About the course
Whether you’re interested in the making of the modern world or witchcraft through the ages, at Essex we give you the freedom to explore the history that excites you. Our geographic spread, topic diversity and social reach give you an unrivalled opportunity to pursue your historical passions and discover new ones.
Our MA History is rigorous, flexible and wide-ranging, so that you can to choose the modules and thesis topic which best suit your interests.
Alongside four optional modules which enable you to explore the latest in historical research in our specialist areas, you also study a practical module in research techniques, and write a 20,000-word dissertation on a topic of your choice.
Historical research at Essex concentrates on the period from 1500 to the present, and covers a wide geographical area that includes British and European history, as well as Latin America, the USA, China, Russia and Africa.
Our Department of History has developed a strong research and teaching profile, with the majority of our research rated as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014). We provide you with opportunities to explore local history, and have strong links with the Essex Record Office, one of the best county record offices in the UK.
Alternatively you can focus your study on a more specific area by following one of the following pathways:
Public History Pathway
Further your understanding of, and expertise in, a variety of public history contexts, ranging from museums and documentary films to conflict resolution and computer games.
This pathway makes the most of our status as an institution at the cutting edge of communicating history to the general public, and will involve classes led by scholars who are currently involved in documentary, heritage, oral history and school curriculum projects.
You will be given the opportunity to create, participate in, and/or critique a current piece of public history as part of your coursework assessment on the Public History Workshop module, and your dissertation will demonstrate an engagement with the methods and/or theories of public history, analyse an example of public history, or be an example of public history.
Cultural and Social History Pathway
Explore the varied ways in which understandings of the relationship between evidence and interpretation, language and the material world, economies and identities, have been challenged and changed by the ‘cultural turn’.
This pathway offers you modules which deal with a range of areas, themes and periods, placing you at the cutting-edge of historical thought on issues such as gender, race, class, consumption, modernity, mentalities and identities.
Local and Regional History Pathway
Local (or micro) history, as well as community and family studies, has played an increasingly important part in the development of historical analysis.
We reflect on these developments, drawing on the rich national and comparative literature in these fields, with a primary focus on the period from 1800 to the 20th century.
You also design and conduct a substantial independent study on a chosen historical topic or in the field of local, community or family history.
Our expert staff
Our staff are among world leaders in their field, and our enthusiasm for our subject is infectious. Our flexible course is combined with a supportive structure which helps you to pursue the modules best-suited to your interests.
We take the time to get to know you as an individual, welcome you into our scholarly community, and value your views.
- We have several Special Collections in history, including the Essex Society for Archaeology and History Library, the Harsnett Collection, the Hervey Benham Oral History Sound Archive, the Bensusan Collection, and the Colchester Medical Society Library
- Access the UK Data Archive, a national service provider digital resources for historians, which is particularly strong in 19th and 20th-century economic and social history
- Attend an exciting programme of events
- Access a variety of textbooks and journals in our Albert Sloman Library which houses materials on Latin America, Russia and the US that are of national significance
We have excellent links with the research community, both in the UK and worldwide, so many of our students have gone on to teach in higher education institutions. Others have found employment in archives, research, managing research funds, other forms of educational provision, the Civil Service, the National Health Service, and management.
Within our Department of History, we offer supervision for PhD, MPhil and MA by Dissertation. Themes of particular research interest include:
- Class, race and gender formation
- Wars and revolutions
- International relations and oil diplomacy
- The history of medicine
- The history of crime
- Popular culture and consumption
- Slave societies
- The history of ideas and print culture
- The history of the Roma and Sinti in Europe
- Historical censuses and surveys
Our University is one of only 11 AHRC-accredited Doctoral Training Centres in the UK. This means that we offer funded PhD studentships which also provide a range of research and training opportunities.
We also work with our Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
UK entry requirements
We will consider applications with an overall grade of 2:2 and above.
International and EU entry requirements
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries.
for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the
undergraduate qualification you have already completed or are currently taking.
English language requirements
IELTS 7.0 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5
If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.