History MA


Fact file

MA History
1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Entry requirements
2.1in History or related subject
Other requirements
Written work is complusory for any non-native English speaker. Applicant will be provided with topics from the school
7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
University Park
Tuition fees
You can find fee information on our fees table.


This MA allows you to take your studies and passion for history to the next level.
Read full overview

A flexible programme that offers you the opportunity to specialise in your area of interest, this MA allows you to take your studies and passion for history to the next level.

The course will help you develop the sophisticated analytical skills to understand the past in a more nuanced way. You will be taught in small groups in a stimulating environment and have the opportunity to choose from a wide range of fascinating and challenging history modules, many that are unavailable at undergraduate level.

The modules offered reflect the extensive and world-leading research expertise of staff within the Department of History.

All of the taught modules in the MA are based upon the research specialisms of staff within the department, including Modern (particularly 20th-century international) History, British History, Gender History and Medieval History. Students have a free choice of options.

Past MA History students have offered accounts of their student experience, retelling what they have learnt from the course programme and how it has developed their studies. 


Course details

The degree contains three elements and is completed over one year full-time or two years part-time:

  1. Students take 90 credits of options. Students have a free choice of three options that allow them to pursue their own particular research interests. These are taken during the Autumn and Spring semesters. 
  2. Students also take one 30 credits research skills module, designed to provide both theoretical and practical historical research skills at an advanced level. 
  3. Students write a 60 credit, 20,000-word, dissertation of original historical research based upon primary sources and supervised by leading experts in the field. This is undertaken over the summer period.


Please see below for a list of modules that are currently being offered:
MA Dissertation in History

The dissertation is an extended piece of research on a research topic within the field of History. All students will have a supervisor appointed during the course of the Research Skills for Historians module and they will be expected to consult the supervisor during and towards the end of the project. All dissertation students will be required to make use of both primary and secondary material and incorporate this into their dissertation.

Research Methods in History

You will consider the work and influence of eminent historical thinkers, such as Simone de Beauvoir, Michel Foucault, Karl Marx, Thomas Malthus, and Max Weber, alongside various research methods and approaches required in advanced historical research. These will include, among others, biographical searching, locating primary sources, and writing research proposals.  This module consists of a two-hour seminar each week and five 1-hour classes. 

Memory and Social Change in Modern Europe and Beyond

This module will aid your understanding of various conceptual approaches to the study of modern history. You will use case studies to chronologically investigate themes such as memory, identity and social change. Through explorations of the ways in which the recent past is memorialised, you will also be introduced to key debates within the literature. For this module, you will have a two-hour seminar each week. 

Exploring English Identity

This module examines the ways in which ‘English Identity’ has been constructed in different periods, and how those periods themselves have been used to create an ‘historic’ sense of identity, from the later Middle Ages to the Battle of Britain. Recurring considerations will include race, religion, culture and politics, whilst individual themes will include the distinctions between ‘English’ and ‘British’ and the extent to which constructions of identity have relied upon ideas of inclusion and exclusion. You will have a two-hour seminar each week. 

Power and Authority in the Medieval World

You will be introduced to sources for the study of the nature and expression of power and authority in the Middle Ages. Through a range of seminar topics, you will consider conceptual issues alongside their historiography. Some of the topics may include: judicial power in records of north Italian court cases, the ‘Feudal Revolution’ of c.1000, The Pope and the Inquisition, Edward II: royal propaganda vs. royal slander, heresy trial records in 15th and 16th Century England, and William Thorpe’s testimony. You will have a two-hour seminar each week.

Heresy in the Middle Ages

This module engages students in discussion about the nature of correct and incorrect religious belief in the Middle Ages (c.600-c.1500), and the responses to it by churchmen and secular rulers, through close analysis of original documents from the medieval period. It is convened by the staff of the Medieval Heresy and Dissent Research Network and students will be taught by heresy scholars who are leaders in their field.

(Mis)perceptions of the Other: from savages and barbarians to the exotic and erotic

This module will investigate the various ways in which western Europeans and Americans have constructed and categorised peoples as the ‘other’ in a wide range of eras and places. This will include some or all of: views on the Jewish and Islamic faiths in the early-medieval period; notions of Russians between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries; constructions of Amerindians and Africans in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; and views of various societies in the nineteenth and twentieth-century including China and Japan.

