Department of History,
Faculty of Arts and Humanities
This course is excellent preparation for a PhD degree in history. You can further your interests, broaden your knowledge and at the same time hone your research skills. 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.
The flexibility of our MA programme allows you to carry out specialist research under expert supervision in a friendly and supportive environment. Core modules will develop your understanding of your chosen area of history and skills in using relevant sources, while our range of option modules allow you to focus on the particular skills that are most important to you.
You will take two core modules and one approaches module
- Research Presentation for Historians
This core module is designed to equip you with the skills and experience that you need to present and communicate a defined historical research project to an academic audience. The subject of the presentation will be your dissertation topic and so this module will also contribute towards the successful completion of your dissertation.15 credits
In this module, you will identify the specific research questions driving your dissertation and learn how to discuss the sources and approaches you are using to answer them. You will develop your ability to present your research data and findings in an accessible form to an audience, and you will enhance your ability to use presentational aids such as PowerPoint, data projection, and visual aids. The module also aims to improve your skill and confidence in speaking to an audience and responding to questions; this gives you the opportunity to develop the presentational skills demanded by employers as well as by a career in academic research.
- Dissertation in Historical Research
You will undertake an individual research project, based on an identifiable collection of primary sources and present your findings in a dissertation of 15,000 words. The dissertation provides you with the opportunity to further develop the skills and methods that you have learnt during the first part of your MA degree and to apply this historical knowledge to your investigation. It represents an original piece of independent research and should be based on a substantial primary source base and demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the secondary literature. Through the dissertation you will demonstrate your practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret historical knowledge. You will work under the supervision of an expert member of staff who will provide guidance and regular tutorial support. There will also be milestones in place throughout the year to make sure that you are on track with your progress.60 credits
Approaches modules - one from:
- Approaching the Middle Ages
This module provides students with a grounding in key themes and debates in current medieval research. Classes will focus on historiographical developments and new methodological approaches to familiar problems, covering topics such as the problems of studying pre-industrial societies, the interpretation of material culture, methods for studying the medieval economy, and the examination of power structures and political culture. Students will also be introduced to technical and methodological problems associated with the effective use and interpretation of pre-modern sources, such as court records, tax records and accounts, chronicles and pamphlets, paintings, drawings and artefacts.30 credits
- Early Modernities
This core module involves a critical analysis of the many ways in which assumptions about the characteristics of 'pre-modern' and 'modern' cultures and societies have shaped historians' approaches to the early modern period. A series of seminars will introduce students to themes and topics in early modern history, focusing on issues of `individuality' and 'self-hood' in the early modern period. The sources for writing early modern history will be a complementary focus of the module, which will also introduce students to the technical and methodological problems associated with the effective use and interpretation of a range of pre-modern sources.30 credits
- Modernity and Power: Individuals and the State in the Modern World
This core module introduces students to the challenges of studying modern history at an advanced level. It explores the distinctiveness of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as a period, the study of which raises particular questions about perspective and interpretation, about the relationship between academic history and public understandings of the recent past, and about the selection and treatment of sources across a wide range of media. Classes will focus on some of the key themes and developments in recent historiography, including an engagement with the use of interdisciplinary approaches, particularly in the study of contemporary history.30 credits
- Approaches to the American Past.
This core module explores key themes in American history from the colonial through to the modern eras, introducing students to important debates in historical scholarship and giving them an awareness not only of the principal historiographical schools but also of the critical interrelationship between historical trends and events and scholarly interpretations of the past. Classes will be organised chronologically and thematically and will be taught through the examination of key historiographical approaches. Case studies covering topics such as Native American history, consumption, gender, class, slavery, immigration and ethnicity, the New Deal, revisionism and the Cold War, and the New Left will help students apply and critique the conceptual literature they are exploring.30 credits
- The World in Connection: Themes in Global History
This core module introduces students to some of the most important and innovative themes, debates and controversies relating to global history and its linked fields of imperial, international, transnational, transregional and world history. Through discursive seminars students will acquire an informed understanding of global forces, structures and processes that have shaped and reshaped our world, including empires, trade, technology, religion, decolonisation, migration, war, diplomacy, humanitarianism, disease and the environment. Students will thus be enabled to explore connections, comparisons and exchanges across broad geographical and chronological terrain, while also considering relationships between the global, regional and local.30 credits
You will choose 75 credits of research skills and option modules. You will normally take 30 credits of options in semester one and 45 credits in semester two, including one 30 credit option. Part-time students will normally take 15 credits of option in semester one of the first year, leaving the remaining 15 credits until year two.
This 75 credit selection can include up to 30 credits from the guided list of non-history modules (see guided modules tab).
As part of this 75 credits, you will take at least one module classed as a 'research skills' module. This includes Research Skills for Historians; Directed Reading; Oral History; Palaeography from the research skills and option modules tab and Digital Cultural Heritage: Theory and Practice; or a language module from the guided modules tab.
