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Course Content

Course content

About the course

The MA Modern History at Aberystwyth offers you the opportunity to study modern British, continental European, American and/or world history from the early 19th century to the present with a team of leading specialists in their fields. The course embraces a range of perspectives including political, diplomatic, social, cultural and media history, and also provides you with intensive training in research skills and methods for modern history, including the opportunity to develop or enhance your knowledge of a European language.

Why study MA Modern History at Aberystwyth University?

Study just five minutes away from one of five UK copyright libraries, the National Library of Wales

History has been taught in Aberystwyth since 1872, making our department the oldest in Wales and one of the foremost in Britain

Aberystwyth University is a top 50 university for research power and intensity – REF 2014

All our lecturers are active researchers who publish their work

Benefit from small group teaching

Opportunity to undertake a work placement as part of this course with an institution that engages on a daily basis with history

Engage with a variety of paradigms, perspectives, methodologies, sources and interdisciplinary approaches to history

Develop your own research interests in the field of modern history (18th 19th, 20th centuries including the contemporary period) aided by the longstanding expertise of the Department of History and Welsh History

A wide variety of option modules are available as part of this course and staff expertise within the Department is varied and expansive

Course structure and content

When studied full-time, the first two semesters consist of six 20 credit modules. Students will take a core module that addresses the concept of political culture in the modern era and a research training module - Research Methods and Professional Skills in History.

Students will then take a further four optional modules. Option modules are varied and allow students to direct their study into a diverse range of topics. Students will also be able to undertake additional research training modules tailored to their own particular research interests (such as the use of public opinion data or private correspondence, visual and sound media, newspapers and broadcast sources, and oral history). Students on this course will also have the opportunity to study a modern European language at either beginners or advanced level.

In the final semester, students complete their MA dissertation, an original research project (15,000 words) undertaken under the close supervision of a specialist within the Department.

Core modules:

Dissertation *
Political Culture in Modern Britain, Europe and the Usa
Research Methods and Professional Skills in History

Optional modules:

Class and Community in Wales 1850 - 1939
Concepts and Sources in Heritage Studies
Heritage Organisations and the Presentation of the Past
Information and Society
Landownership and Society in Wales
Media History: An Introduction
Political Power and the Media in Britain
Politics and Culture of the Cold War in Southeast Asia
Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis
Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis (1120)
Science, Place and Victorian Culture
Sources for Postgraduate Research in the Modern Humanities and Social Sciences
The American Public, Washington and the World
The European Powers in the Age of World Wars
The Georgian Spa and Seaside Resort
The Making of Modern Wales
Understanding the Cold War
Working with History

* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh

Contact time

Approximately 10 hours a week in the first two semesters. During semester three you will arrange your level of contact time with your assigned supervisor.


Assessment for this course is largely essay based, with some optional modules also incorporating report writing and oral assessment.

The Research Methods and Professional Skills in History module will be assessed via an oral assessment of MA conference presentation, an assessed outline of an MA conference presentation, a critical assessment of a departmental research seminar, and a dissertation research proposal.

Successful submission of the MA dissertation in the final semester leads to the award of an MA.


This course will empower you to:

• Increase your critical faculties
• Develop study and research skills
• Develop strong writing and analytical skills as well as the capacity to work independently
• Develop your abilities in structuring and communicating complex ideas clearly, accurately, and authoritatively
• Interrogate historical practices at an advanced level
• Develop practical skills and hands-on experience in researching Modern History


Graduates from the Department of History and Welsh History at Aberystwyth University have expansive and varied careers.

Examples of pathways our previous graduates have taken include:

• Archivists
• Publishers
• Local and national politics
• Tourism
• Heritage administration
• Public administration
• Real Estate Development
• Law
• Civil Service
• Journalism
• Broadcast media
• Armed Forces
• Education
• Management
• Accountancy
• Entrepreneurs
• Academia/further study

Visit the Modern History - Ma page on the Aberystwyth University website for more details!




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