MA History: War and Society pathway

Programme features

  • Draws on cutting edge research by outstanding historians who are leaders in their fields
  • Covers both the study of war and its impact on society
  • Benefits from the expertise and research of the Centre for the Study of War, State and Society
  • Joint seminar programmes with other research centres offer students opportunities to benefit from participation in a very wide range of research cultures and specialisms


The MA History: War and Society offers postgraduate students unique opportunities to pursue specialist courses that reflect the diversity of staff interests in various facets of the impact of armed conflict on communities, societies, nation-states and empires.

As its title implies, the MA integrates the study of differing types of warfare – from international coalition conflict to civil wars and ‘terrorist' insurgencies – with close analysis of the effects of such wars on local populations and civil society. The programme does not confine itself to the study of armed forces in conflict but also considers the social consequences of war and its role as an agent of social, political and cultural change.

The MA builds upon the research expertise of staff across the Department of History in diverse subjects linked by their consideration of warfare in processes of historical change. Themes studied include British naval history; technological development and warfare; European conflicts in the twentieth century, national identity and the memorialisation of war, resistance and collaboration in France; struggles of decolonization; United States foreign involvements; and conflict and state formation in Africa.

These subjects mirror the research, both collaborative and individual, being undertaken in the Centre for the Study of War, State and Society, so you can pursue courses that capitalise upon new research findings and current debates in the history of conflict, state development, and societal breakdown.

All the staff involved in the MA programme are internationally recognised as outstanding scholars in their research fields. They include Professor Jeremy Black, an expert in the history of warfare; Professor Richard Overy, whose expertise ranges over the military, economic and strategic history of both the Third Reich and Stalin's Russia; Professor Andrew Thorpe, renowned as a historian of British party politics during World War II; and Dr Tim Rees who specialises in the history of World War I and the Spanish Civil War. Dr James Mark and Professor Martin Thomas are interested in facets of the impact of conflict and state repression on 20th century societies; James Mark specialising in war, memory and national identity in Eastern Europe since 1945, and Martin Thomas in the collapse of European colonial empires and wars of ‘national liberation'.

Total credits required: 180

Compulsory modules

HISM169 Theory and Practice of History I 15
HISM170 Theory and Practice of History II 15
Dissertation in History
Dissertation in History


Optional modules

You will be able to select option modules from the choice available - please note the selection does vary annually.

HISM165 Human Rights in Twentieth Century Africa 30
HISM033 Interpreting British Party Politics, 1906-1979 30
HISM315 British Naval Power in the Era of Sail 1660-1815 30
HISM320 British Naval Power in the Era of Steam 1815-1945 30
HISM426 Approaches to War & Society in the Twentieth Century 30
HISM427 War 1450 to the Present 30
HISM461 War, Society and Economy in Europe 1939-1945 30
HISM462 Modern European Memory 30
HISM024 Islam and Empire 30
HISM110 Everyday Life in the Soviet Union 30

Please visit our modules page for further details.