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MA/MRes in Historical Research

Course Description

The MA in Historical Research at the Institute of Historical Research (http://www.history.ac.uk/) is tailored to individual research interests. It allows students to undertake assessed work and independent projects in the issues and controversies which interest them most. Students are introduced to key historical approaches, sources and methods and learn to apply them to their particular subject area. The course offers wide-ranging research training, and importance is placed on the use of architecture, material culture, archaeology and literature to aid historical research and understanding. Field trips and museum visits form a key part of the training programme.

The MA will appeal to anyone wishing to develop a broad range of transferable historical skills and those seeking a professional career in the historical profession. It represents excellent preparation for future PhD research.

The MA is taught by staff at two of the United Kingdom's leading research centres, the Centre for Metropolitan History and the Victoria County History both are based within the Institute of Historical Research (IHR), where students can draw on wealth of expertise in urban and metropolitan history as well as unrivalled library and other resources for the study of the history of London and of other cities. Students join a thriving and lively community of students, researchers and teachers at the IHR and take full advantage of the facilities and resources of the central University, as well as the nearby British Library, the Museum of London and other important national centres.


Credit value: 180

Core courses:

Module 1: Historical Training: Methods and Approaches to Historical Research
Module 2: History in Context: Cities, States and Localities in History
Option module:

The special project is an original extended assignment based around the individual student’s particular area of interest. It requires students to show that they can analyse primary source material in an effective and convincing way and place it in context to throw new light on a specific historical problem or controversy. The project may focus on a particular historical event or how a particular cultural activity (such as an exhibition, film or play) has interpreted such an event. Students will not be required to attend formal weekly classes but they will attend group discussions on the practical application of historical methods and at least four supervisory sessions
Dissertation of 15,000 words

Students are also required to undertake a short (unassessed) research training course.


Module 1 is assessed by two 2,500 word written exercises, one of which may have an oral component. Module 2 is assessed through one 5,000-word assignment and presentations based on the topics covered by the module. The special project is assessed by a 5,000 word report. Students write a dissertation on a topic of their choice, agreed with the Course Director, and submit it by 30 September.

Mode of study

12 months full-time or 24 months part-time.

Visit the MA/MRes in Historical Research page on the School of Advanced Study website for more details!

Student Profiles

Arts and Humanities Research Council (LAHP) studentships - No. of awards TBC

The LAHP studentship competition will open for applications on 1 December 2015, and the closing date is Friday 15 January 2016. Studentship candidates are advised to apply for a place to study well in advance of the closing deadline for LAHP studentship applications to ensure that they have the opportunity to consult with proposed supervisors in preparing the LAHP studentship application form. It is suggested that candidates make their applications for a place to study in the School by 29 January 2016. AHRC scholarships cover fees and, in all but exceptional circumstances, maintenance allowance (stipend). Overseas students are not normally eligible for AHRC funding. The primary criterion on which applications are judged is academic merit.The 2015 maintenance rates for doctoral students are £15,863 (full-time). Rates may be subject to change.

Value of Scholarship(s)

£15,863 (full-time)


To be eligible to apply for a LAHP studentship in the forthcoming round, candidates must either be applying to start a programme of postgraduate study in the 2016-17 academic year, which starts in October 2016; or, if they have already commenced doctoral study, they may apply for funding for the remainder, provided that, at the start of the AHRC award, they have at least 50% of the period of study remaining.

Application Procedure

The closing date for applications is Friday 15 January 2016.

Further Information



SAS Studentships (Coffin Fund for Promising Students) - 2 Awards

The School is able to provide two SAS Studentships via the Coffin Fund for Promising Students. In 2015-16, the awards are £12,500 to cover tuition fees and contribute towards maintenance costs (where applicable) and will be awarded to two students who have demonstrably excelled in their undergraduate degree.

Value of Scholarship(s)



The primary criterion on which applications are judged is academic merit. The successful applicant will be of exceptional quality, evidenced by previous academic achievement at undergraduate level, with an outstanding mark achieved in the final-year project/dissertation. Successful applicants will have a genuine and demonstrable interest in undertaking a master’s degree at the School of Advanced Study. In addition, awards are open to students who are:
• self-funded and domiciled in the UK, European Union (EU) or overseas;
• studying full-time or part-time for a maximum of two years;
• undertaking masters courses in any subject (excluding MRes, Distance Learning, PGDip and PGCert)

Application Procedure

In order to apply for a SAS studentship (Coffin Fund) at the School, you must have applied to study here. For further information on SAS postgraduate studies, please see Master’s degrees or the Institute websites, and then the information on how to apply. The SAS studentship (Coffin Fund for Promising Students) competition for 2016-17 closes spring 2016.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

First or Upper Second Class Honours degree from a university in the United Kingdom, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

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