MA in Modern History
Course code: HSTT47 (full-time) | HSTT61 (part-time)
|Entry requirements and applying
Tuition fee information
Historians have long been fascinated by modernity and the societies to which it gave rise. From the French Revolution, human history has been marked by state-sponsored attempts to transform social and cultural life, from the dechristianisation campaigns of the Terror to the recreation of non-European societies by imperialism and the mass mobilisations of state socialism and the two world wars. Many of these attempts at transformation have given rise to episodes of appalling violence and genocide. Yet modernity has also brought undoubted benefits, not least the extraordinary human and scientific progress experienced first in the West. Representative government, the growth of the press and mass media, the rise of consumer culture and, in the twentieth century, the experience of sustained affluence made a real difference to the length and quality of ordinary people's lives and fostered new forms of participatory politics and social movements.
Sheffield's long and distinguished tradition in modern history continues today with a group of internationally-renowned scholars working at the cutting-edge of their fields. The MA in Modern History draws on this expertise to examine these changes, allowing you to explore the political cleavages and cultural uncertainty unleashed by the great revolutions, the mobilisations and resistance of the two world wars, and the transnational forces of empire, and globalisation. A focus on contemporary history introduces you to the political and strategic imperatives of the Cold War as well as the new sense of the individual fostered by the counter-culture of the 1960s, shown in both the West's burgeoning interest in sexuality, subjectivity and the politics of protest, and the internationalist agenda set by the liberation struggles of the developing and decolonising world.
The flexibility of the programme allows you to carry out specialist research under expert supervision, and develop your understanding of the contemporary world and skills in using relevant sources, while focusing on the particular skills that are most important to you through our optional modules.
A vibrant research community
The Department is a thriving research community and we actively encourage our MA students to make the most of their time at Sheffield by getting involved in our research activities and events, as well as organising their own through the Postgraduate Forum. This vibrant research culture and postgraduate community helps to disseminate research-led findings and facilitate lively and exhaustive historical debate.
The Department has its own research seminar series, which runs regularly during semester-time and covers a huge range of topics. There is also an active modern research community including the Cultures of the Cold War Network; the Centre for Contemporary and Modern History; Medical Humanities Sheffield; the Centre for Nineteenth Century Studies and the Centre for the History of Journalism. These centres offer regular seminars and have active postgraduate participants. Postgraduate students also run their own discussion groups including the Sheffield Modern International History Group and the Gender History Discussion Group.
Current staff interests cover a wide range of thematic and methodological perspectives from the early nineteenth-century to the twenty-first century and across the globe. Particular areas of expertise include fascism, repressive regimes and political violence; nationalism and international and economic relations; intellectual and cultural history; social history and welfare; gender and cultural history and media, popular culture and sexuality.
How it works
The taught component of the MA is designed to both develop your understanding of key historiographical and methodological approaches though a core module, which examines the distinctiveness of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as a period and the selection and treatment of sources across a wide range of media. You can also undertake the language and technical training best suited to your research needs and elect to study major themes in modern history in closer detail. The dissertation will provide you with the opportunity to further develop the skills and methods that you learn during your taught modules and to apply this historical knowledge to your independent investigation.
You will take three core modules
You will choose 75 credits of option modules
This 75 credit selection can include up to 30 credits of unrestricted modules. Unrestricted modules can include non-history modules cross-listed from other departments (see Non-history modules) and/or modules from the broader range of history MA options, where the relevant module(s) will complement your core studies i.e. allowing further exploration of a particular theme across time and geographical boundaries (see MA in Historical Research options).
The modules listed below are those that we are planning to offer in 2020-21. Please note that module availability may still change at this stage i.e. due to staff changes or student uptake at registration.*
Please note that due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we are anticipating the need to make some changes to our option modules for 2020-21. We will be in touch with applicants directly and we will update this list as soon as any changes are finalised.
Please note that teaching and assessment methods may vary for non-History modules. You can request to take a module not listed below (subject to availability) as part of provisional module choice, any requested modules should be relevant to your programme of study. Information about other available language modules is available here.
The modules listed below are those that our partner departments within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities are planning to offer in 2020-21. Please note that module availability may still change at this stage i.e. due to staff changes or student uptake at registration. The owning department has final approval for acceptance onto their modules and, if space becomes limited, priority may be given to students registered in that department.*
Below is information about staff working in your area of interest and their expected availability for the 2020-21 academic year. Please note that this information could still change at this stage in the academic year.
Teaching and assessment
Our MA teaching focuses on small group seminars and masterclasses complimented by individual tutorials and supervision sessions. Seminars are usually two hours long and range from around 5-18 students in size. Teaching takes place between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. 30 credit core modules run for 10 weeks and most 15 credit modules run for 5 weeks.
Assessment focuses on essays and a dissertation complimented by oral assessment in the Research Presentation module. Essays usually look to explore the key themes of the module and engage with current historical debate through a question of your choosing. Our public history modules offer the opportunity to undertake group work and/or develop writing styles appropriate for different academic and non-academic audiences.
Our campus and how we use it:
We timetable teaching across the whole of our campus, the details of which can be found on our campus map. Teaching may take place in a student’s home department, but may also be timetabled to take place within other departments or central teaching space.
Tailor your degree
Our MA degrees are carefully designed to allow you to build a programme that suits your needs: whether you want to progress to PhD research, aid your career development or simply expand your knowledge in your chosen area of history.
In addition to the skills and knowledge that you will develop through your core modules, you can use the option modules to focus on the areas most relevant to you including the option to gain experience in public history. For those interested in PhD progression, we offer both individual and group support to help you develop your ideas and write a strong research proposal suitable for funding applications.
Students wishing to take this programme should normally have a 2.1 or equivalent in a Bachelors degree in history or another humanities or social sciences discipline (i.e. English, languages, politics, philosophy, archaeology or journalism) from a recognised UK or overseas university. Please see the University's online prospectus for full entry requirement details.
If you are an international student, you need to provide proof of English Language proficiency with a minimum IELTS score of 7.0 with no less than 6.5 in each component (or equivalent).
You can apply for one of our MA programmes using our online application form. There is no formal deadline for applying and we can usually accept applications until mid-August for entry that September.
You'll find the answer to many common questions such as what supporting documents to provide and what to include in your statement on our Common questions page.
Additional support information
Information for disabled students
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If you have a question about applying, or would like to discuss your individual qualifications, just get in touch.
*Please note that the course details set out here may change before you start, particularly if you are applying significantly in advance of the course start date. The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.