This MA course is the most comprehensive of its kind in England. It is provided by the internationally famous Centre for English Local History, at the University of Leicester. This Centre was founded by Professor W.G. Hoskins in 1948, and has long been at the forefront of the discipline, having had huge experience of postgraduate training at MA, MPhil and PhD levels. Its staff (who currently include three professors) are leaders in their subjects, and the ex-staff include scholars such as Alan Everitt, Joan Thirsk, Charles Phythian-Adams, Margaret Spufford and other prominent historians. Its students progress into many types of employment in heritage-related sectors, museums, record offices, local government, landscape management, further research, academic jobs, adult education, teaching, and associated areas of work. Many others have done the MA course for their own pleasure, developing their interests in family or local history. Many MA students have also gone on to do PhDs in the Centre.
The MA course aims to provide students with a training in `the Leicester approach' to local and regional history, and to equip them with the historical skills necessary to pursue research in this field. The MA course is comparative across the nation, grounded in an interest in landscapes and the communities associated with them, cultural in its concerns, sensitive to long-term chronologies, conceptually aware, and interdisciplinary in its methods. It is designed to furnish an up-to-date springboard into careers involving local history. Yet it also appeals to many whose interests are recreational, genealogical or family-oriented, who have leisure interests linked to landscape appreciation, or those who find knowledge of local history essential as a way of enlarging their interpretation and understanding of the world and communities around them.
The Centre for English Local History is accommodated in The Marc Fitch Historical Institute, three attractive Victorian villas near the main university campus. It contains an important library covering most English regions, an impressive map room, and many other resources and collections essential for local historical studies. The main University Library houses an exceptional local history collection covering all counties of England and Wales. These facilities make Leicester unique among provincial universities for the comprehensiveness of its holdings in local and regional history. Grants are available from a number of sources to assist students studying at the Centre.