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History & Archaeology×

Birkbeck, University of London, Full Time Masters Degrees in History & Archaeology

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A research degree offers you the opportunity to acquire a highly advanced set of conceptual skills developed in the pursuit of new knowledge, which can be applied within or beyond an academic or scholarly context. Read more
A research degree offers you the opportunity to acquire a highly advanced set of conceptual skills developed in the pursuit of new knowledge, which can be applied within or beyond an academic or scholarly context. Research training in any academic discipline helps to channel creativity into critical innovatory reasoning. The legitimate authority of original, independent research depends upon persuasive analytical arguments supported by critically evaluated evidence.

We provide a supportive context for research in the following areas: ancient Greece and Roman social and cultural history; late antiquity; history of medieval societies and cultures; British social, cultural and political history since 1400; French history since 1400; Italian history since 1500; the cultural history of early modern cities, especially London and Venice; the history of ideas from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries; Russian history since 1800; nineteenth- and twentieth-century American social and cultural history; Balkan history and the history of the Ottoman Empire and its successor states; West and Southern Africa in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; the history of Japan and East Asia; the history of modern Germany, France and Italy; the history of science, medicine and psychoanalysis in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; and the cultural history of death, warfare, race, gender and sexuality.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
The Department of History, Classics and Archaeology is internationally recognised for innovative research, focusing on the interaction between cultural, social and political history, ranging from antiquity to the twenty-first century, and covering Britain, Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. View the department's full-time academic staff.
Birkbeck welcomes all students interested in beginning a research degree. We combine a unique expertise in catering for part-time students with considerable success in attracting full-time students from the UK and overseas.
You will gain from contact with leading specialists in your chosen field of research. You will broaden your range of academic and intellectual contacts. You will significantly widen your general experience of academic life and institutions.
Working with a supervisor who is an internationally renowned specialist in the field should be a major stimulus to developing your work and infusing it with fresh ideas and new approaches.
The School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy is an exciting, cosmopolitan and intellectually stimulating environment in which to pursue research. Our community of research students includes full-time and part-time students.
In recent years, a number have successfully applied for funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as well as other sources. Many of our students come from outside the UK. Some are studying for a research degree out of personal interest, while others are undertaking research with the aim of pursuing an academic career in due course.

Our research

Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.

Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), History at Birkbeck was ranked 6th in the UK for the percentage of our research deemed world-leading or internationally excellent. 94% of our eligible staff submitted research and we achieved 100% for a research environment supporting world-leading and internationally excellent research.

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This Master's degree in history will expand and deepen your understanding of world history through the exploration of global perspectives and the interconnections that work across geographical and national boundaries. Read more
This Master's degree in history will expand and deepen your understanding of world history through the exploration of global perspectives and the interconnections that work across geographical and national boundaries. The course will introduce you to a wide range of approaches, including comparative histories of empires, nationalism and decolonisation, migration and diaspora, world culture and global archives. You will be encouraged to think expansively about connections between historical themes in world history and you can also focus on a particular region of the world, such as South and East Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and the USA. Drawing on the wide spread of research and teaching expertise within the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology and other departments at Birkbeck, the programme features a wide range of comparative and interdisciplinary modules.

The core module explores specific topics and questions in world history and will equip you with the conceptual ideas and skills needed to study history at postgraduate level. You can then choose 3 option modules from a wide variety, opting, if you wish, to take a focused pathway through the degree by specialising in the history of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, or the imperial and postcolonial periods. You will be encouraged to develop both conceptual and theoretical approaches to understanding the historical development of the modern world, as well as learning research methods that will enable you to specialise in a particular topic of your choosing and undertake the researching and writing of a dissertation.

The course is designed to offer you training to continue on to PhD research in topics in comparative and global history, if you wish, but it will also equip you with the specialist knowledge and transferable skills you need to work in a wide range of intellectually challenging environments, including policy research, media, NGOs and public history.

Teaching staff

Course director: Dr Julia Lovell

Other staff who teach on this MA programme include:

Dr Fred Anscombe
Professor David Feldman
Dr Julia Lovell
Dr Jan Rueger
Dr Hilary Sapire
Professor Naoko Shimazu
Professor Frank Trentmann.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
This Master's degree explores the making of the modern world from comparative, global perspectives.
The programme allows you to follow your own interests, with a wide choice of option modules, while developing your research skills and developing a dissertation in an area that interests you.
Our Department of History, Classics and Archaeology is one of the leading research and teaching departments for history in the UK. It is ranked 6th in the UK for the percentage of our research deemed world-leading or internationally excellent.
Our academic staff are international authorities in their fields, delivering stimulating, research-led teaching.
Our department is home to thriving student societies and a number of affiliated research centres that actively run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research. These include the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, the Raphael Samuel History Centre and the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities.
We are located 5 minutes' walk from the British Museum and the British Library, while the Museum of London is easily reachable. The Institute of Historical Research is located in Bloomsbury, near the main Birkbeck campus, and has an internationally renowned library collection and seminars that you can attend.
Birkbeck Library has an extensive history collection, including the major specialist journals, and access to online materials.

