MA History / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

Our MA History master's course enables you to tailor your postgraduate studies to suit your interests.

Your focus could be chronological (medieval, early modern or modern), geographical (European, transnational, global) or methodological (cultural or economic and social history).

Alternatively, you can create a wide-ranging course for yourself by choosing units from a variety of areas, including thematic course units that transcend orthodox boundaries to facilitate intellectual breadth and imagination.

You will undertake rigorous theoretical and methodological training and you will become an integrated member of the research community with the chance to engage with outstanding researchers, resources and facilities.

We have over 30 members of staff with world-class expertise in medieval, early modern and modern history, stretching across national and international boundaries, with strong representation in economic, social and cultural approaches to history.

Special features

Skills training

Skills training can be tailored to specialist interests with language training, including Latin, and palaeography or methods training in social science.

Our course also offers outstanding doctoral research preparation training through the core units and skills training programme.

Careers and employability focus

Benefit from our clear focus on employability which enables you to develop transferable skills.

We'll also encourage you to become involved in outward-facing research and social engagement.

Teaching and learning

Our course units are interactive, and the small seminar is the rule.

The History department pioneered the way that History is taught in England - introducing the undergraduate dissertation and leading the development of economic history.

We continue to endeavour to introduce cutting-edge strategies to promote excellence in teaching, feedback and student experience.

Coursework and assessment

The MA History course comprises 180 credits made up of:

  • advanced coursework: 90 credits
  • research training: 30 credits
  • dissertation: 60 credits.

Taught course units are generally assessed by a 6,000-word essay per 30-credit unit (this will vary for the quantitative and qualitative research methods units).

You will research and write your dissertation from spring through to August. Supervision is offered at least until July.

The degree is awarded at Pass, Merit, and Distinction levels.

Course unit details

You will choose one of six core units:

  • The History of Capital
  • Medieval and Early Modern Studies
  • Modern Britain
  • Race, Migration & Humanitarianism
  • Transnational/Comparative History
  • War, Culture and Conflict.

You will also choose four optional units. Options in History are organised chronologically and geographically, but also include innovative thematic units, for example on gender and sexuality, that transcend orthodox boundaries.

We have a strong record in promoting interdisciplinary study, and you may select units from elsewhere in the University with permission.

The Public History unit offers a vocational pathway through the course by promoting transferable skills and focusing on the significance of history in heritage, social policy, third sector work and the media.

You will also receive skills training to equip you to pursue the MA dissertation, a major piece of original research. The Board of Examiners has commended the exceptional quality of research, highlighting dissertations that were 'publishable'.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
MA Dissertation HIST60070 60 Mandatory
Historical Research 1 HIST64181 15 Mandatory
Historical Research 2 HIST64282 15 Mandatory
American Studies: Theories, Methods, Practice AMER60091 30 Optional
Race, Gender and Power in the American South: From Slavery to Segregation AMER62001 15 Optional
Intensive Latin 1 CAHE70171 15 Optional
Humanitarianism and Conflict Response: Inquiries HCRI60031 15 Optional
Remaking Modern British History HIST60041 30 Optional
War, Culture and Conflict HIST61041 30 Optional
Introduction to Documentary Filmmaking in the Arts & Humanities HIST61132 30 Optional
History Beyond the Nation State: Debates & Dialogues in Modern History HIST61221 30 Optional
Cultural Theory for Historians: Discourse, Place, Agency & Power HIST62281 15 Optional
Wonders, Miracles & Supernatural Landscapes in Medieval & Early Modern Europe HIST63192 15 Optional
Public History: Historians & the Public Sphere HIST64091 30 Optional
Race, Migration & Humanitarianism: Legacies of Slavery & Colonialism in the Modern World HIST64101 30 Optional
Club Med? How Mediterranean Empires Went Global HIST64192 15 Optional
From Cottonopolis to Metropolis: Manchester Communities & Institutions HIST64292 15 Optional
The Boundaries of the Political: Conceptual Innovation & Political Change HIST64392 15 Optional
Public History: Historians & the Public Sphere HIST64491 15 Optional
Remaking Modern British History HIST65041 15 Optional
Race, Migration, & Humanitarianism: Legacies Of Slavery And Colonialism In The Modern World HIST65101 15 Optional
Gender, Sexuality & the Body HIST65182 15 Optional
Landscapes of Modernity: Cities & Urban Culture in Historical Perspective HIST65192 15 Optional
Capital & the Making of Modern Society HIST65331 30 Optional
War, Culture & Conflict HIST66041 15 Optional
History Beyond the Nation State: Debates & Dialogues in Modern History HIST66221 15 Optional
Capital & the Making of Modern Society HIST66331 15 Optional
Spatial History HIST66442 15 Optional
Major Themes in HSTM HSTM60511 30 Optional
Historiography of STM HSTM60651 15 Optional
Decolonizing History of Science HSTM60652 15 Optional
The Nuclear Age: Global Nuclear Threats from Hiroshima to Today HSTM60662 15 Optional
Risk: Science, Society and Culture HSTM60672 15 Optional
Technology, identity and society HSTM60682 15 Optional
Madness and Society in the Modern Age HSTM60692 15 Optional
Making Life: Biological Science and Society since 1800 HSTM60702 15 Optional
Nature and Artifice: Environmental Sciences since 1800 HSTM60712 15 Optional
The Politics of Public Health HSTM60722 15 Optional
Placement in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine HSTM60732 30 Optional
Jews among Christians and Muslims RELT71152 15 Optional
Critical Ecologies SALC61082 15 Optional
Perspectives on Medieval and Renaissance Studies SALC70031 30 Optional
Reading the Middle Ages and Renaissance: Palaeography, Codicology, and Sources SALC70040 15 Optional
From Papyrus to Print: The History of the Book SALC72110 15 Optional
Creating a Sustainable World: Interdisciplinary Applications of the Sustainable Development Goals UCIL60312 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 45 course units

Scholarships and bursaries

Students applying for this MA are eligible to apply ESRC funding. Find out more on the Fees and funding  page.


The University of Manchester and John Rylands Libraries offer immense holdings of printed primary medieval sources and extensive holdings for early modernists, including approximately 12,500 books printed between 1475 and 1640 (eg books printed by Caxton).

You can also access the largest e-book holdings of any UK academic library and special collections at the John Rylands Library, including the Methodist Archives and Collection, the French Revolution Collection, the Women's Suffrage Movement Archive and the Labour Party Library Collections.

Other collections include other papers of prominent scientists and academics, and collections in military, diplomatic, and colonial history.

Find out more on the Facilities page.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: