Course details

                      Launching Autumn 2023


All histories are grounded in place. Communities shape our identities, whether through local neighbourhoods or global diasporas, or the stories we remember together over time.
Today, the intersections between history, place and community have never been more visible in public discourse, heritage interpretation, conservation and policy. 


This exciting new programme is designed to be flexible and centred on your needs: whether you’re building the foundations for higher-level research, looking to develop applied skills for your professional development, or simply interested in your own place and its history.


Modules can be taken individually as credit-bearing University of London micro-qualifications, or you can choose to take the full MA programme. Hybrid teaching includes online seminars and asynchronous content – as well as intensive ‘conference style’ teaching days each term, making the most of the outstanding IHR collections and our location at Senate House in the heart of London.


Your final project can be either a traditional dissertation, or a special project like a podcast series or creative piece – or you can choose the placement route, tackling a critical challenge through hands-on experience with one of our partners across the heritage and archives sector.


Modules include:

  • Thinking History
  • Connecting History
  • Scoping and Planning a Project
  • Historic Places: Landscapes, Buildings and Significance
  • Applied Public History
  • Layers of London: Deep Mapping London’s History
  • Place and Policy
  • Final Project / Dissertation
  • IHR London Summer School

(full details of modules below)

Degree overview

By the end of the programme, students will be able to:

•            understand the complex and charged discourses around ‘community’ and ‘place’ and contribute to them with their own original research and analysis

•            critically address problems in knowledge or understanding of historical places and communities, Identifying and selecting appropriate methods, tools and analytical frameworks to bring to bear upon them

•            use a wide variety of scholarly tools and services to undertake independent historical research

•            communicate research findings to academic and public audiences

>•            apply historical research skills in a variety of professional environments

•            frame, plan and execute a substantial historical research project>

The programme re-imagines postgraduate taught study for the post-Covid era, with an emphasis on flexibility, student-centred formats, wide geographical accessibility, and bespoke learning. From the start this course has been designed with flexibility in mind, with extensive use made of blended and online learning, and a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous teaching. We understand the need for study opportunities that allow students to combine the MA programme with other activities or employment, and we recognise that they will not always want to be present in London. Both full-time (one year) and part-time (two year) modes of study are available, allowing students to choose a level of commitment appropriate to their circumstances.

About the Institute

The Institute of Historical Research is the UK's national centre for history, dedicated to supporting historians of all kinds. The IHR is dedicated to training the next generation of researchers, and to producing and facilitating ambitious, innovative historical research. Through our library, events programmes, seminars, fellowships, training and publications, we offer a wide range of services both onsite and remotely that facilitate excellence in historical research, teaching and scholarship in the UK.

Our academic staff produce world-leading research, conducting nationally-important projects and providing a remarkable range of expertise, with particular strengths in the history of Britain, its colonial involvement and the Commonwealth. A large body of senior and junior research fellows complements the staff and, alongside the institute’s substantial body of doctoral students, ensures a lively and thriving intellectual environment. Staff and students also take advantage of the seminar programmes and academic resources of the University of London colleges, the other institutes of the School of Advanced Study and the other internationally-renowned institutions of Bloomsbury, such as the British Library. Finally, we enjoy the unrivalled resources of the IHR Wohl Library, including its world-renowned collections in placed, place-based and local histories, as well as secondary materials around public history and historiography.

Course Summary

Degree Structure

The degree course consists of a total of seven modules: six taught modules and a final independent study module, which can take the form of either a dissertation or a placement. The MA can be taken full-time (one year) or part-time (two years).

Full time (one year)

Term One

Thinking History (20 credits)
and
Two option modules (20 credits each)

Term Two

Connecting History (20 credits)
One option module (20 credits)
Scoping and Planning (20 credits)

Term Three + summer

Dissertation (60 credits)
OR
Placement (60 credits)

Part time (two years)

In the first year, students take two core modules, Thinking History and Connecting History, and one optional module, either in the autumn or spring terms. In the third term students should begin to make initial preparations either for their dissertation or for a placement.

