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History & Archaeology×

University of Birmingham Masters Degrees in Modern History

We have 6 University of Birmingham Masters Degrees in Modern History

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Are you interested in exploring the history of sixteenth-, seventeenth- or eighteenth-century Britain, Europe and the wider world?. Read more

Are you interested in exploring the history of sixteenth-, seventeenth- or eighteenth-century Britain, Europe and the wider world?

The MA Early Modern History, organised by the Centre for Reformation and Early Modern Studies (CREMS), is taught by leading scholars whose expertise covers the Catholic and Protestant Reformations, New World discoveries, and the political, cultural and religious worlds of sixteenth-, seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England and Europe. It combines political, religious, social, cultural, material and intellectual approaches to introduce the early modern period in all its richness and complexity, and to equip students with the knowledge and skills to take a fresh look at early modern history.

The enormous breadth of staff expertise gives you a rich variety of options, and a wide range of possibilities for your dissertation topic. The programme also offers comprehensive research training opportunities, providing the ideal grounding to undertake a PhD in this area.

Times Higher Education ranked the Department of History first in the country for its performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise.

Course details

Early modern history has become increasingly interdisciplinary, with researchers drawing on the insights of anthropology, sociology, cultural and literary studies, art history, and musicology, as well as history, when writing about the past.

Topics such as violence, clothing, gender, exploration, art, drama, music, buildings and material culture have come to be seen as crucial to understanding the transformations that were taking place across the period c.1500-c.1700. These new approaches are integral to the teaching and research training provided on this course. There is also an annual field trip, designed to explore key themes and issues outside of the classroom, in the context of key buildings, documents and historical artefacts. 

You will study two core modules in early modern history (full descriptions available below):

  • Introduction to Early Modern History 
  • Writing Early Modern History: Sources and Approaches 

You will also study the department's core module in 'Historical Methods', take a module in research preparation, and choose from a range of optional modules, including special subjects, advanced options, and further research training.

Assessment

Modules are typically assessed by written assignment, with the exception of Research Preparation which also requires a presentation. You will also complete a 15,000-word dissertation on an agreed topic. The range of supervisory expertise within CREMS means that we can support dissertations in almost any area, so long as there are sufficient historical sources to support your chosen topic. Birmingham provides access to excellent library resources in early modern history, including an impressive range of digitised primary source material, from state papers and archives to printed books and much more.

Learning and teaching

The Centre for Reformation and Early Modern Studies (CREMS) provides a focus for research in this area at Birmingham.

Its leading members have a high international research profile, making this one of Britain’s largest clusters of expertise in this area. The Centre also has a regular seminar series, which will support and inform your learning. This includes an annual lecture (past speakers have included Diarmaid MacCulloch, Peter Lake, Mark Greengrass, Andrew Pettegree, Ulinka Rublack and Susan Brigden) and an ongoing programme of conferences.

CREMS also has particularly close links with the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon which provides a focus for a full range of seminars, conferences and research activities related to the study of the literary history of Elizabethan and Jacobean England.

During your course, you will receive thorough training in research methods relating to the history of this period, including instruction in palaeography to enable you to read original manuscripts, training in various languages as required, and a regular seminar that explores interdisciplinary approaches to the theory and practice of research.

Support with academic writing

As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.

International students can access support for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).



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Twentieth century Britain is one of the most exciting areas of modern history. With new documents being released every year and new archives being added to all the time, new researchers are finding an incredible range of topics to explore, examine and reassess. Read more

Twentieth century Britain is one of the most exciting areas of modern history. With new documents being released every year and new archives being added to all the time, new researchers are finding an incredible range of topics to explore, examine and reassess.

Ideal for students interested in questions about Britain’s recent past, this course is designed to develop skills in critical analysis and academic research, enabling you to acquire research skills, as well as understand and apply research methodologies to the study of twentieth century British history.

Times Higher Education ranked the Department of History first in the country for its performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise.

Course details

MRes programmes offer a unique opportunity to deepen and develop your knowledge of the subject by combining taught elements with research training and an individual research project. They can lead to doctoral research, and will also provide the chance for you to undertake scholarly research as an enrichment of undergraduate study or for career development purposes.

