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.
We place strong emphasis on developing skills in digital humanities and public history. To see some of the exciting projects created by students, visit https://uuhistorymasters.wordpress.com/. We have strong links with heritage institutions including Ulster Museum and Museum of Free Derry.
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. You will also be taught by experts involved in public history projects including www.epidemic-belfast.com. Overall we provide an excellent foundation for further study; a bridge to new employment opportunities; and a fundamentally valuable cultural and educational experience.
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 History Wars (15 credits). This module introduces students to key debates and historiographical approaches in modern history.
Please note that semester one modules might be subject to change from 2023/24.
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.
History in Practice (30 credit points). This module encourages students to develop a project based on their research, such as a mock museum exhibition, webpage or creative output. Students will explore themes including public history, history and memory, commemoration and dark histories.
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.
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 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 near the start date and may be subject to 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 of attendance will often 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 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 Masters 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 via one method or a combination e.g. examination and coursework . 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 four learning outcomes, and no more than two 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 Masters 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 Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
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 (20%) or Lecturers (55%).
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) by Advanced HE - 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 2021-2022.
A laid-back campus at the heart of a global tourist attraction.
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.
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.
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 historiographical area. Students will explore foundational monographs and articles relevant to their topic and examine how the historian writes about the past. It will prepare students' for their Dissertation by developing skills in analysing secondary literature.
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 either International History or Modern Irish 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 in the 'Historian's Craft' modules, History in Practice and the Master's thesis.
History in Practice
This module introduces students to public history and asks them to develop a practice-based project based on their own original topic.
Historical (Auto)Biography and the Russian Revolution
This module enables students to consider the important historical genres of auto(biography) with a special emphasis on the Russian Revolution. It will introduce the main theoretical approaches to the study of auto(biography) and chart how these have changed over several hundred years. The module will then cover in detail the lives of five leading revolutionaries, connected to the Russian Revolution. This allows the students to think critically about the application of historical methods to individual lives, and the role of the individual life in History. This involves deep engagement with primary and secondary sources. 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 in the 'Historian's Craft' modules, History in Practice and the Master's thesis.
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.
Standard entry conditions
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fees and funding
Our postgraduate fees are subject to annual increase and are currently under review. See our tuition fees page for the current fees for 2022/23 entry.
Scholarships, awards and prizes
We offer an annual Birley Prize of up to £1500 for the best dissertation in social history.
Additional mandatory costs
Students may incur additional costs in travelling to archives in connection with research for their dissertation.
It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. 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 Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.
There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees.
The University endeavours to deliver courses and programmes of study in accordance with the description set out in this prospectus. The University’s prospectus is produced at the earliest possible date in order to provide maximum assistance to individuals considering applying for a course of study offered by the University. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in the prospectus is accurate but it is possible that some changes will occur between the date of printing and the start of the academic year to which it relates. Please note that the University’s website is the most up-to-date source of information regarding courses and facilities and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.
Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.
'The Master's in History course at Ulster University is brilliant with phenomenal staff and teaching faculties. It's an essential steppingstone for becoming a historian. Under the guidance of Course Director, Dr Ian Miller, I have truly developed a passion for medical history. I undertook the Master's on a part time basis which allowed me to gain employment in a local museum applying my learning to a public history environment. From completing the course, I have gained excellent creative and critical thinking skills. I highly recommend the course to fellow aspiring medical historians!' (Rebecca Brown, MA Graduate, 2022).
'The Master's in History course at Ulster University is outstanding. I completed my Master's part-time which allowed me to get a part-time job as museum guide. This exciting opportunity allowed me to apply the material being taught on the Master's to a real-life setting. The teaching staff are extremely encouraging and supportive. They foster an environment that is highly conducive to learning. The feedback on assignments is always constructive and helpful. The modules were interesting and engaging, and offer the freedom to explore any area of history that interested me. I developed my skills as an historian through the training modules. The history MA has prepared me to now begin a PhD at Ulster University in September 2022. This course is the best choice for any budding historian'. (Hannah Brown, MA Graduate 2022).
'As a student in the Master’sprogramme at Ulster University, 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 Ulster University, 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 Graduate 2016).
‘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)