Durham's MA in Social and Economic History at Durham provides training in research methods for historical topics in any aspect of social and economic history. The MA provides quantitative and qualitative research methods appropriate to a wide range of historical approaches. Accredited by the ESRC, this MA is part of our four year funding scheme offered by the North-East Doctoral Training Centre. You can apply for 1+3 funding for this MA followed by a PhD in any aspect of social and economic history with expert supervision available within the Department – and with our partner institution in the NEDTC at Newcastle University. This includes African history, and aspects of governance, as well as traditional social and economic topics. For further information on funding see further below.
The MA programme is shared with the School of Applied Social Science and will help you to build an awareness of the contemporary boundaries of social and economic history and to master advanced understanding of the concepts and methods with which it may be interrogated. It seeks to equip you with a diverse portfolio of research techniques and approaches to enable you to undertake extended independent research in your dissertation, and to make your own contribution to the field. The skills provided by this MA are also transferrable to a wide range of careers.
Durham has a long tradition of economic and social history, on which this MA draws. The breadth of possible subjects for study mirrors the comprehensive and global nature of the department staff: from medieval Europe to modern-day Africa, and from north-east England to the global economy. Durham's History Department is situated in the historic setting of the World Heritage Site, which includes Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle. Students of social and economic history at Durham benefit from the rich archival and manuscript resources in the collections of the University (at Palace Green Library - especially the Sudan Archive - and Ushaw College) and in the Cathedral Library, while the wider regional resources for study of the period are also highly significant: the landscape of industrial revolution and of post-industrial response, of globalisation and regional identity.
The MA in Social and Economic History is a one-year full-time programme (or two-years part-time). All students are allocated a supervisor at the beginning of the first term, and s/he guides each student through the year.
You will take 30 credits of core modules from History: Themes, Reading and Sources (30 credits); and 30 credits of core modules from the School of Applied Social Sciences: Perspectives on Social Research (15 credits) AND EITHER Qualitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits) OR Fieldwork and Interpretation (15 credits). You will write a 60-credit dissertation (15,000 words) supervised by a member of academic staff in the History Department. You will also choose a 30-credit optional module in History; AND 30 credits of optional modules from Social Sciences: EITHER Statistical Exploration and Reasoning (15 credits) and Quantitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits) OR Applied Statistics (30 credits).
The programme is structured as follows:
Michaelmas Term (October-December)
Epiphany Term (January-March)
Easter Term (April-June), and the summer vacation (until early September)
The programme is delivered primarily through small group seminar teaching with some larger classes, and lecture-style sessions. Termly division of contact hours between terms depends on student choice. Skills modules are taught through seminars or classes and are usually more contact-hour-intensive. Optional modules are taught in seminars and provide a total of 20 contact hours. Dissertation supervision involves 8 hours of directed supervision, individually with a dedicated supervisor. Social science modules are taught through lectures, seminars, workshops, and practical classes.
Are you looking to undertake research training that will prepare you for research in the field of economic and social history?
Our MA in Social Research is particularly useful if you want to convert to the study of economic and social history, or if you have already studied in this area and wish to improve your skills. It is recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council as providing the requisite research training for a PhD so you can apply for funding for the MA to be the first (training) year of a four-year PhD.
Times Higher Education ranked the Department of History first in the country for its performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise.
This programme provides research training that will prepare you to undertake research in the field of economic and social history.
You will study five core modules (full descriptions available below):
You will then choose one optional module from a range within the Department of History which may include:
You will complete the programme with a 15,000-word dissertation.
Many core elements of the programme are delivered by the College of Social Sciences, but you will have an opportunity to study subject-specific modules and your dissertation will be undertaken and supervised within the Department of History.
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).
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.
The MSc Economic History offers a flexible programme to those who have already studied economic history at first-degree level, or for those who have studied a related discipline and whose interests have moved towards economic history.
