The MA in History offers you the opportunity to explore a variety of approaches – intellectual, political, cultural, social and economic – across a broad chronological and geographical range. The programme provides a high degree of choice across the department's key areas of expertise, with particular strengths in:
- Medieval and early modern history
- Contemporary British and European history
- Imperial, global and transnational history
- Public history
Given the range of research and teaching in the department, we are confident you will find units that reflect your own interests. Alternatively, you may prefer not to specialise, and instead obtain a broad sense of historical subjects, themes, debates and methodologies.
The MA comprises six taught units and a research dissertation. Teaching on the programme moves from lectures, through seminars, to one-on-one supervision. Likewise, the focus develops from broader units, through more specialised ones, to your chosen dissertation topic.
Teaching Block 1
You begin with a series of core and optional units. All students take Academic Research and Writing and Approaches to History - core MA units that enable you to develop critical research skills and approaches that underlie the later assessments.
You also choose a further unit from a wide range of Lecture Response Units (interactive units that combine seminar and lecture elements) on subjects that span the period from 1000 to the present. Alternatively, in place of the LRU you may choose the specialist skills unit Research Skills for Medievalists, which provides training in palaeography and manuscript studies.
- Either: Lecture Response Unit
- Communist Worlds
- Constructing the Other
- Death, Doctors and Disease
- Early Modern Italy
- Food: a Global History
- Genocide in the Twentieth Century
- Hard labour
- History in the Middle Ages
- Holocaust Landscapes
- Modern Latin American Revolutions
- Race and Criminality
- Rich Store of Stupid Decisions
- The British World
- Or: Research Skills for Medievalists
Teaching Block 2
In the second teaching block, you will select three primary source-based seminar units. The following are examples of units that have run in recent years:
- The Apocalypse in Medieval Culture and Society
- The English Reformation
- Persecution and Toleration: Dealing with Difference in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe
- Poetics, Politics and Places of Memory: Remembering the Holocaust, 1945 to the present
- Public History in Theory and Practice
- Ideology, Poverty, Famines
- Academic and Mystical Approaches to God
- Medieval and Early Modern Colonialism: the English in Ireland
- Modern Sexualities
- Bristol, c1000-1542
Please be aware that the list of optional units offered can vary from year to year.
In the third semester, you will write a primary source-based dissertation of up to 15,000 words, supervised one-on-one by an academic in the department. You will identify the subject for your dissertation in the spring, but most of the research is conducted over the summer. The dissertation is submitted in mid-September.