Our MA degrees in History offer an outstanding research led experience for students who want to pursue an interest in History at an advanced level.
The course offers a programme of study that is broad-ranging in terms of its coverage of a variety of areas of Europe since 1500, including Russia and the Soviet Union; medical history; Britain and Ireland; the British Empire and British foreign relations; the Mediterranean world; and US history since 1800. We have thematic and conceptual specialisms in social, political and cultural history; comparative and transnational histories; and the history of migrations and diasporas. If you join us you will be taught by leading authorities in these fields and will gain advanced level training in historical methods, theories and theory and ideas relevant to the study of this island’s past. Overall we provide an excellent foundation for further study; a bridge to new employment opportunities; and a fundamentally valuable cultural and educational experience. We work with local history and cultural sector practitioners from museums, archives, and libraries, and these people contribute to our programme and enhance your experience.
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About this course
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The MA comprises four taught modules of 120 credits and a dissertation of 60 credits. The programme is taught by lectures, staff papers, seminar discussions and via student presentations.
The modules are:
Debates and Controversies (30 credit points). This module examines some of the major debates in Historical studies today. The debates and controversies chosen are not exhaustive but are instead exemplars of why historians over disagree over sources, methods, politics, and other factors, and why historical works can be so different. At the same time the module will respond to a diversity of student interests by offering students an opportunity to develop their own reading and historical insights.
Themes in History (30 credit points). This module offers students the opportunity to explore themes in History that draw upon areas of particular staff specialism and that will develop and deepen their knowledge and understand. Divided into three themes of four weeks each, each block will examine key questions, sources and approaches within a theme. We will offer 4-5 themes each cycle to enable a degree of choice within the module’s teaching and learning programme.
Research Methods for Historical Research (30 credit points). This module will provide students with the appropriate research skills necessary for study at postgraduate level, ranging from advanced usage of the library’s rich range of digitised primary sources to the exploitation of free sites and the development of a comprehensive and relevant bibliography for the dissertation. Sessions are designed to help students fit their emerging research question explicitly within the framework of available secondary and primary sources and to develop strategies for obtaining the most benefit possible from such resources. The module also allows students to practise and develop their oral presentation skills.
Special Topic in History (30 credit points). This module encourages focused study of one field of staff expertise. It is taught by individual consultation and a series of group sessions that encourage group support and shared reflection on the research process. Examined by an extended essay, the module will foster deep engagement with specifically related clusters of historical texts.
Dissertation (60 credit points). This module is an independent piece of research on an aspect of historical studies that interests you. Students set the agenda and are guided by some general sessions at the beginning and by individual supervision sessions throughout the semester. The final dissertation is approximately 15,000 words in length.
Full-time: one calendar year: September-September
Part-time: two calendar years: from any given September
Full Time: Two modules per semester. Each taught module involves one two-hour lecture/seminar meeting per week for twelve consecutive weeks. Taught modules are scheduled for evenings 5:15-7:15 pm. This is to facilitate attendance by those in full-time work. Independent study modules involve an equivalent number of study hours, with contact hours arranged with supervisory staff.
Part Time: One module per semester. Each taught module involves one two-hour lecture/seminar meeting per week for twelve consecutive weeks. Taught modules are scheduled for evenings 5:15-7:15pm. Independent study modules involve an equivalent number of study hours, with contact hours arranged with supervisory staff.
- September 2019
Teaching and learning assessment
Students are taught by lectures, seminars and individual tutorials.
The course is assessed by written essays, presentations and a long piece of extended writing (the dissertation).
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
In this section
The Historian's Craft 1: Finding and using primary sources.
This module offers a detailed guide to students of how to find, critique and use primary sources at postgraduate level.
History of Medicine, Ethics and Emotions
This module examines key themes in the history of medicine, ethics and emotions. By exploring case studies that bear direct relevance to the history of medicine, ethics and emotions, students will be encouraged to critically assess contemporary medical debates and reflect on how analysis of their history can inform present-day debates. Topics to be explored include theoretical perspectives on mental and physical illness, the interpretation of Nazi medical ethics, the relationship between colonialism, power and medicine and writing emotions history.
Special Topic in History
This module encourages focused study of the work of one field of historical enquiry, from a selection reflecting the specialisms of the teaching team. Taught by individual consultation and examined by an extended essay, the module will foster deep engagement with specifically related clusters of historical works.
The History Wars: Debates and Controversies in Historical Enquiry:
The module examines some important debates and controversies in historical studies through detailed study of historiography, key historians' works, and the contexts which shaped them.
