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MPhil in Modern British History

Course Description

In the first term, students on the course will be offered an intensive training programme consisting of classes, seminars, workshops, individual and group assignments. Each student will take a compulsory core readings course in Modern British history. This course will include weekly classes on major themes, historiography, and methods, based on key readings, so that students come to a foundational understanding of central themes in Modern British history.

Students will also choose two Options, one in Michaelmas Term and one in Lent Term, from a range of Options in British history and historiography.

From the first term students begin research for a 15-20,000-word dissertation, working closely with a supervisor.

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

Course detail

By the end of the programme, students will have acquired:

1. a firm grasp of the historiographical debates in Modern British History;
2. research skills relevant to the specific area in which they will have written a dissertation;
3. the ability to situate their own research findings within the context of previous and current interpretative scholarly debates in the field.


1. Compulsory core option, Michaelmas Term, taken from the core course ‘Readings in Modern British History and Historiography’. The core course focuses on key debates in British political, social, cultural or economic history. The following fields will be covered: the industrial revolution; the language of the social order; faith and secularisation; democracy; liberalism; the impact of empire; gender history. Students will attend weekly classes on these major themes, based on key readings, in order to come to a foundational understanding of key themes in British history. The final essay, of a maximum of 4,000 words, will be assessed and worth 10% of the final MPhil mark.

2. One option in Michaelmas Term and one option in Lent Term. Weekly classes on broad but more specialized topics, such as ‘the long eighteenth century’, ‘class and social mobility in the long twentieth century’, ‘history and public policy’. Each of these modules will require an essay (maximum word length of 4,000) which will count for 10% of the final mark for the MPhil (so all three modules, including the core course essay, will count for 30% of the final degree mark). In addition, each Option will incorporate a presentation (unassessed) for each student.

3. Dissertation. Those who satisfactorily complete this programme of study will continue on to a research project, closely supervised by one of Cambridge’s outstanding group of historians of Modern Britain. The dissertation, of between 15,000 and 20,000 words, will be submitted by the middle of June. This dissertation is worth 70% of the final mark in the degree.

4. Research seminar. The students are asked to regularly attend at least one seminar offered by the Modern British history subject group (among which the Modern British history, Modern Cultural History, Irish history, British social and economic history) and to engage in the discussion.

5. Graduate training. Alongside regular presentations and debates with the Options, a graduate workshop or ‘training day’ will take place late in Lent Term at which students will present their work to other students and to the Faculty involved in the Modern British history MPhil. This workshop provides an excellent opportunity to exchange with other students as well as senior historians about their present work, their achievements and difficulties, and to learn a variety of presentation skills.


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 Modern British History page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK 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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