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This Master's degree in history explores how the formidable forces of science and medicine have fundamentally shaped who we are. Read more
This Master's degree in history explores how the formidable forces of science and medicine have fundamentally shaped who we are. The history of science and medicine covers the history of ideas, technologies and interventions, but it also takes into consideration the history of everyday experiences of health, illness and wellbeing. 'Ordinary' people turn out to be the extraordinary lens through which we can reflect on our past. Pain and illness change the way we look at the world: certain forms of suffering are increasing, with chronic pain, for example, now affecting around 40% of people in Britain and America. The provision of healthcare is also undergoing major shifts and history can teach us valuable lessons about how medicine and caregiving has been understood in the past.

This programme explores the historical roots and the social and conceptual foundations of modern science and medicine, equipping you with a deep understanding of how scientific and medical ideas and institutions relate to their broader historical context. It offers you the chance to study this fascinating, expanding area of social and cultural history at a department in which teaching is research-led, delivered by core staff with world-renowned research expertise. This is a growing field in which exciting new questions are being asked and new methodological approaches are being created and applied. Birkbeck is at the forefront of these advances and, unlike similar MA programmes, we cover the period from the ancient world to the present, and from global perspectives.

The programme provides a framework within which you can develop your research techniques and prepare for doctoral, professional or other research, but the primary focus is on providing a rich and varied experience of studying history at postgraduate level, allowing you to satisfy and expand your passion for the subject. The programme will also appeal to healthcare professionals and caregivers who may benefit from knowing more about the history of medicine, health and care.

The compulsory core course will introduce you to the systematic study of historiography and the methodologies used in the analysis and interpretation of historical source material. You can explore the enormous breadth of research interests in the department via the 3 option modules you choose, which span from the ancient to the contemporary. Finally, the dissertation gives you the chance to pursue your own interests and undertake your own research and critical thinking under the supervision of a member of staff with relevant expertise.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
This Master's degree offers an innovative approach to an exciting area of historical and cultural study and is taught by renowned scholars, including Professor Joanna Bourke.
The programme allows you to follow your own interests, with a wide choice of option modules, while developing your research skills and undertaking a dissertation in an area that interests you.
Birkbeck is home to several doctoral candidates and postdoctoral fellows, working in the areas of medical history and medical humanities, who are funded by the Wellcome Trust. Students on this programme are eligible to apply for Wellcome Trust studentships.
Our Department of History, Classics and Archaeology is one of the leading research and teaching departments for history in the UK. It is ranked 6th in the UK for the percentage of our research deemed world-leading or internationally excellent.
Our academic staff are international authorities in their fields, delivering stimulating, research-led teaching.
Our department is home to thriving student societies and a number of affiliated research centres that actively run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research. These include the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, the Raphael Samuel History Centre and the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities.
We are located 5 minutes' walk from the British Museum and the British Library, while the Museum of London is easily reachable. The Institute of Historical Research is located in Bloomsbury, near the main Birkbeck campus, and has an internationally renowned library collection and seminars that you can attend.
Birkbeck Library has an extensive history collection, including the major specialist journals, and access to online materials.

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This Master's degree in history offers you the chance to study at a department with world-renowned expertise in European history, including British, German, French, Italian, Balkan, Russian and Eastern European history, as well as international, transnational, global and comparative historical perspectives. Read more
This Master's degree in history offers you the chance to study at a department with world-renowned expertise in European history, including British, German, French, Italian, Balkan, Russian and Eastern European history, as well as international, transnational, global and comparative historical perspectives. The programme brings together these different fields and develops new approaches to the history of Europe from the early modern period to the present day. It aims to provide you with an appreciation of key debates that have shaped our understanding of Europe and the most important historical and methodological approaches to critically interpreting the European past. Rather than presuppose one all-encompassing definition of 'Europe', whether geographical, ideological or otherwise, the course highlights the different contexts within which the European past and present can be analysed.