Comparative Themes in International and Irish Political History
This module, taking a comparative approach, will examine several key themes in modern political history.
The Historian's Craft 2: Reading and writing about the past
This module will enable students to deepen their ability to reflect on historical writing through the reviewing of a key relevant text. Students will select monographs and articles relevant to their topic and examine how the historian writes about the past. It will prepare students' for their Dissertation by the identification and planning of a topic.
Dissertation in History
The research and writing up of a dissertation on an historical topic.
Themes in Modern History
Within this module students will be able to examine a key theme in history that draw upon staff research specialisms. Staff will introduce and overview their theme of study and then students will be given the opportunity to engage more deeply with key questions and issues, texts and sources, related to each of the themes. This module is intended to provide a critical and content-based approach to a range of study opportunities that can be used as a foundation for further study the 'Special Topic' module and the Dissertation in History or Dissertation in Irish History and Politics.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
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Applicants must normally have gained an upper second-class honours degree or better in History or a related discipline, but applicants with a lower second class degree may also be considered. The degree held must be from a university of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, from the Council for National Academic Awards, the National Council for Educational Awards, the Higher Education and Training Awards Council, or from an institution of another country which has been recognised as being of an equivalent standard. Applicants may alternatively hold an equivalent standard (normally 50%) in a Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate, Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma, or an approved alternative qualification. They must provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English (GCSE grade C or equivalent). In exceptional circumstances, where an individual has substantial and significant experiential learning, a portfolio of written evidence demonstrating the meeting of graduate qualities (including subject-specific outcomes, as determined by the Course Committee) may be considered as an alternative entrance route. The onus is on the applicant to evidence that they have relevant experience equating to degree study at honours level. Evidence used to demonstrate graduate qualities may not be used for exemption against modules within the programme.
English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Exemptions and transferability
Studies pursued and examinations passed in respect of other qualifications awarded by the University or by another university or other educational institution, or evidence from the accreditation of prior experiential learning, may be accepted as exempting candidates from part of the programme provided that they register as students of the University for modules amounting to at least the final third of the credit value of the award at the highest level. No exemption is permitted from the dissertation.
Careers & opportunities
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Students graduating with the MA in History are well-prepared to undertake a variety of occupations. Some students will progress to doctoral research and academic careers. Others will become teachers or lecturers in further education. Not all MA graduates become teachers or university lecturers. Other options include work in libraries, archives, museums, or full-time work in research for charities, official organisations, government, etc. Others may go into marketing advertising, publishing, the civil service or politics. Our MA programmes have been known to help teachers advance their careers. Others pursue these degrees purely through interest and a love of the past. All graduate occupational outcomes are enhanced by a higher qualification such as this.
Work placement / study abroad
There are no work placements/ study abroad options with this course.
The course is taught by leading experts in their fields of history.
ApplyHow to apply Request a prospectus
Applications to our postgraduate courses are made through the University’s online application system.
You are advised that the deadline for submission of applications is 1 June. We will consider late applications but these may suffer delays in processing and places may be unavailable.
- September 2019
Fees and funding
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Fees (total cost)
Important notice - fees information
Fees illustrated are based on 19/20 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees
- Northern Ireland & EU:
- £14,060.00 Scholarships available
Scholarships, awards and prizes
There are none currently attached to this course.
Additional mandatory costs
Students, while researching their dissertation, may incur travel and accommodation costs while visiting archives.
Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.
We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.
There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.
Please contact the course team for more information.
Course Content Enquiries:Dr Robert McNamara
International Admissions Office
For more information visit
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‘I enjoyed the MA because I found the course as whole very interesting and was able to choose my own special topic that I personally found the best part of the course. The staff were extremely helpful and I am very grateful for their guidance and assistance throughout my year at university. I now teach at the International School of Chouifat in Abu Dhabi, UAE.' (MA Graduate 2015)
'As a student in the Master’sprogramme at the University of Ulster, I felt encouraged and inspired by the faculty and its staff whose commitment to excellence in education is contagious and extends beyond the classroom. Over the course of the year, I enjoyed the variety of course offerings as well as the opportunity to approach each topic with creative and critical thinking. The greater freedom of study has also allowed for further specialisation, and a greater depth of knowledge on topics.On a personal level, the MA has opened up new employment opportunities for me, however, as I reflect on my experience at the University of Ulster, I have realised that the MA is a stepping stone towards becoming a real historian. For those seeking to do so, it provides an essential base' (MA Student 2015)