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About the course

This Military History MA offers an in-depth study of warfare on land, sea and air across a range of periods and continents, from the Classical Age to the present.

The core modules on the course examine:

- the Royal Navy in the twentieth century.
- warfare in ancient and medieval times.
- the impact of the French and Industrial Revolutions on warfare in the age of 'total war'

Optional modules give students the opportunity to study the Second World War, warfare in modern Africa and, additionally, the programme draws on Brunel’s expertise in intelligence studies. Students have the chance to take an optional module in this area with Brunel's Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies (BCISS).

Students will also complete a 15,000 dissertation on any military history topic, drawing on the wide expertise of staff in the department.


The MA in Military History will provide students with a systematic understanding and critical awareness of debates and interpretations of military history.

Students will gain a comprehensive and practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in specific subject areas.

Students will be encouraged to extend and develop their analytical, evaluative and critical capacities, and increase their ability to reflect on their own learning and intellectual development.

The MA in Military History will give students transferable skills in writing, discussion, analysis, and independent judgement.

Students will also work independently, thus demonstrating initiative and the ability to organise their time and work through their research project (a dissertation) of 15,000 words.

Course Content

The MA consists of both compulsory and optional modules, a typical selection can be found below. Modules can vary from year to year, but these offer a good idea of what we teach.

Compulsory modules:

War in History, 1789 to present
The Royal Navy in the Twentieth Century
European Warfare in the Age of Muscle.

Optional modules:

Intelligence History: Failure and Success
The Second World War
War and the Military in Modern African History
International Security

Special Features

Taught by internationally recognised academics in the field of Military History, Naval History, War Studies, Intelligence History and Security/Intelligence Studies.

Situated in London, the MA Military History has established links to world-renowned archives and libraries based in and close to London including the Caird Library (National Maritime Museum), The National Archives and the Imperial War Museum, among others.

Students on the MA Military History can automatically receive membership to the Royal Institute for International Affairs.

Students have access to the Specialist Angus Boulton Military History library held at Brunel University.

The MA in Military History regularly invites guest speakers to lecture on specialist subjects. Previous speakers have included, Professor Ilan Pappe (University of Exeter), Emeritus Professor Avi Shlaim (Oxford University), Sir Tony Brenton (Cambridge University), and Professor Brian Holden-Reid (KCL).

Research at Brunel

The Isambard Centre for Historical Research
The Isambard Centre for Historical Research brings together scholars at Brunel whose work examines the tensions inherent in the transnational connections that have shaped the modern world. The Centre takes its title from the University’s namesake, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. During the nineteenth century, the dockyards, steamships and railways that he built, revolutionised transportation and communication, helping to create the infrastructure that underpinned increasing global trade. People, products, ideas and cultural artefacts were all transmitted along these routes, producing transnational exchanges that stretched across traditional political, cultural and geographic divides. But such processes helped to make borders as well as transcend them. They stimulated anxieties that led to new efforts to control, define and regulate ownership, identity and exchange. Attending to these dual impulses is crucial if we are to understand the social, cultural and political landscapes of the modern world.

Brunel Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies
Brunel's Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies (BCISS) is a University Inter-Disciplinary Research Centre, taking in members from the School of Engineering and Design, School of Law, and from the Department of Economics and Finance from the School of Social Sciences, as well as core members from the Department of Politics and History. BCISS is the first academic Centre established in the UK to deal specifically with intelligence issues, policy and institutions. Established in November 2003 the Centre aims to promote and develop social science and policy-oriented approaches to intelligence.

Visit the Military History - MA page on the Brunel University London website for more details!




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