History MA

London, Bloomsbury

This MA draws on the wide range and depth of research and teaching expertise in UCL History to give students the opportunity to choose modules relating to a variety of historical periods and locations. The programme offers advanced-level teaching by leading practitioners in a range of fields.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2022/23)
Overseas tuition fees (2022/23)
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2022
Applications accepted
All applicants: 18 Oct 2021 – 31 Mar 2022

Applications closed


Application closes at 17:00 GMT.

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Advanced

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

This MA offers advanced-level teaching by leading historians in a wide range of historical fields.  Students on the programme follow one of four pathways: (1) Modern British History (2) Environment, State, and Economy (3) Culture, Ideas, and Identities (4) Empires and Global History.  Each pathway has a compulsory core course module that introduces you to the theories, methods, and debates specific to your pathway. Optional modules give you the opportunity to explore in-depth particular historical subjects relating directly to your pathway, while you may choose elective modules freely from a wide range of options. Together, the compulsory, optional, and elective modules equip you to pursue your own research interests under expert guidance.

Environment, State and Economy

There has been a reciprocal and dynamic relationship between humans and their environment across history.  This relationship has had wide-ranging economic and political implications such as the rise of cities, the Industrial Revolution, the development of technology, and the evolution of colonial institutions and settlements. This MA pathway aims to encourage students to explore the connections between environmental change, economic change and political change from a long-term perspective. The pathway will explore these connections primarily through three interdisciplinary lines of literature on environmental economic history, historical political economy, and political environmental history by drawing historical examples from any time period, country or region. Besides engaging with the relevant literature and theories, the students will be able to reflect on historical methods and sources used within these fields which will help them develop their independent research projects. The weekly topics will explore environmental (such as geography and natural resources), political (such as the formation of states and legal institutions) and economic factors (such as economic development, inequality and living standards) in relation to each other from a macrohistorical perspective. The optional modules will allow students to specialise in particular regions, time periods and themes. 

Empires and Global History

On this pathway, students will examine and interrogate a set of overlapping concerns that have not only shaped global history, imperial history, and histories of empire, but also stirred debate about the dividing line between such historiographical approaches. The first is with scale in historical analysis, and the effort to move beyond the nation-state to consider empire, region, continent, the terrestrial or terraqueous globe, and even the planet as a unit of inquiry. The second is with connections between historical agents across and between these units, be they human or non-human (including individuals, families, firms, ideas, objects or things, the natural world, diseases, forms of violence, pollution, etc), not to mention the historical agency of ‘empire’ itself. And the last, which is with comparisons across space and time. Rather than being entirely pacific or underpinning ‘progress’, some connections supported the making or deepening of division and inequality, coercion and violence, while comparison can help us better understand power and power relations. The core course will introduce students to these concerns, as well as associated concepts and categories, the evolution of each of these approaches to historical production, their application to a range of historical sub-fields, and some of the hallmark or canonical works. The elective/optional modules will allow students to study these ideas in depth and apply them to particular historiographies.

Culture, Ideas and Identities

This pathway examines culturally constructed aspects of historical experience.  Its subject matter includes the wide variety of meaning-laden objects and practices that were produced in the past or engaged in by different segments of society.  Thus it examines the history of what traditionally has been identified as culture with a capital “C”, including the ideas articulated by intellectual elites.  However, since the 1980s cultural history has paid at least as much attention to everyday attitudes, values, assumptions and prejudices and the rituals and practices that express them, from magical beliefs to gender roles.  The pathway studies these things both in themselves and paying attention to their location and dynamic vis-à-vis the social, political, and other spheres.  The pathway also focuses on identity, which has become in recent years a key analytical concept for cultural historians, who investigate how gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, religiosity, dis/ability and region have shaped how people have understood themselves and been understood by others.  Through the pathway-specific core course, students gain a knowledge of a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches deployed by cultural historians, an ability to evaluate those approaches, and an understanding of how they can be applied to particular subjects.  Through its optional modules students explore particular cultural-historical phenomena in depth.  The optional modules in this pathway are particularly numerous and diverse, including modules from all historical periods.  

Modern British History

This pathway enables students to cultivate a deeper understanding of the complexity, diversity and vibrancy of modern British history as a field of study. Students will learn to identify key areas of historiographical debate, to think critically about where the boundaries of the field lie, and to question what constitutes modern British history in both its temporal and spatial dimensions. The pathway particularly encourages students to problematise the idea of ‘national’ history, providing opportunities to explore the transnational, imperial, global and comparative dimensions of political, economic, social, cultural and intellectual life that fall within a ‘British history’ framework. Pathway options typically include modules looking at histories of Britain as far back as 1750. This broad chronological framework reflects the range of expertise in the department, but also encourages students to consider the ways in which the ‘Britishness’ of British history is (re)constituted in particular historical contexts, changing over time. The core course focuses on three thematic areas of study: nation and empire; race, class and gender; and individualism and subjectivity. Students will examine the theories, concepts, methodologies and source materials that historians use to produce historical knowledge about these integrated themes. By this means, they will learn to identify appropriate archival sources for their own research and develop a theoretical, conceptual and methodological framework for their dissertation.

