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Course content

Are you interested in exploring military history? Do you want to study a whole series of different aspects of war?

Our two-year MA in Military History by distance learning programme offers you the opportunity to explore military history, drawing in particular on Birmingham's expertise in the history of the two World Wars and air power. Subjects to be studied include command and leadership; tactics, operations and the use of technology; ethics and war; and the individual's experience of war. You will complete the MA with a 15,000-word dissertation on a topic of your choice.

Times Higher Education ranked the Department of History first in the country for its performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise.

Course details

From the walls of Troy to the streets of Sangin, warfare has been at the centre of human life and death.

Those who know nothing of war can understand neither the past nor the present, for, as Trotsky famously said, ‘war is the locomotive of history’. Modern military history does more than re-fight old battles, however. It can, for example, teach us much about the cultures and societies that find themselves at war, and indeed about the souls of the men and women who do the fighting.

This course will stimulate and challenge you to think about the history of warfare in all its aspects, building a skill set over two years of part-time study which will equip you for further research in the field and/or broaden and deepen your understanding of the cruel, complex but endlessly fascinating phenomenon that is war.

You will study six core modules (full descriptions available below):

  • Research Skills: Methodology and Sources
  • Tactics and Operational Art
  • Command and Leadership in War
  • Ethics of War
  • Experience of War
  • Dissertation Preparation

Assessment

Each module is assessed by written assignment. You will also complete a 15,000-word dissertation. Your dissertation will be based on a substantial and sustained investigation of an historical problem – of your choice – relating to military history, undertaken in the light of current knowledge and after an analysis of available primary material. 

Learning and teaching

This programme is delivered through our Centre for War Studies, so you’ll be taught by academics who are experts in their field.

Although much of the course is delivered through our ‘virtual learning environment,’ support is always available. You will have a personal tutor and dissertation supervisor to guide you and answer any questions, and you have access to a wide range of online resources too.

You also have the opportunity to meet other students and academic staff through online chats and discussion forums.

For more information on distance learning including answers to frequently asked questions, student experiences and funding opportunities, please see our distance learning website

Employability

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.

You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: History

Birmingham’s History graduates develop a broad range of transferable skills that are highly valued by a range of employers. These skills include: familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage large quantities of information from diverse sources; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; critical and analytical ability; the capacity for argument, debate and speculation; and the ability to base conclusions on statistical research.

Some of our History postgraduates go on to use their studies directly, for example in heritage, museums or the armed forces; others use their transferable skills in a range of occupations from finance, to publishing, to fundraising. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include: Royal Air Force; Ministry of Defence; University of Birmingham; Big Lottery Fund; Royal Air Force Museum; and University of Oxford.


Visit the Military History (Distance Learning) - MA page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!

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