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Your academic development and success is at the heart of our teaching.

We strive to create an environment in which students thrive, underpinned by high-quality teaching, cutting-edge research, fantastic resources and a supportive, inclusive culture.

a woman holding one of the Caxton pages

Seminars and workshops

Teaching takes place in weekly small group seminar groups and workshops which facilitate small-group discussion and debate. Your seminars and workshops cover a range of historical themes and skills.

You will also learn through one-to-one sessions with supervisors for background and contextual discussion, as well as detailed analysis of the subjects chosen for research and written work.

Public engagement

In our focus on how society consumes history and creates historical significance and meaning, you will consider how history is produced, used and referenced in genres.

This will range from documentaries, novels, films, museums, heritage attractions, education, public commemoration and political discourse to business, social media and advertising.

Workshops will cover topics such as history and social media, writing for a non-academic audience, working with media, academic writing and publishing, producing a blog/vlog and oral presentation.

Public history day at Reading

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

Primary research

Seminars introduce you to primary and secondary source materials relating to case studies in addition to readings on conceptual, historiographical or methodological questions.

You will also attend sessions focusing on topics such as primary research and historiography, reading texts and written archives, writing a historiography working with primary sources, presenting an argument and designing a research project.

You will have access to, and think critically about the use of source materials potentially available for the study of the middle ages.

An optional module in Advanced Study and Source Analysis will help develop skills in the identification and use of relevant archives and research collections.

Developing key skills

Seminar discussions and written exercises introduce you to, and give you the opportunity to develop, the following key skills:

  • theoretical and methodological approaches to the different disciplines
  • information location and retrieval
  • database work
  • editing and indexing
  • technical description of manuscripts and buildings and interpreting images.

Practical assessments

We use a variety of assessment methods for our master's students, including essays on material culture or historiographical or independent essays where you choose topics and the supervisor.

For some modules, you can also choose to give an oral presentation, write a blog article, create a vlog, create an image gallery, or write a social media piece on a subject of your choice.

 

Supervised independent learning

Your dissertation gives you the opportunity to embark on an original research project which makes a contribution to the extension of historical knowledge and allows you to pursue your interests.

It is intended to be an individual and self-selected research effort under the guidance of a specialist research supervisor.

photograph of derelict reading abbey ruins

Local and regional resources

We encourage a collections-based learning approach. We teach our students using a variety of the nationally and internationally significant collections held by the University Special Collections.

You'll have access to excellent learning resources. Reading is home to a number of institutions that house important historical collections, including Reading Museum, Berkshire Records Office and Reading Abbey.

Additionally, our close proximity to London and Oxford offers easy access to institutions such as the British Museum, the British Library, and the Ashmolean Museum - all of which are important resources for studying history. Reading also benefits from excellent transport connections throughout the UK.

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Department life

We take pride in making sure that all our students feel part of the department. You'll join a supportive, friendly, inclusive community. 
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Meet the team

Meet the staff who will work with you and enable you to pursue your passions.

Nancy Astor sits on a mans shoulders in a crowd of people

Our research

The department contributes to a number of important and prize-winning impact projects, seeking to inform the future and influence change.