Term One

Thinking History (20 credits)
AND
One optional module (20 credits), to be taken either in term one or term two

Term Two

Connecting History (20 credits)
AND
One optional module (20 credits), to be taken either in term one or term two

Term Three

Dissertation/Placement preparation

Term Four

One optional modules (20 credits)
AND
One optional module (20 credits), to be taken either in term four or term five

Term Five

Scoping and Planning (20 credits)
AND
One optional module (20 credits), to be taken either in term four or term five

Term Six

Dissertation (60 credits)
OR
Placement (60 credits)

Mode of study

12 months full-time |  24 months part-time

Contact hours

For every taught contact hour you should allow 2.5 hours of independent study

  • Full-time is 10-11 taught hours a week, with independent study this would come to 35-38.5 hours per week
  • Part-time is 6-7 taught hours a week, with independent study this would come to 21-24.5 hours per week

Core Modules

Thinking History

Credits

20 CATS credits

 

Aims and Objectives

 

Thinking critically about the past lies at the core of what we call historical research. This module identifies and examines the key conceptual frameworks and practical techniques that shape historical research and that enable and inform research into past communities and places. 

First, it examines the various and changing answers to the question ‘What is history?’ How have recent generations of historians thought about history and communities, and how has the nature of this thinking changed? How does it relate to other approaches to human societies and identities? University researchers are, moreover, just one among many groups who seek to understand, use or claim the past in support of their own understandings of society and culture; we shall consider the relationship of historians with practitioners and audiences who approach and interpret the past in radically different ways. Ideas of community and group identity are highly charged, both emotionally and politically, not least to those who see themselves as members of those abiding communities and groups. We shall explore how historians can relate to and inform debates and interested parties outside the academy. 

In the second part of the module students will learn about the wide range of techniques and methods applied in the modern disciplines of historical research, allowing each student to make an informed choice in selecting those to be explored in more depth in pursuing their research project. Commencing with a grounding in source theory, the ‘archival turn’, and ideas of (inter)textuality, seminars will proceed to explore material, visual and oral sources and the ways in which historians interrogate them to create understanding of the past. An array of digital approaches have radically changed – and continue to change – how historians produce, retrieve, manipulate and store data from these sources; students will learn what each can do and how to acquire the skills to deploy them in their own research. Existing IHR and SAS research training sessions provide high-level tuition and learning opportunities and will be made available; all students will be required to take at least one IHR training course. 

 

Teaching

The course will be taught by 10 weekly seminars.

 

Assessment
 

Two assessments will be undertaken: a formative plan of 1,500 words to be completed by the end of week 5 and a summative 4,000-word case study essay at the end of the module. Only the latter will count towards final assessment of the degree.

Connecting History

Credits

20 CATS credits

 

Aims and Objectives

 

How do we do history (in its broadest sense) in collaborative, connected and impactful ways? This module builds professional skills for the Humanities, with a particular focus on making connections: from addressing varied audiences and communicating across varied media and contexts, to partnership working and forging links across sectors, to planning and delivering research impact. Other topics will include how to connect research with policy and policy-makers, identifying funding streams, and developing proposals, pitches and grant applications.

Assessed through a portfolio of mini assignments, the module will give students the opportunity to create varied kinds of content and respond to ‘real-world’ briefs, with a particular attention to their own area of research or professional practice. Indicative mini assignments, from which students will select options, include writing a book proposal, press release, media (e.g. documentary) pitch, funding bid, opinion piece (using the History & Policy format), book review, poster and short creative output (written or in another medium). Module teaching will include contributions from experts with experience in areas such as publishing, broadcast media, policy, funding and more.

By the end of the module, students will have built a toolkit and portfolio to inform and underpin their future professional work. The module will also facilitate discussion of more theoretical and conceptual questions around where, and how, historical (and broader Humanities) research operates in partnership with other sectors and meets the public sphere, including lively current debates around the ‘value’ of the Humanities and the risks – as well as opportunities – of working between disciplines and practices.

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

 

  • Understand the requirements of a range of different kinds of outputs and briefs across the professional practice of historians (broadly defined), including book proposals, funding bids, opinion pieces, media releases and more.
  • Produce content appropriate to different professional briefs and contexts.
  • Communicate effectively with varied audiences.
  • Identify opportunities to connect historical research and practice with real-world challenges and opportunities, including current policy.
  • Identify opportunities for partnerships and collaborations, connecting historical research with current work and priorities in other disciplines and sectors.
  • Analyse, critique and engage with debates about the ‘value’ of history and the Humanities, public Humanities, ‘impact’, and cross-disciplinary or cross-sector collaboration.

