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Course content

This Master's degree in history and politics will give you a deep understanding of the recent past and the contemporary world and help you develop the approaches, techniques and skills of the professional historian. Using an interdisciplinary combination of historical and political approaches, it lays a strong emphasis on the critical analysis of the recent past, with the overall aim of giving you specialist knowledge of particular regions and themes. You will study the complex interplay between national, international and global political, social and historical forces that have produced the contemporary world.

The introductory core module offers an in-depth exploration of the methodological, conceptual and theoretical background necessary for historical study at postgraduate level. It also considers specific topics and questions in contemporary history and politics. You will undertake training in research skills to prepare you for researching and writing a dissertation on the subject that most interests you.

You can choose from an impressive range of option modules, selecting from those offered by the Department of Politics and by the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology. These options cover a wide sweep of political ideas and systems, historical periods and geographical places, including the United States, China, the Middle East and Europe. Options modules are usually available in topics including the post-war reconstruction of Europe, Islam and the politics of fundamentalism, American global supremacy and foreign policy, national and transnational structures for ensuring global order and justice, and the rise of China as a superpower, among others.

Key teaching staff on this programme

Course directors: Dr Sarah Howard and Professor Naoko Shimazu
Professor Joanna Bourke
Professor Orlando Figes
Professor Daniel Pick
Professor Frank Trentmann
Dr Hilary Sapire
Professor Naoko Shimazu
Professor Chandak Sengoopta
Dr Jan Rueger.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
This interdisciplinary Master's degree in history and politics provides a unique perspective on the modern world and gives you the opportunity to study a wide range of subjects in depth.
The course allows you to follow your own interests, with a wide choice of option modules, while developing your research skills and undertaking a dissertation in an area that interests you.
Our Department of History, Classics and Archaeology is one of the leading research and teaching departments for history in the UK. It is ranked 6th in the UK for the percentage of our research deemed world-leading or internationally excellent.
Our academic staff are international authorities in their fields, delivering stimulating, research-led teaching.
Our department is home to thriving student societies and a number of affiliated research centres that actively run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research. These include the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, the Raphael Samuel History Centre and the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities.
We are located 5 minutes' walk from the British Museum and the British Library, while the Museum of London is easily reachable. The Institute of Historical Research is located in Bloomsbury, near the main Birkbeck campus, and has an internationally renowned library collection and seminars that you can attend.
Birkbeck Library has an extensive history collection, including the major specialist journals, and access to online materials.

Visit the Contemporary History and Politics (MA) page on the Birkbeck, University of London website for more details!

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