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Postgraduate Course

History MA

Immerse yourself in history in one of England's most ancient cities.

Two students walking down wooden steps in an abbey

Our History MA offers a fascinating and challenging curriculum. It is led by our team of internationally recognised scholars, who combine research excellence with high quality teaching practice. This is an opportunity to develop expertise in the areas of political, international, economic, social and cultural history which interest you.

  • Subject to final approval

York campus

  • Duration – 1 year full time, 2 years part time
  • Start date – September 2024, September 2025
  • School – School of Humanities

Minimum entry requirements

    2:2 honours degree in a related subject

    Interview if your degree is in an unrelated subject

Tuition fees

    UK 2024-25 £8,000 full time

    International 2024-25 £11,300 full time

Course overview

On this course you will become an independent, confident and digitally literate learner. You will join a course with an established record of high levels of student satisfaction, and will enhance your employability by developing sophisticated analytical skills.

Throughout the course you will have the opportunity to focus on your particular interests in varied types of history. We will cover social and cultural histories of the early modern period through to modern political and international history. You can also explore a chosen specialism through an extended piece of independent research and critical writing, on a topic of your choice.

The inclusion of digital learning also allows you to build versatile skills such as creating digital portfolios, web development and data management.

You will have opportunities to collaborate with staff, students and external partners such as:

  • The archives at York Explore
  • The Yorkshire Film Archive
  • The National Railway Museum
  • The Borthwick Institute
  • Minster Library
  • The British Library at Boston Spa

Course structure

How you will study

You can study this postgraduate course full time or part time. This allows you to fit your studies around other commitments.

If you choose to study full time the course will take 1 year to complete. You will study:

  • 2 compulsory 10 week modules, and a compulsory Research Dissertation
  • 4 optional 5 week modules

If you choose to study part time the course will take 2 years to complete and the modules will be split across both years.

You can find out which modules are available in each term in the Course Specifications.


Credits: 30

Compulsory (10 week) module

This is an introductory module that will prepare you for study and research at master's level. We will introduce you to different approaches, methodologies and theories in historical practice. You will apply these throughout the course, during your Dissertation, and into further (PhD) study and research.

Credits: 30

Compulsory (10 week) module

On this module you will explore the creation and application of digital technologies to further historical scholarship and public history initiatives. You will consider the key theories and practice of Digital Humanities, especially as it relates to social and cultural history.

Credits: 15

Optional (5 week) module

This module explores everyday life during the English Revolution and will introduce you to the social and cultural history of a pivotal moment in British History. We will explore how people lived their lives in a time of civil war and death, political and religious strife, and constitutional and legal struggles over the nature of government.

Credits: 15

Optional (5 week) module

On this module you will look at the British state in the period of war, revolutionary ferment, and economic upheaval at the start of the nineteenth century. These few years saw Britain in an almost constant state of conflict and witnessed a major invasion scare, repeated diplomatic setbacks, and a series of military defeats. You will explore how the British state acted in these tumultuous times, drawing out themes of:

  • State power
  • Policymaking
  • Diplomacy
  • War strategy
  • Public opinion
  • Popular unrest

Credits: 15

Optional (5 week) module

On this module you will analyse the experience of a post-1945 world which faced unprecedented threats to international security and even human survival. At the same time, technological advances reduced barriers to travel and communication so much that it became possible to speak of a ‘global village’.

Credits: 15

Optional (5 week) module

On this module you will investigate World War One as a war of empires, and consider the causes of their ultimate disintegration. You will explore their legacy in the anarchic and unstable ‘shatter zones’ left behind, and the instability which contributed to the outbreak of World War Two.

Credits: 15

Optional (5 week) module

This module explores the experiences of exile for communities and individuals across a religiously and politically turbulent sixteenth and seventeenth century Europe. You will study religious exiles and their identities. This is one of the most flourishing areas in post-Reformation scholarship, and you will explore these experiences through material and visual culture, spatial histories, and emotional history methodology.

Credits: 15

Optional (5 week) module

On this module you will examine the complex nature of mental healthcare, and the stigmas associated with it, through the prism of the social history of medicine. You will explore the relationship between the asylum, the doctors and the patients in narratives of recovery. Using a wide range of primary and secondary sources, you will investigate specific aspects of mental ill health and its treatment as part of a varied, turbulent, and often emotive past.