Research skills and option modules - 75 credits from:
- Approaches and Methods in Media History
This module explores approaches and methods in media history. Students will examine how historians narrate media history, and what role the media has played in shaping political culture and mass communications from the Second World War onward. Class discussions will be predominantly based around the case study of modern Britain after 1945, but students will be encouraged to think more widely about the Anglophone world and examine extra-British examples where appropriate. Themes to be studied include: media theory and historiography, including debating the media’s role in political disengagement; the media and mainstream politics, including parties and elections; the media, extra-parliamentary politics and social movements; foreign policy and political violence; and race, racism and migration in the media.15 credits
- Before Facebook: Social Networks in History
In a world of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, social networks seem a distinctly modern phenomenon, but are they only a product of our digital age? This module explores historians' efforts to reconstruct social networks in diverse contexts, from the ancient to the modern world. Drawing upon techniques first developed by social scientists, and increasingly digital methods too, they have found networks of trade and business; religious groups and political exiles; family, friends and much more. This innovative work is revealing how far lives and communities cut across boundaries of time and space - with important consequences for historical debates and issues.15 credits
- Biopolitics: Medicine, Meaning and Power
Medicine is centrally concerned with human identity. Medical ideas, medical practices and medical professionals are fundamental to how humans in the twenty-first century think of themselves. Public health informs ideas of responsible citizenship, workplace initiatives on mental health promote mindfulness, assessments of ‘risk’ in psychiatry are highly racially charged. Modern sexuality is highly medical, and our very notions of what humans are has been shaped by disciplines as diverse as neuroscience and medical anthropology. Figures from history are routinely diagnosed with modern diseases, for a variety of ends, and health activism and consumerism has been part of political calculations for decades. This course will familiarize you with some of the major ways humans have been managed and modified in modern medicine.30 credits
- Black Power: Race, Gender, and Liberation in the United States and Beyond
During its time in the 1960s and 1970s and in its immediate aftermath, the Black Power movement was often caricatured and castigated as a violent, misogynistic, incoherent and self-destructive betrayal of the Civil Rights movement. But in recent years, scholarship which Peniel Joseph has termed “Black Power Studies” has situated the movement within the longer history of the Black freedom struggle. These works suggest that Black Power was not a break from the recent past, but part of the long history of Black armed self-defence and transnational activism, and an important contribution to Black American identity making, political thought, and political power. The movement called for racial solidarity, cultural pride, and self-determination, and connected its work at the local and national level to the global struggle against racial oppression and exploitation. In this module, we will explore the historiography of the Black Power movement, as well as key primary sources. We will seek to understand the development of the movement’s political power at the local level; the emergence of the Black Panther Party in the United States and the United Kingdom, and the Black Power movement in the Caribbean; the relationship between Black nationalism and internationalism; the Black Arts Movement and Black identity in the 1960s and 1970s; Black women’s role in the development of the movement’s political power and contribution to Black feminist thought in the 1970s and beyond; and the legacies of these events in the era of the Movement for Black Lives.15 credits
- Burying the White Gods: Indigenous people in the early modern colonial world
Since the rise of postcolonialism, scholars have fought to reconstruct the complexity and significance of indigenous communities and to remove them from an imperial framework which casts them as passive victims of historical events. In the early American world, this greater sensitivity to indigenous agendas and actions has led increasingly to meetings between indigenous Americans and Europeans being explained in terms of encounter, negotiation and accommodation, rather than simple conquest. Focusing on Central and South America, - but also drawing on other imperial contexts, this module seeks to illuminate the places and perspectives of indigenous people in colonial history and historiography.15 credits
- Church, Life, and Law in the Central Middle Ages
In the central Middle Ages, the papacy re-emerged as a power in Europe at the same time as a monk-bishop in Italy produced a new collection of texts relating to church law. Despite a series of charismatic but divisive popes, the papacy’s zenith would not have been reached had it not been for that collection, Gratian's Decretum, which provoked a new, vibrant, and creative era in the Latin Church and which lingered for centuries: used wherever Latin Christianity travelled, it was revised, reorganised, and expanded over the years and only replaced in 1917. This module introduces you to the key sources and concepts that underpinned medieval canon law, both the Decretum and its predecessors and successors, and their use – and abuse – by lawyers, popes, kings, clerics, and scholars during the period. Covering topics from marriage to politics, and using contemporary cases, treatises and manuscripts, this module asks how church law established itself, developed, and was employed at a time of change and 'Reform’, and looks to the influence that that law exerted over Christian Europe.15 credits
- Cold War Histories
What is the Cold War? How many of the post-war conflicts and tensions did it encompass? Should we approach it as a global conflict, a bipolar rivalry, a struggle for Europe and the Third World? Conceptualizations of the Cold War and historical investigations of its dynamics have substantially changed over time. How is the Cold War understood in an expanding and diversifying historiographical field? New critical approaches question its nature, scope, reach and implications. Conceptual precision and specificity seem to be giving way to a wider understanding of the Cold War as an era that encompassed different and at the same time interconnected conflicts and transformations. Today we study it not so much as an ideological and security issue but rather as a crossroad of cultural, transnational, local and global perspectives. As a result, its definition has grown more elusive and contested while historical research has become increasingly multifaceted. The module will explore the key approaches and debates that are redefining our understanding of the Cold War today, with a particular focus on themes for which the historiography is especially rich and highly developed: technology, weapons and the arms race; human rights revolution; propaganda and culture; debates on the endings of the legacy of the Cold War.15 credits
