History - MA

2023/24 Full-time Postgraduate course


Master of Arts


Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences


School of Arts and Humanities


Coleraine campus

Start date:

September 2023


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.

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, and provide regular field trips to museums throughout the course. We have funding available to cover short research trips across Ireland, Northern Ireland and UK to support the original research which you'll develop on the MA. Students will also present their work at an end-of-year exhibition.

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. Students will leave the MA with a broad range of academic and practical skills prepared for the modern workplace.

We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.

About this course


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 programme consists of two distinct stages. Initially, students take six modules of 15 credit points and one of 30 credit points, on the successful completion of which they may choose to take an early exit from the course, with the award of a Postgraduate Diploma. It is, however, expected that most students will continue their studies into the second stage of the course, and complete a 60-credit dissertation/creative project module, leading to the award of an MA.

Students will enter the course in September.

Full Time mode:

Students registered for the programme full-time take:

1. four 15 credit modules in first semester (Sept to Jan);

2. two 15 and one 30-credit modules in second semester (Jan to May);

3. They will subsequently undertake individually scheduled work on the dissertation in semester 3 (June to September) (60 credit points),

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:

Semester One

History of Medicine, Ethics and Emotions (15 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.

Historical (Auto)Biography and the Russian Revolution (15 credit points): This module focuses upon historical biography as a methodology in History. It begins with a consideration of biography as historical method, examining the biographical approaches that have been adopted by historians, from Thomas Carlye to Karl Marx and from the nineteenth- to the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Autobiography, collective biography, and feminist biography are among the approaches covered. The module then evaluates the lives of five leading members of the Russian revolutionary movement and modern Russian history: Lenin, Luxemburg, Trotsky, Kollontai, and Stalin.

Labour, Nationalism and Unionism (15 credit points): The aim of this module is to study trade unions and left-wing politics within the context of the contesting hegemonies of nationalism and Unionism in 20th century Ireland, and to evaluate historical and contemporary explanations of the interplay between the forces of labour, nationalism, and Unionism. The lectures will explore the contexts of nationalism and Unionism; discuss the response of socialists and trade unionists to Unionism and then to the Unionist state in Northern Ireland; examine the problems posed for trade unions by the unrest and divisions of 1968-98 in Northern Ireland; review the development of trade union organization and labour politics in the Republic; assess relations between labour and the state in the Republic; and study the phenomenon of centralized pay bargaining in social partnership in industrial relations in the Republic between its contested introduction in 1987 and its sudden collapse in 2009

The European Colonies in the Americas, c.1500-1900 (15 credit points): This module will compare and contrast the colonial projects proposed by Spain, Portugal, Britain, the Netherlands, and France in the Americas, from 1492 to the independence movements in the 18th and 19th centuries. The module will take into account: the rivalry of the Europeans with existing political systems (e.g. the Aztec and Maya Empires in South America, and the North- American tribes in the Northern Hemisphere); the mutual challenges of European rivals (through piracy, economic embargoes and war); the local religious systems vis-à-vis the colonizers evangelization efforts; the effect of the colonizers on the American environment (the Columbian Exchange); the different colonial systems which followed the period of conquest; and the independence movements of the 18th and 19th centuries in North and South-America.

Semester Two:

Exploring Archives and Digital Resources (15 credit points): This module will train students in the identification, criticism and use of primary sources. 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, printed, digitised primary sources to the exploitation of free sites on the internet.

The Historian's Craft (15 credit points). This module explores how historians write about the past. Students will read and discuss foundational historical writing to get a sense of how various historical sub-disciplines developed, debate what good historical writing is, gain insight into how primary sources should be used consider how to use secondary literature while planning a research topic.

Public History: Communicating Research in the Digital World (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.

Semester Three:

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.

Start dates

  • September 2023

Teaching, Learning and 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:

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.

Academic profile

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.

Coleraine campus


A laid-back campus at the heart of a global tourist attraction.

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Sports Facilities

Our Campus in Coleraine boasts a variety of indoor and outdoor facilities that are open all year round to students and members of the public.

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Student Wellbeing

At Student Wellbeing we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.

Find out more - information about student wellbeing  

Coleraine Campus Location

The feeling of community at our campus makes for a warm and welcoming student experience.

Find out more about our Coleraine Campus.

Campus Address

Ulster University,
Cromore Rd,
BT52 1SA

T: 02870 123 456


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

Year one

Exploring Archives and Digital Records

Year: 1

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

Year: 1

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.

The Historian's Craft: Reading and Writing about the Past

Year: 1

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

Year: 1

The research and writing up of a dissertation on an historical topic.

The European Colonies in the Americas, c.1500-1900

Year: 1

Within this module students will examine a key themes relating to the European Colonies in the Americas, c.1500-1900.

Public History: Communicating Research in the Digital World

Year: 1

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

Year: 1

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.

Labour, Nationalism and Unionism

Year: 1

In this module, students will examine a key theme in Irish labour history that draws upon staff research specialisms. Staff will introduce and overview their theme of study and then be provided with opportunities to engage more deeply with key questions and issues, texts and sources, related to each of the themes. The 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 semester 2 research-based modules and dissertation.

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.

Entry 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.

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

Career options

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.


Start dates

  • September 2023

Fees and funding

Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and EU Settlement Status Fees


International Fees


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.

See the tuition fees on our student guide for most up to date costs.


We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.

For more information visit


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'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)

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