Key Facts

Course Title: History
Course type: MA
Mode of Study:Full Time or Part Time
Contact Details:Dr Shalini Sharma
Website: Go to School homepage
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Subject Area: Humanities



The MA in History provides distinctive opportunities for postgraduate study in History at Keele. It provides coverage of the attempts of human beings in past societies, from the Middle Ages to the very recent past, to organise life materially and conceptually, individually and collectively. It enables students to engage critically with the contested nature of the past and the role of the discipline as a mediator for understanding both the past and the present.

MA History Handbook 2017-18

Aims of the Course

The Masters programme aims to enable students to:

  • Understand historical change over time and the nature of human societies in the past.
  • Develop the ability to construct an historical argument, and to present this coherently, economically and elegantly with the appropriate supporting evidence
  • Deepen their historical knowledge of a variety of periods, places, topics and themes.
  • Evaluate and critically assess a range of different kinds of primary sources and to use them appropriately in the development of historical analysis relevant at Masters Level.
  • Evaluate and critically assess secondary sources and historiographical debates, and to use them appropriately in the development of historical analysis relevant at Masters Level.
  • Develop the ability to research, plan and write a substantial independent project.
  • Work both constructively and critically, by themselves and as part of a team, to deliver specific projects.
  • Develop research skills commensurate with postgraduate study in the field of History.
  • Reflect productively on their strengths, weaknesses, and methods of learning.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should normally have a good honours degree (2.1 or above) in History or other relevant humanities subject. Applicants with other qualifications and other experience are considered on a case by case basis.

Course Content

Students will take four core modules:

HIS-40002 Approaches to Historical Research (30 Credits), Semester 1

This module introduces different approaches to the research and writing of history, engages with debates on the status of historical knowledge, and examines the sources and resources available. The seminars are led by specialists within History and are open to all postgraduates in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Assessment: Essay (4000-5000 words) 100%


HIS-40017 Research Skills in the Humanities, Semester1 (15 credits)

This is a practical guide to conducting research in the Humanities, largely in preparation for your dissertation.

  • Assessment: dissertation outline (c.1000 words) 50%; Annotated bibliography (c.2000 words; only the annotations count) 50%


HIS-40016, Reflective Practice in the Humanities (15 credits), Semester 2

You will be introduced to a variety of key theoretical and methodological texts and encouraged to engage in interdisciplinary discussion. You will also be asked to reflect on the place of your own work within your discipline and the Humanities more broadly. Keele is proud of its reputation as an inter-disciplinary university, and this course seeks to explore the value of such approaches as we discuss what methods and assumptions our various disciplines share, and how they differ.

Assessment: Reflective Diary (100%)


HIS-40028 Dissertation (60 credits), Semester 3

The dissertation module allows students to produce their own piece of independent historical research, guided by a supervisor who will be a world-leading expert in the field.

Assessment: Dissertation (c.15,000 words) 100%



In addition, students take two further 30-credit options from a range of modules.

Assessment: Reflective Diary (c.1500 words) weighted 20%; 4000-5000 word Essay weighted 80% on a topic agreed with the tutor.


2016/17 Optional Modules:

Semester 1

Religion, Rebellion and the Raj

Edward II, part I

The English Civil War, c.1640-46

Sickness & Suffering

The Art of Dying: Death and society in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

Urban Lives in Modern Europe, 1890-1914, I

Gender and Sexuality in Georgian Britain

German Modernity 1


Semester 2

The World Turned upside Down: the English Revolution, c 1646-53

Negotiating Nationalisms

From Sawbones to Social Hero? Doctors and Medicine 1808-1886

Edward II part II

Urban Lives in Modern Europe, 1890-1914 II

Constructing Nations

Crisis, Conflict and Commerce: from Westphalia to Paris

Gender and Sexuality in Victorian Britain

German Modernity 2




Teaching and Assessment

Modules are generally taught through a combination of seminars, workshops, small group discussions and individual supervision. There is a strong emphasis on independent learning and students are expected to work on their own to produce written work and dissertation. Assessment is diverse through the use of coursework essays, reflective diary, presentation, project outline, annotated bibliography. For full-time students, taught modules are completed by May, leaving the summer months for students to write their dissertation.The pass mark is 50%. A merit will be awarded where students obtain 60% or over for the dissertation (or equivalent project or performance) and an average of 60% on their other coursework. A distinction will be awarded where students obtain 70% or over for the dissertation, and an average of 70% in their other coursework.

Additional Costs

Apart from additional costs for text books, inter-library loans and potential overdue library fines we do not anticipate any additional costs for this post graduate programme.