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MA Public History

Analyse the changing ways in which we engage with the past

Year of entry: 2020

Length

1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2020 (term dates)

Postgraduate opportunities

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Public history brings history to life. Our interdisciplinary degree enables you to gain hands-on experience in the heritage sector alongside cutting edge academic training.

You'll study the variety of perspectives on the relationship between the past and the public and evaluate their impact on the modern day heritage sector. You'll analyse how public engagement with the past has evolved with new types of media. Finally, you'll explore the role of museums and other heritage institutions in our society and their impact on our identity throughout history.

This MA is offered through History in conjunction with the Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past (IPUP).

Leading research

In the Times Higher Education's ranking of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework assessment, our Department of History was second overall for research performance.

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:

  • two core modules (20 credits)
  • one option module (20 credits each)
  • a research training module (10 credits)
  • 20,000 word dissertation (90 credits)
  • a public history placement module (20 credits)

You can opt to study two skills training modules (10 credits each) instead of the placement.

In the Autumn Term, you'll complete the core module and one option module.

The research training module runs over the Autumn and Spring Term.

In the Spring Term, you'll complete Core Module II and a placement or your skills modules.

Modules

Core modules

Placement

  • Public History placement (20 credits): a unique opportunity to get hands-on experience working in the field and will help put what you've learned into practice. It takes place during the Spring Term. You can choose to work with a museum, archive, production company, historic house, or anything involving communicating the past to the public. This practical experience will help you to think critically and evaluate and contribute to public history projects.

Option modules:

You'll choose one taught option module (20 credits):

Skills modules

You can choose to study two skills modules (10 credits each) which will provide you with invaluable skills training across a range of fields. This will be instead of a placement.

Examples of skills modules include:

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Dissertation

During the Summer Term and the summer vacation, you will write a research dissertation of up to 20,000 words on a topic of your choice. You'll start planning for your dissertation in the Autumn Term, supported by the Research Training module.

You will be under the supervision of a member of staff in the Department of History, who will provide you with specialist advice and guidance. Our range of expertise and wealth of source material means we can provide supervision on a wide range of topics, both chronologically and geographically.

Past titles include:

  • "The Age of the Internet Memes Might End, But the British Empire? Never." - Internet Memes as a New Medium for Memories of Empire
  • Merchant Taylors' Company of York: Interpreting the Survival and Contemporary Functions of a Trade-Based Medieval Guild
  • Historic Cemeteries: Saved and Managed by their Friends
  • "The Tudors of our imaginations": Masculinity and Femininity in Television Representations of Henry VIII and his Wives
  • "Oh, that's a real Viking!" Navigating popular conceptions of the past in order to achieve educational goals at the Jorvik Viking Centre

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 to interpret and account for the many ways in which the public engages with the past, understands the past and generates new histories of the past.
  • Construct innovative research questions and defend robust agruments.
  • Employ advanced research skills, including how to locate supporting evidence and data using manual and digital techniques, and match and manipulate raw materials using carefully chosen and clearly articulated methodologies drawn where appropriate from other disciplines to advance historical scholarship.
  • Undertake interdisciplinary research, demonstrating a high capacity for independent thought and action, take responsibility in challenging situations, and make decisions in the face of complexity and uncertainty.
  • Communicate research findings imaginatively, lucidly and succinctly using a variety of media forms including short reports, oral presentations and extended pieces of writing.
  • Understand the ethical and practical issues that arise during advanced historical research, particularly those that involve the presentation of difficult and traumatic histories or working with a wider public either as an intended audience or as participants in surveys and projects.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2020/21

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year) £8,040£18,240
Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.
£4,020£9,120

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

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.

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Funding information

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

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

Home/EU students

International students

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. 

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, including within the heritage sector.

Career opportunities

Our graduates have gone in work in roles such as:

  • Public programmes assistant
  • Archivist
  • Visitor experience host
  • Curator
  • Tour manager
  • Museum interpretation developer
  • Project manager
  • Outreach historian

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

Qualification Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent in History or a related discipline.

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:

Qualification Minimum requirement
IELTS 7.0, minimum 6.5 in each component
PTE Academic 67, minimum 61 in each component
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 185, minimum 176 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 IELTS 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 Geoff Cubitt

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Department of History

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