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Masters Degrees (Naval History)

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​What was the Royal Navy’s role in British history, and that of its empire? Why did Nelson become such a hero and how was he depicted? Through unique collaborations with the National Museum of the Royal Navy and HMS Warrior, this programme explores these questions in the context of 400 years of naval history. Read more

Why take this course?

​What was the Royal Navy’s role in British history, and that of its empire? Why did Nelson become such a hero and how was he depicted? Through unique collaborations with the National Museum of the Royal Navy and HMS Warrior, this programme explores these questions in the context of 400 years of naval history. You will examine the importance of the Royal Navy to British and global history, while engaging with the life of the ordinary sailor in peace and war, the cult of the naval hero, and the navy – and its sailors – in popular culture. To do so, you will draw on a range of naval experts, curators, and primary sources, including the rich collections of Portsmouth’s naval museums. The flexible distance format allows you to learn from leading naval experts as well as the latest scholarship and debates in the field.

What will I experience?

On this course you will:

Access the rich archives and expertise of the National Museum of the Royal Navy and HMS Warrior to support your study.
Undertake study through flexible distance learning techniques, with the option to blend this with study days in Portsmouth.
Take advantage of unique connections with both Portsmouth and international maritime museums, with opportunities to go on field trips and experience behind the scenes tours.
Train in historical research and the interpretation of multi-archive sources.

What opportunities might it lead to?

This course is an excellent opportunity for students with an interest in British and Naval History to learn from experts in the field and develop a real grounding in this subject area. Offering specific real-life learning experience working with archives and museums, this course offers you the opportunity to develop key transferable skills, such as independent learning, written communication, textual analysis and time management. This course also assists you with refining key research skills appropriate for progression to PhD level research.

Possible career opportunities include:

Journalism
Law
Teaching
Administration
Archive and museum work

Module Details

You will study the following core units:

The Wooden Walls – The Royal Navy under Sail, 1509-1815
The navy changed immensely from that of Henry VIII, and his Mary Rose, to that of Nelson and Victory. Britain went from being a second rate European power to the sole world superpower by 1815. This module explores the changes which both navy and nation experienced in the early modern period. To do so, it looks at key events, including battles such as the Armada and Trafalgar, but also assesses how the navy was supplied and manned, and how the experience of the sailor changed in this period. Using the collections of the museums on the University’s doorstep, as well as the historic ships in Portsmouth, the course will look to understand what it was like to serve aboard a wooden sailing ship, and how the navy, and its heroes and ordinary sailors, were portrayed to the nation at large.

Rise and Fall – Naval Hegemony and Decline, 1815-1960
Emerging from the Napoleonic Wars as the dominant naval power, the Royal Navy assumed a role of imperial protector and global policeman. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, however, Britain began to be challenged globally, and found itself at war twice in the twentieth century. The rise of the USA, and the decline of its empire meant that, although victorious in both World Wars, Britain’s global power had disappeared soon after 1945. This module looks to understand how the navy fits into these wider trends, and the role it played in both peace and war. Using the collections of the naval museums, and those historic ships on our doorstep, including the first British ironclad, HMS Warrior, the course also looks at how technological change influenced its role, and how it changed the lives of those aboard.

Programme Assessment

The course can be studied entirely by distance learning through access to high quality interactive resources online, including unique primary sources, secondary literature, and video clips of world renowned experts. Dr Steven Gray, Lecturer in the History of the Royal Navy, will also be on hand to guide you through the course, as well as provide regular feedback and opportunities to discuss your work. Students will also be welcome to join optional campus based elements in Portsmouth, which will allow students to meet others on the course, participate in seminars, and access the resources, archives, historical artefacts and expertise of the naval museums in Portsmouth. There will also be optional field trips further afield, including abroad, that will further students’ understanding of the Royal Navy, and its role in the world. The MA is taught by university specialists in naval history, alongside staff from the National Museum of the Royal Navy and HMS Warrior, expertise, archives and galleries will offered to students at an unprecedented level. This flexible programme of delivery enables participation from students all over the UK and beyond.

