MA by Research History
Full time 2 years
Part time 3 years
Distance Learning available
|Start date||September, January or April|
The MA by Research in History, like other research degrees, contains no taught element and offers you the opportunity to pursue a research project, without entering into the commitment of a PhD. The degree programme is intended both as an award in its own right and, if required, as a progression route to a PhD.
The MbyRes programmes are two years full time or three years part time. There is no minimum registration period and students may complete their studies within a shorter time scale. However, students who are accessing financial support through the Student Loan Company Postgraduate Research Loan should be aware that funding payments are scheduled across two years of the defined full time programme duration, or three years for part-time equivalents.
History academic staff are world-leading researchers and their interests range across history from 1500 onwards, and have particular expertise in; culture, memory and heritage; landscape, agriculture and environmental history, c. 1500-1800; oral history and British party politics; political and social theory; Cornish history; gender, sex and medical history; social history; modern warfare; global communism and socialism, and colonialism and decolonization. The department provides coverage of British, European, African, South and East Asian, American and Latin American histories. There is a special emphasis on interdisciplinarity - the deployment of approaches from disciplines such as literary studies, anthropology, politics and economics.
A Masters by Research degree is assessed by a written dissertation of up 40,000 words. The dissertation will not need to constitute an original contribution to knowledge but will need to provide evidence that you have worked at the current limits of understanding of the subject. Unlike a taught Masters degree, there is no taught element, so dedication and enthusiasm for your subject are essential. As with other research students, you may be required to audit all or part of certain MA modules following a training needs analysis. You will also be able to take advantage of the University’s Effective Researcher Development Programme.
Distance-based MA by Research
It may be possible to study with only occasional visits to the University. Distance-based students undertake the majority of their research at an off campus location of their choosing. If you think you may be interested in a distance-based MA by Research, please read the guidance and further information before applying.
Current available funding
A summary of our main areas of research is provided here. The History Research webpages provide more comprehensive details about current research projects. Details on individual staff research interests and publications can be found on the History staff profiles pages.
Centre for Early Modern Studies
The Centre for Early Modern Studies fosters interdisciplinary links between colleagues working in the early Modern era both from the Department and across the University, and provides a home for the flourishing Early Modern Seminar, which combines papers from staff and research students and organises major conferences. Colleagues involved in the Centre are engaged in research on all aspects of the period between c.1500 and 1800 and expertise spreads from Britain and Europe to the Middle East and North America. Key areas of activity include: religious culture; social and economic relations; political and intellectual thought; gender and sexuality; space, landscape and national identities; the history of the book; theatre and performance.
Centre for Imperial and Global History
The Centre for Imperial and Global History brings together the strong research expertise of the University's eminent historians of empire and the global South. It comprises of one of the largest groups of imperial and global historians currently working in the UK. The Centre’s strengths in comparing empires and the experiences of empire address a number of historical and contemporary concerns: globalisation's past and present; regions in a global context; humanitarianism, development and the discourse of rights; law and colonialism; political economy and the imperial state; Europe - decolonisation and the legacies of empire. The vibrant research seminar draws staff, research students and internationally-renowned researchers to present new research.
Centre for Maritime Historical Studies
This is the oldest established centre for this specialism in a British university. The Centre for Maritime Historical Studies seeks to promote research into economic, social, political, naval and environmental aspects of the British maritime past from the earliest times to the present day. The Centre holds termly research seminars (in conjunction with the Society for Nautical Research), an annual international Maritime History Conference and a twice-yearly Strategic Policy Studies Group symposium (with associated publication).
Centre for Medical History
The Centre for Medical History draws together scholars from a wide range of disciplines across the University to promote the study of medicine in a social and historical perspective. One special interest of those closely associated with the Centre is the social history of insanity, psychiatry and mental health.
Centre for the Study of War, State and Society
The Centre for the Study of War, State and Society brings together a number of internationally renowned academics working in the social history of war, military advance and social change, conflicts of decolonisation, regimes of punishment and the treatment of prisoners of war and political detainees, and war in international politics. It supports research and teaching on the effects of armed conflict on states, societies and cultures throughout history and on themes of warfare and societal transformation.
Studying History at our Penryn Campus gives you all the advantages of working within a small, research-driven department whilst still studying at a Russell Group University. You will have access to a dedicated postgraduate study space which features individual workstations for students. We also offer our postgraduate students the opportunity to gain valuable teaching experience through our Graduate Teaching Assistant programme.
Our staff have an 'open door' policy which encourages informal enquiries and puts you in closer contact with the academics who teach you than in any other department. We work closely with staff from other disciplines so you will also have access to academics from a range of different disciplines including English, Politics and Geography.
We have an excellent Special Collections archive which includes the papers of Henry Williamson, Syon Abbey manuscripts and plantation documents. Our Bill Douglas Cinema Museum (on our Streatham Campus) holds a unique archival collection with particular strength in the area of British Film.
You will also be able to take advantage of other resources in the South West such as the Exeter Cathedral Archives which date to Saxon times. The Devon Heritage Centre and the Dorset Heritage Centre are valuable resources for those interested in local history, and all our Postgraduate students are entitled to a free place at the Institute of Historical Research in London.
We are committed to ensuring you receive high quality research supervision to maximise your potential and prepare you for a rewarding career.
Postgraduates also have access to the wide range of support offered by our Career Zone. In addition, postgraduate research students can access our Postgraduate Researchers' Programme, which covers a range of topics to help you to succeed during your research degree and to act as a springboard for your research career.
Below are some examples of initial jobs undertaken by History postgraduates who studied with us in 2011/12.
Please note that, due to data protection, the job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.
|Bid Project Manager
Business Development Intern
Chief Operations Officer
Customer Communications Coordinator
Graduate Teaching Assistant
Learning Development Specialist
Parliamentary Assistant to MP
Green Gaia Films
Kent County Council
Leeds City College
Romax Marketing and Distribution
Somerset County Council
University of Aberystwyth
University of Exeter
University of York
Entry requirements 2018
Students applying to enter into the MA by Research will require a minimum 2.1 Honours degree in History or a related degree, with a minimum 2.1 grade in the undergraduate dissertation. Students with degrees in related subjects will be considered on an individual basis.
Requirements for international students
If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.
English language requirements
Overall score 7.0 with a minimum score of 6.5 in the writing component and all other sections no less than 6.0.
Overall score 100 with minimum scores of 25 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.
Pearson Test of English (Academic)
65 with no less than 58 in all communicative skills.
Other accepted tests
Information about other acceptable tests of linguistic ability can be found on our English language requirements page.
Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.
Finance: fees and funding
Tuition fees per year 2018/19
- UK/EU: £4,400 full-time; £2,200 part-time
- International: £16,400 full-time
Fees can normally be paid by two termly instalments and may be paid online. For further information about paying fees see our Student Fees pages.
College of Humanities
Phone: +44 (0)1392 725306