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Course content

Continue your studies with a top history department and develop under the guidance of world leading academics.

We are officially ranked first among all History departments in the country for the social and cultural impact of our research. Our world leading experts publish widely, have won prizes for their work, and actively contribute to national and international television and radio. Our most recent publications include The Oxford Illustrated History of Witchcraft and Magic (Oxford University Press), Harnessing the Power of the Criminal Corpse (Palgrave) and Maladies and Medicine, 1540-1740 (Pen & Sword).

Our MA programme takes an innovative approach by connecting the local to the global. The study of everyday life is central to the identity of the History Group, and this is reflected in the range of modules that we offer. Covering the period from 1550 to the present, you will explore the impact of big historical forces on everyday lives.     

You will take two subject modules in the first semester.  Money-makers, Murderers, Medics and Mothers uncovers the multifaceted nature of women’s lives in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In Local and Global you will examine the impact of the development of consumer societies on communities and cultures from the 18th to the 21st centuries. In the second semester, you will explore the effects of major changes in global history on individual lives and communities in Britain and other parts of the world in History from the Street

Alongside these subject modules, you will take two research methods modules. Semester A will support you as you transition from undergraduate to postgraduate studies. Semester B will train you to write for different audiences and help you prepare for your dissertation. 

The Taught MA programme culminates with a 15,000-word dissertation on a topic of your choice, supervised by an expert in the field. 

If you choose to study part-time over two years, you will take one subject module and one research methods module in semester A and one subject module in semester B of year one. In year two, you would take one subject module in semester A and one research module, as well as writing your dissertation.

Employability underpins what we do. You will further hone the transferable skills that you have begun to develop as an undergraduate. We also train you to write for different audiences, helping to diversify your writing style. There is also the opportunity to work with our renowned staff-student Oral History team, which has taken students to Australia and produced a BBC Radio 4 documentary. The documentary was commended at the 2018 Royal Historical Society Public History Awards. 

As one of our MA students you will benefit from being part of a diverse and active academic community. We see our postgraduate students as fellow researchers, and we place a great deal of importance on sharing and developing skills. You will have access to our ‘History café’, an informal get together before classes at which you can socialise with other postgraduates in Humanities. There is a vibrant PhD and Early Career Researchers Network attached to our Everyday Lives in War engagement centre. We hold a dedicated postgraduate session at our annual staff-student weekend at Cumberland Lodge, a former royal residence in Windsor Great Park. We encourage our postgraduates to attend IHR seminars that are convened by members of the History Group, and the Group also has institutional membership of the IHR.

Why choose this course?

Top 5 reasons to study the MA History at the University of Hertfordshire

We give you:

  1. An exceptional academic team, conducting world-leading research,
  2. Access to established links to heritage organisations and history groups through our renowned Heritage Hub, award-winning Oral History Team, and AHRC-funded Everyday Lives in War public engagement centre,
  3. The opportunity to write a dissertation on a topic about which you are passionate,
  4. CV-building potential through developing new writing styles and extra-curricular activities.
  5. The option to study part-time.


Our graduates in History go on to pursue a variety of careers, including teaching, law, the heritage industry and museums, and the civil service. The History Group has good connections with several school and sixth-form teachers of History, both from amongst our alumni and our collaborators on pedagogical research projects. Through the Heritage Hub and also the Professional Doctorate in Heritage, we also have established connections with heritage organisations and employers such as John Lewis.

Teaching methods

Teaching will be in small group seminars on weekday early evenings, led by members of the History group with expertise in the field. We may also offer some Saturday sessions for the Research Methods II module.  We also hope to offer a 'History cafe' before seminars for all postgraduates to meet and discuss study skills.

Presentation of research in different formats will be an essential part of the Research Methods modules, offering a ‘hands on history’ approach that develops students’ skills in presenting to the public in accessible formats as well as in standard academic formats. This is a distinctive feature of the programme that will enable employability skills for those looking to use the MA as a stepping stone in their professional career and who may not be going on to further postgraduate study.

Is this course for me?

We have all sorts of students studying our MA programmes here in the School of Humanities such as:

  • graduates who have just finished their BA degree,
  • people looking for a career change or break,
  • teachers looking to upskill their subject knowledge,
  • people looking for intellectual fulfilment upon retirement,
  • professionals in the heritage industry interested in deepening their knowledge and transferable skills (if that's you, you can also then consider our unique Professional Doctorate in Heritage).

Work Placement

Work placements are not part of the programme, although extra-curricular opportunities available to students also include participation in the Oral History team, Heritage i-teams, Heritage Hub activities with a range of employers in the museums and heritage industry, and relevant training, including that currently provided by the Share Museums East programme.

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





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