Student Destinations

The degree will embed a range of highly desirable transferable skills such a communication, research and writing skills. In addition, the MA affords the student the opportunity to gain invaluable employability skills through internships arranged with the NMRN. Students who hold an MA in Naval History will be equipped for a variety of occupations such as teaching, the civil services, the armed forces, research for strategic studies bodies, and more general post-graduate employment. The MA also provides an ideal foundation for those who would like to embark on a PhD in naval history.

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The MRes in Economic and Social History will allow you to focus specifically on economic and social history and its methods of analysis, while giving you the opportunity to study other topics in international history, religious and cultural history, political history, naval or gender history. Read more
The MRes in Economic and Social History will allow you to focus specifically on economic and social history and its methods of analysis, while giving you the opportunity to study other topics in international history, religious and cultural history, political history, naval or gender history.

You can select from option modules that include subjects such as ritual in the Middle Ages; witchcraft and the supernatural in the 16th and 17th centuries; sexuality; health, medicine; gender and the body; party politics and international diplomacy; and the impact of modern wars on culture, economy, society and memory.

The MRes provides essential training for PhD study in History, as well as an opportunity to develop particular interests in the history of different countries and periods through taught modules and a 25,000 word dissertation on a topic of your choosing within the MRes programme subject area.

The Programme

- offers an excellent education in a very wide range of historical subjects and geographical locations over a broad time-span from Anglo-Saxon England to modern Western and Eastern Europe, some parts of Asia, North and South America, and Africa;
- produces graduates who are highly competent in subject-specific, core academic, and personal and key skills that are both relevant and transferable to employment;
- draws on the expertise of a number of highly respected research centres which are at the forefront of their respective disciplines;
- participation in joint seminar programmes offering insights into a very wide range of research cultures and specialisms;
- excellent preparation for students intending to continue on to doctoral-level research with a good track record in obtaining funding for further study.

Optional modules

Some examples of the optional modules which may be available are; Qualitative Methods in Social Research; Applied Quantitative Data Analysis; Philosophy of the Social Sciences ; Gender, Society and Culture in Early Modern England; Medieval Research Skills; Interpreting the Middle Ages; Supervised Independent Study in the Humanities; Supervised Independent Study in the Humanities; British Naval Power in the Era of Sail 1660-1815; Approaches to War and Society in the Twentieth Century; Medicine in Medieval and Early Modern England; Everyday Life in the Soviet Union; War 1450 to the Presen and Empires and Globalisation, c.1800-2000.

The modules listed here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand

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The MA History will allow you to focus on a particular period or geographical area, or to study a specific theme such as economic and social history, international history, religious and cultural history, political history, naval and maritime, or gender history. Read more
The MA History will allow you to focus on a particular period or geographical area, or to study a specific theme such as economic and social history, international history, religious and cultural history, political history, naval and maritime, or gender history. Students also have the option of following one of our specialist pathways or select from our full range of modules by following our open pathway.

Specialist pathways

Early Modern History; Maritime History; Medical History and War and Society

Modules

A wide range of optional modules are available which reflect the varied research interests of academic staff. These interests range widely from the early medieval period to the twentieth century and cover Britain, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. All aspects of the discipline are represented, from social, religious, cultural and gender history to the study of politics, economic development, international relations, and military conflict in a variety of contexts and eras. Particular areas of strength include early modern history, naval and maritime history, medical history, and the history of the connections between war, state and society.
Your choice of optional modules may include subjects as diverse as ritual in the Middle Ages; witchcraft and the supernatural in the 16th and 17th centuries; maritime and naval history; sexuality; health, medicine; gender and the body; party politics and international diplomacy; and the impact of modern wars on culture, economy, society and memory.

