MRes in Historical Research

The MRes is an integrated research training programme designed to provide graduates with a foundation for a career in research in industry, the public sector or in academic life or a platform for entry to a PhD programme. Its purpose is to offer high quality postgraduate training in the methods and practice of research in relevant transferable skills.

The programme aims to:

i)Give a detailed understanding of educational research methodologies and the theoretical/methodological issues/assumptions they entail;

ii) Develop skills in research design, methods of enquiry, data analysis and other analytical strategies;

iii) Develop an understanding of the issues involved in effective communication of research findings including:

  • a critical appreciation of the research process relevant to advanced research in the individual’s field of study;
  • an extensive understanding of research methodology relevant to individual field of study;
  • the capacity to independently design and undertake a substantial research project;
  • an awareness of the specialist research methodologies appropriate to their research project;
  • the ability to select and provide a rationale for the selection of particular methodological approaches.

The Master of Research (MRes) degree will consist of 190 (level 7) credits in total with each course structured to include a significant research component comprising 50% of the total credits of the award and a series of supporting taught modules.

Full time students would take 2 taught core modules and one option module indicating their research pathway in the autumn and spring terms and write their dissertation during the summer term.

Part time students would take 2 taught core modules in the first year, and their third module, indicating their research pathway and write their dissertation in year 2.

Module 1 (core)

Historical Research Training Skills (incorporating dissertation preparation) comprises

Introduction; Historiography I – chroniclers, antiquarians and concepts of the past; Historiography II – modern historical frameworks; Documentary sources; Archaeology and Material Culture; Archive visits: London Metropolitan Archives and the Wellcome Library; Databases and other digital techniques; Visual sources; Citation and dissertation research and writing skills.


A 1,500 essay based on participation in one of the IHRs research training courses, and an essay of 5,000 words on the use of research skills for a particular piece of historical research of the student’s choice.

Module 2 History in Context (core)

Comprises: Historical Discontinuities; Studying Places: Local and regional history; Cities in history: medieval and early modern urban development; The modern city: forms and characteristics; Gender and history; History and the public: museums and display; Migration; Health and Mortality; Landscapes; and Global and transnational histories.


One 5,000 word essay and an assessed oral presentation on one of the aspects of History in Context.

Module 3 (Research Pathway option)

Selection of a research pathway depending on dissertation focus.

Local History; Digital History; History of Medicine; Urban History including the history of London

Modern History; Material culture and archaeology; History and Biography

Students will attend weekly small-group classes for each pathway. These will focus both on specific skills, methodologies and historiographies corresponding to the particular pathway in preparation for work on the dissertation.  The pathway lead tutors will draw upon the expertise of other IHR staff and fellows, as well as on the resources of partner organisations such as The National Archives, Wellcome Library, and the Museum of London.

Assessment: One 3,000 word essay discussing research design, sources, historiography and methodologies to be used for the MRes dissertation.

Module 4

Research component, Dissertation, 30,000 words

The research component of the course (total 90 credits) consists of a significant research project providing the opportunity for the student to undertake an in-depth investigative project from one of the history pathways. 

Credit value:



Two compulsory taught modules, one 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 2013–14:

Full-time Home and EU Master’s students: £5,250.

Part-time Home and EU Master’s students: £2,625.

Fulltime Overseas Master’s students: £12,000.


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 skill 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.


Applications are accepted throughout the year but must have been received and processed by 31 August.

Application form

Download the application form from the SAS Website