- Directed Reading
This module allows you to pursue individual study at an advanced level in the area in which you intend to specialise in future PhD research. It allows you the opportunity to work with a member of staff (usually your prospective PhD supervisor) in developing relevant skills or your familiarity with a particular body of material, historiography, or theoretical literature. Students interested in taking this module should discuss their options with the MA Director. The module is based on tutorial work and independent study.15 credits
- Food and Drink
Food and drink are not just fundamental to human survival; they are interwoven into every aspect of life, from economic exchange, politics and governance, to culture, identities and habits. Moreover – since the ways in which food and drink are produced, distributed and consumed have varied with time, place, culture and climate – they offer important insights into historical societies and cultures around the globe and across time. This module engages with the big themes in food and drink history and explores them through case studies taken from different geographical, chronological and cultural contexts. We will study issues such as famine and food management; trade and the global diffusion of foodstuffs; diet, health and medicine; national, regional and social identities; industrialisation, technologies and commercialisation; recipes, preparation and cuisine; consumption practices and manners; and literary representations and material cultures. Through this, the module will introduce you to the possibilities of historical research into diverse foodstuffs – from caffeinated drinks and alcohols to pulses and grains – for understanding the historical societies that they sustained.30 credits
- Imagining the Republic: Irish Republicanism, 1798-1998
Irish republican politics are associated with violence. There is a long lineage of organisations that have waged armed campaigns against the British state in Ireland, from the United Irishmen of the 1790s to the Provisional Irish Republican Army of the modern 'Troubles'. While the violent, anti-state activism is Irish republicanism's most obvious feature, this has obscured the nature of republican ideas in Ireland. What was distinctly 'Irish' or 'republican' about Irish republicanism? How was the 'Republic' imagined? Which political languages did Irish republicans deploy to articulate their worldview? This module offers an intellectual history of Irish republicanism to examine various republican thinkers and organisations in context, and question the extent to which we can speak of a singular and unbroken 'tradition' of Irish republicanism across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.15 credits
- International Order in the Twentieth Century
How should international relations be organised? This was a central question in the international history of the twentieth century. This module explores the ideas of international organisation that emerged, and how they were realised in practice in bodies like the League of Nations and the United Nations, as well as subaltern internationalist projects like the Afro-Asian and Non-Aligned movements. Why did governments and non-governmental actors create and participate in international organisations? What was the significance and impact of those organisations? And why should historians study these past internationalist projects today? Much of the most exciting recent work by international and global historians has grappled with these questions.15 credits
- Language and Society in Early Modern England
This module investigates what words meant in early modern England – not merely to social and intellectual elites (though they are certainly part of the mix) but also ordinary men and women. In doing so, it encourages you to reflect on the implications of these meanings – and their changes and continuities over time – for social attitudes, relationships, and practices. Working at the intersection of social, literary and intellectual history, you’ll explore diverse primary material - including diaries, court records, and printed texts - as you delve into different techniques for analysing language and meaning.30 credits
- Microhistory and the History of Everyday Life
The choice of scale is of fundamental importance in determining the kind of history that is produced. It influences the choice of source materials, the way these are handled, and the sorts of conclusions that can be reached. In this module we critically examine the theory, method and practice of two related historiographical approaches: microhistory and the history of everyday life, both of which emphasized the intensive study of the small scale and were influenced by anthropology. Students will develop an appreciation of the theoretical issues and practical experience in applying this to their own research.15 credits
- Migration in the Ancient World
This module explores the role migration played in the classical and ancient world. Study is divided into five areas: the social scientific basis for historical reconstruction through migration; economic migration; migration and the formation of communal identity; forced migration as imperial policy; the forced migrants' voice in antiquity. This module draws primarily on ancient texts (e.g., Mesopotamian annals and myths, the Hebrew Bible, ancient Greek histories). Students will develop skills and knowledge relevant to the study of migration broadly conceived (both in the humanities and social sciences), but is especially relevant to those interested in forced migration.15 credits
- Nationalisms revisited: Jewish and Arab political ideologies, 1897-1948
The establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948 was a central event in the forging of twentieth-century geopolitics. Partially as a result of this perceived importance, historiography has tended to regard the decades leading up to 1948 as merely the prehistory to Jewish statehood. In reality, as Zygmunt Bauman observes, ‘there were few, if any straight roads in modern Jewish history.’ The same can be said about Arab political movements. This module seeks to expand our understanding of both modern Jewish and Arab nationalism as competing sets of political narratives. In doing so, we will critically examine the dominant mono-directional paradigm that ties both these narratives to one single event: the birth of the State of Israel. We will highlight the parallel paths that preceded the establishment of the Jewish State and the birth of the Palestinian refugee crisis. By contrast, in this module we will widen the scope of our understanding of Jewish and Arab nationalisms by including not just state-centred national movements (Zionism and Palestinian statist nationalism) but also broader Jewish and Arab ‘political behaviour’; in other words, the political roads that were eventually not taken. Shifting our gaze to both Europe and the Middle East, we ask: who were the Jews and how were they politically active before the Holocaust? Who were the Arabs and how were their political identities shaped in the Age of Nationalism? Which alternatives existed to the ‘nation-state’ in the minds of contemporary Jewish and Arab political actors? And how did these various national ideologies meet on the way to 1948?15 credits