The programme

- offers an excellent education in a very wide range of historical subjects and geographical locations over a broad time-span from Anglo-Saxon England to modern Western and Eastern Europe, some parts of Asia, North and South America, and Africa;
- produces graduates who are highly competent in subject-specific, core academic, and personal and key skills that are both relevant and transferable to employment;
- draws on the expertise of a number of highly respected research centres which are at the forefront of their respective disciplines;
- participation in joint seminar programmes offering insights into a very wide range of research cultures and specialisms;
- excellent preparation for students intending to continue on to doctoral-level research with a good track record in obtaining funding for further study.

Research Areas

Research is at the heart of History and our students are encouraged to come to Departmental Research Seminars and become an active part of wider research community. Our research centres regularly hold seminars and other research events which MA students are welcome to attend. Our current research centres include:
• Centre for Early Modern Studies
• Centre for Imperial and Global History
• Centre for Maritime Historical Studies
• Centre for War, State and Society
• Centre for Medical History
• Centre for Medieval Studies
• Institute of Cornish Studies

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This Military History MA offers an in-depth study of warfare on land, sea and air across a range of periods and continents, from the Classical Age to the present. Read more
This Military History MA offers an in-depth study of warfare on land, sea and air across a range of periods and continents, from the Classical Age to the present.

The core modules on the course examine: the Royal Navy in the twentieth century, warfare in ancient and medieval times., the impact of the French and Industrial Revolutions on warfare in the age of 'total war'.

Optional modules give students the opportunity to study the Second World War, warfare in modern Africa and, additionally, the programme draws on Brunel’s expertise in intelligence studies. You also have the chance to take an optional module in this area with Brunel's Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies (BCISS).

Students will also complete a 15,000 dissertation on any military history topic, drawing on the wide expertise of staff in the department.

Module descriptions

War in History 1789-present includes:
Limited war and the period before 1789; the French revolution and the birth of the modern style of warfare; the impact of the industrial revolution on warfare; Jomini and Clausewitz; the idea of 'absolute war'; warfare in the 19th century: on the road to 'total war'; the First World War; changes in warfare in the inter-war period: Blitzkrieg and 'deep battle'; the Second World War; the nature of warfare after 1945; Korea, Vietnam and the Arab-Israeli conflicts; counter-insurgency; low-intensity conflicts; warfare in the 21st Century.

Intelligence History:
Failure & Success takes students through the history of the practice of intelligence from "Plato to NATO", or ancient times to the modern days, linking political, social and technological factors into a greater understanding of the profession. The second term is largely student-led, individual students presenting case studies, improving their own historical understanding while developing their skills at formal presentations in front of critical audiences.

The Second World War:
explores the military, political and socio-economic events and developments of the Second World War; focuses on the historiography and cultural significance of the war up to the present day; and adopts an "international history" approach by building its analysis around the interaction of states and peoples in this global conflict. Seminar discussions will focus around the interpretation of various controversial aspects of the Second World War through examination of primary sources of different kinds and of different secondary interpretations.

The Royal Navy in the Twentieth Century:
examines a turbulent period in British naval history. At the start of the twentieth century The Royal Navy was the largest and most powerful maritime power projection force in the world, with more ships and more bases than any other. However, it faced dangerous enemies. Initially focused on the ‘traditional’ threat posed by France and Russia, it soon had to adjust to the menace of a rising and hegemonic Germany. Subsequently, it would also find itself facing the resurgent might of Italy and Japan. As such, the Royal Navy faced the need to be everywhere and combat everyone, a daunting proposition in overstretch. The need to win out in several arms races, to fight two global wars and then prepare to face the prospect of a third posed challenges in the military, economic, social, technological, geographical and ideological realms. How the British state and its navy addressed and surmounted these challenges is a matter of considerable dispute among historians. This module will navigate these debates and in so doing chart the rise and decline of British sea power.

War and the Military in Modern African History: explores the role of warfare and the military in the course of modern Africa’s history, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa. The module will combine broad themes as well as specific case studies, and it will explore the ways in which violence and conflict have influenced economy, society and polity in the modern era. The module aims to encourage students to consider the enduring imagery and stereotyping around African warfare in the West, and to think of warfare in constructive as well as destructive terms. Key topics for study will include the growth of identities based on violence and militarism, for example the development of the Zulu state; the relationship between military and political administration; the economics of African war; anti-colonial insurgency and guerrilla wars of the late twentieth century, and recent developments in ‘warlordism’, interstate and proxy conflict.

