European History (MA)

This Master's degree in history offers you the chance to study at a department with world-renowned expertise in European history, including British, German, French, Italian, Balkan, Russian and Eastern European history, as well as international, transnational, global and comparative historical perspectives.

The programme brings together these different fields and develops new approaches to the history of Europe from the early modern period to the present day. It provides you with an appreciation of key debates that have shaped our understanding of Europe and the most important historical and methodological approaches to critically interpreting the European past. Rather than presuppose one all-encompassing definition of 'Europe', whether geographical, ideological or otherwise, the course highlights the different contexts within which the European past and present can be analysed.

Alongside a wide range of option modules covering many aspects of European history and politics from the early modern period to the Cold War, you will also receive training in research methods and undertake your own dissertation, which makes this programme an excellent entry point for more advanced study at either MPhil/PhD level or professionally.

      Highlights

      • Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked fourth best in London and 18th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2017-2018 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. Of our eligible staff, 94% submitted research, and we achieved 100% for a research environment supporting world-leading and internationally excellent research.
      • 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 also at the heart of academic London with access to world-class research resources. We are five minutes' walk from the British Museum and the British Library, and the Institute of Historical Research - with its internationally renowned library collection and seminars that you can attend - is nearby. The Museum of London is a short tube ride away.
      • 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).
      • Birkbeck Library has an extensive history collection, including the major specialist journals, and access to online materials. 

      Course structure

      You take one compulsory module and choose three option modules on a diverse range of topics.

      Not all modules are available every year. 

      Module groups

      Compulsory module

      Indicative option modules

      • Entry Requirements

        Entry requirements

        Second-class honours degree in a humanities subject 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.

        Visa requirements

        If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

        The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

        • Courses of more than six months’ duration.
        • Courses of less than six months’ duration.
        • Pre-sessional English language courses.

        International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our three-year evening study BA/BSc/LLB degrees, as these are classified as full-time study and qualify for student visa status. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck’s part-time evening study degrees.

        For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

        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.

        Find out more about credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

      • Fees

        Fees

        Part-time home/EU students: £4075 pa
        Full-time home/EU students: £8175 pa
        Part-time international students: £7425 pa
        Full-time international students: £14850 pa

        Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

      • Teaching and assessment

        Teaching

        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.

        Our distance-learning and blended-learning courses and modules are self-directed and we will provide you with interactive learning opportunities and encourage you to collaborate and engage via various learning technologies. These courses involve limited or no face-to-face contact between students and module tutors.

        In addition, you will have access to pastoral support via a named Personal Tutor.

        Methods of teaching on this course

        Two-hour seminars, with some individual supervision for essays and the dissertation. Where student demand is high, a mixture of lectures and smaller seminar groups may be used. All teaching takes place after 6pm.

        Key teaching staff on this programme

        Course Director: Professor Orlando Figes

        Other staff who teach on this MA programme include:

        Contact hours

        On our taught courses, you will have scheduled teaching and study sessions each year. Alongside this, you will also undertake assessment activities and independent learning outside of class. Depending on the modules you take, you may also have additional scheduled academic activities, such as tutorials, dissertation supervision, practical classes, visits and fieldtrips.

        On our taught courses, the actual amount of time you spend in the classroom and in contact with your lecturers will depend on your course, the option modules you select and when you undertake your final-year project.

        On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, discussion, collaboration and interaction with your lecturers and fellow students are encouraged and enabled through various learning technologies, but you may have limited or no face-to-face contact with your module tutors.

        Timetables

        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 larger groups, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups led by a tutor.

        Independent learning

        On our taught courses, much of your time outside of class will be spent on self-directed, independent learning, including preparing for classes and following up afterwards. This will usually include, but is not limited to, reading books and journal articles, undertaking research, working on coursework and assignments, and preparing for presentations and assessments.

        Independent learning is absolutely vital to your success as a student. Everyone is different, and the study time required varies topic by topic, but, as a guide, expect to schedule up to five hours of self-study for each hour of teaching.

        On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, the emphasis is very much on independent, self-directed learning and you will be expected to manage your own learning, with the support of your module tutors and various learning technologies.

        Study skills and additional support

        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

        Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations, although this will vary from course to course - on some of our courses, assessment is entirely by coursework. The methods of assessment on this course are specified below under 'Methods of assessment on this course'. You will need to allow time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

        Where a course has unseen written examinations, these may be held termly, but, on the majority of our courses, exams are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June. Exams may be held at other times of the year as well. In most cases, exams are held during the day on a weekday - if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance - but some exams are held in the evening. Exam timetables are published online.

        Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

        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.

      • Careers and employability

        Careers and employability

        Graduates go in to careers in education, the Civil Service, research and journalism, archiving and libraries. Possible professions include teacher, Civil Service fast streamer, researcher, journalist, or archivist. This degree may also be useful in becoming a museum education officer, museum curator, editorial assistant, or politician’s assistant.

        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

        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.

        Application deadlines and interviews

        You should apply as early as possible.

        Interviews from January.