Alongside a wide range of option modules covering many aspects of European history and politics from the early modern period to the Cold War, you will also receive training in research methods and undertake your own dissertation, which makes this programme an excellent entry point for more advanced study at either MPhil/PhD level or professionally.
Key teaching staff on this programme

Course Director: Professor Orlando Figes

Other staff who teach on this MA programme include:

Professor Joanna Bourke
Dr Filippo de Vivo
Professor David Feldman
Professor Daniel Pick
Dr Jessica Reinisch
Professor Julian Swann
Professor Frank Trentmann
Professor Nik Wachsmann.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
This Master's programme brings together Birkbeck's wide-ranging expertise in European history, covering a wide geographical and thematic spread.
You will be able to follow your own interests, with a wide choice of option modules, while developing your research skills and undertaking a dissertation in an area that interests you.
Our Department of History, Classics and Archaeology is one of the leading research and teaching departments for history in the UK. It is ranked 6th in the UK for the percentage of our research deemed world-leading or internationally excellent.
Our academic staff are international authorities in their fields, delivering stimulating, research-led teaching.
Our department is home to thriving student societies and a number of affiliated research centres that actively run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research. These include the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, the Raphael Samuel History Centre and the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities.
We are located 5 minutes' walk from the British Museum and the British Library, while the Museum of London is easily reachable. The Institute of Historical Research is located in Bloomsbury, near the main Birkbeck campus, and has an internationally renowned library collection and seminars that you can attend.
Birkbeck Library has an extensive history collection, including the major specialist journals, and access to online materials.

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History of art is a rich and dynamic discipline, combining the rigorous investigation of the visual arts with the creative exploration of their connections to culture, politics and society. Read more
History of art is a rich and dynamic discipline, combining the rigorous investigation of the visual arts with the creative exploration of their connections to culture, politics and society. Postgraduate study in this area trains you at a high level in looking at, thinking about and researching art and its histories.

Birkbeck's MA History of Art offers the opportunity to study with internationally recognised experts. Our teaching staff are defining the field, conducting ground-breaking research in periods from medieval to contemporary, focusing on painting, sculpture, print culture, architecture, photography, digital art and museology.

The MA History of Art exposes you to key art historical approaches, and allows you to focus in depth on areas and periods of particular interest to you, in early and modern (including contemporary) periods, through taught options (see an indicative list of modules on the 'course structure' tab) and independent research. The course also offers opportunities for work placements with London museums, galleries and archives.

The course develops your visual acuity and your understanding of art's histories, while stimulating critical debate and stretching your research skills. In addition to independent written work, you will take part in group discussion, give oral presentations and engage with the Department of History of Art's research culture.

In all of this, you will work closely with our staff while also benefiting from our diverse and vibrant student body of all ages and backgrounds. The teaching programme is enriched by museum and site visits, visiting speakers, screenings and opportunities to get involved as volunteers in research and community outreach activities. The department also offers an exciting study trip every spring.

Students are encouraged to become involved in the lively research culture of the department through the History and Theory of Photography Research Centre, the Architecture, Space and Society Centre and the Vasari Research Centre, which has pioneered the field of digital art history. In addition to the core teaching and individual research support, students benefit from many events in the Department of History of Art at Birkbeck, including: the postgraduate Research Seminar, which brings art historians from all over the UK and beyond to speak at Birkbeck; the biennial Murray Lecture; the Murray Seminar on Medieval and Renaissance Art; and the programme of exhibitions and displays at the Peltz Gallery, the School of Arts' purpose-built exhibition space. Students are also welcome to attend other seminars and events across the School of Arts and at the Birkbeck Institute for Humanities.

We offer taster events and information evenings for prospective students interested in our history of art programmes throughout the year.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
You will work closely with leading international experts in the history of art.
You can choose to specialise in a wide range of periods and geographies, from medieval European architecture and cityscapes to contemporary global art practices.
You can study flexibly, full-time or part-time, with all teaching in the evenings.
On class visits and in your independent research you will have access to London's world-class art collections, museums and libraries.
Your fellow students are from a wide range of backgrounds and are often already working in the field, offering a high level of discussion and excellent networking opportunities.
You will have access to the Birkbeck Library and an in-house resources centre. In addition, our location in Bloomsbury offers excellent access to specialist libraries in the University of London. These include the University of London Library, Institute of Historical Research, Warburg Institute and School of Oriental and African Studies, together with the major national resource of the British Library.
You will also have easy access to specialist art libraries not far from Birkbeck, including the library of the Courtauld Institute of Art, the Royal Institute of British Architects library and the National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), as well as the great visual resources of the British Museum, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain, Tate Modern and V&A, commercial galleries and salesrooms. Temporary exhibition galleries like the Barbican Gallery, Institute of Contemporary Arts, Hayward Gallery and Royal Academy also make London a particularly good place in which to undertake research.
You can participate in the rich research culture of the Department of History of Art.
Keep up-to-date with our research on the Birkbeck History of Art blog.