 

Teaching

The course will be taught by 10 weekly seminars/workshops.

 

Assessment


1 portfolio of 3 items selected from the following indicative options: book proposal, press release, media (e.g. documentary) pitch, funding bid, opinion piece (using the History & Policy format), book review, blog post with social media micro-campaign, poster and short creative output (written or in another medium). Total length 4000-5000 words.

Scoping and Planning a Project

Credits

20 CATS credits

 

Aims and Objectives

The purpose of this module is to prepare students for their independent research project (dissertation, alternative output project, or placement), developing and refining the intended project’s question and aims and, by the end, producing the final proposal and plan.

Teaching will comprise – firstly – a series of group workshops that will explore how to construct a research proposal that is both pertinent and realizable, and – secondly – ongoing scoping discussions (and up to two face-to-face/online meetings) with the intended supervisor.

The workshops will cover important subjects such as how to frame questions that are meaningful pertinent and current, how to position research within the existing literature, how to identify, locate and obtain relevant sources, and how to create a research plan that will promote successful and timely completion. These skills will be taught within a framework of project management, emphasizing the transferrable skills involved in developing and executing a research project.

 

Interacting with their dissertation supervisor, the students will also engage in a programme of directed reading and research on the chosen subject in order to design the project that will ultimately become their project. The workshops will also include an opportunity for students to present their topic before their peers, encouraging feedback and interaction with those encountering similar challenges at the same time. By the end of the module, students will have clearly defined their topic and principal research questions and will have constructed a detailed plan and prospectus for their research project.

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

 

  • Identify a research project that can feasibly form the subject of a 15,000-word dissertation or equivalent alternative output project.
  • Demonstrate the validity, importance and historical pertinence of the question to be answered
  • Identify the available source material and the methods by which it can best be interrogated
  • Position their original research work within all relevant established historiographical frameworks by a thorough survey of the existing literature
  • Recognise all ethical questions involved in the research and submit an application to the University Ethics Committee
  • Establish the structure of the final research output, together with plans for storage and retention of research data.
  • Construct a project plan with a timetable for completion of all sections of the work.

 

Teaching

The course will be taught by 3 two-hour seminars and one supervisorial meeting (1 hour).

 

Assessment
1 annotated bibliography comprising up to 10 items with 150 words annotation each (1500 words) and 1 project prospectus (2500 words, using proforma).

Option Modules

Historic Places: Landscapes, Buildings and Significance

Credits

20 CATS credits

 

Aims and Objectives

This module explores key concepts and methodologies for understanding and interpreting historic places – from rural landscapes to the built environment and historic buildings. It introduces key research and professional skills, with a particular focus on techniques relevant to heritage, conservation, landscape history, and the built environment.

 

Taught with input from Historic England and the IHR’s own flagship projects including the Victoria County History of England, students will engage with methods ranging from documentary research – engaging with community understandings of historic space and place – to architectural analysis and landscape archaeology using aerial imagery and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) spatial analysis. The module will employ diverse teaching methods including thematic case studies and a field trip showing the skills taught in a real-world setting. Throughout, the module will maintain a focus on practical applications, such as writing statements of significance for historic buildings for the purposes of heritage management and planning. These will include building statements of significance for heritage management and planning; on site interpretation of a historic building or landscape; integrating research into community engagement.

 

Students will be able to tailor their work on the module to their specific interests by completing their coursework on either urban or rural contexts, or by focusing it all upon a chosen location. Whether students aim to gain applied skills for professional development or to acquire knowledge and methods for further place-based research or local history projects, this module will provide a thorough grounding.

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

 

  • Appraise the capabilities of techniques – including surveys, primary and secondary historical sources, images and cartography – for interrogating the historic environment and for manipulating, analysing and presenting data gathered from them.
  • Examine buildings or landscapes in situ and be able to synthesize this evidence with archival and other resources. 
  • Produce content appropriate to different professional briefs and contexts.
  • Communicate effectively with varied audiences.
  • Identify opportunities to connect historical research and practice
  • Identify opportunities for partnerships and collaborations, connecting research on archives and the built environment with current work and priorities in other disciplines and sectors.
  • Analyse, critique and engage with debates about the ‘value’ of landscapes and the built environment.

