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Course content

The course is designed for those who have completed degrees in which historical analysis formed a substantial (or indeed the main) component and who want to consolidate their knowledge of Modern European history. It is particularly appropriate for those who may wish to continue on to a PhD, at Cambridge or elsewhere, in this field. It is also well-suited for those who seek simply to deepen their grasp of Modern European history. It is expected that this will be the normal means by which those without an appropriate Master’s degree from elsewhere will prepare for the PhD degree in Modern European history at Cambridge.

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Course detail

By the end of the course, students should have acquired:

1. a deeper understanding of their chosen area of modern European history and the critical debates within it
2. a conceptual and technical understanding that enables the evaluation of current research and methodologiesthe technical
3. skills necessary to pursue primary research in their chosen are
4. the ability to situate their own research within current and past methodological and interpretative developments in the field.


In the first term, students on the course will be offered an intensive training program consisting of classes, seminars, workshops, individual and group assignments. Each student will take a compulsory core course on major historiographical controversies, drawing on specialist lecturers and key readings. Spanning the first two terms, the course provides a foundational understanding of central themes in Modern European History. Students will also choose two Options in Michaelmas Term from a range of courses provided each year and evolving with the research interest of Faculty currently teaching within the MPhil. Suitable Options offered by other MPhils may be substituted.

Each Option requires an essay of no more than 4,000 words (or equivalent in case of an external Option, in accordance with its arrangements) which will count for 10% of the final mark (so the Core course and Options will count for 30% of the final degree mark).Satisfactory performance across all three essay-based components will be a necessary condition for proceeding to the dissertation element of the degree. Students will also conceive and carry out a research project, closely supervised by one of Cambridge’s outstanding group of Modern European historians. They will be expected to submit a dissertation of between 15,000 and 20,000 words by the beginning of June. This dissertation is worth 70% of the final mark in the degree.


The thesis will be 15,000-20,000 words and count for 70% of the final degree mark.
An oral examination will only be required in cases where one of the marks is a marginal fail.

Each of three modules in Michaelmas and Lent (one Compulsory Core, and two Options) will require a 3,000-4,000 word essay (or equivalent). Each will count toward 10% of the final degree mark, for a total of 30%. Marks of 60 or above in these essays are required in order to proceed to Part II of the course, the dissertation element.


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.

Please see the Faculty website for more information:

How to apply:

Funding Opportunities

Please see the History Faculty’s Funding Guide via the History Faculty’s weblink below:

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




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Recipient: University of Cambridge

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