The 1960s in Europe & America: social & cultural change

This module explores the historiography of 1960s social and cultural change with reference to the problems of historical evidence, memory, interpretation, authentication and the political uses of history. The 1960s represent one of the most controversial periods of modern history. Through English-language and some translated sources this module will analyse and reappraise the heavily politicised historiography on the 1960s.

Foreign Policy and appeasement, 1933-39

This module examines the evolution of British foreign policy from Hitler’s ascendancy to power in Germany in 1933 until the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939.

Villains, vice and violence: Crime and punishment in late Imperial Russia

This module explores different aspects of crime, criminality and punishment in late Imperial Russia (1861-1917). This subject allows the investigation of a range of key aspects of late Imperial Russian society.

The Aftermath of War: Gender and Post-War Reconstruction after the First and Second World Wars

Focussing mainly on France, Germany and Britain, you will study the social, political and cultural issues that arose in the aftermath of war, with some emphasis on gender relations. These include poverty, population displacement, conflicts over political renewal and justice, and the search for the appropriate commemoration of human loss. You will have a two-hour seminar each week.  

Latin and Palaeography

This module will introduce you to two essential requirements for medieval historical research : beginners’ Latin and palaeography. You will systematically work your way through the grammar, syntax and vocabulary of Latin in order to translate basic medieval Latin documents. The palaeography component will introduce you to the various forms of handwriting in medieval manuscripts. You will have two 1-hour seminars each week.


The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.



UK/EU Students

The majority of postgraduate students in the UK fund their own studies, often from a package made up of personal savings, parental loans or contributions, bank loans and even support from a trust or a charity.

We recognise that this is one of the most crucial factors in your decision to pursue postgraduate programmes, and in choosing the right place to study.

Funding is available to UK/EU candidates on a competitive basis in the form of the Tranfield Scholarship, Pauline Roberts Scholarship and the Weston Scholarship.

Fee waivers are available for students from EU countries. Funds and scholarships are also amiable for part-time students. For more information, please contact the Department or visit the departmental funding opportunities web page.

Please also see more information about the University student funding.

International and EU students

The University of Nottingham offers a range of masters scholarships for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study.

Applicants must receive an offer of study before applying for our scholarships. Applications for 2016 entry scholarships will open in late 2015. Please note the closing dates of any scholarships you are interested in and make sure you submit your masters course application in good time so that you have the opportunity to apply for them.

The International Office also provides information and advice for international and EU students on financing your degree, living costs, external sources of funding and working during your studies.

Find out more on our scholarships, fees and finance webpages for international applicants.



One of the principal functions of the MA is to provide students with the requisite historical skills to undertake a doctoral (PhD) research in History. A postgraduate qualification like the MA in History is also an excellent stepping stone into an academic career or one within education at all levels.

MA History graduates also pursue careers in a range of areas. During your degree, alongside your academic knowledge, you will develop many transferable skills that employers are eager to acquire, such as data analysis, presentation, communication, independence, teamwork, negotiation, time management, etc. and their ability to hit the ground running. An MA identifies you to employers as an exceptional candidate.

These days, History postgraduates can be found pursuing careers in areas such as planning and policy, law, communications, media, journalism, publishing, public relations, advertising, marketing, management, archives, libraries and museums.

The University of Nottingham Careers and Employability Service offers a wide range of careers related activities and provide information about many major graduate employers. Students are strongly advised to participate in their activities and attend employers’ talks and training sessions offered.

Average starting salary and career progression

According to independent research, Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers* and over 2,000 employers approach the University every year with a view to recruiting our students. Consequently – and owing to our reputation for excellence – more than 94% of postgraduates from the Faculty of Arts enter employment, voluntary work or further study during the first six months after graduation**.

* The Graduate Market in 2013, 2014 and 2015, High Fliers Research.

** Data is taken from known destinations of the 2013/14 leaving cohort of Nottingham home/EU postgraduates who studied full-time.

Career Prospects and Employability

The acquisition of a masters degree demonstrates a high level of knowledge in a specific field. Whether you are using it to enhance your employability, as preparation for further academic research or as a means of vocational training, you may benefit from careers advice as to how you can use your new found skills to their full potential. Our Careers and Employability Service will help you do this, working with you to explore your options and inviting you to attend recruitment events where you can meet potential employers, as well as suggesting further development opportunities, such as relevant work experience placements and skills workshops.  



Dr David Laven
Department of History
The University of Nottingham
University Park
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+44 (0)115 951 5559
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