 

Teaching

The course will be taught by 10 weekly two-hour seminars and one field trip (5 hours).

 

Assessment
Assessment will be via case studies (minimum two) using direct observation and documentary sources, with a reflective essay outlining the significance of these case studies and the techniques used (4,000 words) and the creation of an interpretation panel (500 words max with images) demonstrating the significance of a given building or landscape to a general audience in public realm.

Applied Public History

Credits

20 CATS credits

 

Aims and Objectives

This module introduces skills, approaches and practices in Applied Public History: understanding and interpreting the past today, and engaging diverse communities in the practice of making and sharing histories. Based around an online course, the module draws on project case studies, expert insights and diverse perspectives to model exciting approaches to public engagement and co-production in the history of places and people. It features the unique, diverse projects and expertise based in the CHPPC, including the Victoria County History of England (founded 1899), and the Layers of London crowdsourced digital history project, as well as contributions from the Centre’s collaborators and partners across academia, the heritage sector and creative industries throughout the UK. Students will extend the online content with bespoke tutorial / seminar support, enabling them to develop their own applied public history project design for assessment. 

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

 

  • Communicate and interpret history accessibly and effectively, to engage diverse individuals and communities
  • Identify opportunities for wider and more imaginative public engagement with history projects
  • Understand the benefits of involving diverse participants in research (including models such as co-production and crowdsourcing)
  • Reflect critically on practices, approaches, debates and challenges in applied public history
  • Devise and present a plan for engaging a target community with a public history project

 

Teaching

All students will complete the online Applied Public History MOOC (24-36 hours). In addition there will be 2 workshop seminars (total 4 hours) OR individual/small group sessions, depending on student numbers.

 

Assessment
1 x MOOC Learning Diary (1500 words critical reflection on the MOOC topics, readings and formative activities).

1 x Applied Public History project design (3000 words to be completed in a structured submission template, including sample content)).

Layers of London: Deep Mapping London's History

Credits

20 CATS credits

 

Aims and Objectives

London’s long and multi-layered story makes it a uniquely rich and exciting focus for placed histories.  This module aims to:

  • Introduce students to the importance of places in London’s history, with a focus on neighbourhoods, communities, and networks
  • Work with a broad range of primary sources, including maps, images, and memories, to document and contextualise the history of London’s places
  • Work with many of our London neighbours and partners – including field trips to locations, collections, archives, and museums

 

Students will encounter aspects of London’s history through a varied range of sources and projects: from crowdsourced content and historic maps on Layers of London, to the records of London’s medieval livery companies, to stories of the Windrush generation, and community archives such as Everyday Muslim. Teaching will be organised around three focused ‘deep dive’ case studies – typically including at least one focused on the pre-modern period, and one on the modern period. These case studies will change from year to year, but always introduce different aspects of London’s history in a place-based way. Where possible these will be taught involving with partner organisations and visits to locations and archives. Asynchronous content and reading lists will give students a comprehensive introduction to the topics covered.

Students will take inspiration from these case studies to design and complete their own project on an aspect of London’s history of their choice. This will take the form of a collection on the Layers of London website, alongside a reflective essay exploring the theoretical, methodological, and ethical aspects, as well as historical content, of their project. 

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

 

  • Understand and analyse the changing spatial forms of London’s communities and their experiences across a broad chronology
  • Employ maps as both a form of historical evidence and an analytical tool in communicating results of historical research
  • Construct historical narratives through non-traditional media, such as in the form of Collections or Trails on Layers of London
  • Critically evaluate the relative benefits (and disadvantages) of using digital platforms in communicating historical research, and conducting participatory history, including a consideration of ethical issues
  • Work independently to produce an individual collection of thematic historical material suitable for a public audience

 

Teaching

6 x 2 hour seminars (online synchronous OR in-person field trips) – i.e. 2 sessions per case study).

 

Assessment
1 x curated online collection of thematic historical material (10 items, 1500 words)

1 x 2500 word essay.

Place and Policy

Credits

20 CATS credits

 

Aims and Objectives

This module examines the intersections between place and policy, bringing together disciplines and debates across heritage and conservation, planning, regeneration and development, with a particular emphasis on how history can resource, inform and challenge place policy. Topics will include uses of history and heritage in the renewal of places today, histories of place policy and planning through place-based case studies, and broader histories of larger-scale place policies, up to and beyond the ‘Levelling Up’ agenda.

