The MPhil in Early Modern History provides intensive training in the history of early modern Britain, Europe and the wider world to enable its students to produce a substantial piece of historical research and historical writing. This stimulating course is designed for those who have completed degrees in which History is the main or at least a substantial component and who want to consolidate their knowledge of the period between 1500 and 1800. It aims to deepen students’ understanding of how early modern history has been studied and to explore how traditional and innovative methods can be used to interpret it.
This course is designed both for those who are considering undertaking historical research at a doctoral level and for those who seek simply to explore history and the craft of the historian at an advanced level. In the first term, students are offered an intensive training programme consisting of classes, seminars, workshops, individual and group assignments. Each student will take two compulsory training modules and select three from a list of options, including languages, palaeography, the history of the book, visual and material culture, and a variety of thematic courses. Those who satisfactorily complete this programme of study will move on to an individual research project, which will lead to the submission of a 20,000-25,000 word dissertation.
By the end of the course, students should have acquired:
- a deeper understanding of their chosen area of early modern history and the critical debates within it - a conceptual and technical understanding that enables the evaluation of current research and methodologies - the technical skills necessary to pursue primary research in their chosen area - the ability to situate their own research within current and past methodological and interpretative developments in the field.
Part I: in the Michaelmas term, students on the course take two compulsory training modules and select three from a list of five options, including languages, palaeography, the history of the book, visual and material culture, and a variety of thematic courses. Students are also expected to attend a weekly relevant graduate research seminar. Those who satisfactorily complete this programme of study move on to Part II: a research dissertation, supervised by one of Cambridge's early modern scholars, which is undertaken during the Lent and Easter terms.
Students are provided with written feedback on the formative essays they submit at the end of the Michaelmas Term. They receive regular oral feedback from their dissertation supervisors, who also write termly reports. Oral feedback is also provided at the Dissertation presentations workshop. They will receive formal written feedback from two examiners after the submission and examination of their dissertations.
This MPhil is assessed solely through a 20,000-25,000 word dissertation. An oral examination will only be required in cases where one of the marks is a marginal fail.
Students submit short essays (2,000 words) for each of their 5 modules. These pieces of work do not contribute to the mark for the degree. Students must, however, pass these essays (Part I of the course) to proceed to Part II (dissertation).
In order to be considered for continuation to the PhD, and always subject to satisfactory supervision arrangements being in place, students are expected to obtain an overall mark of 70 for the MPhil and a mark of at least 70 for their dissertation.