This Master’s degree in history will provide you with the advanced conceptual, theoretical and practical skills necessary for undertaking historical research, whether at PhD level, professionally or independently. It will give you the intellectual foundations, practical techniques and confidence to pursue your own research in the historical subject or period that most interests you.
The core modules provide fundamental training in approaching and carrying out research at a postgraduate level, including locating, retrieving and managing historical evidence, contextualising and analysing textual, visual and material sources, and using qualitative and quantitative methods, including specialist software, to assess and analyse historical data. We will critically examine problems of historical theory and practice, with an emphasis on debates around key topics such as historical narrative, objectivity and relativism, causation, the relationship of history to other disciplines, the rise and impact of social and cultural histories, and new directions in historical research and writing. We will consider some of the key methodological and theoretical approaches to history of the past 100 years, including the Annales School, Marxist historiography and postmodernism.
As well as being able to choose option modules from the extensive range offered by the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology, you will also be able to elect to undertake option modules offered by other departments. The culmination of the programme is the writing of an independently researched dissertation under the guidance and supervision of one of our research-active academics.
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 in historical research is specifically aimed at providing intellectual and skills training for students considering future research at PhD level, professionally or independently.
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.
Find out more about why you should study with us.