- Oral History
Oral testimony has established itself as a vital source for historians of the modern world, but its value is still widely contested. This module introduces students to the practice of oral history and the debates surrounding it. We will examine the different ways in which historians have used oral testimony and how this evidence has shaped our understanding of the past; explore the relationships between memory, narrative and meaning; and introduce students to the ethics and practicalities of interviewing. The module will equip you with the tools to conduct your interviews, and to use oral history testimony critically and sensitively.15 credits
In this module students are introduced to the different forms of law hand and secretary hand current in the early modern period, noting transitional styles and the emergence of italic script. A range of transcription conventions are also explained. For each session, students will be required to prepare transcriptions of a representative selection of manuscript materials.15 credits
- Presenting the Past: Making History Public
The primary focus of this module is the interpretation and creation of 'public history'. The module will enable students to reflect on the issues involved in disseminating history outside academia and develop communication and presentation skills for audiences outside higher education. Students will be required to (1) analyse examples of public history and (2) create an example of public history.The module may be of particular interest to students planning to pursue careers in heritage, museums or education. Seminars will include discussion of: issues in public history; displaying objects and presenting interiors; the role of public history in post-conflict societies; writing for the 'public'; sound and vision; digital history.15 credits
- Public History and Policy: Theory and Practice
This module explores ways that the best findings of specialist, academic history can be used to engage a wide audience to influence its understanding of and views on policy. Seminars and readings employ case studies (from ancient to modern history and around the globe) and engagements with practitioners in order to glean insights about how and why historians have (more or less) successfully engaged with policy and policy makers. The assessment invites students to write a policy paper (or similar piece aimed at non-specialists) on a topic selected in collaboration with the module leader.30 credits
- Research Skills for Historians
This module is designed to equip students with the research skills necessary for independent investigation and further study in History. Students will discuss the changing nature of the historical discipline as it has adapted to interdisciplinary impulses, and the skills needed for a more refined analysis of both textual and visual primary sources. In Masterclasses taught by specialists, students will familiarise themselves with the possibilities associated with different types of primary sources (e.g. legal documents, press, oral history). Additional classes will help them work more effectively with library collections and develop subject-specific as well as generic IT skills (locating information in databases, using web-based resources, advanced bibliographical management).15 credits
- Revolutionary England, 1640-1660: Politics, culture & society
This unit will introduce students to the study of English politics and society between 1640 and 1660. Students will use primary and secondary sources in seminars to analyse both contemporary writings and historiographical debates on the causes and significance of the civil war, defined broadly to include not just formal political debate but also popular movements (including witch hunts, clubman associations and forms of economic and social protest) and other forms of intellectual creativity (astrology and natural science for example). The aim is to understand both the conflict, and the social and cultural values through which it was experienced and resolutions were sought.15 credits
- Sex and Power: The Politics of Women's Liberation in Modern Britain
This module examines the integration of women and the evolving themes and demands of the women¿s movement in the political sphere in Britain from the heyday of the suffrage movement up to the reign of Britain's first female PM, Margaret Thatcher. We will focus on both women's wide-ranging attempts and their more limited achievements to gain entry into the political establishment, at the local, national and international levels. Topics will include women's suffrage agitation; the aftermath of suffrage; inter-war feminism; feminist internationalism; studies of women politicians; Second Wave Feminism; and gendered readings of British political history.15 credits
- Stories of Activism, 1960 to the Present
This module will enable students to explore modern political and social activism by studying specific campaigns in Sheffield and beyond. Students will get the opportunity to draw upon the material deposited in the ever-growing Stories of Activism archive (including oral history interviews, campaign materials and organisational records), as well as other sources, including the local press, to learn about this often untold side of Sheffield¿s history. Potential areas of study include trade unionism, employment and labour rights; women¿s issues, environmentalism, community-building; and peace, refugees and human rights. Students will learn how to analyse local activism using perspectives from the broader literature on democratic culture and social movements.15 credits
- The Animal Turn: human and non-human animals in history
This module engages with the new 'Animal turn' in the Humanities. No longer does the mention of non-human history lead to amusement and surprise, as was the case until fairly recently, and the field has attracted huge attention from a range of disciplines. This module acknowledges this change, and engages with some of the most influential works on related issues. At the same time, it also engages with a wide range of controversies and debates, starting from the issue of whether it is right to use terms such as ‘animals’ and ‘non-humans,’ as they reduce the wide diversity of life-forms into one or more anthropocentric categories.15 credits
In examining these debates, the module will deal with questions such as the following: Is it right to talk about the agency of non-humans in the same way as we talk of human agency? In what ways has the relationship between humans and non-humans changed over time? How have humans represented non-humans, and is it possible to re-read these representations in non-anthropocentric ways? What are the ways in which non-humans have been exhibited and studied since early-modern times? What will a history, which is inclusive of non-humans, look like? In discussing these questions, we will go through a range of writings from colonial and non-colonial contexts.