 

Particular attention is given to the framework of regulation and support within which the heritage and cultural sector operates and the extent to which that has been the subject of political debate at a local, national and international level. This will be viewed within the context of broader developments in the state, society and the economy.

 

Indicative content may include histories of the UK’s diaspora communities particularly those of Asian and Afro-Caribbean heritage in the context of a growing but highly politically contested recognition of the legacies of colonialism and slavery; and London as a case study, drawing on IHR networks and contacts.

 

There is a strongly practical element to the course with a broad focus on understanding the nature of policy-making so as to be able to make effective interventions in this area. This is reflected in the assessment methods of the module which provide experience of drafting materials suitable for public and policy engagement.

Each week of the module will have distinct set of learning outcomes at the end of which students will be able to:

  • Understand the broad framework of regulation that has developed around places of historical interest from the time of the 1882 Ancient Monuments Act and the establishment of the Royal Commissions on the Historical Monuments of England, Scotland and Wales in 1908, relating this to broader developments in the state, society and economy across the UK since the end of the nineteenth century (Week One).
  • Understand the political and administrative framework of responsibility for this sector across England, Scotland and Wales at a national, local and municipal level, and the role of executive agencies such as English Heritage, Historic Scotland and Cadw (Week Two).
  • Provide a critical analysis of the processes and legislation surrounding the listing, preservation and re-purposing of buildings of historical significance, and the influence of public participation and debate at a local and national level, and comment critically on the role of conservation areas and the phenomenon of conservation-led urban renewal (Week Three).
  • Comment critically on the role of lobbying organizations from the founding of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings in 1877, and understand the dynamics of pressure-group politics in this field with reference to the prominent organisations such as the Georgian Group and the Victorian Society. Understand the relationship between the work of these bodies and local history research, public engagement and education (Week Four).
  • Understand the particular issues that arise in this area of policy in London, relating this to the capital’s administrative and political structures and its place in the UK economy (Week Five).
  • Understand the political significance of projects relating to the local history of ethnic minority populations in the UK, and the public debates around their funding, ownership and dissemination. Trace the intersection of curation in heritage sites and museums and the growing interest in the legacies of colonialism and slavery, and engage critically with political debates around this with reference to organisations such as the National Trust (Week Six).
  • Trace the relationship between and local, the international and the global through a discussion of the role and significance of institutions such as the EU and UNESCO (Week Seven).
  • Understand the particular responsibilities of the Crown and the Church of England in the heritage sector and the maintenance of historic buildings and the public debates around their roles (Week Eight).
  • Engage critically around debates about the significance of local history-based tourism to the economy and the impact on the heritage and cultural sector of the “levelling-up agenda” (Week Nine).
  • Understand the significance to the heritage sector of the rise of environmentalism and the concept of sustainable preservation (Week Ten).

 

Teaching

The course will be taught by 10 two-hour seminars.

 

Assessment
A portfolio consisting of three distinct elements:

1.A 500-word article suitable for publication in a local paper explaining how a particular historical building, monument or site had become the subject of public/political debate.

2.A 2500-word case study ‘History and Public Policy’ suitable for presenting to a particular non-governmental organization (perhaps a pressure group like the Georgian Group, a voluntary organization like the National Trust or even the Church of England) charting the development of a particular campaign or controversy and highlighting its relevance to current practice. The study should take the form of a fully-referenced essay accompanied by a 10-slide PowerPoint presentation.

3.A 2000-word policy paper making a case to government (at national, local, municipal or devolved level) for the reform of some aspect of the regulations governing the historical buildings monuments or sites, or the heritage sector more broadly.

The 3 elements should be on separate subjects with the minimum possible overlap.

IHR London Summer School

Credits

20 CATS credits

 

Aims and Objectives

The IHR London Summer School offers a unique opportunity to explore London’s stories and historic places from the Institute’s home at Senate House in the heart of Bloomsbury. Guest lectures from world-renowned experts and interactive workshops focus on topics from London’s earliest history to the present day – as well as visions and policy debates around its future. Site-specific work takes students out to archives and museums, as well as offering special access to some of London’s most fascinating historic sites. Students will have access to the remarkable London collections in the IHR’s Wohl Library, including maps, rare books and a range of important primary and secondary sources. Alongside programmed content, IHR academic and library staff will be available for consultation and bespoke support.

