Search our site
Search our site

History MA

Mode Duration Start date
Full time 1 year September 2018
Part time 2 years September 2018

Choose Kingston's History MA

Our MA in History at Kingston University offers an exciting and wide-ranging programme, teaching within a friendly and supportive department, and access to London's unrivalled research archives, libraries and museums. Taught modules from which you can choose are built around our research expertise in 20th-century and contemporary Britain, modern international and imperial history, and the 18th century and French Revolutionary period. The course is also tailored to your interests and needs, with full- and part-time routes, and a dissertation on your own research interest.

Key features

  • Taught modules built around our research expertise in 20th-century Britain, modern international and imperial history and the 18th century and French Revolutionary period.
  • Benefit from London's vast range of historical centres, museums and resources, including the National Archives at nearby Kew and the British Library, and from access to cultural and policy-making figures working in the capital.
  • Be taught in our friendly and supportive environment, in small groups, and with one to one supervision for your dissertation on a research project of your choice. Enjoy flexibility, with our full- and part-time routes.
  • Engage with our programme of eminent visiting speakers, who give talks on their latest historical research
  • Training in historical skills, such as using archives and exploring history through ICT. Also, contribute to our department's highly active history blog.
  • You will have access to our Centre for the Historical Record (CHR), which promotes collaborative research between historians and archivists, and provides advice on digitisation projects.

What will you study?

You will take a core module, Doing History, which ranges across historical debates, archives and digital resources. It will expose you to the latest debates within the historical profession, while also providing training in historical skills, such as using archives and exploring history through ICT. This will help equip you for your dissertation, on your chosen research topic, on which you will work one-to-one with an assigned specialist supervisor. Module assignments can be tailored to fit your research interests. You will also choose two option modules from the following three: Twentieth-Century Britain: Politics, Society and Culture; International History; and The Eighteenth Century: Revolution, Empire and Society.

We offer a wide range of events and social activities, through our student History Society, a guest speaker programme, and departmental blog:

See details of our research at Cultural Histories at Kingston and Centre for the Historical Record.


Essays, written assignments, presentations, and dissertation.

Course structure

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list.

Core modules

  • This core module provides students with knowledge and skills vital to successful postgraduate study of History at Master's level and beyond. Its year-long duration facilitates students' transition to higher level study and research, providing both continuity and a solid base for in-depth and new exploration of historical theory, method and practice. The module follows a thematic approach based on these three important aspects of ‘doing history'.

    At Kingston we always emphasise the importance of debate and in this module we particularly encourage students to learn and appreciate how the discipline has evolved and is still evolving, and how it changes over time. We explore how historical enquiry has encompassed topics such as monarchy, diplomacy and politics and, more recently, cultural, gender, public and many other histories; and we encourage students to explore links between history and current policy-making. The module considers historical methodologies in all their varied forms: quantitative, qualitative and electronic. Under the auspices of the University's Centre for the Historical Record the module pays particular attention to the growing importance of digital technologies in both the study and representation of history in 21st century; and emphasises the importance to historical enquiry of archives – and archivists. Through exposure to current thinking and participating in current debates in history, our Masters students benefit from the History team's varied and extensive experience and expertise in research, writing, broadcasting and of course teaching.

    In this module we deploy a range of teaching and learning methods including seminars, workshops and practical sessions, including a series of ‘mini-projects' which facilitate students' engagement with historical theory, method and practice. These draw on local and other archives and other repositories of information and they include instruction in various techniques ranging from oral history to digital history. By the end of the module students will have acquired a valuable set of transferrable skills which will enhance their employability not only in history and heritage sectors but in a much wider range of careers.

    Read full module description

  • This module is the culmination of students' study and research on the MA. It provides them with an opportunity for intensive and detailed research-based exploration of their chosen topic under the guidance of a dissertation supervisor with expertise in their field. Students will receive guidance on producing a research proposal and a literature review, and on analysing key historical debates and interpretations of their topic. Together with the skills learned in the core module, this will enable them to construct a plan of research on which to base a dissertation. Students following the public history route may choose to vary the format of their dissertation and produce an analysis of a practice-based project or examples of public history such as museums, film, television, heritage trails, websites or historic houses.

