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Historical Studies (MA, PgDip, PgCert)

This programme is subject to revalidation.

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 in history (Medieval and Modern). 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.


You can apply directly to the University using the Apply Now button at the top of the page. 

Request Information
Contact Name: Dr Angus M Slater

Tuition Fees 2023/24:
Home: £7,800
Overseas (distance/online): £10,400
Overseas (on-campus): £15,000
Fees are for the whole course

5 reasons to study this course

  1. 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
  2. Opportunities to explore cutting-edge techniques in the field of digital history
  3. Chance to produce original research and to develop transferable skills
  4. Hands-on approach and innovative immersive teaching in small groups and one-to-one tutorials
  5. Flexibility in learning: the MA is available both on campus and as a distance learning course. You can choose to study from the comfort of your own home using our VLE (virtual learning environment) and the course content and reading material we provide or in a more traditional classroom environment (also supported by VLE).

What you will learn

Course Overview

This unique masters degree provides students with 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. In the process, it aims to provide a history education which fits the changing landscape of academia and society at large.

The programme is research-led, rooted in the professional interests and expertise of lecturers. Modules explore topics and themes relating to lecturers’ specific areas of research – e.g. commemoration of war, medieval religious houses – plus their distinct theoretical and methodological approaches to these. The programme has a common focus on the ways the past has been narrativised, represented and contested in various media and settings (e.g. film, memorials, museums, websites). The focus is primarily on the medieval–modern period. Students are also encouraged to explore technological changes which are impacting our understanding of the past.

Module Topics

Part I (PG Cert, PG Dip & MA)

Past Peoples, Present Societies: Research Methods and Skills (30 credits; compulsory)

This module aims to equip students with the requisite research knowledge, skills and competencies required to undertake and present independent historical research at postgraduate level. The module is structured to run alongside UWTSD’s Humanities research seminar series Past Peoples, Present Societies, with students expected to attend these (or follow on the VLE). Students will also access and interrogate different forms of historical evidence such as archives and electronic resources.

Introduction to Digital Humanities (30 credits; compulsory)

This module is a practical skills-based module. It engages with new forms of historical enquiry supported by emerging digital humanities. Students will acquire basic skills in programming, web design, database construction and XML. In exploring the design, creation, management and use of digital resources in the humanities students will interrogate the potential usefulness and limitations in historical research.

Fact or Fiction? Literature and History (30 credits; optional)

This module explores the relationship between historical ‘fact’ and the fictions of the past, and the problems and potentialities of literary approaches to history. It introduces students to diverse theoretical approaches and methodologies (historicism, new historicism, historical criticism, postmodernism, and literary theories) which are used to critically engage with literature produced in various historical periods.

History and Historians (30 credits; optional)

This module provides students with an understanding of the content, context, cultural and historical importance of a selection of medieval historical texts. It aims to familiarise students with the key themes, theories and concepts that have been proposed in relation to these texts and encourage them to evaluate these ideas. Students explore how people in the Middle Ages conceptualised the world and their past, examining different types of historical writing such as Chronicles, Histories, Annals, Biographies, and Gestae (Deeds). The focus is primarily on material from Western Europe to c. 1300.

Screening the Past: Film and History – Ancient, Medieval, Modern (30 credits; optional)

This module explores the history of cinema and the manner in which history has been represented in film. Students critically analyse films from different time periods and which depict different historical eras to consider the problems and potentialities of using historical film as a medium to understand, represent and interpret the past.

Welsh History and Heritage (30 credits; optional)

This module enables students to engage critically with key issues surrounding Welsh history and national identity and how these are manifested in contemporary culture and in heritage sites. It from the late 18thcentury onwards, and explores the influence that the medieval history of Wales has had on national identity and the Welsh national ‘revival’ of the 19th century. Alongside this, students will be introduced both to important local heritage sites and to key repositories, libraries and archives that can be used to research Welsh history and heritage.

Celtic Arthur and the Mabinogian Tales (30 credits; optional)

This module provides students with a systematic understanding of the content, context, cultural and historical importance of the Four Branches of the Mabinogi and examines a range of medieval Celtic Arthurian sources.

Women in the Middle Ages: Sources from the Celtic Regions (30 credits; optional)

This module provides students with an advanced knowledge of the complex range of extant sources relating to medieval women’s lives in the Celtic regions.

Work Placement (30 credits; optional)

This module gives students the opportunity to work in the heritage/museum (and related) industry for up to 4 weeks. Students develop a critical understanding of work-related issues and an awareness of professional standards and make a valid contribution to the aims, objectives or of the organisation or practitioner concerned.

The Islamic Intellectual Tradition: Medieval, Modern and Contemporary Developments (30 credits; optional)

This module seeks to examine the formative, medieval, modern and contemporary Islamic theological and philosophical traditions. It also looks at analysing the relationships between the Islamic and non-Islamic (Hellenic, Indian and Christian) intellectual traditions.

Sufism and Islamic Spirituality: The Mystical Dimensions of Islam (30 credits; optional)

This module looks to examine, assess and evaluate the relationship of Sufism with other Islamic disciplines jurisprudence (fiqh), theology (kalam), and philosophy (falsafa) and to examine the continuities and discontinuities between pre-modern and modern expressions of Sufism in Muslim-majority societies, and to examine the experience of Sufism in Muslim-minority societies (British and American).

Part II (MA)

MA Dissertation (History and Heritage) (60 credits; compulsory)

In Part Two, students are given the opportunity to research in detail a topic which has particularly appealed to them and write an extended dissertation (for 60 credits). Students will be allocated a supervisor to help guide them through their dissertation.


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.

Key Information

Entry Criteria

Applicants are expected to have a good first degree (a first or upper second), although every application is considered in its own merit, so places may be offered on the basis of professional qualification and relevant experiences. Candidates with a lower degree classification or no degree may be admitted at Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma level, with an opportunity to upgrade to Master’s level if satisfactory progress is made.

Career Opportunities

This programme is ideal for those who want to learn more about the past, but there are also some more practical module choices to help students improve their job prospects. Many of the students who undertake the course on a part-time basis are already in employment and wish to gain a postgraduate qualification as a possible means to promotion or change of job role. Former students include journalists, writers, storytellers, teachers, lecturers, editors and people who work in the tourist or heritage industries.

Additional Costs

Students may spend up to £300 per year on books and additional related materials.

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.

Further Information

Please get in touch with us if you have any questions related to the University or to this course in particular.