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This Master's degree is devoted to the advanced study of the archaeological, historical and cultural legacies of ancient Greece and Rome within their broader Mediterranean contexts. Read more
This Master's degree is devoted to the advanced study of the archaeological, historical and cultural legacies of ancient Greece and Rome within their broader Mediterranean contexts. It will provide you with the skills required to retrieve and evaluate archaeological evidence and use the material culture of the classical period to enhance your understanding of ancient societies. This programme is ideal for anybody interested in the archaeology and history of the classical past who is preparing for doctoral or professional research, or specialist work in heritage management.

The programme starts with an exploration of the broad themes of classical archaeology, including methodological and interpretative approaches to the material past. While grounding you in theoretical approaches, the degree will also develop your practical skills with an optional fieldwork module that covers major techniques and approaches to excavation. Another focus is the contemporary debates on the reception and interpretation of classical history and culture, particularly the meanings that have been attached to antiquities. You will also develop a critical understanding of archaeological research that will enable you to go on to complete a dissertation on a subject of particular interest to you and, if you wish, pursue archaeological research at MPhil/PhD level, professionally or independently.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
This Master’s degree will allow you to follow your own interests, with a wide choice of option modules, while developing your research skills and undertaking a dissertation in an area that interests you.
We maintain close links with key institutions concerned with the study and conservation of classical cultural remains.
We are located 5 minutes' walk from the British Museum and the British Library, while the Museum of London is easily reachable. The Institute of Classical Studies and the Institute of Historical Research, the Institute of Archaeology and the Warburg Institute are all located in Bloomsbury, near the main Birkbeck campus. All 4 institutes have internationally renowned library collections and run seminars you can attend.
Our Department of History, Classics and Archaeology is ranked in the top 20 nationally and is a world-renowned centre of original, influential research.
Our academic staff are international authorities in their respective fields, delivering stimulating teaching. You will be taught by specialists engaged in cutting-edge research in the archaeology, history and culture of the ancient Mediterranean.
The department is home to thriving student societies and a number of affiliated research centres that actively run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research.
Birkbeck Library has an extensive history collection, including the major specialist journals, and access to online materials.

Our research

Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.

Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), History at Birkbeck was ranked 6th in the UK for the percentage of our research deemed world-leading or internationally excellent. 94% of our eligible staff submitted research and we achieved 100% for a research environment supporting world-leading and internationally excellent research.

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This Master's degree in history and politics will give you a deep understanding of the recent past and the contemporary world and help you develop the approaches, techniques and skills of the professional historian. Read more
This Master's degree in history and politics will give you a deep understanding of the recent past and the contemporary world and help you develop the approaches, techniques and skills of the professional historian. Using an interdisciplinary combination of historical and political approaches, it lays a strong emphasis on the critical analysis of the recent past, with the overall aim of giving you specialist knowledge of particular regions and themes. You will study the complex interplay between national, international and global political, social and historical forces that have produced the contemporary world.

The introductory core module offers an in-depth exploration of the methodological, conceptual and theoretical background necessary for historical study at postgraduate level. It also considers specific topics and questions in contemporary history and politics. You will undertake training in research skills to prepare you for researching and writing a dissertation on the subject that most interests you.

You can choose from an impressive range of option modules, selecting from those offered by the Department of Politics and by the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology. These options cover a wide sweep of political ideas and systems, historical periods and geographical places, including the United States, China, the Middle East and Europe. Options modules are usually available in topics including the post-war reconstruction of Europe, Islam and the politics of fundamentalism, American global supremacy and foreign policy, national and transnational structures for ensuring global order and justice, and the rise of China as a superpower, among others.

Key teaching staff on this programme

Course directors: Dr Sarah Howard and Professor Naoko Shimazu
Professor Joanna Bourke
Professor Orlando Figes
Professor Daniel Pick
Professor Frank Trentmann
Dr Hilary Sapire
Professor Naoko Shimazu
Professor Chandak Sengoopta
Dr Jan Rueger.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
This interdisciplinary Master's degree in history and politics provides a unique perspective on the modern world and gives you the opportunity to study a wide range of subjects in depth.
The course allows you to follow your own interests, with a wide choice of option modules, while developing your research skills and undertaking a dissertation in an area that interests you.
Our Department of History, Classics and Archaeology is one of the leading research and teaching departments for history in the UK. It is ranked 6th in the UK for the percentage of our research deemed world-leading or internationally excellent.
Our academic staff are international authorities in their fields, delivering stimulating, research-led teaching.
Our department is home to thriving student societies and a number of affiliated research centres that actively run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research. These include the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, the Raphael Samuel History Centre and the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities.
We are located 5 minutes' walk from the British Museum and the British Library, while the Museum of London is easily reachable. The Institute of Historical Research is located in Bloomsbury, near the main Birkbeck campus, and has an internationally renowned library collection and seminars that you can attend.
Birkbeck Library has an extensive history collection, including the major specialist journals, and access to online materials.

