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V1KC07 History MA Postgraduate Taught  2018


Degree MA
Mode of study Part Time + Full Time
Duration 1 Year (full-time) or 2 Years (part-time)
Start Date October 2018
Location Durham City
Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 3341040

Course Summary


The programme is designed as a research preparation masters. It is intended to encourage students to be intellectually ambitious by inducting them into the community of historians. It invites students to understand the relationship between their own specialist field and the historical discipline in general as well as to communicate with wider audiences. Students will feel sufficiently confident in their own disciplinary identity and mastery of the subject to be able to converse with those in other fields. The programme is a taught course with an emphasis on disciplinary training supplied by the department’s subject specialists with expertise in an outstanding range of areas (Europe, Britain, North America, Africa, China and Japan) and inter-disciplinary engagement, while offering opportunities for supported independent study. Students will be able – and are indeed encouraged – to access and use Durham’s exceptional cluster of libraries, archives, and special collections.

All students on the MA in History are required to take the team-taught Core Module Themes, Reading and Sources (30 credits) which runs throughout Michaelmas and Epiphany terms. Depending on whether they opt for the 60-credit Dissertation pathway or the 90-credit Dissertation pathway, they also take either 3 or 2 Optional Modules (each worth 30 credits) which run either in Michaelmas or Epiphany or throughout both terms. The options may also be language, skills and content modules, provided by other centres, programmes and departments with the consent of all parties concerned. All these elements have embedded within them a range of content, subject-specific skills, and key skills.

Core Modules

This module is compulsory for all MA students and provides them with the bulk of the disciplinary training providing specific and direct training in disciplinary practices, theories, approaches and methodologies. It is intended to guide all students regardless of their period specialism from a more tutor-led to independent learning on to their dissertation by combining a focus on primary sources across periods with thematic and historiographical approaches. The module will run throughout the entire academic year combining from the outset a focus on hands-on work with primary sources and discussion of related pieces of historiography (social, cultural, political etc.) and theoretical readings concerning specific themes, concepts and theories (gender, power, class, the state, transnationalism, globalization etc.). The module is taught in a series of seminars and familiarises students with the skills and problems integral to advanced historical work. It develops their capacity for independent research, their ability to effectively present oral and written results, as well as their organizational and leadership skills in chairing discussions. TRS provides a context in which students assess and comment critically on the findings of others, defend their conclusions in a reasoned setting, advance their knowledge and deepen their understanding of history.

Assessment is by 4,000-word essay centring on particular primary sources or an archive (80% of the module mark). The remaining 20% of the module mark comes from a 20-minute presentation on students' dissertation topics plus 10 minutes Q&A at the MA Conference in the Easter term.

Optional Modules

These modules focus on a specific theme or problem within various areas of History, and provide subject-specific knowledge and skills. They are taught by the department’s subject specialists in a series of seminars with an emphasis on work with primary sources providing a 'step up' from L3 in terms of disciplinary engagement with historiography, approaches, methodologies, concepts and theories.

Optional modules might include:

  • Anglo-Saxon Societies and Cultures: interdisciplinary approaches to early medieval England
  • The Liberal Arts – Learning, Knowledge and Power in the High Middle Ages (c.1100-c.1300)
  • Feudalism: The Uses and Abuses of a Historical Model
  • The Archaeology of the Book: codicology  from antiquity to the Renaissance
  • What was religion? Interdisciplinary approaches to religious history
  • The Public Sphere in Britain, 1640-1715
  • Work and Play in Early Modern Europe
  • Intellectuals and Public Opinion in Global History
  • Elections in Africa: a cultural and political history, c. 1950-2016
  • Time, Culture and Modernity
  • Serious Fun: A History of Sport from the Late Middle Ages to the Present
  • A Safe Democracy? Constitutionalism, Extremism, and Political Violence in Modern England, c. 1890-1939

Assessment is by 5,000-word essay.

In order to facilitate cross- and interdisciplinary engagement, students may opt to take modules from cognate MA programmes such as those offered by Centre for Visual Arts and Cultures (CVAC) and the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS) with the consent of all parties concerned.

Students may also opt to take a language or skills module or both (Modern Languages; Latin; Greek; Old Norse, Paleography), generally taught in seminars and assessed by an unseen examination.

Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

Subject requirements are a 2:1, with an overall average score of 65% or above, or a GPA of 3.5 or above, or equivalent. An undergraduate degree in History or a related subject is required. 

English Language Requirements

IELTS 7.0 (with no component under 7.0) or equivalent scores in an alternative accepted English language test. Details of alternative accepted tests and the requirements for your subject and level of study can be found here. In some cases, English language proficiency can also be evidenced in other ways. You can find further information regarding this, here.  

How to Apply

Full details of how to apply for a postgraduate programme at Durham University can be found here. Please also consult the Department advice and guidance here.

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

How to apply

Required to submit the following information with online application:

  • Two Academic References - please ask your referees to email their references directly to or attach with the online application form if able.
  • An Academic CV - this should be no longer than 2 A4 pages and should contain information about your academic achievements to date and any related-work experience you have undertaken.
  • Sample of written work (up to 2500 words for MA programmes)
  • Academic Transcripts and Certificates, if available - copy of your undergraduate degree and postgraduate programmes (dependent upon which degree programme you are applying for) transcript and/or certificate, if degree already attained.
  • A 750-word outline of your intended research, concentrating on the research problem you will address, the research context in which it is located, and the methods, critical approaches, and sources you will use. You can upload this as part of the online application form, or if you have difficulties with this, you may email it to as an attachment. For advice on writing your research proposal and what it should contain, please see here.
  • Personal Development Self-Assessment Table - Applicants are requested to complete and submit a self-assessment table with their online application, or as a separate attachment by emailing Please find the Personal Development Self-Assessment Table here.

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £7,245.00 per year
Home Student £7,245.00 per year
Island Student £7,245.00 per year
International non-EU Student £17,325.00 per year

Part Time Fees

EU Student £4,000.00 per year
Home Student £4,000.00 per year
Island Student £4,000.00 per year
International non-EU Student £9,600.00 per year

Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding

Career Opportunities

Department of History

For further information on career options and employability, including the results of the Destination of Leavers survey, student and employer testimonials and details of work experience and study abroad opportunities, please visit our employability web pages.

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Overseas Visit Schedule

Postgraduate Visits


Department Information

Department of History

Durham attracts some of the best postgraduate students from the UK and internationally, and within the History Department we support these students to develop themselves and their careers. Our postgraduates are an important part of our research community and we place an extremely high value on the contribution which they make to the department.
Postgraduates work closely with our academic staff, who are world-leading experts in their fields. Training is provided to assist students in developing their research skills. All postgraduates are encouraged to share their work with the departmental and wider community, by means of seminars, workshops, postgraduate-led conferences, and by publication. Postgraduate students benefit from working with staff with areas of expertise including medieval, early modern and modern history, African history and modern European history.
Postgraduates also benefit from opportunities for interdisciplinary research conversations through research institutes and centres, such as the Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, the Centre for Nineteenth Century Studies and the Centre for Visual Arts and Cultures. Durham is exceptionally well provided with libraries, providing access to a huge collection of material. Durham is also home to an unusually extensive and diverse range of archives and special collections, from Magna Carta to the Sudan Archive.