Program Overview

Our exceptional MA is designed to offer choice, flexibility and the opportunity to specialise.

The course is designed as a research preparation masters. It is intended to encourage you to be intellectually ambitious by inducting you into a community of historians. It invites you to understand the relationship between your own specialist field and the historical discipline in general as well as to communicate with wider audiences. You will feel sufficiently confident in your own disciplinary identity and mastery of the subject to be able to converse with those in other fields.

The course is taught with an emphasis on disciplinary training supplied by the Department’s subject specialists with expertise in an outstanding range of areas (Europe, Britain, North America, Africa, China and Japan) and interdisciplinary engagement, while offering opportunities for supported independent study. You will be able – and are indeed encouraged – to access and use Durham’s exceptional cluster of libraries, archives, and special collections.


DurhamUnited Kingdom

  Course Duration

12 Months

  Tuition Fee

£ 22,900



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Core modules:

This Themes, Reading and Sources module is compulsory for all MA students and provides you with the bulk of the disciplinary training providing specific and direct training in disciplinary practices, theories, approaches and methodologies. It is intended to guide you regardless of your period specialism from a more tutor-led to independent learning on to your dissertation by combining a focus on primary sources across periods with thematic and historiographical approaches.

The module combines from the outset a focus on hands-on work with primary sources and discussion of related pieces of historiography (social, cultural, political, etc.) and theoretical readings concerning specific themes, concepts and theories (gender, power, class, the state, transnationalism, globalisation, etc.). The module is taught in a series of seminars and will familiarise you with the skills and problems integral to advanced historical work. It will develop your capacity for independent research, your ability to effectively present oral and written results, as well as your organisational and leadership skills in chairing discussions. Themes, Reading and Sources provides a context in which you will assess and comment critically on the findings of others, defend your conclusions in a reasoned setting, advance your knowledge and deepen your understanding of history.

Assessment is by 4,000-word essay (80% of the module mark). The remaining 20% of the module mark comes from a presentation on your dissertation topics plus Q&A at the MA Conference in the Easter term.

Examples of optional modules:

These modules focus on a specific theme or problem within various areas of History and provide subject-specific knowledge and skills. They are taught by the Department’s subject specialists in a series of seminars with an emphasis on work with primary sources providing a 'step up' from Level 3 in terms of disciplinary engagement with historiography, approaches, methodologies, concepts and theories.

Optional modules might include:

  • Anglo-Saxon Societies and Cultures: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Early Medieval England

  • The Liberal Arts – Learning, Knowledge and Power in the High Middle Ages (c.1100–c.1300)

  • Feudalism: The Uses and Abuses of a Historical Model

  • The Archaeology of the Book: Codicology from Antiquity to the Renaissance

  • Visualizing Revolution: The Image in French Political Culture, c.1789-1914

  • Intellectuals and Public Opinion in Global History

  • Elections in Africa: A Cultural and Political History, c. 1950–2016

  • Serious Fun: A History of Sport from the Late Middle Ages to the Present

  • A Safe Democracy? Constitutionalism, Extremism, and Political Violence in Modern England, c. 1890–1939

Assessment is by 5,000-word essay.

In order to facilitate cross- and interdisciplinary engagement, you may opt to take modules from cognate MA courses such as those offered by Centre for Visual Arts and Cultures (CVAC) and the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS) with the consent of all parties concerned.

You may also opt to take a language or skills module or both (Modern Languages; Latin; Greek; Old Norse, Palaeography), generally taught in seminars and assessed by an unseen examination.

Subject requirements are a 2:1, with an overall average score of 65% or above, or a GPA of 3.5 or above, or equivalent.

An undergraduate degree in History or a related subject is required.

You are required to submit the following information with your online application:

  • Two Academic References – from people who are familiar with your work, commenting on your suitability for the programme
  • An Academic CV– this should be no longer than 2 A4 pages and should contain information about your academic achievements to date and any related-work experience you have undertaken
  • A sample of written work (up to 2,500 words for MA courses)
  • Academic Transcripts and Certificates, if available– a copy of your undergraduate degree and postgraduate courses (dependent upon which degree course you are applying for) transcript and/or certificate, if degree already attained
  • A 750-word outline of your intended research, concentrating on the research problem you will address, the research context in which it is located, and the methods, critical approaches, and sources you will use. You can upload this as part of the online application form.
  • Personal Development Self-Assessment Table – Applicants are requested to complete and submit a self-assessment table with their online application. 

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

  • Home students    £10,800 per year
  • EU students    £22,900 per year
  • Island students    £10,800 per year
  • International students    £22,900 per year

The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

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