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MA Imperial History

Course Description

The MA in Imperial History will be administered by the School of History and convened by Dr. Giacomo Macola, Senior Lecturer in African History.

This programme allows you to examine key themes and regions in the making of world history, from the 18th century to the present day.

Imperial history is a rapidly growing and innovative field of historical research, which offers you the opportunity to explore the origins, workings and legacies of empires. By critically engaging with a range of theoretical and empirical literatures, as well as conducting original research, you use historical data to tackle momentous questions relating to violence, development and global inequality.

Led by five specialists in the School of History, the programme takes a broad interdisciplinary approach which also encompasses renowned academics from other departments. The team offers particular expertise in African political history, the history of military technology and conflict, global histories of religion and the newly-emerging field of children and childhoods. You also have the opportunity to participate in the activities of the Centre for the History of Colonialisms (http://www.kent.ac.uk/history/centres/colonialisms/index.html).

This programme offers an ideal launching pad for students who envisage careers with an international dimension or plan to embark on doctoral work.

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/360/imperial-history

The School of History at the University of Kent offers a great environment in which to research and study. Situated in a beautiful cathedral city with its own dynamic history, the University is within easy reach of the main London archives and is convenient for travelling to mainland Europe.

The School of History is a lively, research-led department where postgraduate students are given the opportunity to work alongside academics recognised as experts in their respective fields. The School was placed eighth nationally for research intensity in the Research Excellence Framework 2014, and consistently scores highly in the National Student Survey.

There is a good community spirit within the School, which includes regular postgraduate social meetings, weekly seminars and a comprehensive training programme with the full involvement of the School’s academic staff. Thanks to the wide range of teaching and research interests in the School, we can offer equally wide scope for research supervision covering British, European, African and American history.

At present, there are particularly strong groupings of research students in imperial and African history, medieval and early modern cultural and social history, early modern religious history, the history and cultural studies of science and medicine, the history of propaganda, military history, war and the media, and the history of Kent.

Course structure

The MA in Imperial History is available for one year full-time, or two years part-time study

Students take four modules: two compulsory and two additional specialist modules (to be chosen from a menu of at least five variable yearly options). 60 further credits are earned through a final 15,000-word-long dissertation.


Compulsory modules

- Methods and Interpretations in Historical Research
- Themes and Controversies Modern Imperial History
- Dissertation of 15,000 words

Optional modules

- Liberation Struggles in Southern Africa
- War in the Hispanic World since 1808
- Colonial Childhoods
- An Intimate History of the British Empire
- Europe in Crisis, 1900-1925
- No End of a Lesson: Britain and the Boer War
- Writing of Empire and Settlement
- Colonial and Postcolonial Discourses


This is by coursework and a 15,000-word dissertation, which counts for one-third of the final grade.

Study support

Postgraduate resources
The resources for historical research at Kent are led by the University’s Templeman Library: a designated European Documentation Centre which holds specialised collections on slavery and antislavery, and on medical science. The Library has a substantial collection of secondary materials to back-up an excellent collection of primary sources including the British Cartoon Archive, newspapers, a large audio-visual library, and a complete set of British Second World War Ministry of Information propaganda pamphlets.

The School has a dedicated Centre for the Study of Propaganda and War, which has a distinctive archive of written, audio and visual propaganda materials, particularly in film, video and DVD. Locally, you have access to: the Canterbury Cathedral Library and Archive (a major collection for the study of medieval and early modern religious and social history); the Centre for Kentish Studies at Maidstone; and the National Maritime Collection at Greenwich. Kent is also within easy reach of the country’s premier research collections in London and the national libraries in Paris and Brussels.

Dynamic publishing culture
Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: Journal of Contemporary History; English Historical Review; British Journal for the History of Science; Technology and Culture; and War and Society.

Global Skills Award
All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme (http://www.kent.ac.uk/graduateschool/skills/programmes/gsa.html). The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.

Research areas

Medieval and early modern history
Covering c400–c1500, incorporating such themes as Anglo-Saxon England, early-modern France, palaeography, British and European politics and society, religion and papacy.

Modern history
Covering c1500–present, incorporating such themes as modern British, European and American history, British military history, and 20th-century conflict and propaganda.

History of science, technology and medicine
Incorporating such themes as colonial science and medicine, Nazi medicine, eugenics, science and technology in 19th-century Britain.


As the job market becomes increasingly competitive, postgraduate qualifications are becoming more attractive to employers seeking individuals who have finely tuned skills and abilities, which our programmes encourage you to hone. As a result of the valuable transferable skills developed during your course of study, career prospects for history graduates are wide ranging. Our graduates go on to a variety of careers, from research within the government to teaching, politics to records management and journalism, to working within museums and galleries – to name but a few.

Find out how to apply here - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

Visit the MA Imperial History page on the University of Kent website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Minimum 2.1 or equivalent in history or a relevant subject (eg, politics, international relations, archaeology). In certain circumstances, the School will consider candidates who have not followed a conventional education path. These cases are assessed individually by the Director of Graduate Studies.

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