Warfare in the Age of Muscle: introduces students to the study of European warfare from the Classical era to the age of gunpowder in an historical and social context and it will provide them with a critical introduction to the impact of warfare on politics and society in Europe from ancient times to 1453. It will introduce the methods of historical research as applied to military studies and will also achieve the following: introduce students to applied problems in military planning and operations via ancient examples; teach students to develop a practical insight into why certain operations succeed and fail; illuminate significant areas of military operational, logistical, and intelligence activities in order to arrive at an objective and neutral evaluation of the possibilities, limitations and perils of warfare.

International Security:
This module will introduce you to the changing nature of war, conflict and insecurity. In the first semester you will critically analyse traditional and contemporary Theories in Security Studies. In the second semester, you will be asked to systematically apply these theories to major security issues and policies, such as the arms trade and proliferation, ethnic conflict and humanitarian interventions, pandemics and biopolitics.

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This master's degree is designed for students who want to prepare for a PhD or gain research skills and knowledge in a specific area of history for their professional development. Read more
This master's degree is designed for students who want to prepare for a PhD or gain research skills and knowledge in a specific area of history for their professional development. You research an aspect of modern British, European or global history and develop skills as a researcher and specialist in your area.

During the course you work towards a 30,000 word dissertation on a topic agreed between you and your supervisor. It is ideal if you want to pursue a specific topic or research area in detail.

Current staff research interests are wide-ranging and can be seen on our Humanities Research Centre staff pages. They include:
-European colonialism and imperialism.
-Africans in Europe.
-Feminism and empire.
-Digital humanities.
-Migration.
-Modern Armenia.
-US history.
-The history of Czechoslovakia.
-Stalinism.
-Nineteenth-century radicalism and popular politics.
-Labour history.
-Community history.
-Globalisation.
-Economic crises and disasters.
-Industrial and natural disasters.
-Britain and the Great War.
-Rural history.
-German history in the twentieth century.
-Nineteenth-century British military and naval history.
-Nineteenth-century French military and imperial history.
-Colonialism and anti-colonialism in India.

Our history staff have expertise in
-Imperial and global history.
-Business and economic history.
-Women’s and gender history.
-Modern European history.
-British popular politics and culture.

Throughout the course you receive one-to-one support from an experienced supervisor with expertise in your chosen area of study. Initial discussion between you and your supervisor establishes the focus and scope of your topic, and confirms the research questions to be addressed.

Your supervisor guides you through the course, helping you conduct a literature survey and engage with theoretical, methodological and critical issues.

Your learning is enhanced by workshops on research skills and methods relevant to your project. You also have the opportunity to develop your knowledge by taking part in history seminars and postgraduate reading group sessions.

This is a flexible course that allows you to combine work with professional development. Supervision sessions are arranged individually with your supervisory team ensuring content is tailored to your individual needs.

The Humanities Research Centre runs a monthly postgraduate research group which functions as an informal setting where postgraduates can get to know one another and where they have the opportunity to present and discuss their work.

For more information, see the website: https://www.shu.ac.uk/study-here/find-a-course/ma-history-by-research

Course structure

Full time – 1 year.
Part time – 2 years.
Typical modules may include.
You complete:
-Research skills workshops.
-30,000 word dissertation.

Assessment: 30,000 word dissertation and viva.

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International maritime policy may be broadly defined as the area of private and public policy concerned with the economics of maritime transport, ports and terminals; national and international regulation; maritime security and defence; maritime labour; and oceanic law, policy and management. Read more
International maritime policy may be broadly defined as the area of private and public policy concerned with the economics of maritime transport, ports and terminals; national and international regulation; maritime security and defence; maritime labour; and oceanic law, policy and management.

