The MA in War: History and Politics is an interdisciplinary programme that focuses on modern history. It brings together current scholar debates from a range of specialist areas, exploring the causes, experience, effects, and memory of all important wars and conflicts of the last hundred years.
Looking at political, cultural and social history, this MA is for those who want to study war in all its multi-faceted complexity, from the everyday and the personal, to the national and the global. We offer expert teaching and supervision on British, European, American and Middle Eastern modern and contemporary history.
The main conflicts you will cover are: the First World War and the Second World War; the Balkan Wars of the 1910s and the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s; the wars of Decolonization and those of New Imperialism; the Cold War and its ‘side-wars’; the War on Terror and the current conflicts in the Middle East.
Studying this degree you will acquire expertise on:
You will be taught in a truly interdisciplinary manner, utilising a number of disciplines: cultural and social history, politics and international relations. You can build the degree structure that suits best your interests and future plans.
You can specialise in particular disciplines, or you can explore a wide range of new methods. You will also have the choice of three different types of elective work (e.g. extended essays or primary-source based seminars). Our students can also use the nearby world-famous Mass Observation archive. They also tend to be involved in the events and research projects run by the University of Brighton’s Understanding Conflict cluster, such as our latest initiative on ‘Contesting Britain at War’.
We offer flexible modes of study for those with personal or professional commitments. After finishing the MA you will be able to pursue a wide range of careers as well as opportunities for further postgraduate research.
There are two Core Modules that you will have to take, one on the forms and one on the legacies of war. ‘Forms of Warfare and Violent Conflict’ examines the lead up to war and what is happening in wartime. It looks at: the political, ideological and wider structural causes of war; the human experience at the home-front and at the war-front; the politics and methods of warfare as they have evolved in time; the different modes of practical, political, and intellectual resistance against invasion and occupation. ‘Legacies of Warfare and Violent Conflict’ looks at the impact of war, at what is left after a conflict: the emotional and personal effects of war; how a conflict continues to exist on material and psychological landscapes; the multiple ways through which personal, collective and global memories of killing and sacrifice are constructed; the politics of what we decide to remember and what to forget; the activist, political and theoretical efforts to stop war from happening again.
Beyond the two Core Modules you can also pick a number of option courses that relate to you interests, for example: Public History and Heritage; Cultural Memory; ‘Race’, Nation and Ethnicity; Globalisation and Global Politics; Conflict, Security and Human Rights; Genocide; International Relations theory; Aesthetics and Philosophy; Cultural Theory; Philosophy and Critical Theory. Alternatively you might want instead to research and write a stand-alone extended essay, or you may opt for a more practical-based unit on teaching and learning higher education, offering you the opportunity to learn more about undergraduate teaching.
You will also take a Research Methods module that will help you develop the academic skills necessary to engage in the 20,000-word Dissertation, for which you are guided by one of our faculty with subject expertise.
Our graduates are particularly well-equipped to follow career paths in sectors that deal with violent conflicts, their consequences and resolution, such as non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the Ministry of Defence, and international bodies (e.g. United Nations).
Much more broadly our degree opens the path to sectors that value critical research skills and a good knowledge of modern history and politics, such as media and journalism, politics and government, museums and archives, and publishing.
Working in schools and in academia are, of course, standard options. Alternatively, many of our students go on to study for Doctorates with one of the Research Centres in Brighton.
The distinctive emphasis of Goldsmiths' Department of History is a theorised, interdisciplinary and comparative approach to research.
The culture of the Department of History is open, friendly and accessible, and research students are encouraged to be innovative in their use of sources and methodologies.
Our staff is young and we are on the cutting-edge of our fields and the student-teacher ratio allows us to devote an unmatched amount of time to individual supervision. Find out more about staff in the department.
Find out more about research degrees at Goldsmiths.
Assessment is by thesis and viva voce.
Research in the Department of History is esteemed internationally. History staff publish books and articles with leading international publishers and journals and their research has been externally funded by the AHRC, the British Academy, the Panacea Society and Wellcome Trust.
Find out about individual Staff.
Our PhD students have taken up academic posts in history and related fields around the world; others are employed in the media and as researchers and teachers.