You will study three core modules:
This module provides students with an advanced introduction to some of the ways in which historians have approached a range of prominent themes within the modern historical discipline, such as religion, gender, race, class, community, and conflict. The module introduces these themes through a mixture of case studies and background reading and information, with an emphasis on historiographical development and a range of different theoretical, methodological and interdisciplinary influences, such as sociology, anthropology, the material turn, etc. Each week students are guided in reading influential texts that relate to one of these key themes, and students then meet in small seminar groups to discuss a mixture of historiographical case studies and additional theoretical background.
Assessment: 4,000 word review of approaches to one of the themes covered by the module in your own chosen historical field
This module is designed to deliver three complementary strands, with the ultimate aim of supporting students on the MA History to design, plan and research an ambitious dissertation topic. The first strand is a series of lectures on key research skills in the historical discipline, ensuring that students are confident when it comes to aspects of research design such as defining a topic, reviewing secondary literature, identifying and accessing appropriate primary sources, etc. The second strand is a series of seminars designed to support specialist sub-disciplinary skills relating to (for example) chronological period or a particular geographical area or methodological approach. The third strand is a series of one-to-one supervisions with an academic advisor, to offer the student guidance and feedback as they devise their own unique research project, and lay the groundwork for their masters dissertation. The module also helps students to develop important skills in presenting and articulating their research to a larger non-specialist audience.
Assessment: 3,000-word literature review (75%), 10 minute oral presentation (25%)
US History and Historiography
This module will introduce students to the main themes of American history through a reading of key texts, including classics and cutting-edge work in the field. It will provide the foundation for students seeking to engage in advanced research in American history and will focus on the significant debates and academic turns that have shaped historical writing on the United States. Topics and themes covered may include the ‘new’ histories of capitalism, slavery and enslavement, the Civil War and Reconstruction, Jim Crow, cultural history, political and economic history, labour and the New Deal, U.S. empire and settler colonialism, gender and sexuality, immigration and ethnicity, the Cold War, intellectual history, and the War on Terror.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay
If you choose to study the US History pathway you must choose at least 20 credits from the US History or Special Subject lists below.
These lists are indicative; not all modules will run each year depending on staff availability.
- From the OSS to Snowden: A History of American Intelligence Agencies since 1945
- ‘A Holiday from Reality’: A History of Drugs and Drug Use in the Modern Era
- Of Great Powers and Failed States. Conceptions of the State in the Modern World
- Indigenous and Settler Histories
- Insurgencies in Global History
- Sex and Sexualities in the Modern British World
- Gender and Sexuality in the 20th Century United States
If you choose a Special Subject as an option, you must take two co-requisite modules to the total of 40 credits. Topics available in recent years have included:
- The American Civil War (Masters): A
- The American Civil War (Masters): B
- Terrorising History: Terrorist Motivations, Methods, and Mayhem (Masters): A
- Terrorising History: Terrorist Motivations, Methods, and Mayhem (Masters): B
- Land, Law, and Violence in the American West (Masters): A
- Land, Law, and Violence in the American West (Masters): B
- Making the Modern United States: The Gilded Age and Progressive Era (Masters): A
- Making the Modern United States: The Gilded Age and Progressive Era (Masters): B
Any remaining credits can be taken from the wide range of History options. It is also possible to select options offered by other departments such as African Studies, Classics and Ancient History, Cultural Heritage, Modern Languages, Art History or English - with the approval of the Programme Director. See an indicative list of options.
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. The dissertation is the culmination of the MA: the moment when you put into practice the skills and knowledge you have built up in the previous modules, and the moment when you take wing as an independent historian. Your dissertation must be on a topic within the pathway area of specialism.
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.