    Read full module description


Option modules (choose two)

  • As both contemporary politics and the national culture appear increasingly shaped by the will of 'the people', this module focuses on the ordinary people of Britain, as they have come increasingly onto the historical stage, since the arrival of democracy for men, and most women, in 1918.  Exploring mass culture and politics, and the intersection between the two, it examines debates over how far the people shaped this history themselves, or were still subject to the agendas of a hegemonic governmental or societal 'elite'.  Culturally, we consider how historians have variously portrayed the people as liberated by an increasingly diverse, affluent, suburbanized and leisured culture of cinema, television, holidays and consumer durables, yet also as hampered by their supposed passivity, materialism or Americanisation.  Politically, we assess the apparent paradox, whereby 'the people' have, at crucial moments, mobilised behind a 'progressive' agenda (1945, 1964, 1997), yet have also often been a potent force for mass conservatism, and, further, have helped drive the British far right, populism and 'Brexit'.  The module probes these complexities in the evolving 'will of the people', including how far there endured a relatively unified popular will or national character, or how much this was fragmented by the divisions and legacies of class, gender, empire and race.  These crucial, and increasingly current issues are explored through attention to the historiographical and theoretical debate, especially between the three schools of constraint, hegemony and pluralism, as well as via the primary and archival sources of 'popular' and 'elite' culture and politics, including film, Mass Observation, opinion polls, cartoons, memoir and Cabinet minutes.  Students will emerge from this module with an advanced, critical understanding of the evolution of modern democratic British culture and politics.

  • This interdisciplinary postgraduate option module focuses on the history of international relations from the early nineteenth century almost to the end of the twentieth century. It examines historical forces and factors that have influenced relations between empires, states and nations over a period of almost two centuries. Focusing in part on Europe and the US and also on key events in parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia, the module critically analyses and evaluates the role of governments, state agencies and non-state transnational organisations. It enquires critically into phenomena such as imperialism, internationalism and anticolonialism. From a variety of historical perspectives and interpretations and through the use of case studies, it scrutinises the historic course of international relations in terms of power and politics, diplomacy and statecraft, empire and race.

    Read full module description

  • The eighteenth century straddles the unfamiliar past and the recognisably modern. In this module you study a period of transition and transformation that arguably laid the foundations for, and also created, the fault lines of the world we live in today. The eighteenth century was characterized in the West by a powerful will to unify, through global trade and commerce and ideas about humanity. Yet there was fragmentation also, through burgeoning national identities, and the shockwaves of the French Revolution.

    This dichotomy will be explored through a variety of teaching and learning approaches. These include student-led sessions, workshop activities, seminars, guest speakers, computer-based learning and independent study. There is a strong emphasis on the use of primary source material and the challenges and debates of current historical research.

    Teaching block one provides a historical and historiographical analysis of the period through a series of key themes. These include; eighteenth century society and the gendering of public and private space, the birth of a consumer society and the commercialization of leisure, the expansion of empire, international conflict, crime and punishment, the Enlightenment, and the French Revolution. Teaching block two allows an opportunity to explore these in greater depth when staff research specialisms will provide the basis for a series of case studies. Examples include: justice, gender and society in Britain, the expansion of empire, the culture of the French Revolution and Anglo-French encounters and identities.

    Read full module description


You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

We aim to ensure that all courses and modules advertised are delivered. However in some cases courses and modules may not be offered. For more information about why, and when you can expect to be notified, read our Changes to Academic Provision.

A copy of the regulations governing this course is available here

Details of term dates for this course can be found here

Contact us

Admissions team


This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps

Contact us

Admissions team


This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps
Favourite this course

Did you find what you are looking for?

This field is required.


Thank you for your feedback.

Find a course

Course finder


Find us on Facebook

Postgraduate study
Site menu