International and interdisciplinary in approach, the programme is of interest to maritime professionals in both sea- and shore-based sectors seeking to develop an in-depth understanding of current issues and future developments, public policy professionals seeking to develop maritime expertise, and graduates in maritime studies and public policy areas seeking further specialisation and postgraduate qualifications.

The programme combines lectures, tutorials, group and individual projects, and seminars, and provides opportunities to learn from the experience of those directly involved with international maritime policy.

Maritime at Greenwich keeps in close touch with developments in the maritime sector through its Advisory Committee, representing a range of specialist professional interests. Certain courses are accredited by the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. Other links include those to the museum sector, in particular the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, the Maritime London Promotion Group, the Greenwich Forum, Sea Vision UK and the London Universities Maritime Law and Policy Group.

The aims of the programme are:

- To establish knowledge and understanding of theoretical and practical issues affecting private and public maritime policy

- To enable an appreciation of comparative approaches to national aspects of maritime policy

- To provide the opportunity for students to learn from the experience of current practitioners in the maritime field.

Visit the website http://www2.gre.ac.uk/study/courses/pg/mar/intmarpol

What you'll study

- Methods, Problems and Issues in Maritime Policy (20 credits)
- Case Studies in Maritime Policy (20 credits)
- Economics of International Shipping (20 credits)
- Public Shipping Law (20 credits)
- Defence and Security (20 credits)
- Research Methods in Maritime Policy (20 credits)
- Dissertation (60 credits)

Fees and finance

Your time at university should be enjoyable and rewarding, and it is important that it is not spoilt by unnecessary financial worries. We recommend that you spend time planning your finances, both before coming to university and while you are here. We can offer advice on living costs and budgeting, as well as on awards, allowances and loans.

Find out more about our fees and the support available to you at our:
- Postgraduate finance pages (http://www.gre.ac.uk/finance/pg)
- International students' finance pages (http://www.gre.ac.uk/finance/international)

Assessment

Students are assessed through coursework and a dissertation.

Career options

Graduates can pursue careers in maritime administration, international organisations, maritime non-governmental organisations.

About the Department of History, Politics & Social Sciences

About the Department of History, Politics & Social Sciences
The Department of History, Politics & Social Sciences offers stimulating undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in history, politics and international relations and sociology, and also offers courses in philosophy. These academic disciplines each offer a rigorous and rewarding course of study and are highly respected by employers.

The department prides itself on the exciting range of programmes that are on offer to students and on the support provided to students throughout their studies, enhancing their knowledge, skill sets, confidence and employability. Our staff are enthusiastic and approachable and are dedicated to ensuring that every student achieves their full potential.

Individual student development is achieved through a wide range of teaching and learning activities. Throughout their respective programmes, each discipline offers lectures, seminar discussion, class presentations, teamwork, research projects, work placements and field trips ensuring that students work within a varied and dynamic learning environment which encourages them to expand their horizons.

Support from staff is ongoing, delivering regular contact, both within the academic discipline and via a well-established personal tutoring system which offers additional pastoral care.

Students are encouraged at every stage to access the wide range of extracurricular activities offered both within the department and across the wider university. Moving beyond the classroom, students can participate in subject-related student societies, access a wide range of volunteering opportunities and take advantage of the services of the university’s Guidance & Employability Team to prepare them for graduate employment.

The department is based on the beautiful Greenwich Campus at the Old Royal Naval College on the south bank of the Thames at Greenwich, within easy reach of central London. Students have access to a wide range of academic and social facilities on campus and in the immediate area. Academic facilities include a fully resourced academic library, extensive IT facilities and social spaces for learning and relaxing. The Students’ Union - with its wide variety of societies and groups - is a few minutes’ walk from the campus. The surrounding neighbourhood houses a mix of shops, restaurants, pubs and a market, as well as some of London’s well-known tourist attractions and a tranquil Royal Park.

Find out how to apply here - http://www2.gre.ac.uk/study/apply

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