- The Dawn of Modernity in the Late Middle Ages
This module seeks to reassess the picture of the late Middle Ages as an age of crisis and decay to be replaced by the Renaissance and modernity. It aims to show how groups of innovative people invented a new world characterised by international capitalism, man-centred subjectivity and claims of communal participation, and why their new world(s) became the dominant framework of European history for the centuries to follow. The first modern European colonies in the near Atlantic Ocean were both a laboratory for, and a crucial step to, the successful establishment of a new world within and without Europe.15 credits
- The Japanese Empire in East Asia, 1895-1945
Between 1895 and 1945 Japan joined the ranks of imperial powers in East Asia, acquiring Taiwan, Korea, and ever greater portions of China. This module examines how the Japanese empire was built, run, and resisted. We will ask whether approaches to colonialism honed by historians of Western imperialism work in the Japanese context, and will consider too how Japan's rapid modernisation, political development, and diplomatic and ideological engagement with rival great powers shaped its colonial policy. No prior knowledge of East Asian history is required to take the course.15 credits
- The U.S. Civil War in Global Context
The U.S. Civil War of 1861-65, which culminated in the victory of the ‘free labor’ and the emancipation of four million slaves, has often been read as a purely American story. Yet as historians have shown, the effects of the conflict reverberated around the world, silencing the Manchester mills that ran on the fruits of slave’s toil, remaking the rural economies of countries as far flung as Japan and Egypt, and inspiring European nationalists, liberals and socialists in their own revolutionary struggles for unification and liberty. Abraham Lincoln understood as much at the time. His Gettysburg Address moved gracefully between the particular circumstances of the United States and the universal propositions that the Civil War had put to the test. At the outset of the conflict he had offered Giuseppe Garibaldi, the hero of the struggle to make an Italian nation state, a command in the Union army. Pro- slavery Confederates too sought Old World allies: rumours even abounded after 1861 that they were ready to replace their president with a Habsburg prince.15 credits
Probing such connections between developments in the U.S., Europe, and beyond, we will explore where the Civil War sits alongside contemporary struggles for national unification, how it reshaped a global economy that rested heavily on the production of slave-grown cotton, and whether its revolutionary outcome – the annihilation of slavery and extension of voting rights to black men – imprinted society and politics beyond the Union’s borders. The module will introduce you to two methods – one transnational, the other comparative – for studying global history.
- The United States and the Global Cold War
For two decades, historians have extended the geographic boundaries of the Cold War, thrusting the Global South to the fore of a field usually focused on superpower rivalries. Yet while this scholarship has deliberately decentred the United States, it has also shed new light on American history, illuminating – among other things – the international legacy of the New Deal, the anti-colonial cosmopolitanism of civil rights activists, and the potent force of American soft power. Drawing on a rich recent historiography, this module explores the interplay between the domestic and the foreign in a global conflict.30 credits
- Voices of the Great War: Gender, Experience and Violence in Great Britain and Germany, 1914-1918
This module is focused on the gendered nature of the war experiences from 1914 to 1918. Both men and women were affected by the turmoil and the violence of the Great War, either through their front line service or through their roles as mothers, wives or carers of soldiers, as nurses in military hospitals or as victims of atrocities against civilians. The module will take a comparative approach, analysing German and British examples. Special attention will be paid to the analysis of primary sources (letters, diaries, images) which shed light on these experiences, and to the methodological consideration of their possibilities, advantages and pitfalls.15 credits
- Wikipedia and Medieval History
Wikipedia is today probably the world's chief source of historical knowledge. Every day, its pages on history are read by many thousands of people. Yet professional historians tend to avoid engaging with it. This course seeks to change that. As well as discussing critical perspectives on Wikipedia, students will receive practical training in creating or editing a page on a historical topic. They will then apply their studies in a hands-on way to improving the encyclopedia's coverage of the Middle Ages, and reflect on the kind of historical knowledge of the period it promotes and disseminates.15 credits
- Women and Power
This module explores the roles women have played within and through structures and discourses of power: as wielders of office, as victims of persecution, and as agents of cultural change. The module focuses on Europe in the High Middle Ages, drawing on a range of theoretical approaches and on written and material forms of evidence to enable students to reach their own insights. While focused on the Middle Ages, the module offers itself as a case study in the methodological challenge of identifying female agency in the historical record.30 credits
- Work Placement
This module aims to give students an insight into the day to day workings of a museum, school or research institute, in order to develop history-specific vocational skills and promote reflection on the issues involved in disseminating history outside academia. The module provides a vocational component to the Department of History postgraduate portfolio, and may be of particular interest to those MA students not planning to pursue a PhD after their studies. Students will choose a placement from those offered at the start of the academic year and then negotiate a role within that placement relevant to their area of study. Following a placement of approximately 100 hours with an employer an essay will then be completed by the student reflecting on the work they undertook. Seminars and tutorials before and after the placement will allow students to compare and contrast their experiences.15 credits
