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Course content

Sport cannot be understood without an appreciation of its history. Taught by expert staff based in DMU's International Centre for Sports History and Culture (ICSHC), the only centre of its kind in the world, this MA offers you a flexible, interactive way to develop your knowledge and understanding of all aspects of modern sport from its traditional to its present day form. Issues you will investigate include:

  • What are the origins of modern sport?
  • Why has sport become so culturally and globally important?
  • How can sport help us understand society and different cultures?
  • What primary sources are available to historians of sport and how can they be used?

While the course may be taken online and by distance learning course, you will be invited to attend optional seminars and conferences organised by the ICSHC and affiliates. We encourage you to become part of our wider research community at the ICSHC, either in person or via social media. 

You will benefit from the ICSHC’s extensive network of sporting and cultural partnerships with local, national and global sporting bodies.. These partnerships, along with our academic team’s combination of expertise and experience, will provide you with a challenging and rewarding intellectual experience leading to a valuable qualification.

Modules

The course comprises of four taught modules, plus a 15,000 word dissertation on a subject of your choice selected in consultation with your tutor. 

Social and Cultural Themes of Sport

This module examines the development of sport and physical culture in Britain and continental Europe from the 1850s. This includes the emergence of amateurism and the on-going tension between the amateur ethos and the commercialisation of sport as well as the codification, modernisation and globalisation of sporting practices. Particular reference is made to the importance of social divisions, such as class, gender and race.

Sport, Politics and Policy

This module examines the relationship between sport and international politics, and looks at how government public policies have impacted on sport and explores identity politics in sport. The module is based around the history of mega-events such as the Olympic Games and also global sporting institutions like the International Olympic Committee and FIFA. In addition, sport in the Cold War is also examined.

Investigating Sports History: Research Methods

The primary aim of this module is to prepare students for their dissertation. It comprises two mandatory essays a thematic review and a dissertation plan for which you will receive expert guidance, concerning historiography and methodology. 

In addition, to help you specialise, you will choose one from the following:

Sport, Writing and History 

The module considers written social and cultural aspects of the representation of sport in Britain and in an international context. The central aim is to promote appreciation of an historical approach to imaginative literature and non-fiction including autobiography, sports journalism and popular writing. This will enable students better to identify and explain long-term changes in the representation of sport and recreation and its transmission to a wide range of readers and audiences. 

Football: Past and Present

This module explores the history of the game, from its origins, and its development from both domestic and international perspectives. It is arranged both thematically and chronologically and includes: the origins of football; the early professionalization and commercialisation of the game; the emergence of international football; football and the media; the football manager; football fans; the modernisation of football and global actors, such as FIFA. 

The History of Rugby

This module examines the social history of rugby, starting in the mid-19 century and the popularisation of the sport through Tom Brown’s Schooldays to the 1995 professionalisation of rugby union. Using film, oral history and primary sources, the module examines the development of the sport through the perspectives of class, gender and national identity. At each stage the history of the sport is related to the broader history of British society in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Teaching

The Sports History and Culture MA allows you to study at your own pace. Study materials for your coursework are accessed via Blackboard. For each module there is a weekly lecture plus on-line reading, in addition to the resources available via the DMU Library. There are module leaders for each module and they will provide input regarding your coursework. Module leaders will be available each week by email, phone or Skype. Alongside set assignments, you are encouraged to suggest your own proposals in preparation for writing your dissertation. 

There are two types of assessments: a Critical Analysis Assignment and an Essay. The length of the essay – either 5,000 or 7,500 words – will depend on whether you choose to write a Critical Analysis Assignment for that particular module. Critical Analysis Assignments are 2,500 words in length. Deadlines will be set for each assessment. 

This is a distance learning programme. Full-time students are expected to commit 35 hours a week of study to this programme, which will include reading lectures and secondary sources; writing assessments (critical analysis assignments or essays where appropriate for first three modules); engaging with research methods and historiography; undertaking primary source research and writing of dissertation.

Graduate careers

Many of our students have used their studies to develop careers in sports writing, sport development, management, the media and teaching. Others have gone on to undertake PhD research and pursue academic careers. A number have used their studies to publish work. A number of our students have undertaken a six month paid internship with the history management team at the Adidas headquarters in Germany.

We are actively developing our employability links with the course. With the flexibility of distance learning, our students often take the course part time while they work. Others choose the more intensive one-year study plan to obtain an MA before applying for further study such as a PGCE or PhD programme. This mixture makes the varied career profiles of our students a strength of the MA, in terms of its multi disciplinary intake.


Visit the Sports History and Culture MA page on the De Montfort University website for more details!

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