Please note that, depending on factors such as student demand and staffing capacities, it is possible that the History Department will not run all four pathways in some years.

Who this course is for

The programme provides an ideal foundation for doctoral research. It is particularly suitable for those wishing to study the early modern and modern periods, but students are also able to take options in medieval and ancient history. It can also act as a conversion course for non-historians wishing to pursue research in history.

What this course will give you

UCL History enjoys an outstanding international reputation for its research and teaching.

The department is strongly committed to the intellectual development of all our students; if you come to UCL, you will receive individual supervision from leading historians.

Located in Bloomsbury, UCL History is just a few minutes walk away from the exceptional resources of the British Library, the British Museum and the research institutes of the University of London, including the Warburg and the Institute of Historical Research. UCL is ideally located at the heart of various historical societies and academic communities.

The foundation of your career

Debates, small group seminars and tutorials help students to acquire strong presentation and negotiation skills for their future careers. Likewise, the analytical and research skills gained by students on this programme are highly valued by employers from a range of industries. There are many additional activities available, both within the department and the wider UCL community, to help students focus on employability skills whilst they are here, for example, departmental careers talks and networking opportunities with history alumni.


This programme not only provides an outstanding foundation for those hoping to undertake PhD research and pursue an academic career but is also popular with students wishing to go into journalism, the civil service, business, museum and heritage and the education sectors.

Teaching and learning

Students on this programme are assessed through coursework and the dissertation.  Students who choose to take elective modules in other departments may be assessed through other means as well, including examinations.



This MA programme offers you the opportunity to explore a range of historical periods and locations while developing special expertise in one of four pathway fields. Through the core course of your pathway, you will develop an understanding of a range of conceptual and theoretical approaches to the study of history. Through the optional modules, you will gain a detailed knowledge of historical subjects of particular interest to you. The majority of your learning environments will be small groups in which you will be offered the opportunity to participate fully. Most modules have a discussion-led seminar format. In addition, you will also experience one-to-one tutorial-style teaching. Typically, a module will involve about two hours of contact time and ten hours of private study per week. Much of our teaching is research-led, and the capstone of the programme is the dissertation, an individual research project based on primary source materials that you will conduct under the supervision of a member of staff who is an expert in the subject.

Students take:

  • a one-term 15-credit compulsory core course module specific to your chosen pathway, offered in Term 1
  • 45 credits’ worth of optional modules from a list of pathway appropriate modules.
  • If your first (bachelors’) degree was not in History or did not include a substantial research element (e.g. dissertation), a one-term 15-credit skills module entitled Research and Writing Skills for the MA in History
  • a further 15 credits, if you take the skills module, or 30 credits if you do not, of elective modules that you may choose from the full range of masters modules offered within the department plus, with approval of the pathway tutor, and the relevant authority in the teaching department, appropriate modules offered elsewhere (including language modules)
  • a 90-credit dissertation on a topic that falls within the parameters of your pathway

Optional modules

The Hellenistic World from Alexander to the end of the Attalid Kingdom

Colonial and Revolutionary North America 1607-1787

The Transmission of Knowledge in the Ancient World

Religious Tolerance and Intolerance in Early Modern Europe

State, Sovereignty and Liberty: The History of European Political Thought in the Eighteenth Century

The Cause of All Mankind? US Encounters with Revolution, c.1880-1980

Ivan the Terrible and the Russian Monarchy in the Sixteenth Century (II)

Emergency History: A Natural History of Humanity for the Present

Slavery and Abolition in Africa, 19th - 20th Centuries

Dartmouth Exchange Module: Topics in History - B

American Borderlands: Land and Power at America's Margins, c.1763-1900

Medieval French Discourse: Old French

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MA in History.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

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Graduate Open Events: Applying for Graduate Study at UCL

The Applying to UCL for graduate study session took place in December 2021. The session, covered by our Graduate Admissions and Student Recruitment teams, provides helpful information about the process of applying for graduate study, as well as offering an insight into what we consider to be a competitive application.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Funding your studies

The Funding your studies session took place in December 2021. The session, covered by our Funding and Student Recruitment teams, provides information and guidance about the various scholarships and funding opportunities for graduate study at UCL.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2022/23) £12,900 £6,450
Tuition fees (2022/23) £26,600 £13,300

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

There are no additional costs.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

Aziz Foundation Scholarships in Social and Historical Sciences

Deadline: 11 July 2022
Value: Full tuition fees (1yr)
Criteria Based on financial need
Eligibility: UK

Next steps

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study History at graduate level
  • why you want to study History at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • your pathway preferences, listed in rank order
  • which of the four pathways you wish most to follow, and why
  • how your academic background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to elaborate on your reasons for applying to this programme and how your interests match what the programme will deliver.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes in any application cycle.

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