Read less
A research degree offers you the opportunity to acquire a highly advanced set of conceptual skills developed in the pursuit of new knowledge, which can be applied within or beyond an academic or scholarly context. Read more
A research degree offers you the opportunity to acquire a highly advanced set of conceptual skills developed in the pursuit of new knowledge, which can be applied within or beyond an academic or scholarly context. Research training in any academic discipline helps to channel creativity into critical innovatory reasoning. The legitimate authority of original, independent research depends upon persuasive analytical arguments supported by critically evaluated evidence.

Our research areas include: classical Greek, Hellenistic and Roman Republican archaeology; Roman provincial archaeology; and late antique and early medieval Western European archaeology. Key specialisms include: archaeology of urban settlement, archaeology of cult and ritual, death and burial, social archaeology, attitudes to the past, and interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary studies in history and archaeology.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.

Our research

Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.

Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), History at Birkbeck was ranked 6th in the UK for the percentage of our research deemed world-leading or internationally excellent. 94% of our eligible staff submitted research and we achieved 100% for a research environment supporting world-leading and internationally excellent research.

Read less
This Master's degree in history explores early modern European societies in the period from the Renaissance to the Reformation and on to the Enlightenment and the outbreak of the French Revolution. Read more
This Master's degree in history explores early modern European societies in the period from the Renaissance to the Reformation and on to the Enlightenment and the outbreak of the French Revolution. One of its most exciting and distinguishing features is that it considers developments in Britain, continental Europe (notably France and Italy) and the wider world (particularly the Americas) in comparative perspective, which brings into question the idea of the distinctive nature of national histories.

Some of the key themes you will study are the impact of religious conflict, economic and social developments, government and social order, the growth of urban settlements, population and demographic change, the mutual interactions between Europe and the Americas, and the growth of state power. You will be able to choose option modules in early modern history from across the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology and you will receive training in historical methodologies and research techniques to help you research and write a dissertation on the subject that most interests you.

You will read widely in both secondary works and translated primary sources, but there is no language requirement.

Key teaching staff on this programme

Course director: Dr Brodie Waddell

Professor Julian Swann
Dr Filippo de Vivo
Professor Vanessa Harding
Dr Laura Stewart.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
This Master's programme offers a unique opportunity to study early modern European societies comparatively.
You will be able to follow your own interests, with a wide choice of option modules, while developing your research skills and undertaking a dissertation in an area that interests you.
Our Department of History, Classics and Archaeology is one of the leading research and teaching departments for history in the UK. It is ranked 6th in the UK for the percentage of our research deemed world-leading or internationally excellent.
Our academic staff are international authorities in their fields, delivering stimulating, research-led teaching.
Our department is home to thriving student societies and a number of affiliated research centres that actively run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research. These include the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, the Raphael Samuel History Centre and the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities.
We are located 5 minutes' walk from the British Museum and the British Library, while the Museum of London is easily reachable. The Institute of Historical Research is located in Bloomsbury, near the main Birkbeck campus, and has an internationally renowned library collection and seminars that you can attend.
Birkbeck Library has an extensive history collection, including the major specialist journals, and access to online materials.

Read less
This Master's degree in history considers the culture and society of the medieval period, which is usually understood as stretching from the transformation of the Roman Empire to the Renaissance. Read more
This Master's degree in history considers the culture and society of the medieval period, which is usually understood as stretching from the transformation of the Roman Empire to the Renaissance. The programme will introduce you to a variety of topics within this broad span of time, including religion and heresy, philosophy and political thought, gender, the expansion of urban communities, power and kingship, and the dynamics of historical change. You will develop your ability to critically assess and analyse historical evidence and we will look at the archaeological record, documentary evidence, including parliamentary petitions, guild records and manorial court rolls, and literary sources by authors such as Geoffrey Chaucer and William Langland, among others. While the focus is on Britain, you will also study the British medieval experience comparatively alongside that of mainland Europe, in particular France and Italy.

After the core module, you can choose option modules that will further extend your exploration of the period and engage your passion for particular topics. The dissertation allows you to pursue independent research in an area of personal interest under the expert supervision of one of our research-active academics. If you are interested in how societies develop over time, this course will give you a stimulating and complex perspective on this fascinating period.

Key teaching staff on this programme

Course director: Dr Caroline Goodson

Staff involved in teaching the MA include:

Dr Rebecca Darley
Professor Vanessa Harding
Professor John Henderson
Professor Matthew Innes.

Other medievalists at Birkbeck include:

Dr Alison Finlay, a lecturer in English, specialising in Old Icelandic sagas and heroic poetry, and Old English.

