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The MRes degree is a research programme with some provision for taught modules.

It is aimed at those who wish to move beyond taught work and are prepared to engage in research in depth for a substantial postgraduate thesis, but who also wish to take modules that help develop research and related skills, and to study broader historical subjects with other postgraduates.

Times Higher Education ranked the Department of History first in the country for its performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise.

Course details

After consultation with your academic supervisor, you can pursue a research thesis in any aspect of British or European history, including European discovery of the wider world, political, military or diplomatic history, or the history of early modern religion, culture, society or ideas.

You willl study three taught modules:

  • Historical Methods
  • Writing Early Modern History: Sources and Approaches 
  • Research Preparation 

You will then complete a 20,000-word thesis on an agreed topic which relates to early modern history and which can be appropriately supervised by a member of academic staff.


Modules are assessed in various ways – by examination, coursework, presentation, transcription and attendance. 

Learning and teaching

Past and current MRes topics for the 20,000 word thesis have included:

  • Hunting for hidden meaning: an analysis of the history, interpretation and presentation of seventeenth-century plasterwork at St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall
  • Colonial failure in the New World: A French and German comparison
  • Dutch and English competition for the Muscovy Trade in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
  • Harnessing Nature: Gardens and Science in John Evelyn’s England
  • Susan Countess of Denbigh and Women at the Caroline Court
  • "Lioness”: Ladies-in-Waiting and their careers at the Tudor Court, 1509-1547
  • The “Black Book” and the politics of Elizabeth Warwick
  • Commercial theatre management in the age of Shakespeare
  • Religious Persecution in Henrician England

You will also become part of, and contribute to, the lively international community of the College of Arts and Law Graduate School, which offers dedicated research resources and a supportive working environment. Our team of academic and operational staff are on hand to offer support and advice to all postgraduate students within the College.


Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.

You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: History

Birmingham’s History graduates develop a broad range of transferable skills that are highly valued by a range of employers. These skills include: familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage large quantities of information from diverse sources; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; critical and analytical ability; the capacity for argument, debate and speculation; and the ability to base conclusions on statistical research.

Some of our History postgraduates go on to use their studies directly, for example in heritage, museums or the armed forces; others use their transferable skills in a range of occupations from finance, to publishing, to fundraising. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include: Royal Air Force; Ministry of Defence; University of Birmingham; Big Lottery Fund; Royal Air Force Museum; and University of Oxford.

Visit the Early Modern History - MRes page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!





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Recipient: University of Birmingham

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