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Overview

If you're fascinated by British naval history – from Nelson's journey to national hero status, to the Royal Navy's role in the British Empire – our MA Naval History degree course lets you transform your interest into a postgraduate qualification.

Through flexible distance learning, you'll explore 400 years of naval history, take a deep dive into the subject through our links with the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) and HMS Warrior, and get expert teaching from naval experts and curators.

You'll study subjects such as the Royal Navy's importance to British and global history, and how the navy is represented in popular culture. You'll look at Naval life from many perspectives, learn about the lives of ordinary sailors in peace and war, and examine the cult of the naval hero.

When you complete this course, you'll have expertise in British naval history and transferable skills too – like independent learning, written communication, textual analysis and time management – that'll make you an ideal candidate for PhD study, or for a career in fields like journalism, administration or archival and museum curation.

What you'll experience

On this course you'll:

  • Have access to the archives, expertise and galleries of the NMRN and HMS Warrior
  • Make the most of our links with domestic and international maritime museums, including opportunities to go on field trips and behind the scenes tours
  • Learn about key areas of Royal Navy history, from the early modern period to present day
  • Develop your ability to carry out historical research and interpret multi-archive sources
  • Get transferable skills which will help in your future career
  • Use our extensive interactive resources, including unique primary sources, secondary literature, and video clips of experts in the field
  • Use of our huge collection of digital archival material from the University Library to aid your research
  • Write a dissertation based on your own research
  • Be supported by staff and experts through seminars, field trips and remote learning

Work experience and career planning

We'll help you to identify voluntary roles and opportunities that will complement your studies.

When you complete this course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the heritage, teaching, or other related industries.

After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career. 

How you'll spend your time

Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and an assessment period:

  • Autumn teaching block – September to December
  • Spring teaching block – January to Easter
  • Assessment period – Easter to June

You’ll get a timetable 4 weeks before the start of a teaching block.

Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. There’s no teaching on Wednesday afternoons. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.

Teaching​

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • interactive online resources
  • one-to-one feedback and guidance with lecturers
  • online live/real-time virtual seminars

There are also optional activities, such as:

  • opportunities to attend regular History research seminars conducted by both University of Portsmouth and external academics
  • field trips - domestic and abroad

How you're assessed​

You’ll be assessed through:

  • essays
  • document analysis
  • book reviews
  • 15,000 word dissertation

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

Careers and opportunities

The transferable skills that you develop on this course will make you an excellent candidate for a number of careers, including:

  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Teaching
  • Administration
  • Archive and museum work
  • Civil service
  • Armed forces
  • Research

Other graduates have continued their studies to PhD level or set up successful businesses with help and support from the University.


Visit the Naval History (Distance Learning) MA page on the University of Portsmouth website for more details!

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