Skip to main content

Pathways – University of Reading

Show access keys
  • Diverse and stimulating pathways

    Build your course around your interests


The opportunities are endless. Our master's courses are designed to allow for flexibility and the pursuit of specialist interests.

Our modules cover a vast geographical area including Britain, Europe, Russia, Africa, America, the Middle East and South Asia, and explore a range of subjects from magic, witchcraft and heresy, to fascism and communism, to gender and culture, to politics and colonialism. Our wide range of modules, combined with our flexible programmes, enable you to pursue your passions and create your own pathway through your degree.

"The MA in History offers a variety of module choices that are unique and exciting, that not only interest me but will also contribute to my career path; for example, the Public History module which teaches about how History is portrayed to the public through a variety of methods.”

Jenna Page

MA History

 Here are some examples of prospective pathways you could choose to follow.

public history

Watch Kate Williams, Professor of Public Engagement with History at Reading, discuss ways of allowing the public to access and learn about history with historian and TV presenter Suzannah Lipscomb:


Public history explores and engages with the vital question of the representations, uses, responsibilities and ramifications of history in the public sphere. In our focus on how society consumes history and creates historical significance and meaning, the student of public history considers how history is produced, used and referenced in genres from documentaries, novels, films, museums, heritage attractions, education, public commemoration and political discourse to business and advertising. Can history be 'entertainment' and still scrupulous? Where is the balance between accuracy and story? When politicians use history, is it to underpin short-term political aims or can historical reference unpack and elucidate modern political quandaries? How do we produce history as a society - why do we prefer to dramatise some periods over others and how do notions of history change over time and between countries?

Outline of modules

Theory, Practice and Themes in Public History Taught option: Public History (1 term)
Historical Skills and Resources (utilises and presents material culture with bibliographical and archival skills) Taught option: Architecture and the Myths of Imperial Vienna (1 term)

 Dissertation in Heritage and Public History

beliefs and ideas

Founded in the great ideas that shaped history and continue to shape our modern society, this pathway explores how to discuss different types of history and the methods, sources and interpretations required to do so. Our approaches to history are often given convenient "labels", despite the difficulties we encounter when attempting to apply these in isolation. We are familiar with looking at the past through political, religious and economic categories of analysis, however intellectual history helps to determine past experience through reflection on beliefs and ideas. Social history gives the past a human face - in opposition to political history - and cultural history marks a further departure from theories of economic and social determinism. Further, under the influence of postmodern thinkers, it stresses the fragility and weaknesses surrounding social systems as interests in customs, habits and symbols, which all provide a distinct approach to examine beliefs and ideas of the past.

Outline of modules

Theory, Practice and Themes in Cultural History Taught option: Nature and Nurture in the 19th Century (1 term)
Historical Skills and Resources (utilises and presents material culture with bibliographical and archival skills) Taught option: Early Modern Emotion (1 term)

  Dissertation exploring beliefs and ideas of the past

Please note: these are not set pathways and in no way restrict you to these modular choices, but demonstrate how you can take advantage of our wide range of optional modules and flexible courses to focus your degree in a particular area should you choose to do so.

Focus on an area of history that interests you

Find out more about the postgraduate pathway options available.

We use Javascript to improve your experience on, but it looks like yours is turned off. Everything will still work, but it is even more beautiful with Javascript in action. Find out more about why and how to turn it back on here.
We also use cookies to improve your time on the site, for more information please see our cookie policy.

Back to top