Professor Anthony Bale, a Reader in English who works on late medieval texts and culture.
Dr Isabel Davis, a lecturer in English who works on late medieval texts and culture.
Dr Zoe Opacic, a lecturer in art history, who works on late medieval art and architecture.
Dr Robert Maniura, a lecturer in art history who works on late medieval art and architecture.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
Birkbeck has research and teaching strengths in the medieval period and you will be taught by academics with expertise across history, English literature, cultural studies and interdisciplinary combinations.
This programme allows you to follow your own interests, with a wide choice of option modules, while developing your research skills and writing a dissertation in an area that interests you.
Our Department of History, Classics and Archaeology is one of the leading research and teaching departments for history in the UK. It is ranked 6th in the UK for the percentage of our research deemed world-leading or internationally excellent.
Our academic staff are international authorities in their fields, delivering stimulating, research-led teaching.
Our department is home to thriving student societies and a number of affiliated research centres that actively run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research. These include the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, the Raphael Samuel History Centre and the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities.
We are located 5 minutes' walk from the British Museum and the British Library, while the Museum of London is easily reachable. The Institute of Historical Research is located in Bloomsbury, near the main Birkbeck campus, and has an internationally renowned library collection and seminars that you can attend.
Birkbeck Library has an extensive history collection, including the major specialist journals, and access to online materials.

Read less
A research degree offers you the opportunity to acquire a highly advanced set of conceptual skills developed in the pursuit of new knowledge, which can be applied within or beyond an academic or scholarly context. Read more
A research degree offers you the opportunity to acquire a highly advanced set of conceptual skills developed in the pursuit of new knowledge, which can be applied within or beyond an academic or scholarly context. Research training in any academic discipline helps to channel creativity into critical innovatory reasoning. The legitimate authority of original, independent research depends upon persuasive analytical arguments supported by critically evaluated evidence.

Current research interests include: the cultural and social history of ancient Greece; the Hellenistic world; ancient Italy and Rome; the reception of the 'classical' past within ancient and modern worlds; the study of approaches to identity in the ancient world; and cultural change in the Hellenistic and Roman worlds.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.

Our research

Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.

Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), History at Birkbeck was ranked 6th in the UK for the percentage of our research deemed world-leading or internationally excellent. 94% of our eligible staff submitted research and we achieved 100% for a research environment supporting world-leading and internationally excellent research.

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This Master's degree in history will equip you with the advanced historical research skills needed to complete an individual, large-scale research project. Read more
This Master's degree in history will equip you with the advanced historical research skills needed to complete an individual, large-scale research project. Core modules will help you develop project management skills and extend your critical analytical skills through the planning and writing of a literature review. You will also learn practical skills and techniques, including locating and retrieving historical material, critiquing primary and secondary sources, and examining and organising historical information. These core modules are taught by experienced, research-active academics with a range of methodological research skills and publications, while your dissertation supervisor will be an innovator in their field of research.

The programme culminates in the researching and writing of a 30,000-word dissertation on the topic that most interests you, which will allow you to exercise and demonstrate your advanced historical research skills.

This course is ideal for self-motivated and committed students who wish to research and write on a complex, specialised area of historical knowledge that interests them, whether in preparation for historical research at PhD level, professionally or independently.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
This research Master's degree in history will train you in historical research skills if you wish to complete a substantial historical research project, such as a PhD.
You will be taught by, and work alongside, internationally renowned historians and researchers covering a wide geographical and thematic spread.
Our Department of History, Classics and Archaeology is one of the leading research and teaching departments for history in the UK. It is ranked 6th in the UK for the percentage of our research deemed world-leading or internationally excellent.
Our academic staff are international authorities in their fields, delivering stimulating, research-led teaching.
Our department is home to thriving student societies and a number of affiliated research centres that actively run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research. These include the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, the Raphael Samuel History Centre and the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities.
We are located 5 minutes' walk from the British Museum and the British Library, while the Museum of London is easily reachable. The Institute of Historical Research is located in Bloomsbury, near the main Birkbeck campus, and has an internationally renowned library collection and seminars that you can attend.
Birkbeck Library has an extensive history collection, including the major specialist journals, and access to online materials.

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This MA in the History of the British Isles will deepen your appreciation of the distinctive political, social and cultural aspects of the British and Irish historical experience, from the Reformation period to the present day, while also fostering your awareness of values and experiences the British and the Irish share with their European and global neighbours. Read more
This MA in the History of the British Isles will deepen your appreciation of the distinctive political, social and cultural aspects of the British and Irish historical experience, from the Reformation period to the present day, while also fostering your awareness of values and experiences the British and the Irish share with their European and global neighbours. This Master's degree considers the constituent countries of the British Isles - England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales - and asks how and why the geographical and political entities that are Great Britain, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland came into being.