You will be able to choose from a wide range of elective courses in economic history, allowing you to compile a programme according to your interests and career goals. You will also complete a dissertation on an approved topic of your choice. The programme provides a broad training in social science research methods and their application to historical study, including the role of theory, evaluation, analysis and explanation, quantitative techniques and computing, the use of sources and presentational skills.
Economic history combines the skills of the economist, the statistician and the sociologist, as well as those of the historian. You will therefore leave the programme with a portfolio of highly transferable skills that can be applied across a wide variety of employment sectors.
Economic history graduates can be found in management and administration in the public and private sectors; banking; journalism; economic consultancy; and library and museum services, to mention just a few.
The MSc Quantitative Economic History is designed for those with a strong grounding in undergraduate economics who wish to take the first steps towards a PhD in Quantitative Economic History.
Although it can be taken as a standalone programme, you will need to meet certain criteria to progress through to the MRes and PhD stages of the programme.
The MSc degree aims to increase students’ methodological competencies and to assist and inform their dissertation work. Successful completion of the MSc allows progression to the MRes in Quantitative Economic History, which builds on the foundations laid in the MSc and includes substantive courses in economics and economic history and the production of a research paper in quantitative economic history, as well as a research prospectus.
Students leave the Department equipped for any profession that requires intellectual judgement, the ability to assess and analyse evidence and ideas, and good communication skills. Economic history graduates can be found in management and administration in the public and private sectors; academia; banking; journalism; economic consultancy; and library and museum services, to mention just a few.
The MRes in Economic and Social History will allow you to focus specifically on economic and social history and its methods of analysis, while giving you the opportunity to study other topics in international history, religious and cultural history, political history, naval or gender history.
You can select from option modules that include subjects such as ritual in the Middle Ages; witchcraft and the supernatural in the 16th and 17th centuries; sexuality; health, medicine; gender and the body; party politics and international diplomacy; and the impact of modern wars on culture, economy, society and memory.
The MRes provides essential training for PhD study in History, as well as an opportunity to develop particular interests in the history of different countries and periods through taught modules and a 25,000 word dissertation on a topic of your choosing within the MRes programme subject area.
- offers an excellent education in a very wide range of historical subjects and geographical locations over a broad time-span from Anglo-Saxon England to modern Western and Eastern Europe, some parts of Asia, North and South America, and Africa;
- produces graduates who are highly competent in subject-specific, core academic, and personal and key skills that are both relevant and transferable to employment;
- draws on the expertise of a number of highly respected research centres which are at the forefront of their respective disciplines;
- participation in joint seminar programmes offering insights into a very wide range of research cultures and specialisms;
- excellent preparation for students intending to continue on to doctoral-level research with a good track record in obtaining funding for further study.
Some examples of the optional modules which may be available are; Qualitative Methods in Social Research; Applied Quantitative Data Analysis; Philosophy of the Social Sciences ; Gender, Society and Culture in Early Modern England; Medieval Research Skills; Interpreting the Middle Ages; Supervised Independent Study in the Humanities; Supervised Independent Study in the Humanities; British Naval Power in the Era of Sail 1660-1815; Approaches to War and Society in the Twentieth Century; Medicine in Medieval and Early Modern England; Everyday Life in the Soviet Union; War 1450 to the Presen and Empires and Globalisation, c.1800-2000.
The modules listed here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand
The MSc Economic History (Research) provides a broad training in social science research methods and their application to historical study, including the role of theory, evaluation, analysis and explanation, quantitative techniques and computing, the use of sources, and presentational skills.
You will be able to choose from a wide range of elective courses in economic history, allowing you to compile a programme according to your interests and career goals. You will also choose one of three research training courses and a compulsory economic history course, and complete a dissertation on an approved topic of your choice.
This rigorous academic training responds to labour market requirements for enhanced research skills and is designed to be valuable to those proceeding to research degrees and university teaching, as well as to those who intend to pursue careers in public service, industry, commerce, the media or law. The programme also aims to meet the needs of mid-career professionals who would like to refresh their research skills and understanding of the subject.
