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 broad-ranging programme of study. Students will have the opportunity to specialise in areas including Ireland, Europe since 1500 (including Russia and the Soviet Union); medical history; Britain, its Empire and foreign relations; the Mediterranean world; and US history since 1800. We encourage research in social, political and cultural history as well as transnational and emotions histories. Students also have opportunities to develop innovative public history projects.
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 the past. Overall we provide an excellent foundation for further study; a bridge to new employment opportunities; and a fundamentally valuable cultural and educational experience.
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About this course
In this section
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:
History of Medicine, Ethics and Emotions (30 credit points). This module examines up-to-date research in the history of medicine. It emphasises ethical debates (such as Nazi medicine and human experimentation) and introduces students to the history of emotions and mental health.
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.
The Historian's Craft (30 credit points). This module provides 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 (usually Monday and Wednesday). 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
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
- the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor
- the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement
- the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.
Attendance and Independent Study
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In this section
1st class or high 2:1 is desirable. However, we may consider applicants with a lower second class degree. While a history undergraduate degree is desirable, we do accept applicants from other discipines.
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
In this section
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. We also have a strong history of securing PhD funding for our most talented students.
Work placement / study abroad
There is no workplace or study abroad element in this course.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
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
In this section
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 may incur additional costs in travelling to archives in connection with research for their dissertation.
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 Ian Miller
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 2016)