- Worlds of Labour: Working Class Lives in Colonial South Asia
Together with the image of India as an emerging economic 'powerhouse', there is another image that receives a huge amount of international attention - that of over-crowded slums, pavement-dwellers, grinding poverty, filth and squalor. Behind such generalised depictions, though, lie rich and varied lives of working class Individuals. This module intends to examine these lives in some detail, and will situate them within a wide range of contexts (e.g. e.g. within mills, factories, plantations, the White Sahib's bungalow etc). In doing this, it will focus on the long nineteenth century – a period when urbanisation had gathered pace, and factories, mills and plantations became more numerous.30 credits
Your 75 credit research skills and option module selection can include up to 30 credits from this guided module list. 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.
Students can select languages for all modules where relevant to their programme of study. These modules are worth 10 credits and must be taken alongside the appropriate Enhanced Languages module (5 credits).
Language modules are all classed as research skills modules.
- Archaeology in the Classical Mediterranean
Investigates the archaeology of the Classical Mediterranean world, with a focus on interrogating the development of the discipline and approaches (first half) and then using this background to explore the themes of colonisation and identity (second half). Examples will be drawn from European societies from the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age in the Greek world through the fall of the Roman empire, drawing on material from the Mediterranean and the Black Sea regions.15 credits
- Digital Cultural Heritage: Theory and Practice
This module examines the theoretical and methodological advances in Digital Cultural Heritage and their15 credits
broader implications in fields concerned with the interpretation and presentation of the past. We will draw on
theoretical readings as well as analyse the potential benefits and drawbacks of certain digital and online
approaches. Topics include: principles and theories underlying Digital Cultural Heritage, understanding
processes of creating digital surrogates, establishing principles for user experience, and exploring digital
narratives for public dissemination. A major component of this module will be a semester-long project that will
require the development of a proposal for a digital cultural heritage project.
- Heritage, Place and Community
The aim of this module is to introduce the theory and practice of heritage, conservation and public archaeology. The module will encourage debate on issues that affect how we define and apply the term `heritage'. It also offers an opportunity to focus on the historic `value' of a site or landscape, with an evaluation of how it is currently managed, and strategies for its future conservation and presentation.15 credits
- Heritage, History and Identity
This module highlights the diversity of cultural heritage, ranging from cultural and ‘natural’ landscapes, through monuments to music, dress, cuisine, ‘traditional’ crafts, and language and dialect. It explores the role of these various forms of heritage in shaping local, regional and national identity; the extent to which they reflect or misrepresent local, regional and national history; the legal and ethical issues surrounding conservation and preservation of heritage; and how study of ‘traditional’ lifeways may contribute to understanding of history.15 credits
- Later Neolithic and Bronze Age Britain & Ireland
The module introduces the Later Neolithic and Bronze Age of Britain and Ireland (2800-750 BC). This period witnessed dramatic and lasting changes in the constitution of society, the formation of the landscape, and the meanings of material culture. These changes included the full adoption of agriculture, the construction of major ceremonial monuments such as Stonehenge, the flourishing and decline of novel burial rites, the development of metallurgy, and the widespread enclosure of the countryside into field systems. Through lectures and small-group discussion, and fieldtrips, we will review and debate the major themes that have dominated archaeological narratives of the period.20 credits
- Later Neolithic & Bronze Age Britain & Ireland
The module introduces the prehistory of Britain during the Neolithic and Bronze Age - roughly 4000-750 BC. This period witnessed dramatic and lasting changes in the constitution of society, the formation of the landscape, and the meanings of material culture. These changes included the adoption of agriculture, the construction of major ceremonial monuments such as Stonehenge, the flourishing and decline of novel burial rites, the development of metallurgy, and the widespread enclosure of the countryside into field systems. Through lectures and small-group activities and discussion, we will consider the major themes, sites and artefacts that have dominated archaeological narratives of the period. Along the way we will review many of the less well-known regions and assemblages, and debate new ways of interpreting social change. The module includes a day-long fieldtrip to visit key later prehistoric landscapes in our region.15 credits
- Roman Italy and its Hinterland
Provides you with a detailed knowledge of the archaeology of the Roman Empire, from the city of Rome to settlements in Italy and other regions of Europe. This module consists of two elements:•A series of 2-hour lectures (shared with UG module Rome: Capital, Hinterland and Periphery) that: trace the creation and development of Rome as cosmopolis, as well as the transformation of towns in Italy, the Mediterranean and Europe in emulation of Rome; explore and discuss the profound changes in society from Republic to Empire, the political and economic culture of Empire, and the visual and material expression of imperial ideology; examine the dialogue between the living and the dead and its cultural and social implications for Rome.•A series of MA-only seminars that explore in detail some of the key research themes of the period.15 credits
