Contact: Sarah Rees-Jones
The MA in Public History offers students cutting edge interdisciplinary academic training together with exciting opportunities for hands-on experience in the cultural sphere through a placement in the heritage sector. The programme is designed to give students an understanding of the critical issues in public history and to analyze the variety of changing ways that the public engage with the past through not only traditional media, but also new digital and rich media products.
The programme consists of three taught modules (20 credits each), a public history placement (20 credits) and a 20,000-word dissertation (100 credits), which makes up the 180 credits that is normal for an MA in the UK higher education system. For students registered for full-time study, the modules are organised across the academic year as follows:
One core module taught by weekly seminar is taken: Public History I: Meaning and Values in Public History introduces students to a broad range of conceptual and methodological frameworks for understanding the relationship between the past and its manifestations in contemporary society. Students are able to take an option module chosen from a list approved by the MA Convenor. Additionally, all students participate in the research training programme which prepares them for independent work on their dissertation later in the year.
One core module taught by weekly seminar is taken: Public History II: Methodologies and Practices in Public History introduces students to the deployment of the past in the public realm, and particularly the means by which it is put into practical use in a wide variety of contemporary social contexts. Students undertake a placement from which they gain hands-on experience of working in the field and allows them to reflect on the theory and practice of public history. Students also continue to participate in the research training programme.
During the summer term and over the vacation, all students will write a research dissertation of up to 20,000 words on a subject of their own choosing, which may arise from their placement or one of their taught modules, under the supervision of a member of staff that is submitted at the end of the academic year. The dissertation counts for 56% of the total assessment, whilst the taught elements account for the rest.
Students registered for part-time study over two years would take Public History I: Meanings and Values in Public History in their first Autumn Term plus an Option in the Spring Term of their first year. This would be followed by Public History II: Methodologies and Practices in Public History and a Public History Placement in their second Autumn and Spring Terms respectively, with the planning, research, and writing of their dissertation spread over the two years of their registration.
- Click here for more information about the core course in public history.
The precise courses being offered vary from year to year. Subject to confirmation, we expect the following courses to be running in the academic year 2013-2014:
- Japan's Empire and the Making of the East Asian Order
- Medieval European Family
- The Frontiers of Reason
- Medicine and Spiritual Healing in the Early Modern World
- The Origins of Modern Racism
- The End of Empire in the Caribbean
- Evolution and Society, c.1800-c.1945
- Approaches to Renaissance and Early Modern Studies
- Approaches to Early Modern History
- Perspectives on Modern History
- Contemporary History and International Politics - Ideas and Institutions
- Art and Imagery in York Minster
- Issues in Historical Archaeology
- Gendering the Exotic - Exoticising Gender
- Current Issues in Film and TV
- Cultural Heritage Management: Concepts, Principles and Practice
- Analysing Historic Buildings
- Philosophical Approaches to Conservation
- Digital Publication and Web Technologies
- Concepts of Landscape
- Perspectives on Medieval History
- The Global Eighteenth Century
- Changes of Meaning, Narratives of Change
- Framing the Contemporary
The placement is a distinctive element of the MA, and will be with an organisation involved in promoting history to a public audience. This could be a museum, historic house, archive, period reconstruction, or TV, film or web production company.
- Click here to find out more
Research skills training
As well as subject-specific training, all students take the Introduction to Historical Research course over the first two terms as part of their preparation for research.
This course includes introductions to the University Library, the Borthwick Institute, and other libraries, archives and research facilities in York and elsewhere, and also to the computing facilities at the university.