The London Summer School builds on the IHR’s outstanding strengths in urban and metropolitan history, and especially London history, formerly concentrated in its Centre for Metropolitan History (founded in 1988 by the IHR and Museum of London) and now based in its Centre for the History of People, Place and Community. The Summer School draws on this world-class academic heritage, as well as other high-profile projects and centres based in the IHR: the Victoria County History of England (founded 1899), History & Policy: the UK’s national network for connecting historians and policy-makers, and Layers of London: the major history mapping project which brings together historic maps, material from archives and institutions, and crowdsourced content from communities across the city. The Summer School will also feature cutting-edge new research from other projects both within and beyond the University of London.

Each year, the IHR London Summer School will have a different theme. Indicative themes may include ‘Renewal’, ‘Rivers’, ‘Secret London’, ‘Green London’, or other broad topics.

This module offers an opportunity to convert participation in the IHR London Summer School into a credit-bearing module, either as a stand-alone micro-qualification, or to build towards the MA History Place and Community. Module teaching, therefore, will be delivered through the Summer School teaching provision, with two additional consultations after the end of the Summer School for students taking this as a credit-bearing module, alongside formative and summative assessment.

In addition to content-focused lectures and workshops, field trips and archive visits, the IHR London Summer School will include sessions which will particularly support students taking the credit-bearing module. These will include library induction and guided independent research time, and a half-day ‘Writing Workshop’ focused on essay-writing skills. IHR academic staff will also be available throughout the Summer School for one-to-one consultations with students, and those taking the credit-bearing module will be required to attend at least one individual consultation session.

The module aims to:

  • Build a rich understanding of London’s history, through a specific theme of topic, based on practical learning and fieldwork, as well as lectures, seminars and workshops
  • Provide opportunities for students to pursue deeper research into one aspect of London’s history, arising from the Summer School programme
  • Support students to deliver their own research project, initiated and guided by Summer School content, on London history

 

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

 

  • Have a deeper knowledge and understanding of London’s history, with reference to a specific theme or topic, across a broad chronological range
  • Be able to identify and describe some of the wide range of sources which can help historians understand London’s history, from published historical research to archive collections, historic buildings, the urban environment and other tangible and intangible heritage
  • Have gained experience of field-based and practice-led approaches to history, through on-site visits in London and hands-on sessions
  • Have developed skills in oral communication and participation in seminars and workshops
  • Have conducted supported independent research into an aspect of London’s history, emerging directly from Summer School teaching and content
  • Have developed skills in academic essay planning and writing

 

Teaching

All students will attend the five day London History Summer School. In addition there will be the following: 2x individual consultations; 1x informal ‘surgery’ consultation during the Summer School.

 

Assessment
Formative:

Essay plan (1000 words), on a topic agreed with the supervisor, to include Annotated Bibliography of 5 items, and writing sample (normally the Introduction): to be submitted in a structured proforma.

 

Summative:

Essay (5000 words) on a topic agreed with the supervisor.

Dissertation & Project/Placement

Dissertation

Credits

60 CATS credits

Students will take EITHER a dissertation OR a Research Project for their 60-credit module.

Aims and Objectives

In this module the student, guided by the research plan developed in the Scoping and Planning the Research Project module, continues a programme of primary and secondary reading, project development and writing to complete a dissertation of 15,000 words. This will be on an aspect of historical debate and will draw upon both the existing literature on the subject and original historical research and argument conducted by the student to produce a new analysis.

Over the period, students will meet their supervisor for three sessions of 60 minutes each, to discuss the project’s development, to adapt and refine plans as required, and to resolve questions or challenges as they arise. With supervisors, students will examine and test the academic credibility of their research project, as well as its timetabling and presentation with the aim of creating a substantial work incorporating original research to a professional standard and of lasting value to its intended readership. In writing the dissertation, students will also draw on skills acquired in earlier modules, relating to bibliographical design, presentation of research-based text, and copy editing and proof reading for academic writing.

