Course details

Study options

Full-time: 1 year, Part-time: 2 years

UK fee

£9,450 for the full course* (2024/25)

International fee

£14,900 for the full course (2024/25)

Course level




Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

The highlights

Understand the past. Shape the future.

History has long been studied and used to help interpret the world around us, and it continues to play a central role in contemporary society. This MA lets you explore this relationship from all angles, using theories and approaches from other disciplines, such as anthropology and sociology, literary studies, psychology, science and medicine, as well as geography.

You will explore the historical context of many of the key themes shaping the modern world, such as:

Our teaching team has expertise in British and global history, especially transnational histories, so you will build greater awareness of the historical authenticity of both your own and others’ cultures. Through your studies, you will learn to critically reflect on how you can contribute responsibly to a globally interconnected society.

A library inside a museum.
history books, literature

"The MA in History at Derby prioritises innovative, experiential, and collaborative approaches to learning, placing you at the heart of the programme as co-creators of original historical knowledge. Our approachable team encourage you to critically assess the key historical themes that shape our modern world, in a way that reflects the public relevance of our discipline when tackling today's global challenges. These advanced skills, as well as an attentiveness to historicity in contemporary society, are particularly prized across the employment marketplace, helping you stand out in an increasingly crowded environment."

Dr Oliver Godsmark, Programme Leader

An emphasis on digital and public history

A key feature of this programme is that you will be encouraged to think about how historians can engage different audiences, and how they can make use of modern media to drive new research agendas and reach different sections of the public.

In several modules, you will get the opportunity to write pieces for public audiences, such as a public-facing digital resource, an industry-facing symposium presentation, and a public policy paper.

Of course, it’s now critical that historians have good digital skills so we put emphasis on this too. We encourage you to access valuable digital archives for instance, provide training in interpreting digital data, and have designed assessments that develop your digital skills — you might be expected to lead seminars using video conferencing software for example, and create websites and other digital content. Two of our modules are even delivered entirely online.

Research what you’re passionate about

This MA also helps you to build on the research skills you will have acquired during your first degree and allows you to develop original research on a subject of your choice in modern and/or public history, through an Independent Study module. It’s therefore excellent preparation for doctoral study.

We’ll support you to develop your research skills through several research-focused modules, which are designed to help you transition from undergraduate to postgraduate study and to enhance your awareness of complex theoretical perspectives in the humanities. You will survey key literatures, compile effective bibliographies and tackle ethical questions, combining practical skills with the ability to consider epistemological and methodological issues.

Multi-Faith Centre, Kedleston Road

Postgraduate Open Event

Join us at an upcoming Postgraduate Open Event, where you will get the opportunity to meet our expert academics and find out more about your course.

Book your Postgraduate Open EventBook your Postgraduate Open Event

What you will study

You will study modules such as:

  • Revolt Against Reason? Philosophy and Culture in Europe, c. 1870-1930
  • Research Methods in History
  • Approaches to Research in the Humanities
  • Independent Study
  • Enlightenment: The Ferment of Ideas
  • The Politics of History: Using the Past in the Present (Online delivery)
  • History and Policy
  • Environmental History: Nature, Landscape and Society
  • Globalisation and the Legacy of Imperialism
  • Current Debates in Global Heritage (Online delivery)

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

How you will learn

Our interactive teaching style and our innovative assessment strategy will help you to develop your confidence, your critical thinking and communication skills, as well as your understanding of the subject.

You will learn through lectures, seminars, workshops and field trips, but because this is a masters, there is an emphasis on self-directed study and tutorials. History is a debate-led discipline so we encourage you to develop and strengthen your own voice. This means our classroom sessions always include plenty of discussion, whether they are lectures, seminars or workshops.

In nearly all modules, you will be encouraged to apply challenging theories and concepts to case studies of your own choice. This will mean taking as much responsibility as possible for your own learning, which allows you to develop into an independent and proactive critical thinker. 

We have a blended learning strategy, so in addition to face-to-face teaching, you can also find materials for all modules on the virtual learning environment and take part in online discussions here.

Two of the modules are delivered entirely online and you can complete them at your own pace. However, you can always call on your tutor or peer group for support.

How you are assessed 

You will take a wide range of assessments that help to build up your expertise (and independence) gradually. These ensure you are developing the key skills of the historical discipline as well as skills that will prepare you for life beyond university, such as advanced analytical, writing and oral communication skills.

For example, you will be asked to write essays, because these test your ability to distil information to form a coherent and focused argument, but there are also other written assignments — for instance producing policy papers and online digital resources — that will help you write for different audiences. You will be asked to analyse and contextualise evidence from different primary materials, including philosophical texts, historic landscapes and quantitative data. You will also be asked to give oral presentations and produce research symposiums. 

Who you will meet

This course is taught by a team of enthusiastic and expert historians who are active researchers. They are also approachable and committed to giving you regular one-to-one tutorial support. The team includes:

Dr Oliver Godsmark, who specialises in the history of late colonial and early postcolonial India. His research focuses on citizenship and democracy, caste and tribe, and borders, land, property and territory, principally in the context of India’s independence and partition.

