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MA (Res) in Medieval Studies

The research methods module is assessed by a project. The special topics will be assessed either by an essay of c. 4000 words or coursework and a pass in a language. Students also write a dissertation of 18,000-20,000 words on a topic of their choice.

For more details of this programme go to MA in Medieval Studies

MA (Res) History

All students attend two core modules in the Autumn Term.

History: Theory, Practice and Themes deals with the theory and practice of history through a number of case studies designed to develop students' awareness of the development of different fields of study within history and the methodologica and theoretical approaches which have been applied to them. (20 credits assessed by 2 x 2500 word essays).

Historical Skills and Resources provides students with an opportunity to have a first hands-on experience of working on a wide range of primary sources broadly defined.  This module is run in cooperation with the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) and Special Collections.  Students receive in-depth training in the study of primary sources and prepare a presentation on their findings for academic staff, students and the wider public.  (30 credits assessed through presentation and 4,000 word essay). Resources available to Postgraduate students

In parallel, in the Autumn and Spring terms, students choose two Options which complement the work done on the core modules.  Each Option consists of 8 x 2 hour seminars in small groups and allows students to focus on a specific historical theme and to work closely with a member of staff. (20 credits each assessed by 2 x 2500 word essays)

The list of Options offered depends on staff availability. Recent options have included:

  • Monument and Memory: Interpreting French Romanesque and Gothic Architecture (Lindy Grant)
  • Radicalism and Republicanism in the English Revolution (Rachel Foxley)
  • Theories of Empire (Esther Mijers)
  • Revolt, Resistance and Disorder in Early Modern Europe (Helen Parish)
  • Revolutionary thinking, c 1640-60 (Rebecca Bullard, Alan Cromartie, Rachel Foxley, Chloe Houston, Mary Morrissey)
  • Power in the English Countryside, 1500 - 1750 (Richard Hoyle)
  • Case studies in French History (Joel Felix, Sophie Heywood, Andy Knapp)
  • case studies in Italian History (Christopher Duggan, Federico Faloppa, Daniela La Penna, Paola Nasti)
  • Power, Resistance and Consciousness in Slave Society: The USA, 1820-1865 (Emily West)
  • Malthus, Mill and Darwin (David Stack)
  • A New Jerusalem: Labour Party History to 1940 (Matthew Worley)
  • The twentieth century countryside: Agriculture, environmnet and people (Jeremy Burchardt)
  • The debate over public welfare in the United States since 1900 (Jonathan Bell)
  • Cold War Cultures (Patrick Major)
  • The history of political thought from Hobbes to Marx (David Stack, Rachel Foxley)
  • The State of School History (Richard Harris)
  • The Philosophy of History (Rachel McCrum)

Press Options for more details

Finally, students write a 20,000 word dissertation, on a topic of their choice.  During the Autumn Term, each student is assigned a supervisor working in the Department of History.  In addition students can be assigned a second advisor working in our Department or in one of the departments and research centres at Reading and who is an expert in one of the aspects touched upon by the dissertation project.  Students work closely with their supervisor and advisor and are asked to submit progress reports and draft chapters throughout the academic year.  In the Spring Term, all students need to attend a series of workshops dealing with issues like source criticism, project management and bibliographical skills.  In the Summer Term, all students give a presentation on their work before the academic staff and other postgraduate students. 


Our MA (Res) History allows students to specialise in what interests them most or what will be of greatest assistance in their professional development. Through the choice of Options and of their dissertation topic, our students can create their own pathway with the MA.  Examples of pathways are Early Modern British History, Early Modern European History, Modern British History, Modern European History, American History and History for teachers.

This programme is designed to be as flexible as possible in meeting the needs and interests of our students.  Students needing to acquire a foreign language in order to have assess to the scholarship of their area of interest may also take a language course instead of an Option.  Students interested in Early Modern History can also substitute on of their Options with a course in Palaeography.

Provided the approval of the MA Director, students who wish to pursue their own research interests and to work independently have the possibility of replacing one of their Options with an independent study on a topic of their choice.  The student is assigned a supervisor and must produce a 4,000 word essay.  The topic of this essay must not overlap with the dissertation.

Finally in order to accommodate their working schedules and personal circumstances, students can register as full time students (12 months), part time students (24 months) or modular students (over 5 years). It is possible to change the registration status even after the beginning of the academic year.  The MA Director provides guidance and support and makes sure that all the students are cared for and are informed about the various Options available to them

Our MA Students can rely on a wide range of expertise and enjoy the support of historians working in the Department of History as well as other Departments.  See Staff at the Department of History for a full list and see Academics in other departments.

African History, American History, British History, Cultural History, Early Modern History, Economic History, European History, Labour History, Medieval History, Military History, Political History, Religious History, Social History.

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