Credits: 15

Optional (5 week) module

On this module you will examine the complex and often violent processes that occurred as the centuries-old British Empire rapidly decolonised in the 2 decades after 1945. You will also:

  • Confront and evaluate the controversial historiographical debates surrounding British decolonisation
  • Assess the impact of the Second World War on Britain’s position as the world’s leading imperial power
  • Scrutinise the domestic, colonial and Cold War factors underlying the collapse of the Empire.

Credits: 15

Optional (5 week) module

This module brings you into the research currently being undertaken by staff teaching on the course. The topics will correspond with staff expertise and the module content will change to change year-on-year. Potential topics include:

  • Politics, power, and memory in the United States
  • Stalin’s Great Terror
  • Captives during the Napoleonic Wars
  • Writing trauma
  • War and the American experience

Credits: 60

Compulsory module

Through your Research Dissertation you will plan, research and write an independent dissertation. This will be written on a topic of specific interest to you, within the broad field of History. Throughout the module a supervisor will support you and meet with you on a 1 to 1 basis.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

On this course we take a literary evidence-based approach, which requires wide, critical reading. You will need to construct arguments in writing across a number of formats. Your tutors will critique your progress as an integral part of teaching and learning. This will be achieved through individual meetings with your tutors, feedback on written work or specific coursework tutorials. There is strong emphasis on the development of independent research and writing. You will be taught in small discussion groups where you will have plenty of opportunity to interact with your peers.

Our teaching draws on both our research and professional experience. This means your learning is informed by the most current thinking in the subject area. You can find out more about our research and backgrounds by visiting our staff pages.


Assessment strategies are designed to develop independent research skills, the ability to structure and write a sophisticated critical essay, and to provide the opportunity to pursue your own intellectual interests.

Assessment methods may include:

  • Essays
  • Presentations
  • Written proposals
  • Portfolios
  • Videos

Entry requirements


Minimum entry requirements

    2:2 honours degree in a related subject

    Interview if your degree is in an unrelated subject

If your degree is in an unrelated subject, but you can provide evidence of relevant professional experience, your application may still be considered and you may be invited for interview.

International students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements.

If English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our international pages.

International entry requirements

Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

If you do not have traditional qualifications, you might be able to provide evidence of professional experience in the subject as an alternative way to meet the entry requirements. This is called Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL). Appropriate references and records of employment would need to be presented to support your case for admission. 

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. You can read them on our Admissions page.

Fees and funding

UK 2024 - 2025 entry

  • £8,000 for full time study
  • £4,000 per year for part time study

Postgraduate loans are available to help you pay for your master's course. Find out more about funding your postgraduate studies.

Funding opportunities

International 2024 - 2025 entry

  • £11,300 for 1 year of full time study
  • £5,650 per year for part time study

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a student visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your postgraduate studies.

International Fees and Funding

Tuition fees

    UK 2024-25 £8,000 full time

    International 2024-25 £11,300 full time

Alumni Scholarships

If you are alumni of York St John University we have scholarships available to help you continue your studies.

Scholarships for alumni

Additional costs and financial support

Course-related costs

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

Accommodation and living costs

View our accommodation pages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

Career outcomes

Where could History take you?

This postgraduate degree could lead you to a career directly related to history, or it could take you in a completely different direction, using the many transferrable skills you will develop.

This will give you an advantage for a career in:

  • Historical research
  • Heritage and tourism
  • Historic building conservation
  • Public sector
  • Archives and curation
  • Librarianship

Stand out from the crowd with postgraduate study.

Far fewer people have postgraduate degrees than undergraduate qualifications. This gives you something extra to set yourself apart in a competitive graduate job market. Those with a postgraduate qualification will earn an average of £6,500 a year more than those with only an undergraduate degree. (Department For Education Graduate Labour Market Report 2022).

Our careers service, LaunchPad, provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice

This support does not end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain the experience and confidence you need to succeed.

Apply for this course

For postgraduate degrees you must apply directly to York St John University using the links below. This will take you to the application form you need to fill out for this specific course. 

To complete the online application form you will need to create login details. 

Please contact 2 referees before submitting your application. An automated request for a reference will be emailed to them as soon as you submit. Your application will not be reviewed until both references are in place.

Fees and key information

Apply now

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