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The MA History programme at Queen’s has been redesigned to offer all its existing strengths in an innovative package of modules that challenges students to develop their knowledge and skills. Students will be taught by leading experts in public history, urban history, women’s and gender history, religious history, political history, and the history of race. Our Faculty have research specialisms across a range of chronological areas. We have major areas of research strength in the history of Ireland, Britain, the USA, Europe, Africa and Asia. History offers supervisory expertise to students who plan to work on ancient, medieval, early modern or modern/contemporary history. Modules are designed in a complementary fashion in order to develop the range of skills that employers expect from graduates from the best designed postgraduate taught programmes.

Course Structure

MA History consists of six taught modules and a dissertation.

Pathways Through History

Students are introduced to historiographical pathways followed by Queen’s staff and examine some of the grand debates that have taken place within political, social, culture and gender history. They are encouraged to reflect on their own pathway through history and to consider the range of historiographical and thematic approaches open to them as part of their postgraduate studies. 

Becoming an Historian

Students probe some of the approaches used by historians to examine the past, including oral history, literary and visual sources and quantitative data. They receive training on the use of archival sources and on other key skills such as critical writing and high level presentations. The module also offers a careers-focused element by reflecting on the employment of historians inside and outside academia. 

Individually Negotiated Topic

An exciting opportunity for students to work with a research leader in their field on an essay topic that is selected by the student. Students work in a small Study Group (up to 3) and individually (with the supervisor), to assess the historiographical literature on a research question of their choice. 

Case Studies in History 

Students select two options from a range of 6-week mini-modules that are designed to discuss exciting and innovative historical issues in a range of geographical or chronological contexts. The aim is to develop student’s knowledge of those issues beyond their own research field and to enhance their ability to evaluate fully the historical evidence they encounter during their research. Examples of these mini modules include ‘Sex and the City’, ‘Unruly Women’, ‘Commemoration after Fascism’, ‘Contested Public Histories’, ‘Ireland and the wider world’, ‘Religion and toleration’, ‘Commemoration and Irish history’, ‘Perspectives on the Cold War’, ‘Race and Labour in Transnational Perspective’.

Topics in Irish History

Topics in Irish History is designed to introduce you to the study of Irish history at an advanced level, through an exploration of selected topics spanning the period from the late middle ages to the present day. The topics chosen are deliberately diverse, taking in issues in politics, religion, culture, and gender, as well as a critical examination of the role of history itself as a cultural and political instrument. 

History and Theory

In this module individual lecturers introduces students to a theoretical approach that has inspired or influenced their research. The module examines some of the big theoretical debate about history and truth, history and class, history and gender, and history and identity. The module uses case studies to bring passion and insight to the students’ understanding of theoretical approaches. Staff teaching on the module are asked to reflect on the key books and articles that made them either shake with disbelieving anger or race to the archives full of inspiration!

Presenting Sources

Students are given an opportunity to undertake practical work on a selection of primary sources. This can include the production of a calendar of previously uncatalogued documents, a finding aid to primary sources on a defined theme, or a database drawn from primary sources.

Placement module

As an alternative to Presenting Sources, students can opt to take this module (subject to caps on numbers). This option enables students to relate their academic studies to a practical setting and gives them some experience of a work-place environment. 

A placement is taken in their choice of a range of cultural institutions, heritage sites and organisations.


Students (with the help of a supervisor) will research and write a 20,000 word dissertation on a subject of their choice. This is a triple-weighted module.


Assessment and feedback are continuous throughout the course of study.

Assessment is by coursework: essays, written projects, oral presentations, class contributions, 20,000-word dissertation.

A placement option is available for MA History students, offering the opportunity to engage with practitioners from museums, media, heritage sites and leading historic visitor attractions and to benefit from the hands-on experience of working in a public history context.

Internationally Renowned Experts

The School is a world-leading centre for innovative and dynamic historical research. In the 2014 UK assessment of research (REF), History at Queen’s was ranked in the top 20 departments for research. In the 2016-2017 National Student Survey, History scored 90% satisfaction for teaching.

Student Experience

The School has a rich research culture and postgraduate community. Postgraduate students host regular graduate-led seminars, colloquia and conferences. Students engage closely with research activities and events run by the Centre for Public History at Queen’s. This programme provides students with an opportunity to work in the largest and most international community of historians on the island of Ireland.

Studying MA History at Queen’s offers a unique insight into many of the key issues relating to contested histories, cultural memory, commemoration, identity, and community history in a very real and meaningful way, and to gain first-hand understanding of the relationship between public history, heritage, policy, and the consumption of history at a local, national and international level.

How to Apply

Apply using the online Postgraduate Applications Portal go.qub.ac.uk/pgapply and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Visit the History (MA) page on the Queen’s University Belfast website for more details!





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