject has evolved from ancient times to the present. The principal schools of military history are considered together with those individuals who have made a major contribution to the evolution of the discipline.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

 

Optional modules

Those who did not take the BA War Studies degree will then take 40 credits of optional modules, while University of Birmingham BA War Studies graduates will take 60 credits of optional modules, chosen from 40-credit special subject modules or 20-credit advanced options. 

Previous special subject modules have included:

  • The American Civil War
  • The British Army on the Western Front 1914-18
  • The English Civil War
  • The Nazis at War

Previous advanced options have included:

  • Conflict in the Modern Middle East
  • The Cost of War
  • The Good War? A Cultural and Military History of Britain and the Second World War
  • Warfare at Sea

Assessment: Special subject modules and advanced options are assessed by written assignment.

Subject to availability, it is possible to choose relevant 20-credit options outside of the Department of History. Those particularly relevant to this programme include Historical and Contemporary Debates on the Holocaust, offered by the Department of Theology and Religion.

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.


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

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

  • UK / EU: £9,250 full-time
  • International: £18,450 full-time

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

A good honours degree or equivalent in a relevant discipline. Other professional qualifications comparable to degree standard would also be considered, e.g., an honours degree or higher degree in a subject other than History, or professional qualifications of degree standard such as law, accountancy, management, or published work in a relevant field. Every submission is considered on its own merits.

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


This programme is delivered through our Centre for War Studies, so you’ll be taught by academics who are experts in their field.

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 a 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. 

Each 20-credit 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.