The Department of History offers research-based Masters degrees to both full-time and part-time students in a wide range of subjects chosen from the faculty's fields of interest. This degree is particularly aimed at individuals who wish to developed advanced research skills either as a prelude to a research-based career or are interested in training to be an academic. Unlike a taught Masters degree, students taking an MA by Research will focus entirely on developing an extended dissertation of up to 40,000 words in length - over the course of a year for full-time students or two years for part-time students. Operating under the close guidance of a personal supervisor, Research Masters students first design an individual research agenda, then conduct extensive primary and secondary investigations before writing up their findings. The thesis should be considered a first step toward developing research output of genuine historical significance. As such, while counting as a research degree in its own right, the MA by research may, for suitable students, lead through the upgrading process to a transfer to the MPhil/PhD programme.