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Course content

History MA is a stimulating programme that offers students the opportunity to create individual study pathways through time, space and methodology. Pathways can be chronological (medieval, early modern or modern), geographical (European, transnational, international) or methodological (e.g. cultural or, economic and social history). Alternatively, students can maximise choice by exploiting the diverse range of courses on offer. All students undertake robust theoretical and methodological training, accredited by the Economic and Social Research Council. Vocational training opportunities are promoted through work placement, `Public History' and documentary film-making modules. The Manchester History MA also offers an innovative suite of thematic courses that transcend orthodox boundaries to facilitate intellectual breadth and imagination. As integrated members of the research community, Manchester MA History students engage with outstanding researchers, resources and facilities.

Coursework and assessment

All History MA Programmes comprise of 180 credits:

  • Advanced Course-work: 90 credits;
  • Research Training: 30 credits;
  • Dissertation: 60 credits.

Taught courses are generally assessed by a 6000-word essay per 30-credit unit (this will vary for the quantitative and qualitative research methods units).

Our courses are interactive, and the small seminar is the rule. Normally students and sometimes staff present papers to form the basis of lively discussion - not an invariable experience at an undergraduate seminar!

Research and writing of the dissertation are undertaken from Spring through to August. Supervision is offered at least until July.

The degree is awarded at Pass, Merit, and Distinction levels

Course unit details

History MA maximises the strengths of Manchester's vibrant research community: 30 members of staff with world class expertise in medieval, early modern and modern history, stretching across national and international boundaries, with strong representation in economic, social and cultural approaches to history. History MA offers students the opportunity to range across this expertise or to specialise. 

Specialist pathways include Modern European History, World History, Modern British History, Early Modern History, Medieval History, Cultural History or Economic and Social History. Each of these areas is represented in advanced, core modules (accredited by the ESRC). All students take one of these modules. History MA offers outstanding doctoral research preparation training through the core module and skills training programme. Skills training can be tailored to specialist interest with language training, including Latin, and palaeography or methods training in social science. History MA skills training also equips students to pursue the MA dissertation, a major piece of original research. This year, the Board of Examiners commended the exceptional quality of research, highlighting dissertations that were `publishable'. 

Students applying to the MA are eligible to apply for AHRC and ESRC funding. 

New opportunities in `Public history' and work placement facilitate a vocational pathway through the programme by promoting transferable skills and focusing on the significance of history in heritage, social policy, third sector work and the media.

Additional to core courses, students take four optional modules. Options in History are organised chronologically and geographically but also include a suite of innovative thematic courses, for example, on material culture, that transcend orthodox boundaries. History has a strong record in promoting interdisciplinary study and students may select options from across the School or other faculties with permission.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: 

Career opportunities

Apart from PhD research, the high standard of arts research training, both formal and practical (in the dissertation), opens doors to many kinds of modern public and private sector graduate employments requiring research skill, formulation of projects and policy documents, etc.

Our new and popular Work Placement Scheme (introduced 2014-15) offers our students the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and learn about history in practice, in one of our partner institutions in the Manchester area. Examples include: Manchester Histories Festival, People's History Museum, Chetham's Library and University History and Heritage.

Visit the History (MA) page on the University of Manchester website for more details!




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