• Goldsmiths, University of London Featured Masters Courses
  • Coventry University Featured Masters Courses
  • Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University Featured Masters Courses
  • St Mary’s University, Twickenham Featured Masters Courses
  • New College of the Humanities Featured Masters Courses
  • University of Derby Online Learning Featured Masters Courses
  • University of Glasgow Featured Masters Courses
  • Cardiff University Featured Masters Courses
Middlesex University Featured Masters Courses
University of Reading Featured Masters Courses
University of Worcester Featured Masters Courses
Queen’s University Belfast Featured Masters Courses
Bath Spa University Featured Masters Courses

The Making of the Modern World (MA)

Course Description

How has the decline of European empires in the extra-European world shaped the 20th century – and beyond?

The Master’s degree in The Making of the Modern World is an innovative programme which addresses the legacies of decolonisation on contemporary nation and state-building around the world. Students are introduced to debates about decolonisation and its relationship with modernity, addressing the question of how the end of empire has shaped the modern world.

This MA examines the nature of decolonisation in comparative perspective, looking at the British, French, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Belgian empires, rather than limiting the study of empire to a few case studies or to a single colonial power. The MA examines the differences in colonial governance and decolonisation processes, and how this has impacted the development of successor colonial states and the processes of decolonisation, nation-building, and the strengthening of the state which these states experienced.

Upon graduating, students will receive a degree awarded by the University of London.

Students will:

Learn about and analyse the political, developmental, institutional and social legacies of the decolonisation process;
Understand the connectivity between domestic politics and society and international diplomacy and policymaking;
Develop skills in understanding and analysing archival sources and undertaking archival and oral research;
Understand the ways in which the decline of the European empires in the extra-European world has shaped the 20th century.
This advanced degree provides an excellent foundation for students who wish to expand their knowledge of international history, politics and society prior to working for international organisations, the media, or in other professional capacities. It also provides the base for those wishing to do further research in African, Asian or European studies.

In addition to the knowledge gained over the course of the MA, the skills students develop - including the ability to analyse material in detail, process quantitative and qualitative data to reach informed conclusions, critique existing knowledge and conduct independent research - will be relevant to a wide variety of careers and will broaden students' appeal to a range of employers.


In order to pass the MA, students need to have achieved a total of 90 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) credits. ECTS credits are recognised across the European Union. The degree comprises four compulsory modules (including the dissertation), and three optional modules.

Required (core) modules (Autumn Term):

Historical Research Skills (with the Institute of Historical Research) [10 ECTS]
European Decolonisation in the 20th Century [10 ECTS]
Ethnicity, Nationalism, Liberation and Identity: the view from the Extra-European world [10 ECTS]
Optional modules* (Spring Term):

Diplomacy and Decolonisation [10 credits]
Geopolitics and Decolonisation [10 credits]
Policing, Intelligence and Counter-Insurgency [10 credits]
Decolonisation, Nation-State Building and Development [10 credits]
*All modules are subject to availability.

Dissertation [30 ECTS]

Students will complete a 15,000-word research-based dissertation on a chosen topic within human rights which is of special interest to them. This topic will be chosen in consultation with your dissertation supervisor, who will provide support.


The MA is assessed primarily through essays, although class participation also contributes towards assessment. Additional formative assessments include class presentations.

Mode of study

Study options: full-time over one year, or part time over 24 months.

Students undertaking the MA on a part-time basis will take two required modules in Autumn Term of their first year, and up to two optional modules in the Spring Term. They will take one required module in the Autumn Term of their second year, and one or two optional modules in the Spring Term.

Visit the The Making of the Modern World (MA) page on the University of London, School of Advanced Study website for more details!

Entry Requirements

The normal minimum entrance requirement is a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree from a university in the UK or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. We will consider applications from candidates who do not meet the formal academic requirements but who offer alternative qualifications and/or relevant experience.

Last Updated

01 March 2017

Email Enquiry

Recipient: University of London, School of Advanced Study

Insert previous message below for editing? 
You haven’t included a message. Providing a specific message means universities will take your enquiry more seriously and helps them provide the information you need.
Why not add a message here
* required field
Send a copy to me for my own records.

Your enquiry has been emailed successfully

Cookie Policy    X