- Society and Culture in the Later Middle Ages
This module provides an introduction of the archaeology of later medieval Europe(c. AD 1100-1500), focusing on the regions of north-western Europe, but occasionally drawing on material from the lands around the Mediterranean. It explores many of the important theoretical issues relevant to early medieval archaeology, and also a range of problem-solving strategies within the discipline. The module consists of two elements: a series of lectures introducing important themes and debates within the medieval archaeology, and series of seminars that consider specific case-studies and key sites.15 credits
Digital Humanities Institute modules:
- Introduction to Cultural Data
This module examines cultural data, including methods for creating, analysing and communicating data. Cultural data is digital data about human culture and society, past and present: from ancient documents, artefacts and environments to present-day social media, digital arts and virtual worlds. Cultural data also uses a wide range of digital methods for its creation, analysis and communication, such as digitisation, crowdsourcing, AI, data visualisation, apps, digital exhibitions, and user-centred design. You will learn the principles, methods and tools for working with all types of cultural data, preparing you for a career in the media, information and cultural sectors.30 credits
- Introduction to Digital Culture
This module examines the theory and history of the interaction between culture and information and communication technology (ICT). ‘Digital culture’ refers to culture shaped by the emergence and use of digital technologies, their practices and artefacts. This module focuses on the changes wrought by the widespread adoption of networked computing, personalised technologies and digital images and sound, for the way we think about culture and cultural data, the contexts in which digital culture exists and is made, and their impacts for the creative/cultural industries. You will learn about the characteristics of digital culture including types of cultural forms and experiences, technical processes, and about digital practice and computing as a cultural activity, including its history, socio-cultural context, aesthetics, epistemologies, its ethical problems and critical debates. This will enable you to understand current forms of digital culture, critically contextualise your own and others’ digital practice, and anticipate future developments, as appropriate to knowledge-based careers in the cultural sector.30 credits
- American Nightmares: Socio-political Discourses in American Gothic Literature
Have you ever wondered why there are so many haunted “Indian” burial grounds in Stephen King’s stories or why none of Poe’s heroines ever survive? Have you been struck by how often American socio-political discourse sound like Gothic fictions? The Gothic is a pervasive mode in America, one which expresses and negotiates a variety of social anxieties such as racial identity, patriarchy and the rise of feminism, and class antagonism. This course will examine a variety of Gothic texts from the 1800s onward to consider how they express and negotiate various socio-political anxieties and shifts. We will also contextualize the narratives by reviewing the relevant socio-political ideologies and debates contemporary to the texts. In doing so, the course will clarify the numerous chasms between the American ideal and the brutal American reality.30 credits
Western man has become a confessing animal, or so Michel Foucault contended. This module interrogates confessional acts in literature and culture, beginning with St Augustine's Confessions (often considered the first autobiography in the Western tradition) and focusing in particular upon eighteenth- and nineteenth-century forms. Students will explore confession across a range of contexts: sacred and secular law, medicine, self-improvement, scandal and sensation. A variety of genres will be considered, from autobiography to fiction, prison writing to medical case studies, periodical print to the confession 'album'. Authors will include Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Thomas De Quincey, Mary Elizabeth Braddon and Oscar Wilde.30 credits
- Early Modern Books
`Whatever they may do, authors do not write books. Books are not written at all. They are manufactured by scribes and other artisans, by mechanics and engineers, and by printing presses and other machines¿ (Roger E. Stodhard). This module examines the processes which created the works that early modern audiences experienced, in manuscript and print, or as performance. Topics covered on the module include the production, licensing, dissemination, reception, and censorship of literary works. Knowledge of these processes, and the practical constraints and contingencies attendant on them, enriches our appreciation of how early moderns perceived the books they read/owned and the performances they witnessed, and gives insight into the often collaborative and contested nature of `authorship¿. The module will also consider the role of the modern scholarly editor.15 credits
- Humans, Animals, Monsters and Machines: From Gulliver's Travels to King Kong
This module examines imaginings of the `human' in relation to machines and animals (and those monsters that are neither one thing nor the other) from the eighteenth century to the twentieth. We will focus mainly on fiction, its cultural contexts and on readings from the period's key thinkers of human being, alongside more recent theories of humans, posthumans and animals. The aim is to encourage critical engagement with this key issue and to facilitate a deeper appreciation of the period's literature, culture and politics, including the relationship of discourses of technology and species to discourses of class, gender and race.30 credits
