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Masters Degree in History

Find postgraduate programs in HISTORY

A Masters in History is a great humanity or social science to choose, opening the door to a world of choice and flexibility, in terms of what, how and where you study, and in the possibilities it opens for future employment.

Areas of study in a History MA

History is, of course, in reality not one subject but many. This is one of the reasons why it is such a popular choice for postgraduate study. Subjects available to postgraduate history students in the UK include those concentrating on a particular time periods, such as:

Perhaps you would prefer to specialise in the history of a particular country or area, for example Chinese, African, British, Australian or European History. In this case you may be required to learn the relevant language and to spend some time in the country of the history you are studying. Masters in History

Alternatively, you can choose a course specialising in a topic that interests you or which is relevant for your future career choice. Courses currently available illustrates the huge breadth of the subject, with examples including:

  • Women in History
  • The History of Advertising
  • Railway Studies
  • Irish Art History
  • Military History
  • Garden History
  • Imperialism and Culture

In most cases students, particularly those studying taught masters degrees, will be able to choose from a number of modules, which may also include studying skills that will be of more general use to you such as research skills, archiving and record management.

Different types of History masters

One choice you will need to make is whether to apply for a research or a taught degree course – this is very much down to personal preference.

Although both types of masters degrees involve attendance at some seminars and tutorials, a research degree will be centred on your own research into your chosen field of study. Taught degrees involve more time in seminars and tutorials and may involve work on research already in progress in your chosen department.

In either case, students will usually be required to provide at least one dissertation, typically of around 15,000–25,000 words, in addition to other shorter written items. Seminars and tutorials groups will be small – usually no more than five to ten students - and led by specialists in their field of study. Courses may also involve workshops and practical work – for example, archaeological fieldwork – and visits to relevant historic sites.

Study modes on a History MA

As with most masters degrees, you will usually have the option of studying full or part time and therfore complete your degree in one or two years. You should consider part-time study if you need to fit studying around your family or job. Alternatively, studying full time will, of course, allow you complete your studies and enter employment more quickly. You can also study your history masters as an online or distance learning course.

Entry requirements

Most universities require applicants to Masters in History to have a 2.1 (upper second class) honours degree in a related subject, or equivalent overseas qualification. However, it is important to check the requirements of the specific institution you wish to apply to as requirements vary. Some may accept other written work of degree standard in place of an upper-second class honours degree.

So you’ve studied history... but what does the future hold?

Once you’ve finished your Masters in History, what then? The choices still go on! As one history postgraduate explains, 

“There’s a plethora of transferable skills you can develop through studying history. Gone are the days when all history graduates were expected to become teachers, librarians or politicians! That’s not to say you can’t do that, but there are plenty of other things you could do. For example, the research and analysis skills you develop through finding and working with primary and secondary source materials are perfectly transferrable into industries including law, marketing, finance, lobbying and politics, to name a few. There is a very wide scope for research and analytics jobs in the UK alone, and your history degree has set you up perfectly with the skills required.”

Graduating with a postgraduate degree in History can open a number of great opportunities such as becoming a museum curator, a history teacher, and even a legal professional. There are so many other careers that can be pursued because of the skills acquired and developed including clearly expressing opinions both orally and on paper, organising materials and ideas to form a concise approach, and making conclusions based on research.

Find postgrad programs in HISTORY

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