Two years part-time or one year full-time
One to two evenings a week part-time or two to three evenings a week full-time, October to July
This Master's degree will give you a deeper understanding of the recent past and the contemporary world, and will help you to develop the approaches, techniques and skills of professional historians.
You will study the interplay between national, international and global forces that have shaped the contemporary world. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the degree lays a strong emphasis on the critical analysis of the recent past, giving you specialist knowledge of particular regions and themes. The introductory core module offers an in-depth exploration of the methodological, conceptual and theoretical background necessary for historical study at postgraduate level. It also considers specific topics and questions in contemporary history and politics, such as nationalism, empires and migration.
You can then choose from an impressive range of option modules, offered by the Department of Politics and by the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology. These options cover a very wide sweep of political ideas and systems, historical periods and geographical places, including the United States, the Middle East and Europe.
Students will also undertake training in research skills to prepare for a dissertation on a subject devised by themselves, with personal guidance from their academic supervisor.
Why study this course at Birkbeck?
- 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.
- 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.
- This interdisciplinary Master's degree in history and politics provides a unique perspective on the modern world and gives you the opportunity to study a wide range of subjects in depth.
- The course allows you to follow your own interests, with a wide choice of option modules, while developing your research skills and undertaking a dissertation in an area that interests you.
- 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 will study one compulsory module and three option modules from a diverse range of topics.
Not all modules are available each year.
Indicative option modules
- After the Ottoman Empire
- American Foreign Policy
- Arab-Israeli Question
- Battleground Spain, 1936-1939
- Britain and Germany: The History of a Relationship, 1815-1990
- China and the West: Encounters
- Cultural History of War in Britain and America between the First World War and the Conflict in Vietnam
- Disease and Society in Africa in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
- Empires in Modern East Asia
- Ethnicity and Migration in Twentieth Century Central Europe
- Gender in Britain
- Internationalism and International Organisations in twentieth-century Europe
- Jews and Antisemitism in Modern Europe: Histories and Approaches
- Nationalism and Ethno-Religious Conflict
- Politics and Islam
- Public Histories in Practice
- Reconstruction of Europe 1943-1956
- Religion in Society and Politics: Britain and Ireland, 1801-2001
- Rethinking the Cold War
- The European Union: Integration, Politics and Policy
- The Holocaust
- The Nazi Capture of Power
- The Soviet Experience: Stalinism Through the Eyes of the Individual
- The Two Irelands 1911-1998
- War, Politics and Society
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.
Teaching is mostly in small seminar groups of 15-20 students per class.
Key teaching staff on this programme
Four essays of 5000-5500 words each and a dissertation of 15,000-16,000 words. Assessment in option modules offered through the Department of Politics includes essays and examinations.
Every module has an attendance requirement, so you will need to attend at least 60% of classes in order to pass.
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 education, journalism, research, and museums and archiving. Possible professions include teacher, journalist, or archivist. This degree may also be useful in a variety of roles within government, research, or NGOs, as well as in becoming a museum education officer, academic librarian, politician’s assistant, 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
We recommend you 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.
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.
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