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Course content

Why study at Roehampton

  • 100% of History research is rated “world leading” or “internationally excellent” for the impact it is has on society (Research Excellence Framework 2014).
  • Benefit from our flexible evening and online teaching sessions.
  • Gain professional experience in workplace-based research with our tailored research internship.
  • Enhance your knowledge of historical methodology, theory and archival practice.
  • Roehampton is ranked best modern university in London (Complete University Guide 2018) and the most research-intensive modern university in the UK (Research Excellence Framework 2014).

Content summary

The MA in Historical Research gives you the opportunity to study a wide range of different approaches to the research and writing of history, with a specialised focus on innovative recent theoretical and methodological developments. We also offer a specialised pathway in Social and Cultural History, and a part-time, distance learning pathway in Archival Practice and Local History.

This masters programme offers you the opportunity to refine your knowledge and practice of historical research, and is ideal for those seeking further study in History, a career in the museum or heritage industries, or simply those looking to develop personal research interests.

This programme will equip you with an appreciation of some of the most influential theoretical positions and methodologies in historical scholarship today, which will help you to develop academic independence whilst undertaking your major piece of historical research. You will be able to utilise these independent research skills in a professional context, whether in academia or other working environments, where high level interpretative and analytical ability is required.

On all pathways, students will gain a secure knowledge of the range of primary source material available to research historians, which involves using a range of both quantitative and qualitative data, which students will learn to analyse and exploit critically. You will also have opportunity to develop and present arguments, both oral and written, adapted to specific kinds of audience. As well as expanding your communication skills in this way, this course will also develop your capacity to work independently and with others.

The programme offers exceptional staff-student support, through small-group sessions, one-on-one tutorials and Roehampton's excellent academic learning, library and employability staff. Whether continuing on from undergraduate studies, or returning to study after a break, you will be supported in your studies and personal and professional development.

The course also boasts a broad and rich syllabus, from family history to oral history techniques, from medical to crime history, which allows you to develop methods and skills applicable in any historical research project and environment.


The key modules in the MA Historical Research are focused on developing theoretical skills, and then applying these in your dissertation. Some of the most influential theoretical positions and methodologies in historical scholarship will be discussed on this course, introducing you to the theoretical framework that will underlie the specialised skills you will need as a historical researcher. Particular texts will be studied which deepen your understanding of these concepts, and the texts themselves will be tailored to the specific pathway students follow.

The Distance learning options allow students away from London to follow a pathway in Archival Practice and Local History, supported by our excellent virtual learning environment and flexible part-time study options. There will be an emphasis on working with historical source material, including modules on palaeography.    

A research internship is available on all pathways, offering research-led experience in local and national historical, archival and heritage settings, such as the Institute of Historical Research, the Surrey History Centre and the Royal Horticultural Society Lindley Library.

You are also able to study a further four thematic modules from our current range, which changes year by year. These modules are designed to let you practice your research skills, and engage with detailed source material, aiding you in your independent dissertation. If you choose to study full-time, the academic year runs from September to September; and if you study part-time, you can vary the pace of study to suit your needs.


  • Beyond Grand Theory: Thinking about History after Post-Modernism
  • Medicine and the Politics of Health from Cholera to the NHS
  • Gender and Sexuality in Modern Europe
  • Pathways to Genocide: Origins and Aspects of State Persecution in Britain, Europe and Africa
  • Dissertation

Career options

Employment in the creative and heritage industries, e.g. publishing, museums and archives, the media, or in any sector that prizes research and communication skills eg. teaching, marketing, media and law. Also ideal for those interested in further academic study.

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Visit the Historical Research - MA/PGDip page on the University of Roehampton website for more details!





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