One year full-time or two years part-time
Two to three evenings a week full-time or one to two evenings a week part-time, October to July
Other entry years for this course2017
This Master's degree in global history will expand and deepen your understanding of world history through the exploration of global perspectives and the interconnections that work across geographical and national boundaries. The course will introduce you to a wide range of approaches, including comparative histories of empires, nationalism and decolonisation, migration and diaspora, world culture and global archives. You will be encouraged to think expansively about connections between historical themes in global history and you can also focus on a particular region of the world, such as South and East Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and the USA.
Drawing on the wide spread of research and teaching expertise within the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology and other departments at Birkbeck, the programme features a wide range of comparative and interdisciplinary modules.
The compulsory module explores specific topics and questions in global history and will equip you with the conceptual ideas and skills needed to study history at postgraduate level. You can then choose three option modules from a wide variety, opting, if you wish, to take a focused pathway through the degree by specialising in the history of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, or the imperial and postcolonial periods.
You will be encouraged to develop both conceptual and theoretical approaches to understanding the historical development of the modern world, as well as learning research methods that will enable you to specialise in a particular topic of your choosing and undertake the researching and writing of a dissertation.
The course is designed to offer you training to continue on to PhD research in topics in comparative and global history, if you wish, but it will also equip you with the specialist knowledge and transferable skills you need to work in a wide range of intellectually challenging environments, including policy research, media, NGOs, and public history.
- Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 13th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2016-17 World University Subject Rankings.
- This Master's degree explores the making of the modern world from comparative, global perspectives.
- 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 Centre for the Study of Antisemitism and Racism, 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).
- 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.
- Find out more about why you should study with us.
You study two compulsory modules and two option modules on a diverse range of topics.
Not all modules are available each year.
Indicative option modules
- Africa in the European Imagination
- An Empire of Knowledge: Science, Colonialism and Nationalism in British India
- 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
- Immigration and Society since 1945
- Internationalism and International Organisations in twentieth-century Europe
- Jews and Antisemitism in Modern Europe: Histories and Approaches
- Literature and Modern Chinese Nationalism
- London and Berlin in the Age of Empire
- Mapping the Middle Ages, from Ptolemy to Planoudes (c. 150-1500)
- Money and Empire c. 300-c. 800
- Politics and Islam
- Post-Colonial Discourse and the Novel
- Public Histories in Practice
- Race and the Victorians
- Religion in Society and Politics: Britain and Ireland, 1801-2001
- Rethinking the Cold War
- Venice and Istanbul, 1453-1797
- Western Images of China and Japan
We welcome a wide range of qualifications, from the UK and abroad, and we will also consider your non-academic achievements.
We require a second-class honours degree and references.
We also offer a one-year Graduate Certificate in History, which can be used as a conversion course if you want to study history at postgraduate level, but have a degree in a significantly different discipline.
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.
Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)
If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.
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.
Fees (2017/8)Part-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.
At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.
Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading.
Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.
In addition, you will have timetabled meetings with your Personal Tutor.
Methods of teaching on this course
Teaching is mainly via seminars and small group discussions, with individual supervision meetings for the dissertation.
Course director: Dr Rudolph Ng
Other staff who teach on this MA programme include:
Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).
Indicative class size
Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to large groups, with 30 to 100+ students in attendance, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups of 10 to 30 students, led by an academic.
Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:
- academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
- written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
- numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).
Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.
Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.
Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short– or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.
Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations. You will be given time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.
Unseen written examinations are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June, and, in most cases, are held during the day on a weekday – if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance. Exam timetables are published online in March each year.
Methods of assessment on this course
Each compulsory and option module is assessed by an essay of 5000-5500 words. You also write a dissertation of 15,000-16,000 words.
Every module has an attendance requirement, so you will need to attend at least 60% of classes in order to pass.
As well as a mark for your coursework and exams, you will also receive feedback from your marker(s) to help you learn, improve and succeed. We encourage you to discuss feedback with your module tutor.
Feedback can come in different forms: notes via Moodle (our online learning environment); a paper copy of a completed feedback form; or in-class or face-to-face feedback. The College Policy on Feedback on Assessment sets out what you can expect from your feedback.
Your department will usually provide you with your marked coursework within four weeks of submission. Your initial mark is provisional until the relevant Board of Examiners has confirmed it.
Your official coursework and exam results will be made available to you via your My Birkbeck Profile online.
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, education, the heritage industry, publication and the media, the charity sector, and journalism. Possible professions include historian, higher education lecturer, or archivist. This degree provides a range of transferable skills, which may be useful in becoming a journalist, heritage manager, politician’s assistant, academic librarian, or museum/gallery curator.
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 are held from January.
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