To achieve the MA, you will need to complete all six of the core modules and the dissertation, 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.
The six core modules are:
Introduction to Local History
This module introduces you to the study of local history and the history of the Midlands region (broadly conceived as the historic counties of Derbyshire, Herefordshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, and Worcestershire). You will explore different approaches to local history and will engage in some of the key debates in the field. You will also focus on an aspect of the early history of the region (pre-1500): possibilities include the Mercian hegemony of the seventh and eight centuries; the development of the medieval church; or the creation of castles in the Midlands region. The module also includes a trip to a local heritage site, where you will explore the way the history of the region has been presented to a public audience and consider what particular objects can reveal about life in the Midlands.
Assessment: 3,000 word portfolio
Research skills for Local History
This module equips you with the skills required to undertake your own independent research projects in local/Midlands history. It introduces you to a wide variety of sources that can be used to study regional history from the early modern period to the present, including archival materials and online databases. You will gain experience working with a wide range of printed, manuscript, and material artefacts and will critically consider the ways these sources can be used to research and write history. You will also gain skills designing and developing research projects, including identifying research questions and producing project proposals and plans. On completion of the module, you will have the skills and confidence to undertake your own independent research.
Assessment: 1 x 1,500 word source analysis (50%) and 1 x 10-minute individual presentation (50%)
Conflict and Community: Life in the Midlands, 1500-1660
In this module you will explore the lives and experiences of the men, women, and children who lived in the early modern Midlands. You will interrogate how major national conflicts, such as the Reformation and British Civil Wars, affected the lives of individuals and communities at a local level and the ways in which local people participated in processes of religious, political, and social change. You will also consider what daily life was like in both rural and urban communities in the Midlands region, the extent to which this changed over time, and the impact that social status, gender, age, and faith had on a person's lived experience. You will be introduced to the kinds of sources that can be used to study the lives of ordinary people, including material and visual culture and a wide range of manuscript materials, and will critically assess the extent to which historians can reconstruct the voices and experiences of non-elite people who have left few traces on the historical record.
Assessment: 3,000 word essay
Innovation, Industry, and Ideas: The Transformation of the Region, 1660-1837
This module focuses on the major political, intellectual, and economic developments of the long eighteenth century and their impact on the Midlands region. It introduces you to the processes of industrialisation and urbanisation that transformed the region during this period and places them in their global context, including issues of empire, slavery, and the region's impact on the wider world. You will also consider aspects of social and political change in the Midlands, including political and religious radicalism, and the impact that migration – both from within Britain and overseas – had on the region and its communities. You will explore the impact that major cultural developments – from the development of epistolary culture and the postal service to the rise of the regional press – had on the lives of men and women from across the social spectrum, paying particular attention to social, racial, religious, and geographic variation. You will work with a wide range of primary sources, including letters, printed materials, and material culture, and will draw on the Department's rich links with local partners and heritage sites to gain a deeper understanding of the lasting impact that this period has had on the Midlands region.
Assessment: 3,000 word essay
The Making of the Modern Midlands, 1837-present
Focusing on key social, economic, and political developments from the Victorian era to the present, this module explores how the Midlands became the place that we see today. The resources available on the University of Birmingham campus and the surrounding area offer you the opportunity to engage with a wide range of primary sources, and you will also critically consider the utility of sources that are specific to the study of modern history, such as oral histories.
Assessment: 3,000 word essay
Making Midlands History
Most people encounter the history of their local area, not in academic essays, but in the world around them: statues and blue plaque; street names and buildings; visits to museums and heritage sites. In this module, you will reflect on the challenges involved in communicating history to non-academic audiences and gain hands-on experience producing historical materials for the wider public. You will explore an in-depth case study focused on an aspect of local history and will work to produce your own piece of historical interpretation aimed at a non-academic audience. Options will vary each year, but may include the history of a local family, a particular building, or local area. By the end of the module, you will have the skills and confidence needed to communicate your ideas to a broad audience to engage with historical activities beyond the University.
Assessment: Public history output (75%) and 1,500-word reflection on production process/challenges etc (25%)
In addition to your taught modules, for the MA you will conduct a piece of independent research with the support of a supervisor, culminating in a 12,000-word dissertation.