The Twentieth Century British History MRes includes three taught modules:

  • Historical Methods 
  • Sites and Sources in Modern British Studies 
  • Postgraduate Research Skills: Historical Studies

You will then complete a 20,000-word thesis on an agreed topic which relates to the history of twentieth century Britain and which can be appropriately supervised by a member of academic staff. If you are interested in studying for this degree, you should contact the Department of History with a proposed topic of research so that a suitable supervisor can be found. We strongly encourage you to do this in advance of making your formal application, if at all possible: the sooner you have a clear idea of your basic research field, the better. The research interests and areas of supervision offered by staff in twentieth century British history are broad and embrace all aspects of modern Britain.

Learning and teaching

The Twentieth Century British History MRes is taught by members of the Birmingham Centre for Modern and Contemporary History (BCMCH) and the Centre for Modern British Studies, which provides an intellectual forum for academic staff and postgraduates working within the field, and provides a base for research both for its members and in collaboration with other institutions.

BCMCH draws together the expertise of the School of History and Cultures, the Modern Languages Department, American and Canadian Studies and the Centre for Russian and East European Studies (CREES) meaning that you’ll be able to gain insight from a range of academics and peers from across the University. It also supports a research seminar series of invited speakers throughout the academic year as well as an annual lecture series and various informal reading groups. 

You will also become part of, and contribute to, the lively international community of the College of Arts and Law Graduate School, which offers dedicated research resources and a supportive working environment. Our team of academic and operational staff are on hand to offer support and advice to all postgraduate students within the College.

Employability

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.

You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: History

Birmingham’s History graduates develop a broad range of transferable skills that are highly valued by a range of employers. These skills include: familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage large quantities of information from diverse sources; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; critical and analytical ability; the capacity for argument, debate and speculation; and the ability to base conclusions on statistical research.

Some of our History postgraduates go on to use their studies directly, for example in heritage, museums or the armed forces; others use their transferable skills in a range of occupations from finance, to publishing, to fundraising. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include: Royal Air Force; Ministry of Defence; University of Birmingham; Big Lottery Fund; Royal Air Force Museum; and University of Oxford.



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CourAre you interested in taking your knowledge of history to a higher level?. Do you want to add to your repertoire of skills? Or maybe you want to continue your professional development? . Read more

CourAre you interested in taking your knowledge of history to a higher level?

Do you want to add to your repertoire of skills? Or maybe you want to continue your professional development? 

This two-year distance learning programme offers you the opportunity to explore a number of historical themes, drawing on the Department of History’s broad range of expertise. You may pursue one of three pathways through the MA: Contemporary History; Global History; or Modern British Studies. This will determine your choice of core modules and the theme of your dissertation, but you also have the opportunity to study two optional modules in other areas which suit your particular interest. 

Times Higher Education ranked the Department of History first in the country for its performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise.

Course details

You will follow one of three pathways through this MA: Contemporary History, Global History, or Modern British Studies.

Each pathway has two specific core modules:

  • Contemporary History: Mass Society and Modernity 1914-1945; Globalisation since 1945
  • Global History: Global Histories: Comparisons and Connections; The Making of the World: Themes in Global History
  • Modern British Studies: New Directions in Modern British History; Sites and Sources in Modern British Studies

Two additional core modules are common to all pathways:

  • Historical Methods: Research Skills
  • Research Methods & Skills: Dissertation Preparation

You will also choose two optional modules from the other pathways of this programme. 

Full module descriptions are available below.

Assessment

Modules are assessed by written assignment. You will also complete a 15,000-word dissertation on a topic of your choice, but which is related to your chosen pathway.

Learning and teaching

Although much of the course is delivered through our ‘virtual learning environment,’ support is always available.

You will have a personal tutor and dissertation supervisor to guide you and answer any questions, and you have access to a wide range of online resources too.

You also have the opportunity to meet other students and academic staff through online chats and discussion forums.

For more information on distance learning including answers to frequently asked questions, student experiences and funding opportunities, please see our distance learning website

Employability

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver local support.

In addition to a range of campus-based events and workshops, Careers Network provides extensive online resources, and comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: History

Birmingham’s History graduates develop a broad range of transferable skills that are highly valued by a range of employers. These skills include: familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage large quantities of information from diverse sources; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; critical and analytical ability; the capacity for argument, debate and speculation; and the ability to base conclusions on statistical research.

