WHY DO A MASTER'S COURSE in historical studies? There are several good reasons, but primarily, these courses provide an opportunity to consolidate and flesh out existing knowledge and interests resulting from undergraduate studies. They may be undertaken in preparation for further research at MPhil or PhD level by providing instruction in research skills and methods, as well as rigorous conceptual and methodological training. However, an MA in History may also be taken as a way of furthering a career in history or heritage-related employment or just out of sheer interest.
Most universities provide a range of MA courses, some general and other highly focused. Because these are designed around the teaching strengths of the department, the range on offer can vary widely from institution to institution.
Many courses are now available for either full- or part-time study, allowing students to combine study with employment or other commitments. Most full-time courses are taken over one year, and part-time over two years, although there are some exceptions to this rule. The basic MA is made up of core and elective modules (often a mixture of taught modules and modules requiring individual, supervised research), together with a (usually) mandatory dissertation of around 10-30,000 words.
The listing here is not comprehensive; further details for many of these and other courses, together with contact addresses, telephone and e-mail, can be found on the History Today website, www.historytoday.com.
AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING MA in History usually offers a flexible programme of study, and typically involves training in research skills, techniques and historiography, together with a wide range of module options. It is particularly popular with those whose first degrees are in subjects other than history, and who would like to acquire a grounding in historical method and knowledge.
A new MA in History will be on offer at Essex University for the next academic year; this will allow students to accumulate credits over a period of five years and thus make the eventual acquisition of the degree more flexible and affordable. The MA in History at Northumbria is also new for 2002, offering a range of themes, from the medieval Mediterranean, to post-war America.
Other well-established courses continue: the University of Portsmouth offers a self-contained programme of historical studies, with options ranging from Europe's seventeenth-century crisis to statistics for historians. Optional modules at the University of the West of England include such diverse topics such as `Religion, Society and Magic in Early Modern Germany' and `Politics, Society and International Activism in the United States since 1945'.
The course at Sussex, meanwhile, reflects the University's strong tradition of social history, with emphasis on popular movements and popular culture, gender, class, religion and ethnicity.
University of Birmingham MA in Social Research (History)
University of Cambridge MPhil in Historical Studies
Cardiff University MA in History
University of East Anglia PG Dip/MA in History
University of Essex MA in History
University of Exeter MA in History
University of Glasgow Diploma/MPhil in History
University of Huddersfield MA in History
Liverpool Hope MA in History
School of Oriental and MA in History
African Studies, London
Manchester Metropolitan MA in History
University of Manchester MA in History
University College, MA in History
University of Northumbria MA in History
University of Portsmouth MA in History
University of MA in History
University of Dip/MA in Historical Studies
University of Sussex MA in History
University of Ulster MA in History and Heritage
University of West of MA in History
University College, Dip/MA in History
MAs IN LOCAL HISTORY not surprisingly tend to concentrate on the history of the locality where the university is sited, which ought to be taken into consideration when applying. …