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

  • Design, execute and write an extended piece of independent historical research, using advanced skills in critical thinking, analysis, argument, and written communications;
  • identify and select appropriate methods and tools for the delivery of an independent research project;
  • frame a research problem and pose a meaningful historical question;
  • locate and synthesise considerable bodies of historical material, both primary and secondary;
  • handle complex historical issues systematically and creatively, making sound judgements;
  • adapt and develop the research plan in response to new opportunities or challenges posed during the research and writing phases;
  • work independently and productively, with defined supervision, to complete their research project to length and to time;
  • develop their project for its intended audience or ends with a clear understanding of the different publishing and professional options for historical research.

 

Teaching

Students will have three or more supervisorial meetings equivalent to a total of no more than three hours.

 

Assessment
A 15,000 word dissertation.

Research Project: Placement or Alternative Output

Credits

60 CATS credits

Students will take EITHER a dissertation OR a Research Project for their 60-credit module.

Aims and Objectives

This module builds upon ‘Scoping and Planning a Research Project’ to allow students to apply their research skills within a significant work-based project. Students will normally work on an agreed history-related placement with an institution, community group, or business, during which they will undertake a project defined by that organization in consultation with the student and the module convenor. Most projects will be pre-arranged with partner organizations. Students may also arrange a bespoke placement, especially where they might have pre-existing interests or connections, but this must be approved by the module convenor to ensure learning outcomes are met. Placements will be flexible and output driven, but will be expected to last no less than 8 weeks within one term for full-time students (pro-rata for part time students).

Students will apply the same skills of project development, primary and secondary research, and writing as those completing the dissertation option as their capstone project, but rather than a single written output, they will produce outputs related to an agreed significant work-based project, as defined by their partner organisation.

Students may, with agreement of the module convenor and their supervisor, instead choose to conduct an independent research project (as with a dissertation) but produce an ‘alternative output’. This might take the form of (but not be limited to), a series of podcasts, a set of interpretation panels for a museum or public place, or a set of teaching materials.

All students will be allocated an academic supervisor and have the same amount of supervision time as dissertation students. Guidance and support will focus on methodological and theoretical positioning.

In all cases completion of a substantial practical output is essential, but students will be assessed not on the output produced directly, but via a 1500-word analytical project report and a 4000-word critical essay. This essay will critically evaluate the task undertaken, and the institutional or practical context in which it was undertaken. Students will be expected to explore the theoretical and practical issues arising at the intersection of research and public, commercial, or institutional practice. These assignments will be marked with reference to the main output(s), but that output itself will not be marked (because of its potential diversity and dependency upon outside factors).

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

On successful completion of the module, students will:

  • Design and execute a project, using advanced skills in critical thinking, analysis, argument, and communications, within a specific work-based context;
  • identify and select appropriate methods and tools for the completion of a defined and agreed historical task;
  • relate an agreed historical task or objective to relevant research problems and meaningful historical questions;
  • locate and synthesise considerable bodies of historical material, both primary and secondary;
  • handle complex historical issues systematically and creatively, making sound judgements;
  • adapt and develop the research plan in response to new opportunities or challenges posed during the project;
  • Have a critical appreciation of how advanced research skills can be applied to a specific practical situation;
  • Be able to produce a significant and substantial piece of written work demonstrating critical analysis of a defined issue in a work-based context;
  • [for students undertaking a placement:] Be able to work effectively within an organisation, managing their time, activities and relationships with colleagues in order to address a defined project.

 

Teaching

Students will have three or more supervisorial meetings equivalent to a total of no more than three hours.

 

Assessment
1 x placement report (1500 words); 1 x critical explorative essay (4000 words)

Entry requirements

The normal minimum entry requirement is an upper second-class honours degree from a British university, or an equivalent qualification from a foreign institution, in any discipline in the humanities which is related to the course. All students whose first language is not English must provide recent evidence that their written and spoken English is adequate for postgraduate study.

 

How to apply

Applications for the academic year 2023/24 are now open. Places are offered throughout the year until a course is full. The final deadline for applications is 31 July 2023, though this may move should all places be taken on a particular programme before this date.

Prospective students should fill in an application form through the School’s webpages. For more information on how to apply, including the documentation you will need to provide on the application form, visit the School of Advanced Study's How to Apply(Opens in new window) page.

Apply here for a place on the course

 

Learn more

For details of entry requirements, tuition fees, funding opportunities, English language requirements, disability support, accommodation and how to apply, please consult the School graduate study webpages. 

If you have any queries regarding programme content please contact the Programme Convenor: Dr Simon Trafford