The pressing current day issue of devolution is encouraging discussions about the formation of nation-states and national identities which feed into debates amongst historians about whether the territorial state is the most useful or constructive means of assessing historical developments and how the creation (and re-creation) of national identities relate to religion, race, gender and class.

The core module will introduce you to the systematic study of historiography and the methodologies used in the analysis and interpretation of historical source material. You can explore the enormous breadth of research interests in the department via the 3 option modules you choose, which span from the ancient period to the contemporary moment. This programme will enable you to engage with the most important and up-to-date themes, debates and historiographies in the study of the British Isles.

Finally, the dissertation gives you the chance to pursue your own interests and undertake your own research and critical thinking under the supervision of a member of staff with relevant expertise. By drawing on the expertise of staff directly engaged in English, Irish and Scottish research areas, the programme provides support and encouragement if you want to go on to pursue independent, professional or PhD research, develop new skills in relation to existing careers, or simply deepen your own understanding of the richness, diversity and complexity of the British historical experience in comparative perspective.

Key teaching staff on this programme

Course director: Professor Jerry White.

Other staff who teach on this MA programme include:

Dr Laura Stewart
Dr Sean Brady
Professor Joanna Bourke
Dr Jan Rueger
Professor Frank Trentmann
Professor Vanessa Harding
Professor David Feldman.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
This exciting, collaborative Master's degree offers you the chance to use the British Isles as a focus for the study of broad historical themes.
You can follow, further develop and enhance your own interests, with a wide choice of option modules, while improving your research skills and undertaking a dissertation in an area that interests you.
Our Department of History, Classics and Archaeology is one of the leading research and teaching departments for history in the UK. It is ranked 6th in the UK for the percentage of our research deemed world-leading or internationally excellent.
Our academic staff are international authorities in their fields, delivering stimulating, research-led teaching.
Our department is home to thriving student societies and a number of affiliated research centres that actively run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research. These include the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, the Raphael Samuel History Centre and the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities.
We are located 5 minutes' walk from the British Museum and the British Library, while the Museum of London is easily reachable. The Institute of Historical Research is located in Bloomsbury, near the main Birkbeck campus, and has an internationally renowned library collection and seminars that you can attend.
Birkbeck Library has an extensive history collection, including the major specialist journals, and access to online materials.

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The MA Museum Cultures offers you the opportunity to study this expanding and dynamic field at close proximity to the most world-distinguished museums and galleries. Read more
The MA Museum Cultures offers you the opportunity to study this expanding and dynamic field at close proximity to the most world-distinguished museums and galleries. If you are contemplating a career in the museum and gallery sector and if you are interested in developing an in-depth understanding of contemporary debates about museums and their cultural significance, then this is the course for you. Our MA gives you the chance to develop a range of key skills, from critical thinking and writing to practical experience through a work placement in a museum, gallery or archive. Museums have been of enormous importance in shaping empires, nations and cities, and their collections are connected to wider histories of conflict and social change. To study museums is to study the development and fierce contestation of our collective cultural imagination and memory.

You begin with a core course that introduces interdisciplinary perspectives on the study of museums and a research skills module where you work collaboratively with your classmates. You then take 2 options in areas of specialist interest and either an independent research project or a work placement in a museum, gallery or archive. Finally, you will be individually counselled in your choice of dissertation topic.

The Department of History of Art at Birkbeck has an international reputation for its innovative approaches to the history of art, visual culture and museum studies. Our expertise extends into areas such as postcolonial museums, museums in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, the senses and museums, architecture and museums, museums and art, museums and memory, museums and conflict, museums and gender, small museums, and museums, politics and heritage. As well as regular gallery and museum visits, we offer an exciting study trip abroad every spring. Students are encouraged to become involved in the lively research culture of the department through the History and Theory of Photography Research Centre, the Architecture, Space and Society Centre and the Vasari Research Centre, which has pioneered the field of digital art history. In addition to the core teaching and individual research support, students benefit from many events in the Department of History of Art at Birkbeck, including: the department’s postgraduate events; the annual Murray lecture where speakers have included Penelope Curtis, director of Tate Britain and Neil McGregor, director of the British Museum; and the programme of exhibitions and displays at the Peltz Gallery, the School of Arts' purpose-built exhibition space. Students are also welcome to attend other seminars and events across the School of Arts and at the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities.

Our flexible approach to full-time and part-time evening study is ideal if you are thinking about undertaking paid or voluntary work experience in London’s museums and galleries during the daytime, while studying for a postgraduate degree that can give you a head start in a competitive jobs market.

