Skip to content Accessibility statement
Home>Study at York>Postgraduate taught>Courses 2023/24>Modern History (MA)

MA Modern History

Transcend conventional boundaries with a panoramic view of modern history

Year of entry: 2023 (September)

Length

1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2023 (semester dates)

Online Open Day

Join us online between 11am and 2pm GMT on Wednesday 8 February to see what postgraduate study at York is all about. Find out more.

Book your place

Our MA in Modern History combines an advanced level introduction to the methodologies and techniques of modern history with a wide range of thematic modules exploring the 18th to 21st centuries.

You'll gain a sound understanding of various topics of your choice from the modern period, from the history of moving images to the politics of past injustices. You'll analyse important historiographical developments and their impact on modern historical study. Finally, you'll develop practical skills which are not only essential to your studies, but will also prepare you for a diverse range of careers.

You'll quickly feel part of our lively departmental community and we encourage you to attend seminars, masterclasses and research training sessions throughout the year. You'll have full access to the Centre for Modern Studies which provides an active programme of academic seminars, small conferences and reading groups involving both academic staff and graduate students.

The Modern History MA was an invaluable opportunity to expand and consolidate the skills and knowledge from my undergraduate degree. The course was excitingly varied, allowing me both to pursue my own research interests and engage with completely new topics. The staff were exceptionally dedicated and supportive throughout this challenging and rewarding experience.
Alex, MA Modern History student

Skills training

Our skills modules are unique to our courses, and will give you practical knowledge of professional research methods.

Course content

The course consists of:

  • a core module
  • taught option modules
  • a research training module
  • 14,000 - 16,000 word dissertation

Dissertation

  • Research dissertation 

You will write a dissertation of between 14,000 - 16,000 words on a topic of your choice. Using source materials and analysis techniques, you will draft up the findings into an independently researched dissertation.

You will receive support, advice and guidance from your dissertation adviser throughout your project. The range of expertise of our staff and of our source materials means we can provide you with guidance on a wide range of topics. 

You will have five one-to-one meetings with your dissertation adviser across Semester 2 and the summer period (June/July). In these meetings, you will discuss the feasibility of your project and receive feedback on two draft chapters of your dissertation.

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Deploy an in-depth and comprehensive knowledge of cutting edge scholarship in the field of Modern History, c.1750 to the present day, in order to evaluate dominant themes such as state and nation building, empire, globalization, highlighting continuities as well as key moments of change.
  • Differentiate the perspectives of multiple historical actors, such as social elites and the masses, and assess historical causation by attributing weight to their actions.
  • Demonstrate a high capacity for independent thought and investigation, by taking responsibility for designing and pursuing innovative research questions for essays that deal with important historical topics such as social revolutions and the end of empires.
  • Use conventional historical evidence, such as private and public correspondence, and, where relevant, non-conventional sources such as social memory, visual representation and statistical series to answer novel questions. Also, in the face of chronic uncertainty about the trustworthiness of historical sources, making decisions about how to turn isolated facts into systematic historical evidence to prove conclusively a thesis regarding the making of the modern world.
  • Use advanced manual and digital search techniques and reflect critically on how historians handle the vast residue of information left by past societies in the modern period.
  • Respond responsibly and resourcefully to the ethical and practical issues that arise during advanced historical research, including disciplinary differences between historical methods and those deployed by other scholars and practitioners in academia and beyond.
  • Communicate research findings imaginatively, lucidly and succinctly using a variety of media forms including short reports.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2023/24

Study modeUK (home)International and EU
Full-time (1 year) £9,990£22,250
Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.
£4,995£11,125

Students on a Student Visa (formerly Tier 4 Visa) are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

For courses which are longer than one year, the tuition fees quoted are for the first year of study.

  • UK (home) fees may increase in subsequent years (up to a maximum of 2%).
  • International fees may increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

Fees information

UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.

Find out more information about tuition fees and how to pay them.

Additional costs

There is no obligation to purchase books or other texts - all core texts and resources will be available in our library or online.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2023/24 throughout the year.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Funding opportunities

Departmental Funding Opportunities

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Teaching format

Most of your modules will consist of weekly two-hour seminars. The Research Training module will be taught through three-hour workshops. You will normally work in small groups of fewer than 20 students.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of History in Vanbrugh College on Campus West. Most of your teaching will take place in or close to Vanbrugh College.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You will be primarily assessed by essays and your dissertation. You will have the chance to submit assignments for formative assessment, enabling you to get and use feedback before the final summative assessment. 

A city rich in history and heritage

York is the ideal place to be inspired to study the past, with a rich and turbulent history stretching back to the Romans. Today the city boasts beautiful historic architecture, as well as a variety of museums, galleries and heritage organisations.

Extensive archives

The University is home to the Borthwick Institute for Archives and students can also access York Minster Library and the City Archives. We're also close to the British Library Reading Room at Boston Spa where you can consult millions of items.

Careers and skills

While completing your MA, you will gain essential skills in research, presentation and analysis. These skills are invaluable for progressing to a PhD and for a diverse range of careers.

Career opportunities

  • Historian
  • Outreach historian
  • Teacher
  • Heritage trust fundraiser
  • Research manager
  • Museum education officer
  • Museum professional
  • Communications officer
  • University lecturer
  • Archivist
  • Media researcher

Transferable skills

  • Analytical thinking
  • Formation of original arguments
  • Effective time management
  • Communication skills
  • Efficient organisation, use and management of electronic research resources
  • Ability to carry out independent research in primary sources
  • Professional presentation skills

Entry requirements

Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent in History or a related discipline.
Other qualifications and experience We would consider a 2:2 but our decision would depend on the whole application including the quality of the written work submitted.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

Additional requirements

You will need to submit examples of written work with your application. Please see our guidance on submitting written work.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS (Academic and Indicator) 7.0, minimum 6.5 in each component
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 185, minimum 176 in each component
Duolingo 130, minimum 120 in all other components
LanguageCert SELT C1 with 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert International ESOL C1 Expert: Pass with 25/50 in each component
PTE Academic/PTE Academic Online 67, minimum 61 in each component
TOEFL 96, minimum 23 in each component
Trinity ISE III Distinction in all component

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.

Applying

You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

Apply for this course

Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Dr Catriona Kennedy

Learn more

Department of History

Discover York

Accommodation

We offer a range of campus accommodation to suit you and your budget, from economy to premium.

Student life

Explore campus and city life and hear what our current students have to say about living here.

The city

Lively, full of culture and beautiful, York is regularly voted one of the best places to live and visit in the UK.

Meet us

Find out more about York. Chat to staff and students and take the tour, on campus or online.