Two years part-time or one year full-time
One evening a week part-time or two evenings a week full-time, October to July
Other entry years for this course2018
This Master’s degree in history will provide you with the advanced conceptual, theoretical and practical skills necessary for undertaking historical research, whether at PhD level, professionally or independently. It will give you the intellectual foundations, practical techniques and confidence to pursue your own research in the historical subject or period that most interests you.
The core modules provide fundamental training in approaching and carrying out research at a postgraduate level, including locating, retrieving and managing historical evidence, contextualising and analysing textual, visual and material sources, and using qualitative and quantitative methods, including specialist software, to assess and analyse historical data.
We will critically examine problems of historical theory and practice, with an emphasis on debates around key topics such as historical narrative, objectivity and relativism, causation, the relationship of history to other disciplines, the rise and impact of social and cultural histories, and new directions in historical research and writing. We will consider some of the key methodological and theoretical approaches to history of the past 100 years, including the Annales School, Marxist historiography and postmodernism.
As well as being able to choose option modules from the extensive range offered by the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology, you will also be able to elect to undertake option modules offered by other departments. The culmination of the programme is the writing of an independently researched dissertation under the guidance and supervision of one of our research-active academics.
- Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
- This Master's degree in historical research is specifically aimed at providing intellectual and skills training for students considering future research at PhD level, professionally or independently.
- Our Department of History, Classics and Archaeology is a world-renowned centre of original, influential research. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), History at Birkbeck was ranked sixth in the UK for the percentage of our research deemed world-leading or internationally excellent. 94% of our eligible staff submitted research and we achieved 100% for a research environment supporting world-leading and internationally excellent research.
- Our academic staff are international authorities in their fields, delivering stimulating, research-led teaching.
- Our department is home to thriving student societies and a number of affiliated research centres that actively run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research. These include the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, the Raphael Samuel History Centre and the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities.
- We are located five minutes' walk from the British Museum and the British Library, while the Museum of London is easily reachable. The Institute of Historical Research is located in Bloomsbury, near the main Birkbeck campus, and has an internationally renowned library collection and seminars that you can attend.
- Birkbeck Library has an extensive history collection, including the major specialist journals, and access to online materials.
- The Eric Hobsbawm Postgraduate Scholarship fund offers a full fee-waiver for Home, EU and Overseas Master’s students in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology (part-time awards are pro-rata).
- Find out more about why you should study with us.
You take two core modules and choose two option modules from a comprehensive list of history courses taught at Birkbeck.
You may take option modules from MA programmes run by other departments, as long as they are approved by the course director as being relevant to the proposed topic of research.
You will also write a dissertation.
Not all modules are available each year.
Indicative option modules
- Britain and Germany: The History of a Relationship, 1815-1990
- China and the West: Encounters
- Civil Society: Ideas, Practices and Dilemmas in the Modern World, 17th Century to the Present
- Cultural History of War in Britain and America between the First World War and the Conflict in Vietnam
- Darwin, Darwinism and the Modern Ages
- Death, Disease and Early Modern City
- Early Modern London: Society and Culture
- Empires in Modern East Asia
- Gender in Britain
- Globalisation: A Short Historical Introduction
- Jews and Antisemitism in Modern Europe: Histories and Approaches
- Madness and its Meanings
- Magic, Science and Religion in the Renaissance
- Mapping the Middle Ages, from Ptolemy to Planoudes (c. 150-1500)
- Monastic Lives in Medieval England
- Money and Empire c. 300-c. 800
- Opposition and Dissent in Early Modern France
- Plots, Conspiracy Theory and Political Culture in Early Modern Britain and France
- Politics and Islam
- Power and Communication in Europe, from the Reformation to Enlightenment
- Public Histories in Practice
- Race and the Victorians
- Religion in Society and Politics: Britain and Ireland, 1801-2001
- Renaissance Florence: Society, Religion and Culture
- Rethinking the Cold War
- Technology, Modernity and the Nation: Britain and Germany, 1880 to 1930
- The Making of Modern Societies: Britain and Europe, c.1500-c.1750
- The Origins of the French Revolution
- The Rise of the Modern Consumer: Consumers and Politics in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
- The Two Irelands 1911-1998
- The Victorian Communication Revolution
- Venice and Istanbul, 1453-1797
- Vice and the Victorians: Moral and social reform in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century
We welcome a wide range of qualifications, from the UK and abroad, and we will also consider your non-academic achievements.
Second-class honours degree and references.
International entry requirements
If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.
If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.
Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.
Fees and finance
We offer advice on all the options for financing your studies. You can pay your fees interest-free by direct debit and postgraduate loans are available for all Home/EU students.
FeesPart-time home/EU students: £ 3975 pa
Full-time home/EU students: £ 7950 pa
Part-time overseas students: £ 7225 pa
Full-time overseas students: £ 14450 pa
Teaching and assessment
Our innovative, engaging teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments.
The first core module combines lectures and tutorials. The second core module and all option modules are taught solely in the form of seminars, giving you the opportunity to develop your own ideas. You will work with a supervisor on your dissertation.
The first core module and each option module are assessed by a 5000-5500 word essay; the second core module is examined by a shorter review essay and a research proposal. You will write a dissertation of 15,000-16,000 words.
Careers and employability
To help you get ahead in your career, we offer free advice and training and our recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, can connect you with employers.
Careers and employability
Graduates can pursue careers in research and archiving, museums and galleries, education, or journalism. Possible professions include researcher, archivist, or journalist. This degree will also provide graduates with the skills to undertake historical research at PhD level as well as professionally and independently. It may also be useful in becoming a higher education lecturer, museum education officer, or Civil Service administrator.
Find out more about the destinations of graduates in this subject.
We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.
How to apply
Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck.
How to apply
You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application.
Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form, including our online personal statement tool, which will guide you through every step of writing your personal statement.
Application deadlines and interviews
You should apply as early as possible.
Interviews from January.
Life at Birkbeck
Birkbeck offers a unique combination of evening study and a matchless central London location, right in the geographic and academic centre of the city, giving you exceptional opportunities.
Accommodation and living costs
Most of our students live in private accommodation, but we also offer student accommodation and access to the professional services of the University of London Housing Services.
The Birkbeck experience
Birkbeck is different: our classes are held in the evening, so your days are free - to study, work, volunteer or just do your own thing.
Financial support and postgraduate loans
Birkbeck offers advice on all the options for financing your studies. You can pay loans by interest-free direct debit and postgraduate loans are available for all Home/EU students. Find out about the support we provide.
How to apply
Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck. We can give you the advice and support you need.
Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research universities. Discover more about our vibrant, intellectually challenging and exciting research culture.
Boost your career
Discover how Birkbeck's unique evening teaching, coupled with our comprehensive careers and employability services, can help you get ahead in a highly competitive job market.
Fees and payment
With government loans for undergraduate and postgraduate study, fantastic financial support packages and flexible payment options, there’s never been a better time to study at Birkbeck.
There are lots of ways to come and visit us and meet our staff and former students, including Open Evenings, Open Days and guided campus tours. Discover more here.
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