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Historical Studies (MA, PgDip, PgCert)

The MA in Historical Studies provides students with a degree which fits the changing landscape of academia and society at large. It offers students the chance to develop their understanding of various historical themes, topics and eras, and to harness methodological, technical and research skills that characterise the study of history at postgraduate level and beyond.

The MA is research-led and rooted in lecturers’ professional interests and expertise. The programme focuses on the ways in which the past has been narrativised, represented and contested in various media and settings (e.g. film, memorials, museums, websites). Students have the chance to take modules spanning the ancient medieval and modern periods. They will also explore how technological advances in the field of digital humanities are impacting knowledge and understandings of the past.

The programme offers an engaging syllabus which allows undergraduate students to take their studies to the next level.  


Historical Studies (MA) | 180-credits

Historical Studies (PgDip) | 120-credits

Historical Studies (PgCert) | 60-credits

Information on applying directly to UWTSD

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Tuition Fees 2020/21:
£7,400 (Home/EU)
£13,340 (Overseas)

5 reasons to study this course:

  1. Wide range of modules, focusing on lots of different places, themes, subjects and people, from monasteries to movies, and Caesar to Churchill
  2. Chance to study a broad sweep of history, all the way back to antiquity through to the Middle Ages and right up to the present day
  3. Opportunities to explore cutting-edge techniques in the field of digital history
  4. Chance to produce original research and to develop transferable skills
  5. Hands-on approach and innovative immersive teaching in small groups and one-to-one tutorials

What you will learn

Course Overview

The programme draws together lecturers’ expertise in broad areas of ancient, medieval and modern history. While led by lecturer’s research interests, the programme maximises the opportunities for students to develop and explore their own particular interests and passions. Modules on fiction and history, memory and history, and film and history are sufficiently open-ended that students can choose to complete assessments that fit their individual intellectual pursuits. For instance, a student who wishes to specialise in the modern or medieval periods could opt to complete assessments relating to films, novels and commemorative practices associated with those historical eras. Likewise, a student with a particular passion for one nation’s history (e.g. France) could tailor their assessments towards that particular interest (e.g. write essays on French cinema, literature and memorials).

The curriculum is designed to encourage students to explore independent research interests and to take increasing ‘ownership’ over the design of their studies. The programme places special emphasis on equipping students with the knowledge and skills required to undertake a 15,000 word dissertation based on original research. To this end, there is a specific module on research methodology, with other relevant approaches (e.g. literary and film theory, digital humanities techniques) also embedded throughout the syllabus.

Start Date

Full-time intake in October; part-time intakes in October and February. The February cohort joins the October cohort at the mid-semester point and starts with the modules running in the second semester.


All students are required to take a specialist research methodology module and to complete a 15,000/30,000 word dissertation. Students also take thematic modules focusing on digital humanities, film and history and literature and history. They also get the chance to choose more bespoke modules on various ancient, medieval and modern topics.

  • MA: 180-credits in total.
  • PGDip: 120-credits in total
  • PGCert: 60-credits in total
  • Module Availability (MA) 2019-20

The programme draws upon a wide range of assessment techniques, which aim to produce historians with a multifaceted set of skills and knowledge. Modules concentrate in particular on essay-writing, but also include the following assessments: book reviews; reflective journals; posters; group and individual presentations, web programming and design exercise; source commentaries and film analyses.

The core assessment is the final 15,000-word dissertation. The dissertation places a premium on originality and independent research. To equip students with the necessary knowledge and techniques for dissertation work, they are required to take a research methodology module early in their degree. This grounds students with the essential skills that are then finessed in other modules, culminating with the dissertation itself.

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Key Information

Entry Criteria

Applicants are expected to have a good first degree (a first or upper second) although candidates with lower degree classifications may be admitted at Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma level, with an opportunity to upgrade to Master's level if satisfactory progress is made.

Every application is considered on its own merit, so places may be offered on the basis of non-standard entry qualifications and criteria, including maturity, professional qualifications and relevant experience. Applicants with non-standard qualifications are advised to submit a short curriculum vitae with their application form.

We also welcome applications from members of the Armed Forces and recognise the training and education undertaken whilst serving.  

Career Opportunities

The MA in Historical Studies enhances the employability of students by offering them in-depth knowledge of history and of the relevance of historical persons, events and phenomena to contemporary society, politics and culture. It develops students’ critical thinking skills and their understanding of ethical issues, in particular with respect to the politics of documenting and commemorating the past. It enhances students’ communication skills, both oral and written. These are all vital skills within a number of employment sectors, in particular museums, heritage industries, teaching and academic research. The MA also looks prepare students for the changing environment of academia. It places an emphasis on how information technologies are impacting the study of history, principally through the module on digital humanities. This module broadens the history syllabus from focusing on ‘traditional’ academic aptitudes to incorporate skills such as web programming, coding, website design and use of social media. Such skills are CV-enhancing for students, and reflect changing emphases within higher education more generally.

The degree in History equips students for jobs in fields such as museum and archive work, journalism, law, banking, local politics, all types of administrative work, marketing and advertising, and teaching. The MA programme also provides students with the necessary grounding to study for a PhD or MPhil, with a view to pursuing a career in academia and/or cognate areas of employment. Prospective doctoral students are prepared for PhD study by being encouraged to attend and participate in faculty research seminars plus academic symposia and conferences.

Additional Costs

The Faculty has estimated on the assumption that students buy new copies of the books. Students may also choose to spend money on printing drafts of work.

  • Students may spend up to £300 per year on books and additional related materials.
  • Students are expected to submit 2 hard copies of their final project, the estimated cost for binding these is £20.

Optional Field trip:

Faculty works to ensure that there are a range of fieldwork and field trip options available both locally and internationally. Thus students can opt to take either more expensive or less expensive placements. The Faculty subsidises these but the cost each year is dependent on airfare, location, and currency exchange rates. Below are the upper end of expected costs based on where students have currently done placements.

  • Fieldwork (depending on where student decides to do fieldwork): c. £500 - £1,500
  • Individual trips: c. £5 - £50
Bursary / Scholarship Information

You may be eligible for funding to help support your study. To find out about scholarships, bursaries and other funding opportunities that are available please visit our Bursaries and Scholarships section.

Please visit our Scholarships and Bursaries pages for more information


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