MA History

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Faculty Faculty of Arts
Awards available MA
Programme length One year full-time;
two years part-time
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes
Open to international students Yes
Start date September 2017

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 programme provides 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 your own interests. Alternatively, you may prefer not to specialise, and instead obtain a broad sense of historical subjects, themes, debates and methodologies.

Fees for 2017/18

Full-time fees


Part-time fees


Fees quoted are per annum and subject to annual increase.

Alumni scholarship

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a ten per cent reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni scholarship.

Funding for 2017/18

For further information on funding, please see the Faculty of Arts funding pages.

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. Likewise, the focus develops from broader units, through more specialised ones, to your chosen dissertation topic. 

Teaching Block 1

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 that combine seminar and lecture elements) on subjects that span the period from 1000 to the present. Alternatively, in place of the LRU you may choose the specialist skills unit Research Skills for Medievalists, which provides training in palaeography and manuscript studies.

  • Either: 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
  • Or: Research Skills for Medievalists

Teaching Block 2

In the second teaching block, you will select three primary source-based seminar units. 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

Please be aware that the list of optional units offered can vary from year to year.


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.

Application method 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.


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 MPhil/PhD in History and develop careers as research academics.

How to apply
Application deadline:

1 August 2017

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
3-5 Woodland Road
Bristol BS8 1TB


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