MA History

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Faculty Faculty of Arts
Awards available MA
Course length One year full-time;
two years part-time
Part-time study available Yes
Open to international students Yes
Number of places Not fixed
Start date September 2016

Programme overview

The MA in History offers you the opportunity to explore a variety of approaches – intellectual, political, cultural, social, and economic – across a broad chronological and geographical range. The MA offers a high degree of choice across the department's key areas of expertise, with particular strengths in:

  •  Medieval and Early Modern History
  •  Contemporary British and European History
  •  Imperial, Global and Transnational History
  •  Public History

Given the range of research and teaching in the department, we are confident you will find units that reflect you own emerging interests. Alternatively, you may prefer not to specialise, but to obtain a broad sense of historical subjects, themes, debates and methodologies.

Fees for 2016/17

Full time fees


Part time fees


Fees quoted are per annum and subject to annual increase.

Funding for 2016/17

Please see the Faculty of Arts funding pages for funding and studentship opportunities.

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Programme structure

The MA comprises six taught units and a research dissertation. Teaching on the programme moves from lectures, through seminars, to one-on-one supervision and likewise the focus develops from broader units, through more specialised ones, to your chosen dissertation topic. Please note that optional units can vary each year.

Teaching Block 1

2 x core units, plus 1 x optional unit

You begin with a series of core and optional units. All students take Academic Research and Writing and Approaches to History - core MA units that enable you to develop critical research skills and approaches that underlie the later assessments.

You also choose a further unit from a wide range of Lecture Response Units (interactive units which combine seminar and lecture elements) on subjects that span the period from 1000 to the present. Alternatively, in place of the LRU you may instead elect the specialist skills unit Research Skills for Medievalists which provides training in Palaeography and Manuscript Studies:


Lecture Response Unit

  •  Communist Worlds
  •  Constructing the Other
  •  Death Doctors and Disease
  •  Early Modern Italy
  •  Food: a Global History
  •  Genocide in the Twentieth Century
  •  Hard labour
  •  History in the Middle Ages
  •  Holocaust Landscapes
  •  Modern Latin American Revolutions
  •  Pirates
  •  Race and Criminality
  •  Rich Store of Stupid Decisions
  •  The British World


Research Skills for Medievalists

Teaching Block 2

3 x Optional Units

In the second teaching block, you will select three primary source-based seminar units. These vary from year to year; the following are examples of units that have run in recent years:

  • The Apocalypse in Medieval Culture and Society
  • The English Reformation
  • Persecution and Toleration: Dealing with Difference in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe
  • Poetics, Politics and Places of Memory: Remembering the Holocaust, 1945 to the present
  • Public History in Theory and Practice
  • Ideology, Poverty, Famines
  • Academic and Mystical Approaches to God
  • Medieval and Early Modern Colonialism: the English in Ireland
  • Modern Sexualities
  • Bristol, c1000-1542


In the third semester, you will write a primary source-based dissertation of up to 15,000 words, supervised one-on-one by an academic in the department. You will identify the subject for your dissertation in the spring, but most of the research is conducted over the summer. The dissertation is submitted in mid-September.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent). Non-traditional qualifications may also be considered.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Selection process Online application form
English language requirements Profile C
Further information about English language requirements
Admissions statement Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.
How to apply
Application deadline:

1 August 2016


Students who completed the MA programme in History have taken up careers as history teachers, researchers in a number of different fields and image and data capture assistants.

A number of MA graduates have gone on to take an MLitt/PhD in History and develop careers as research academics.

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, and the support we offer to international students.

I chose Bristol because of its outstanding academic reputation. It's reassuring to be taught by people who truly love their subject - their passion becomes contagious.


REF 2014 results

  • 25% of research is world-leading (4 star)
  • 48% of research is internationally excellent (3 star)
  • 24% of research is recognised internationally (2 star)
  • 3% of research is recognised nationally (1 star)

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.

Get in touch

Postgraduate Admissions Phone: +44 (0) 117 331 8458 Email:

Faculty of Arts
University of Bristol
7 Woodland Road
Bristol BS8 1TB


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