MA in Historical Research

The Institute of Historical Research is well placed to offer a taught degree in historical research. It has two active research centres, one of the finest open access libraries in the country, the largest weekly seminar series currently operating in a University, a thriving annual events programme, specialised research training programmes in research methods, language information and information technology and unrivalled digital resources. This degree enables students to undertake assessed work in the historical issues and controversies that interest them most.

Students are introduced to key historical approaches, sources and methods and learn to apply them to their particular subject field. The course offers wide-ranging research training, and importance is placed on the use of architecture, material culture, archaeology and literature to aid historical research and understanding. Field trips and museum visits form a key part of the training programme.

Module 1, ‘Historical Research Skills’, is taught through 10 weekly two-hour classes. It focuses on providing students with practical historical skills and an understanding of different historical approaches and methods. It offers students an introduction to the theoretical basis of historical approaches and the opportunity to explore how related disciplines (such as archaeology, anthropology, sociology and political science) have helped historians adopt new approaches to the past. Methodological approaches, including the handling of material evidence, the use of digital techniques, and the interpretation of visual sources, are also be studied. This module is assessed by a 5,000-word essay.

As part of this module, students are also required to take one of the IHR's short training courses (see research training). This is assessed by a 1,500-word report.

The second core module, ‘History in context’ is, again, taught through 10 two-hour lectures and seminars. It explores a number of themes in historical research, building on the skills and approaches learned in Module 1. These include local and urban history, as well as the history of gender, migration and empires. Students are encouraged to think about the significance of continuity and change in history and periodisation, as well as the presentation of history in museums and other public fora. This module is assessed by one 5,000-word essay and a 15-minute presentation on an aspect of history in context.

Module 3 offers a range of taught options courses which allow students to select a topic to study in more detail prior to commencing work on their dissertations. Students are required to take two ten-week courses, chosen from a list which may include: 'health and welfare', 'local history', 'material culture', 'the making of the metropolis', 'death in England', and 'digitial history'. Each course is assessed by an essay of 3,000 words.

The dissertation (15,000 words), which can be undertaken in any historic area where Institute of Historical Research staff have supervisory competence, offers the chance to design and implement a project drawing on the skills and methods learnt during the course.

Classes for the taught core modules and options courses take place on one day a week (currently, Wednesdays). Supervision for the dissertation can be arranged to suit working patterns.

For further details about the course, see the 2016-17 MA/MRes in Historical Research Student Handbook or School of Advanced Study Website

Degree code:RTIHR
Credit value:180

Two compulsory taught modules, two options courses, plus a dissertation of 15,000 words.

Students are also required to undertake a short (assessed) research training course.

Mode of study:12 months full-time or 24 months part-time.
Fees 2017-18:

Full-time Home and EU Master’s students: £6,240.

Part-time Home and EU Master’s students: £3,440.

Fulltime Overseas Master’s students: £14,465.


See here for IHR Friends bursaries.

See here for SAS studentships and bursaries.


First-class or upper second-class degree (or overseas equivalent) in a relevant subject.

Applicants with relevant experience and skills may also be considered. 

Language requirements

IELTS (International English LanguageTesting Service) test at level 7 or a degree taken in a majority English-speaking country.

See here for full details.

Visa requirements

The Institute welcomes applications from international students. If in doubt as to the effect of your status on your application please contact the School registry on 020 7862 8663.

Potential applicants should be aware of the impact of the Government’s Points Based system for Tier 4 (i.e. student) entrants on their application. See UK Border Agency for full details.

DeadlineApplications are accepted throughout the year but must have been received and processed by 31 August.
Application Apply Online