Dr Cath Feely, an expert in nineteenth- and twentieth-century British history. Cath is particularly interested in the political use of history and heritage, and is currently writing articles on Marxist historians and Communist concepts of radical heritage in the mid twentieth century.

Professor Paul Elliott, whose research interests and publications span history, cultural and historical geography, the history of education and the history of science. Paul has forged close working relationships with local government, heritage, professional, community and media organisations.

Dr Ruth Larsen, who researches eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British history and is an expert on country houses, including their archaeology, heritage and interpretation. She was one of the researchers for Maids and Mistresses, a series of exhibitions produced by seven Yorkshire country houses in partnership with the University of York.

Dr Tom Neuhaus, who teaches international history, focusing on relations between Europe and Asia in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He has published a book on Tibet in the Western imagination and has worked with the German Alpine Museum on an exhibition about expeditions to the Himalayas.

Dr Kathleen McIlvenna, who specialises in nineteenth-century British history with particular reference to histories of welfare, labour, occupational health, occupational pensions, old age, and the Post Office. She is also passionate about public history and has a particular interest in the power structures related to the history of museums and heritage sites.

Professor Keith McLay, who has expertise in early modern military and navy. Keith has published on early modern warfare and on army and naval organisation and command, as well as more recently, on the Edwardian navy.

Who will teach you

Oliver Godsmark in a classroom.

Dr Oliver Godsmark
Programme leader

Dr Oliver Godsmark is Senior Lecturer in History with an interest in colonialism, South Asia and India’s partition. His research focuses on citizenship and democracy, caste and tribe, and the South Asian diaspora. Experienced in public-facing history, he teaches across the undergraduate History programme, and is the programme leader for MA History.

View full staff profileView full staff profile

Entry requirements

You will need a good honours degree (1st or 2:1) in a relevant humanities or social sciences subject, or its international equivalent. Applications may also be considered if you have a 2:2 honours degree, or a good honours degree in an unrelated subject, where you have significant relevant experience.

It is important that we get to know you, your aspirations, and your expectations. Therefore, depending on your qualifications and experience, you may be invited to attend an informal interview before being accepted onto the programme to discuss the course, the nature of the programme, and what will be expected of you during it. This may be a virtual interview or can be done over the telephone as well as face to face. 

Non-standard applicants are encouraged to apply. Applications in these circumstances will be considered on their own individual merits.

Interview information

International students

Applications from European and international students are welcomed. To begin the course with us, you will need to have qualifications and experience that are at the same level as we would expect from a UK student applying for the same course.

English language skills

If English is not your first language you will need to have passed the International English Language Teaching System (IELTS) at the overall level IELTS 7.0, including a minimum score of 6.5 in each test category. (Where appropriate the University's International Admissions office can give further details, including information regarding approved IELTS test centres.) The English language qualification required by this programme is at a higher level than that required for other University programmes: the reason for this is that throughout the MA programme you will have to work with the English language at an advanced level.

Fees and funding

2024/25 (August 2024 - July 2025)


£9,450 for the full course*

£1,050 per 20 credits


£14,900 for the full course


Please note fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase after one year of study.

* UK full-time fees paid within one academic year are rounded down to the nearest £50 if applicable

Additional costs and optional extras

About postgraduate awards

Please note at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the respective awards. If you have any questions please contact us.

Postgraduate Certificate60 Credits
Postgraduate Diploma120 Credits
MA or MSc180 Credits

This means you will gain 180 credits in total to complete the full MA or MSc. If you are studying part time you will normally complete your studies over two or three years, depending on the course structure.

Funding your studies

Find out more about fees, postgraduate loans and support you may be entitled to.

Find out about funding your studiesFind out about funding your studies

Alumni discount for Derby graduates

We offer a discount on postgraduate course fees for all Derby alumni.

Find out about the Alumni discountFind out about the Alumni discount

Students chatting to each other

International student scholarships

We have a range of scholarships and discounts available to international students which can be used together to offer a reduction in your tuition fees.

Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship

How to apply

Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.


Studying History at postgraduate level encourages you to become adept at critical and independent thinking, and at forming and articulating effective arguments. You will gain a host of transferrable skills, such as verbal and written communication, critical analysis and problem solving, teamwork and empathy. In addition, our MA particularly encourages your skills and understanding of public, digital and applied history, boosting your employability further.

This mix of skills makes MA History graduates attractive to a wide range of employers in areas such as teaching, libraries, museums and archives, accountancy, law, banking, retail and commercial management, human resources, marketing, the police and the armed services.

This MA will also prepare you well for doctoral study and careers in academia. It develops the independence and originality of thought you will need to complete a PhD and introduces you to the most recent developments in the discipline. The interdisciplinary nature of the programme means you could move on to further postgraduate study in other humanities subjects, not just History.

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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Additional information about your studies

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

The information provided on this page is correct at the time of publication but course content, costs and other individual course details do change from time to time and are updated as often as possible, so please do check these pages again when making your final decision to apply for a course. Any updated course details will also be confirmed to you at application, enrolment and in your offer letter.

Included in your fees
Optional costs not included in your fees