This research track can be taken as a stand-alone qualification or as the first year of a research degree, followed by 3–4 years of MPhil/PhD, which would then make it eligible for ESRC funding. You should indicate in your personal statement if you wish to be considered for the 1+3 programme and submit an outline research proposal.
Economic history graduates can be found in management and administration in the public and private sectors, banking, journalism, economic consultancy, and library and museum services, to mention just a few.
This programme is aimed at students who have a specific topic of interest into which they wish to conduct their own research. It provides structured research training while at the same time enabling you to pursue a research project that you design yourself, in consultation with supervisors. It serves as both a self-contained research programme and as preparation for further study for a PhD.
Economic and social history addresses the historical processes underlying the evolution of modern society by employing a range of insights and approaches from the social sciences, including economics, sociology and social anthropology. The programme focuses on civil society, material culture, youth, gender, crime, cinema, economic growth and energy policy in a variety of historical contexts.
Edinburgh has a large and distinguished group of academics in this research area. Their specialist fields provide you with an outstanding range of options, both in terms of historical period and areas of the world.
Our building offers you exceptional, modern facilities, resources and study spaces, in a stunning location.
Our postgraduate students have access to:
All of our facilities are in addition to the multiple libraries and computer labs provided across the University’s estate. Many of our rooms overlook the Meadows.
Our location, right in the heart of Edinburgh, means you will be based close to the city’s cultural attractions and facilities, including a wealth of libraries, archives, museums and galleries, which provide uniquely rich support for the disciplines we teach.
The programme combines lectures, seminars, tutorials, and computer-lab sessions. It also includes Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) recognised research courses in research design and methodology skills.
The skills and theory imparted in the research-training courses, along with many of the assignments, are designed to feed directly into your final dissertation work.
You will be examined through coursework and will work towards an independently researched dissertation.
You will take the following three core courses:
In addition you will choose a pair of skills courses (ERSC funded students must take the first pair).
You will then take one further option course of your choice. Option courses change from year to year and those available when you start your studies may be different from those shown.
This programme is specifically designed for students who anticipate progressing to a doctoral programme, but it can also function as excellent preparation for a wide variety of careers.
The MA History programme at Queen’s is designed around students’ research interests and provides the opportunity to choose courses relating to a variety of historical periods and locations. There are six strands (African and Asian; American; British; Irish; Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern and Religion, Identity and Conflict). Within each strand, students can opt to specialise in particular areas such as gender history, religious history, social history, political history or economic history. Or, they can create a more varied personal programme of study. The School has a host of world leading experts in all periods of time from Ancient to Contemporary History.
These strands share some common elements in research methods and historiography, but allow specialisation through separate taught modules and dissertation supervision. Applicants are requested to indicate which strand they intend to follow on the 'additional information' section of the application form. Students will take a number of compulsory and optional modules.
There are six main components within each strand:
plus a double-weighted dissertation module of up to 20,000 words.
Assessment and Feedback
Assessment is by coursework: essays, critical commentaries on primary sources; power point presentations; practical work on documents or internship-related assessment; and a 20,000-word dissertation.
Learning and Teaching
The MA can be regarded either as an end in itself, culminating in the distinction of having obtained a postgraduate degree and enhanced your employability skills as a researcher, or as a stepping stone to the higher research degree of PhD. Many graduates have gone on to PhD programmes both at Queen’s and other world-leading Universities. Others go into a wide variety of employment including careers in museums, archives or libraries; journalism or media related work; teaching; private and public administration; economic development and the voluntary sector.
Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes alongside sterling integration with business experts helps our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.
How to apply
Applicants for Postgraduate programmes are strongly advised to carefully read the important information and follow the steps set out here before submitting their application via the Postgraduate Direct Applications Portal.
The programme gives you intensive research training in Modern History preparing you for doctoral research or careers requiring research and communication.
Find out more detail by visiting the programme web page
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Find out more about fees on the programme page
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