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MPhil in World History

Course Description

World History at the University of Cambridge combines the study of global and imperial history with the study of Asian, African and Latin American histories. It draws upon the expertise of faculty members in each of these areas, as well as in Middle Eastern, Oceanic and American history. The MPhil in World History enables students to develop strong expertise in this rich and expanding field of historical scholarship. The MPhil in World History combines courses and a dissertation over a 9-month program. The core course focuses on historiographical debates in world history, leading to two options, usually in the history of a world region. From first term, students also begin directed research for a 15–20,000 word dissertation, working closely with a supervisor from the Cambridge World History Group. Students will also take language classes, a component that is required but not examined. This may be in any language offered in the Cambridge University Language Program, and may be elementary, continuing or advanced. In this way, the Cambridge MPhil in World History offers students thorough preparation for an advanced research degree. Cambridge graduates in World History have taken up posts in universities and academic-related spheres of work around the world. The MPhil in World History provides a point of entry into this rich tradition.

See the website http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/hihimpwhs

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the programme, students will have:

- knowledge of key debates and trends in world history and historiography
- skills in presenting work in both oral and written form
- acquired the ability to situate their own research findings within the context of previous and current interpretative scholarly debates in the field


The MPhil in World History course has five elements, combining taught classes, a research project, language acquisition and participation in research seminar:

1. The core course, Debates in World History (10%) This course is historiographically based, engaging students with key scholarship, classic texts, and their revisions. Several origins and traditions of world history, global history, transnational history, and regional history will be established and questioned in student-led seminar discussion.

2. Two elective courses, selected from a suite of options (20%). Options will vary from year to year, but will include courses such as “Global Thinkers”, “Global China”, “Inequality: a Global History”.

3. A dissertation (15-20,000 words) (70%).

4. A language (non-examined). This may be preliminary, intermediate or advanced, in any language.

5. Participation in the Cambridge World History Seminar.

Students will receive both formal and informal feedback in all three modules, as well as from their thesis supervisor throughout the period of teaching.

Students will receive feedback via the following routes:

- Supervision: regular oral feedback in addition to termly online feedback reports (CGSRS)
- Core course and Option essays: written feedback
- Graduate Workshop / Seminars: oral feedback
- Language classes (if taken): oral and possible written feedback from teachers
- Dissertation examination: formal written feedback from two examiners after submission and examination of dissertation


15,000–20,000 words. The dissertation will be examined by an internal and an external examiner. The dissertation is worth 70% of the final mark. An oral examination will only be required in cases where one of the marks is a marginal fail.

Core: 3-4,000 word Essay (10% of final mark)
Options: 2 x 3-4,000 word Essay (20% of final mark)

NB: Language Component is compulsory but is not examined.

Students will also prepare a 2,000 word dissertation proposal essay due in the Lent Term. This essay will be unassessed but students will meet with their supervisor to discuss the essay and receive feedback.


In order to be considered for continuation to the PhD, and always subject to satisfactory supervision arrangements being in place, students are expected to obtain an overall mark of 70 for the MPhil and a mark of at least 70 for their dissertation.

Please see the Faculty website for more information:


How to apply: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying

Funding Opportunities

Please see the History Faculty’s Funding Guide via the History Faculty’s weblink below:


General Funding Opportunities http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/funding

Visit the MPhil in World History page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK High II.i Honours Degree. Applicants should hold a high upper second class degree from a UK University (usually 67%) or international equivalent as set by the University Graduate Admissions Office (see View Website). Candidates will normally be expected to have taken a substantial number of History courses at university level and to have a sound background in the period covered by the course.

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