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Course content

The course will provide students with the core competencies, knowledge and skills required to understand and interpret sources and historiography in the context of their research.

The MRes offers a bespoke research and training programme that draws on the research expertise of staff in the History programme. You can structure and design your own programme to fit your own research interests and skill needs. You can gain training in areas such as oral history, databases, palaeography and archive use. You will design your own tailor-made readings programme with support from academic staff with expertise in that area, to allow you to develop a critical understanding of the work of other scholars and you will have the opportunity to present the findings of your research to other students and academics.

Programme Content

Using and interpreting Historical Sources will form a focus in Semester 1.
This will include:
- archival skills
- documentary research skills
- dissertation planning
- language and translation
- ethnohistory
- film and television

Historical Skills will form a focus in the spring. This will include a number of optional skills:
- databases
- oral history
- palaeography

The directed readings module will allow you to define your own topic and select appropriate readings to gain an historiographical knowledge of your selected topic. The 30,000 word dissertation should reflect the skills and topics that you have selected and forms the major component of this programme.

What you will learn

The Programme provides training for students at research-preparation Masters level, providing enhancement of undergraduate qualifications and preparing students for doctoral degree study. Knowledge and understanding

1. The ability to evaluate and understand the major relevant historiographies.
2. The ability to discuss and evaluate the significance the historical context of the chosen research topic.

Subject-specific practical and intellectual skills and attributes

1. The ability to construct a reasoned defence of an interpretation of an event or aspect of society in the past
2. An understanding of theoretical approaches to history and their use and relevance.
3. An understanding of the main sources available to historians.
4. An appreciation of the different historical research techniques and how they may be used.
5. The ability to construct an independent research project.

Transferable, employability and enterprise skills and attributes

1. The ability to identify and retrieve information from a wide variety of sources
2. The ability to devise and plan independent study
3. The ability to undertake critical reasoning and logical argument
4. Communication and presentational skills in a written contexts
5. The ability to manage time effectively and organise priorities

How you will be assessed

The programme is assessed entirely through continual assessment designed to provide support for developing a research project. The ability to analyse complex and sometimes contradictory information and to present that material in a coherent narrative will be assessed by essays which will also test the students’ conception of current historiographical debates. The development of the students’ ideas will be assessed through module journals which will also allow the students to maintain a dialogue with tutors. The students’ oral and presentation skills, and their ability to organise complex and partial information into a coherent and time-limited form, will be tested by the Presentation to the postgraduate conference. The ability of students to design and complete a research project will be assessed by the research dissertation which forms the majority of the assessment for the programme.


The programme is designed to provide a bespoke and tailor-made package to develop student research skills. Students are provided with a range of opportunities to develop core research skills and to develop the historiographical context necessary to write a dissertation. All students take the core skills and sources module and design their own directed readings programme with an appropriate tutor.

Visit the MRes History page on the University of Dundee website for more details!




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