MA Historical Research

Department of History, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Studying history can lead to a career that enriches people's lives and makes a valuable contribution to the world.

Our research and teaching are world class. But what really sets Sheffield apart is our passion for public engagement. We can help you turn your fascination with history into a rewarding career that enriches people's lives.

All our MAs have an optional work experience module.

Our staff are respected researchers and writers whose work captures the world's imagination.

About the course

This course is excellent preparation for a research degree in history. As well as specific research training in history, you'll also gain a broad range of transferable skills that will be of value to employers outside academia.

If you're already focused on taking a PhD in history, this intensive course improves your chances of getting funding from the AHRC, ESRC and others.

You can also learn highly specialised skills such as Latin and palaeography that will help you research certain periods and themes.

Core modules

  • Dissertation
  • Research Presentation

Plus a choice of research skills modules including:

  • Designing a Doctoral Research Project
  • Research Skills for Historians
  • Palaeography
  • Latin and modern languages

Optional modules

  • Imagining the Unseen in the Middle Ages
  • Prisoners of War in the Twentieth Century
  • Crime and Punishment in Late Antiquity
  • A People's Conflict: The Union and the US Civil War
  • Language and Society in Early Modern England
  • Cold War Histories
  • Debating Cultural Imperialism in the Nineteenth-Century British Empire
  • Stories of Activism, 1960 to the present
  • Directed Reading


  • Seminars
  • Individual tutorials


  • Bibliographical and source-based exercises
  • Written papers
  • Oral presentation
  • Dissertation (15,000 words)

Part-time study

This course can be taken part-time. Seminars are held during working hours (9am–6pm) – there are no lectures. The number of contact hours will vary over the two years, but you'll usually have at least one two-hour seminar each week.

You'll take one core module each year and the rest of your course will be made up from optional modules, giving you plenty of choice and flexibility over what you study.

Apply now

History postgraduate students

I'm passionate about following an academic career path, and one day I hope to teach and research in universities, in the UK and abroad. The tutors are always enthusiastic, and the overall friendliness of the department - and the University - means it's easy to build good working relationships with your supervisors.

claudia rogers, postgraduate student in department of history

Key facts

Course duration

  • 1 year full-time
  • 2 years part-time

Entry requirements

A first-class degree or equivalent in history or other humanities or social science discipline from a UK or overseas university.

You may be asked to supply examples of previous written work.

English language requirements

Overall IELTS grade of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component, or equivalent.

Entry requirements for international students

Fees and funding

University and AHRC Studentships are available. Please contact us or see our website for further details. You'll need to submit your application by the University deadline in March preceding a September entry.

Financial information for postgraduate taught courses

Our staff and students

Our teaching staff are all active researchers. The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) ranks us third equal in the UK for research excellence. This research informs what we teach.

Our students are active too. They organise social activities and trips. In discussion groups, seminars and conferences you can get together with staff and students from Sheffield and other universities to share ideas.


We're based in a new, purpose-built facility for the arts and humanities. The building has modern teaching and research facilities and dedicated postgraduate study areas.

Your career

Our courses are designed to prepare you for a career. We also provide professional development for teachers, writers and curators.

Careers advice is available from the moment you start your course. Our graduates work in the heritage and museum sector, journalism, teaching, law, NGOs and the civil service.

History with work experience

All our MAs have an optional work experience module. You could carry out archive work for a country house, assist with research for a public exhibition, or design online learning materials for school children studying history.

Apply now

You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It is a quick and easy process.

Postgraduate Online Application Form

Any questions?

If you'd like to know more about any aspect of our courses, contact us:

T: +44 (0)114 222 2552