MA History

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Faculty Faculty of Arts
Awards available MA
Programme length One year full-time;
two years part-time
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes
Part-time study requires daytime weekday attendance
Start date September 2022

Programme overview

Our MA in History offers you the opportunity to explore a variety of historical approaches - from intellectual, political, and economic history, to social, cultural, emotional history and beyond - all within a diverse range of chronologies and geographies. A key feature of our programme is that students are given a high degree of choice from across the department's major areas of expertise. This includes our particular strengths in:

  • medieval and early modern history
  • contemporary British, European and American history
  • global history (with particular focus on African and Asian history)
  • histories of colonialism, empire, and race
  • environmental history
  • public history
  • gender history

Given the wide range of research and teaching in the department, we are confident you will find units that reflect your own interests, whether that's the history of the English Civil Wars, natural disasters and extreme environments, empires and globalisation, or something else entirely. Alternatively, you may prefer not to specialise, and instead obtain a broad sense of historical subjects, themes, debates and methodologies.

As well as benefitting from the research expertise of our staff, you will be immersed in a vibrant postgraduate community at Bristol that is underpinned by regular programmes of seminars, guest speakers, and skills workshops. You will also be connected to a number of prestigious research groups in the Faculty of Arts in which the Department of History plays a prominent part, such as Medical Humanities, Black Humanities, Material Texts, Environmental Humanities and Medieval Studies.

Fees for 2022/23

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2022/23 are as follows:

UK: full-time
UK: part-time (two years)
Overseas: full-time

Following the recent changes to fee assessment regulation, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students will no longer be charged a separate tuition fee. From the 2021/22 academic year they will be charged the same fees as Home students.

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.

Alumni discount

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.

Funding for 2022/23

Funding and studentship opportunities are listed on the Faculty of Arts funding pages.

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Programme structure

The MA comprises six taught units and a research dissertation. Teaching on the programme incorporates workshops, seminars, and one-on-one supervision. The focus develops from broader units, through more specialised ones, to your chosen dissertation topic.

All students normally take our two core unitsApproaches to History, and Researching and Writing History. These will enable you to develop critical research skills and approaches that underlie later assessments. Students can also flexibly access specialist research training, for instance in medieval studies.

The remainder of the taught element of your programme is made up of four optional units, covering a diverse range of places and periods. These specialist units are designed to introduce you to a sub-field's major debates, approaches or sources. To further widen choice, students can substitute one of these specialist MA units in the first semester with a Personal Option Unit (POU), which enables them to affiliate with a suitable Third Year Undergraduate unit. For students keen to pursue a specific research interest there is also the option to undertake a Supervised Individual Study (SIS) as a substitute in the second semester. 

In the third semester, you will write a primary source-based dissertation of up to 15,000 words, supervised one-on-one by an academic in the department. You will identify the subject for your dissertation in the spring, but most of the research is conducted over the summer.

Visit our programme catalogue for full details of the structure and unit content for our MA in History.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) in an arts, humanities or social sciences discipline. Applicants must achieve a minimum of 60 per cent in the dissertation or extended essay element of their degree. Non-traditional qualifications/routes may also be considered.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
Profile C
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Admissions statement

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Admissions statement


Students who complete the MA in History have taken up careers in a number of different fields, including journalism, image and data capturing, the heritage industry and teaching. A number of MA graduates have gone on to take an MPhil/PhD in History and forged careers as research academics.

Another popular choice is to develop successful careers in fields such as public relations, accountancy, fund management and the law by building on the transferable skills acquired through master's study. As a graduate of the MA in History you can use the University’s Careers Service for free for up to three years after you graduate.

Expected application closure date

Applications for 2022 have now closed and will reopen for 2023 entry in October 2022.

Request more information

Find out more about studying with us or request a prospectus.

Get in touch

Contact details

Enquiries Team Phone: +44 (0) 117 394 1649 Email:

School website: School of Humanities
Department website: Department of History

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, applying for a visa and the support we offer to international students.

REF 2021 results

The University of Bristol is ranked fifth for research in the UK (Times Higher Education), with 94% of our research assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent.

Full REF 2021 results for the University of Bristol.


Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

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