Masters Programme

MA by Research in Economic History

For those wishing to develop advanced research skills in economic history in preparation for doctoral research or are already in professional employment, this MA offers the opportunity for you to focus on particular areas of research. The programme pulls together the best from both History and Economics, and its flexibility allows tailoring it to the students' interests.

Course overview

You will join one of the biggest and most diverse bodies of economic historians in the country, with members drawn from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, the International Centre for Market and Analysis, and the Henley Business School, with expertise spanning from ancient economic history to business forecasting. You will have the opportunity to work with archaeologists and classicists, economic historians and economists, and business historians and financiers who are world leaders in their subject areas.

Course content

Current themes in Economic History

Research Methods

Optional Modules


Our MA programme is designed to be as flexible as possible to cater for the widest range of research interests. It is taught primarily by individual tutorials and comprises a supervised Dissertation (30,000 words) on a topic of your choice. This gives you the opportunity to conduct original academic research on a subject of your choice and under the one-to-one supervision of a leading expert in the field.

Between us, we have supervision expertise and experience in all the key sectors of the economy: agriculture, manufacturing, finance, retailing and consumption, transport, defence. Our chronological coverage is unparalleled; running from the classical world, through the medieval and early modern periods, right up to the present day. In addition group modules will discuss the latest research questions and teach basic techniques and skills as well.

One or more Optional modules are available from a broad list of modules offered by supporting departments, such as: 'Approaches to Ancient Trade and Navigation', 'The Archaeology of Money', 'Expansion or Contraction in the Twelfth Century, 'Power and productivity in the early modern countryside', 'The Rise of Fiscal States', 'The History of Entrepreneurship', 'History of Prices and Markets', 'Management in Creative and Cultural Organisations'.

In the Current Themes module you will develop wider understanding of themes and theories in economic history. Areas of discussion may include: 'Government debt in the Middle Ages', the 'New Institutional Economic History and 1688', 'The Great Divergence and the new History of the Industrial Revolution, 'The Political Economy of Taxation', 'Globalisation and international inequality'. Among other course requirements students have to produce de 500-word article suitable for publication in the Economist.

Research Methods will equip you with a comprehensive knowledge of the resources, techniques and skills for conducting independent research.

Supervision on a particular topic is subject to staff availability

We also offer access to the full range of training courses on both academic and personal development offered by the University Centre for Quality, Support and Development. You will also join the vibrant postgraduate community at Reading.

Part-time study

For more information on the course structure please contact the Postgraduate Administrator.

Economic History at Reading

The Centre for Economic History, in collaboration with four well-established university research centres (the Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies, the ICMA, the Centre for International Business History, the Social Archaeology Research Group), offers an exciting pluralist environment. A vibrant research environment is promoted through the organisation of conferences and workshops, public lectures and seminar series, and collaborative research links and projects with other universities in the UK and abroad.

Reading has excellent library facilities, both traditional and on-line, and unique archive collections in agricultural and publishing history. Reading's central location and good transport links provide ready access to the BBC archive at Caversham, to the Oxford and London libraries and archives, including the British Library and the National Archives at Kew.

Funding opportunities

Funding for PhD research students is available from Faculty studentships, the AHRC Doctoral Training South, West and Wales Consortium, the Leverhulme Trust and the ESRC. The Centre for Economic History offers a number of MA bursaries.

For more information see MA_by_Research_Flyer

Things to do now

Apply Now

Contact us

Professor Annalisa Marzano

Centre Director


Dr Tony Moore

MA Programme Director


Amanda Harvey

Postgraduate Administrator: 


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