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The MA in History offers you the opportunity to explore a variety of approaches – intellectual, political, cultural, social and economic – across a broad chronological and geographical range. The programme provides a high degree of choice across the department's major areas of expertise, with particular strengths in:

  • medieval and early modern history
  • contemporary British and European history
  • imperial, global and transnational history
  • environmental history
  • public history.

Given the wide range of research and teaching in the department, we are confident you will find units that reflect your own interests. Alternatively, you may prefer not to specialise, and instead obtain a broad sense of historical subjects, themes, debates and methodologies.

You will be immersed in a vibrant postgraduate community at Bristol, connecting you to a number of prestigious research groups in the faculty in which the history department plays a prominent part, such as Medical Humanities, Black Humanities, Material Texts, Environmental Humanities and Medieval Studies.

Programme structure

The MA comprises six taught units and a research dissertation. Teaching on the programme moves from lectures through to seminars and one-on-one supervision. Likewise, the focus develops from broader units, through more specialised ones, to your chosen dissertation topic.

You begin with a series of core and optional units. All students take Academic Research and Writing and Approaches to History - core MA units that enable you to develop critical research skills and approaches that underlie the later assessments. Students can also flexibly access specialist research training, for instance in medieval studies.

You also choose a further unit from a wide range of optional units, taught through lectures or seminars, on subjects that span the period from 1000 to the present. In the second teaching block, you will select three primary source-based seminar units from a diverse range of options.

In the third semester, you will write a primary source-based dissertation of up to 15,000 words, supervised one-on-one by an academic in the department. You will identify the subject for your dissertation in the spring, but most of the research is conducted over the summer. The dissertation is submitted in mid-September.

Visit our programme catalogue for full details of the structure and unit content for our MA in History.


Students who complete the MA in History have taken up careers as history teachers, researchers in a number of different fields, journalists, image and data capture assistants and in the heritage industry. A number of MA graduates have gone on to take an MPhil/PhD in History and forged careers as research academics.

Another popular choice is to develop successful careers in fields such as public relations, accountancy, fund management and the law by building on the transferable skills acquired through master's study. As a graduate of the MA in History you can use the University’s Careers Service for free for up to three years after you graduate.

Visit the History - MA page on the University of Bristol website for more details!





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