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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 



  • Dissertation (60 credits)
  • Political Culture in Modern Britain, Europe and the Usa (20 credits)
  • Research Methods and Professional Skills in History (20 credits)


  • Class and Community in Wales 1850 - 1939 (20 credits)
  • Concepts and Sources in Heritage Studies (20 credits)
  • Heritage Organisations and the Presentation of the Past (20 credits)
  • Information and Society (20 credits)
  • Landownership and Society in Wales (20 credits)
  • Media History: An Introduction (20 credits)
  • Politics and Culture of the Cold War in Southeast Asia (20 credits)
  • Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis (1120) (20 credits)
  • Science, Place and Victorian Culture (20 credits)
  • Sources for Postgraduate Research in the Modern Humanities and Social Sciences (20 credits)
  • The Making of Modern Wales (20 credits)
  • Working with History (20 credits)

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.

How will I learn?

This course can be studied one year full-time or 24 to 36 months part-time. Depending on the modules chosen, the course is delivered through a combination of seminars, tutorials, workshops, and potentially a work placement with a heritage agency.

The core module, Research Methods and Professional Skills in History, will also require students to attend Departmental Research seminars, where students will be immersed into the research culture of the Department.

Throughout the year students will also receive workshops to aid them in researching and writing their dissertation, and during the final semester, students will arrange their level of contact time with their assigned dissertation supervisor.

What will I learn?

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.

How will I be assessed?

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.


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 


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 

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





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