We offer taster events and information evenings for prospective students interested in our MA Museum Cultures programme throughout the year.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
Taught by scholars across Birkbeck, including our Department of History of Art, Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies and Department of History, Classics and Archaeology. This programme offers an interdisciplinary perspective on contemporary debates within museum studies and encompasses museums in Africa, Asia and the Americas as well as in Europe.
We provide students with supervised work placements in museums, galleries and archives including Tate, the British Museum, the Whitechapel Gallery and the Horniman Museum. Past students have helped design and run schools programmes, documented collections that were previously uncatalogued, conducted visitor research and assisted curators in producing exhibitions.
This course of study offers you access to cutting-edge research by some of Britain’s foremost scholars and all the flexibility of evening study at Birkbeck. Whether you have a busy job, have other commitments or want to maximise library time during the day, evening study makes MA study work better.
You can choose option modules from postgraduate courses including History of Art and Arts Policy and Management.
Students studying Museum Cultures are invited to attend postgraduate events in the Department of History of Art and across the School of Arts. Guest speakers include international curators, museum directors, art historians and artists.
The department attracts a rich programme of visiting scholars and practitioners. Our History and Theory of Photography Research Centre and the newly established Architecture, Space and Society Centre offer students the opportunity to develop their knowledge of those areas, as does the Centre for Film and Visual Media which is based in the Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies.
The Department of History of Art has an outstanding reputation for offering critical and creative programmes designed and taught by leading academics and practitioners in the field, within a learning environment that is supportive of the needs of students from a wide range of educational backgrounds.
With our location in Bloomsbury in central London, you can explore some of the world's best architecture, galleries and museums, collections and arts spaces - many of which are on our doorstep or a short distance away. The British Library is within close proximity as is the British Museum, Sir John Soane's Museum, Foundling Museum, Wellcome Gallery, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain, Tate Modern and V&A.
We have a state-of-the art cinema and exhibition spaces, all housed in a historic building that was a former home to key members of the Bloomsbury Group, including the author Virginia Woolf and the artist Vanessa Bell.
Birkbeck Library has an extensive collection of books and journals in art history and museum studies. You can also take advantage of the rich research collections nearby, including Senate House Library, the British Library and the National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A).

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This Master's degree in archaeology will introduce you to the major techniques, principal bodies of evidence, and central research themes and concepts deployed in archaeological practice. Read more
This Master's degree in archaeology will introduce you to the major techniques, principal bodies of evidence, and central research themes and concepts deployed in archaeological practice. From this, you will develop a critical understanding of how contemporary archaeologists think, draw and write about material evidence. The programme bridges the perceived divide between theory and practice in archaeological fieldwork and cultural resource management and aims to produce a new kind of professional: one who is theoretically aware but also grounded in the craft of archaeology. In doing so, the programme will develop your capacity for interdisciplinary and innovative research in the field, based on a more critical and integrated study of landscape, architecture and material culture. Context, and an engagement with material and historical conditions, is crucial to this work-based training.

London is key to the history of archaeology in Britain and this programme explores that history, from public demand for archaeological intervention when bomb damage from the Second World War was cleared, to modern developer-funded archaeology. Practice-based teaching will focus on the archives of the Museum of London and the British Museum’s collections. You will further your learning through practical experience on field-trips and a tailor-made Birkbeck excavation programme, 'Buried Humanities'. The curriculum of this module is linked directly to the prehistoric past and will extend outwards from the city in order to compare and contrast the detailed accounts of the Thames Valley with the archaeology of the East Anglian fens. You will examine the different types of knowledge of prehistory found in site reports, the regional knowledge found in monographs and the works of synthesis more popular in the academy.

By the end of the programme, you will have developed your own research agenda in dealing with archaeological evidence. You will have confidence in your skills of reading and interpreting primary evidence, allowing you to break open the materials in archives, collections, excavation and the landscape. A crucial concern on this programme is the value of archaeology in the world and the kinds of community that participate in its practice and you will graduate with the ability to implement creative archaeological projects within the communities that now live in the landscapes archaeologists study.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
This Master’s degree makes extensive use of archaeological sites, monuments and resources in London and southern England. You will become acquainted with the rich archaeological resources contained in the archives and collections of the Museum of London and the British Museum.
This programme allows you to follow your own interests via a wide choice of option modules, while also developing your research skills and undertaking a dissertation in an area that interests you.
We are located 5 minutes' walk from the British Museum and the British Library, while the Museum of London is easily reachable. Other nearby specialist centres of research include the Institute of Archaeology, which has an internationally renowned library collection and runs seminars you can attend.
Our Department of History, Classics and Archaeology is ranked in the top 20 nationally and is a world-renowned centre of original, influential research.
Our academic staff are international authorities in their respective fields, delivering stimulating teaching.
The department is home to thriving student societies and a number of affiliated research centres that actively run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research.
Birkbeck Library has an extensive archaeology collection, including the major specialist journals, and access to online materials.

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