Durham's MA in Social and Economic History at Durham provides training in research methods for historical topics in any aspect of social and economic history. The MA provides quantitative and qualitative research methods appropriate to a wide range of historical approaches. Accredited by the ESRC, this MA is part of our four year funding scheme offered by the North-East Doctoral Training Centre. You can apply for 1+3 funding for this MA followed by a PhD in any aspect of social and economic history with expert supervision available within the Department – and with our partner institution in the NEDTC at Newcastle University. This includes African history, and aspects of governance, as well as traditional social and economic topics. For further information on funding see further below.
The MA programme is shared with the School of Applied Social Science and will help you to build an awareness of the contemporary boundaries of social and economic history and to master advanced understanding of the concepts and methods with which it may be interrogated. It seeks to equip you with a diverse portfolio of research techniques and approaches to enable you to undertake extended independent research in your dissertation, and to make your own contribution to the field. The skills provided by this MA are also transferrable to a wide range of careers.
Durham has a long tradition of economic and social history, on which this MA draws. The breadth of possible subjects for study mirrors the comprehensive and global nature of the department staff: from medieval Europe to modern-day Africa, and from north-east England to the global economy. Durham's History Department is situated in the historic setting of the World Heritage Site, which includes Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle. Students of social and economic history at Durham benefit from the rich archival and manuscript resources in the collections of the University (at Palace Green Library - especially the Sudan Archive - and Ushaw College) and in the Cathedral Library, while the wider regional resources for study of the period are also highly significant: the landscape of industrial revolution and of post-industrial response, of globalisation and regional identity.
The MA in Social and Economic History is a one-year full-time programme (or two-years part-time). All students are allocated a supervisor at the beginning of the first term, and s/he guides each student through the year.
You will take 30 credits of core modules from History: Themes, Reading and Sources (30 credits); and 30 credits of core modules from the School of Applied Social Sciences: Perspectives on Social Research (15 credits) AND EITHER Qualitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits) OR Fieldwork and Interpretation (15 credits). You will write a 60-credit dissertation (15,000 words) supervised by a member of academic staff in the History Department. You will also choose a 30-credit optional module in History; AND 30 credits of optional modules from Social Sciences: EITHER Statistical Exploration and Reasoning (15 credits) and Quantitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits) OR Applied Statistics (30 credits).
The programme is structured as follows:
Michaelmas Term (October-December)
Epiphany Term (January-March)
Easter Term (April-June), and the summer vacation (until early September)
The programme is delivered primarily through small group seminar teaching with some larger classes, and lecture-style sessions. Termly division of contact hours between terms depends on student choice. Skills modules are taught through seminars or classes and are usually more contact-hour-intensive. Optional modules are taught in seminars and provide a total of 20 contact hours. Dissertation supervision involves 8 hours of directed supervision, individually with a dedicated supervisor. Social science modules are taught through lectures, seminars, workshops, and practical classes.
Based in the Department of War Studies, our MA History of War examines the social, cultural and operational aspects of war from broad historiographical and interdisciplinary perspectives. With close links to the Department of History and the Institute of Contemporary British History, you can study most aspects of the history of armed conflict and society from the late medieval period to the present day.
Our course challenges you to examine war from broad historiographical and interdisciplinary perspectives, taking as a given that the history of warfare cannot be isolated from the study of general history. It encompasses more than what usually falls into the category of military history to include war from the viewpoint of combatants, societies, economies and cultures across the landscape of modern history, and in the spirit of war studies draws on the literature and methodology of other academic disciplines where appropriate.
Our MA History of War aims to equip you with the knowledge, understanding and skills you require to progress to advanced research in the field. To that end, it has been created with a compulsory module focused on research and analytical skills, supported by a range of optional modules addressing individual aspects of the history of warfare over time and across a wide geographical and thematic range. Our course prepares you for future doctoral research into the history of warfare and related fields. It can also be taken as a free-standing master’s degree if you are interested in warfare in the past and the intellectual, methodological and practical skills essential to its study.
Our course offers you the opportunity to engage critically with the methods, materials and debates inherent in the study of the history of warfare.
For lectures, seminars and feedback, you will typically have two hours per week over two 10-week terms. This can be split into one lecture + one seminar or combinations thereof, You will also have 360 hours of self-study. Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work.
For the dissertation module, you will have 12 hours of training workshop/ supervision, to complement the 588 hours of self-study.
War Studies Graduates go on to work for NGOs, the FCO, the MOD, the Home Office, NATO, the UN or pursue careers in journalism, finance, academia, the diplomatic services, the armed forces and more. Recent posts held by our alumni include Threat Analyst, Director of Political Violence Forecasting, Research Advisor at NATO Defence College, Foreign Policy Fellow.