MRes in Historical Research

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

Module 1 (core)

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.

Module 2 (core)

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 (Research Pathway option)

In preparation for their dissertation, students select a research pathway in discussion with course tutors. Possible pathways include: local history, digital history, history of medicine, urban history, including the history of London, modern history, imperial history, global history, material culture and archaeology. Through a series of classes and individual supervisions, students will be helped to choose a dissertation subject and to become more familiar with the chosen period or area of study. The module is assessed by a 3,000-word essay discussing the research design, sources, historiography and methodologies to be used for the MRes dissertation.

Module 4

Dissertation, 30,000 words. The dissertation consists of a significant research project providing the opportunity for the student to undertake an in-depth investigative project from one of the research pathways. 


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

Part time students take the two taught core modules in the first year, and the research pathway module and dissertation in their second year.

For further details about the course, see the 2017-18 MRes in Historical Research Student Handbook

Credit value:



Two compulsory taught modules, one research pathway course, plus a dissertation of 30,000 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 2018–19:

Full-time Home and EU Master’s students: £6,430

Part-time Home and EU Master’s students: £3,545

Fulltime Overseas Master’s students: £14,900


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 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.


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