Some of our History postgraduates go on to use their studies directly, for example in heritage, museums or the armed forces; others use their transferable skills in a range of occupations from finance, to publishing, to fundraising. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include: Royal Air Force; Ministry of Defence; University of Birmingham; Big Lottery Fund; Royal Air Force Museum; and University of Oxford.



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This programme provides an intellectually rigorous introduction to Modern British Studies through two core modules and your choice of optional modules. Read more

This programme provides an intellectually rigorous introduction to Modern British Studies through two core modules and your choice of optional modules.

You will benefit from the expertise of a large number of British historians at Birmingham, who will both teach on the programme and provide expert supervision for your dissertation.

Times Higher Education ranked the Department of History first in the country for its performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise.

Course details

You will study four core modules [see full descriptions below]:

  • New Directions in Modern British Studies
  • Sites and Sources in Modern British Studies
  • Historical Methods: Research Skills
  • Research Skills: Dissertation Preparation

You will also choose optional modules to the value of 40 credits (two single modules or one double module). These can be taken from the Department of History or from other programmes offered in the School of History and Cultures, with the approval of the Programme Director. An indicative list of options within History can be found below.

Assessment

Modules are typically assessed by written assignment. You will also complete a 15,000-word dissertation on a topic of your choice.

Learning and teaching

Learning and teaching on this course takes place via seminars, tutorials, reading texts on theory and methods and your own research on primary sources.

Support with academic writing

As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.

International students can access support for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).

Employability

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.

You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: History

Birmingham’s History graduates develop a broad range of transferable skills that are highly valued by a range of employers. These skills include: familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage large quantities of information from diverse sources; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; critical and analytical ability; the capacity for argument, debate and speculation; and the ability to base conclusions on statistical research.

Some of our History postgraduates go on to use their studies directly, for example in heritage, museums or the armed forces; others use their transferable skills in a range of occupations from finance, to publishing, to fundraising. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include: Royal Air Force; Ministry of Defence; University of Birmingham; Big Lottery Fund; Royal Air Force Museum; and University of Oxford.



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Co-taught by staff in History, Modern Languages and Theology and Religion, this interdisciplinary programme will immerse you in past and present debates about researching, remembering and commemorating the Holocaust and other genocides. Read more

Co-taught by staff in History, Modern Languages and Theology and Religion, this interdisciplinary programme will immerse you in past and present debates about researching, remembering and commemorating the Holocaust and other genocides.

You have the opportunity to approach the subject from a variety of perspectives with a choice of optional modules - some which have a more traditional, historical focus and others which examine the cultural, social, political and religious afterlife of the Holocaust and other genocides.

Course details

We are able to offer a unique combination of expertise in the study of the Holocaust and of genocide across a variety of disciplines, including historical studies, conflict and war studies, memory studies, literary studies, translation studies, and film studies.

In addition to taking modules directly related to the Holocaust and/or genocide, you therefore also have the opportunity to take alternative disciplinary approaches and study modules that are relevant to, but not directly related to, the topic.

All students will take two core modules:

  • Research Skills in the Study of Holocaust and Genocide: Methodologies and Sources
  • Holocaust and Genocide: Comparative and Interdisciplinary Perspectives

MA students will also take an additional module: Dissertation Preparation and Guided Reading (Holocaust and Genocide). See below for full details of core modules.

Certificate students will take one optional module, while Diploma and MA students will take three optional modules, from a wide range of related Masters-level options within the College of Arts and Law, as well as within the Department of Political Science and International Studies (College of Social Sciences). An indicative list of options is provided below.

Certificate students are advised to take a module which directly relates to the study of Holocaust and/or genocide, chosen in consultation with the programme leader. MA and Diploma students also have the option to choose up to two of their modules from the wider College; again, this should be done in consultation with the programme leader.

Assessment

Core modules are each assessed by 4,000-word written assignment. Assessment of optional modules will vary depend on options chosen.

MA students will also complete a dissertation – this can either be a written or placement-based dissertation. If you choose to complete a written dissertation its length will be 15,000 words.