- Memory and Trauma in Contemporary Literature
The fictional narratives of Greco-Roman antiquity play a foundational role in the Western literary tradition. In this module students will encounter the extant masterworks of Chariton, Xenophon of Ephesus, Achilles Tatius, Longus, Heliodorus, and Apuleius - authors once widely read in the ancient world - as well as two Jewish and Christian examples: Joseph and Aseneth and the Acts of Paul and Thecla. The ancient novels, the earliest examples of the genre, are a ripe literary field to explore the construction of gender, human sexualities, the relation of lovers to family and society, and the intersection of eroticism with ancient religious sensibilities.30 credits
- Mid-Century Modernism
The module will introduce students to current research and scholarship relating to literature of the `long modern¿ period (1930 to 1975), introducing them to the history and contemporary state of criticism and theory in relation to mid twentieth-century cultural production. Students will receive a thorough grounding in research methods specific to the period. This is a period of unprecedented violence and transformation, from the momentous impact of totalitarian systems, the rise and impact of the Second World War on global culture, host to the worst events the world has ever experienced with the Holocaust and Bomb, the age of rapid and shifting groups and movements, existentialism through abstract expressionism to confessional, innovative and pop art styles. It is also an era of very deep reflection on the idea of the relations between systems of thought across disciplines. The module will chart that reflection as well as a forum for thinking about art¿s power in a world under new techno-political compulsions, be they nuclear-apocalyptic, Cold War-propagandized, or transnational, neo-imperial, superpowered or postcolonial.30 credits
- Murderers and Degenerates: Contextualising the fin de siècle Gothic
The module explores three related case histories which help to establish how the literary Gothic shaped particular fin de siècle anxieties. To that end the module examines accounts of Joseph Merrick (aka The Elephant Man), newspaper reports of the Whitechapel murders of 1888, and the trials of Oscar Wilde. It is by exploring how the Gothic infiltrated medical, criminological, and legal discourses that we can see how a narrative which centred on the pathologisation of masculinity was elaborated at the time. These case histories will be read alongside Jekyll and Hyde (1886) and Dracula (1897) as two of the key literary texts which also examine medicine, the law, and crucially the urban and gender contexts which in turn shape the three case histories.30 credits
- Post-1945 British Drama, Film and Television
This module provides the opportunity for parallel study of the British drama, cinema and television of the post-war period. This era saw the emergence of influential styles, prominent figures and landmark texts in all three artistic forms: e.g. the plays of John Osbourne (Look Back in Anger), television drama (Cathy Come Home) and key British films, such as Ealing comedies (The Man in the White Suit), retrospective war films (The Cruel Sea) and social problem films (Sapphire). The module will explore the evolving post-war cultural landscape to contextualise and critically appraise examples from these interrelated literary, performative and representational media.30 credits
- Reimagining the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Reimagining the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is the core module of the MA Literature, Culture and Society 1700-1900. The module will address the diverse thematic approaches which can be applied to the novel, poetry, and other media such as life-writing, published between 1700-1900. The module reflects the range of expertise of the teaching team in these areas and this research-led module will introduce students to current research approaches and methods.30 credits
- Renaissance Transformations
This module approaches Renaissance literature through the theme of transformation. It will look at examples of transformation in Renaissance writing, such as changing sex, changing religion, and changes between the human and the animal. It will also consider the changes that Renaissance writers wrought upon existing literary traditions such as the classical, the biblical and the medieval.30 credits
- Romantic Gothic
Romantic Gothic considers the various manifestations of the Gothic mode, from the middle of the eighteenth century towards the end of the Romantic period in 1830. Looking at how the Gothic became such an enduring and powerful mode of expression in literature, the module will look at Gothic poetry, Gothic novels, Gothic bluebooks, and accounts of supernatural occurrences in the popular magazines and newspapers of the age. By the end of the module, you will have a good knowledge of the rise of the Gothic during the eighteenth century and Romantic periods, and will have examined some of the most popular Gothic works of the age alongside less canonical works.30 credits
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. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.
You’ll be taught through seminars, workshops and individual tutorials. Teaching and assessment methods may vary for non-history modules.
Assessment is through written papers, oral presentation, and a dissertation.
- 1 year full-time
- 2 years part-time
A first-class BA honours degree or equivalent in history or another humanities or social science discipline.
You may be asked to supply examples of previous written work.
Overall IELTS score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component, or equivalent.
If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.
Fees and funding
You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.
+44 114 222 2552
Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.
Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.