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The MPhil in Modern British History offers students an exciting and intellectually stimulating course, combining research skills and in-depth understanding of the development and latest innovations within modern British history. At its core, the MPhil provides the opportunity to shape your own intellectual trajectory and questions through undertaking your dissertation in consultation with leading historians in the field. The tailored, individual and closely supervised dissertation work is complemented by the important place in the course for group work and the creation of a supportive intellectual community. You'll emerge with excellent skills for undertaking advanced research, and a degree that will be highly valued in institutions across the world. The advanced research and writing skills gained will also be of immediate use in a wide variety of occupations.

"British" will be understood in the widest sense of the word, ie encompassing the relations between England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, as well as with European, imperial and Atlantic history. This course will consider established methodologies in social, political and cultural history, as well as innovative approaches in modern history and historiography. The period covered will be ca. 1700 to the early 21st century.

The MPhil in Modern British History combines taught and research elements over a nine-month full-time programme. The taught elements include three modules, as well as training workshops and seminars, and all students will also complete a long piece of independent research (15,000–20,000 words).

Throughout the course, students will be supervised by a dedicated member of staff, who will guide their research towards the completion of an original historical subject chosen and developed by them. In addition, students will benefit from Cambridge’s vibrant research environment in Modern British History, attending and participating in guest talks, workshops and other events throughout the year.

The 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 modern British history. It is particularly appropriate for those who may wish to continue on to a PhD, at Cambridge or elsewhere, in modern British history. It is also well suited for those who seek simply to explore modern British history at a deeper level. It is expected that this will be the normal means by which those without an appropriate master’s degree from another university will prepare for the PhD degree in Modern British History at Cambridge.

Cambridge graduates in Modern British History have gone on to doctoral research, as well as prestigious careers in public service, the media and the private sector.

Follow the MPhil in Modern British History on Twitter to find out more about our exciting work and what our students are up to.

Learning Outcomes

Students on the MPhil in Modern British History will be provided with an in-depth study of some of the key areas of research in Modern British History and all students will have a supervisor who will guide them through the requirements of the course and, most crucially, the dissertation.

In this manner, all students are provided with the historiographical knowledge and analytical skills necessary to understand and evaluate existing research and to pursue research in their own fields of intellectual interest. Through individual supervisions and group classes, students are introduced to the more specialised and intensive nature of research required at a postgraduate level.

By the end of the programme, students will have acquired:

  • a firm grasp of the historiographical debates in modern British history;
  • research skills relevant to the specific area in which they will have written a dissertation; and
  • the ability to situate their own research findings within the context of previous and current interpretative scholarly debates in the field.


The Faculty’s MPhil programmes provide excellent preparation for doctoral study and many of our MPhil students choose to stay at Cambridge to pursue a Cambridge PhD.

Students wishing to continue to the PhD are normally expected to achieve an overall mark of 70 in their MPhil with a mark of at least 70 in their dissertation.

Admission to the PhD is always subject to the availability of a suitable supervisor. 


The MPhil in Modern British History is a nine-month full-time programme which combines elements of formal teaching with independent research. Students on the MPhil will join a group of researchers of all levels within the field of British history, allowing them to integrate into the research culture of Modern British history at Cambridge.


Students can expect to receive:

  • regular oral feedback from their supervisor, as well as termly online feedback reports;
  • written feedback on essays and assessments;
  • oral feedback from peers during graduate workshops and seminars;
  • written and oral feedback on dissertation proposal essay to be discussed with their supervisor; and
  • formal written feedback from two examiners after examination of a dissertation.

Visit the MPhil in Modern British History page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!




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