Learning and teaching

The Research Skills module is taught in an intensive three-day block, to be supported by self-directed e-learning.

The dissertation preparation module is taught via a combination of seminars and individual supervision sessions, while other modules are generally taught via weekly seminars over ten weeks.

You will be given opportunities to come into contact with experts working in their subject areas, and begin networking with such experts and your postgraduate peers, through activities such as our annual colloquium on Holocaust and genocide.

Support with academic writing

As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.

International students can access support for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).

Employability

This programme will enable you to develop your independent learning skills, develop your written and oral communication and show evidence of these to specialist and non-specialist, practitioner and academic audiences.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.

You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: Theology and Religion

Birmingham’s Theology graduates develop a broad range of transferable skills including: familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage large quantities of information from diverse sources; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; critical and analytical ability; the capacity for argument, debate and speculation; and the ability to base conclusions on statistical research.

Many of our graduates go into careers in churches of various denominations. Other students use their transferable skills in a range of employment sectors, including publishing, education and social work. Employers that our graduates have gone on to work for include: Church of England; Methodist Church; NHS; and University of Birmingham.



Read less
Co-taught by staff in History, Modern Languages and Theology and Religion, this interdisciplinary programme will immerse you in past and present debates about researching, remembering and commemorating the Holocaust and other genocides. Read more

Co-taught by staff in History, Modern Languages and Theology and Religion, this interdisciplinary programme will immerse you in past and present debates about researching, remembering and commemorating the Holocaust and other genocides.

You have the opportunity to approach the subject from a variety of perspectives with a choice of optional modules - some which have a more traditional, historical focus and others which examine the cultural, social, political and religious afterlife of the Holocaust and other genocides.

Course details

We are able to offer a unique combination of expertise in the study of the Holocaust and of genocide across a variety of disciplines, including historical studies, conflict and war studies, memory studies, literary studies, translation studies, and film studies.

In addition to taking modules directly related to the Holocaust and/or genocide, you therefore also have the opportunity to take alternative disciplinary approaches and study modules that are relevant to, but not directly related to, the topic.

All students will take two core modules:

  • Research Skills in the Study of Holocaust and Genocide: Methodologies and Sources
  • Holocaust and Genocide: Comparative and Interdisciplinary Perspectives

MA students will also take an additional module: Dissertation Preparation and Guided Reading (Holocaust and Genocide). See below for full details of core modules.

Certificate students will take one optional module, while Diploma and MA students will take three optional modules, from a wide range of related Masters-level options within the College of Arts and Law, as well as within the Department of Political Science and International Studies (College of Social Sciences). An indicative list of options is provided below.

Certificate students are advised to take a module which directly relates to the study of Holocaust and/or genocide, chosen in consultation with the programme leader. MA and Diploma students also have the option to choose up to two of their modules from the wider College; again, this should be done in consultation with the programme leader.

Assessment

Core modules are each assessed by 4,000-word written assignment. Assessment of optional modules will vary depend on options chosen.

MA students will also complete a dissertation – this can either be a written or placement-based dissertation. If you choose to complete a written dissertation its length will be 15,000 words.

Learning and teaching

The Research Skills module is taught in an intensive three-day block, to be supported by self-directed e-learning.

The dissertation preparation module is taught via a combination of seminars and individual supervision sessions, while other modules are generally taught via weekly seminars over ten weeks.

You will be given opportunities to come into contact with experts working in their subject areas, and begin networking with such experts and your postgraduate peers, through activities such as our annual colloquium on Holocaust and genocide.

Support with academic writing

As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.

International students can access support for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).

Employability

This programme will enable you to develop your independent learning skills, develop your written and oral communication and show evidence of these to specialist and non-specialist, practitioner and academic audiences.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.

You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: Theology and Religion

Birmingham’s Theology graduates develop a broad range of transferable skills including: familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage large quantities of information from diverse sources; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; critical and analytical ability; the capacity for argument, debate and speculation; and the ability to base conclusions on statistical research.

Many of our graduates go into careers in churches of various denominations. Other students use their transferable skills in a range of employment sectors, including publishing, education and social work. Employers that our graduates have gone on to work for include: Church of England; Methodist Church; NHS; and University of Birmingham.



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