Our MA in History offers you the opportunity to explore a variety of historical approaches, all within a diverse range of chronologies and geographies. The programme is particularly characterised by a high degree of choice, both in what and how you learn.

Students can opt to take specialist master's level units, join third-year undergraduate units, or undertake independent solo research projects. Several units also offer the chance to engage with external partners such as the SS Great Britain and BBC History Magazine.

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 medieval notions of the apocalypse, the English Civil War, maritime empires, race in North America, or something else entirely.

Across the year, students can choose to specialise by following pathways through our programme that reflect our 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
  • histories of gender, sexuality, and the body.

Alternatively, you may prefer to obtain a broad knowledge of different 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. This is underpinned by regular seminar series, guest speakers, and skills workshops, as well as social events organised by our History Society and student reps. 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. This includes our centres for Medical Humanities, Black Humanities, Environmental Humanities, and Medieval Studies.

Programme structure

The MA comprises six taught units and a dissertation. Teaching on the programme incorporates independent study tasks, 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 units: Approaches to History, and Researching and Writing History. These enable you to develop essential research skills that underlie later assessments. The remainder of the taught element of your programme is made up of four optional units, covering a diverse range of places and periods:

  • In the first term, thematic units introduce you to the key debates and methodological approaches adopted by chosen sub-fields. You can substitute one of these thematics with a Personal Option Unit (POU). This enables you to affiliate with a suitable third-year undergraduate unit, thus widening the range of topics available to study.
  • In the second term, specialist option units invite you to work closely with primary source materials to enhance your knowledge of a particular subject. If you are keen to pursue your own research interests, there is also the option to work one-on-one with a subject expert on a Supervised Individual Study (SIS).

In the third term, you will write a research dissertation of up to 15,000 words, supervised by an academic in the department. Students identify the subject for their dissertation in the spring, but conduct most of the research 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 Humanities, Arts or Social Sciences, and a mark of minimum 60% in their final year dissertation. In cases where an undergraduate transcript does not contain a research element such as a dissertation, we may ask applicants to provide an example of their academic writing that demonstrates capacity for independent research.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

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

Go to admissions statement

If English is not your first language, you will need to reach the requirements outlined in our profile level C.

Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Fees and funding

UK: full-time
£14,100 per year
UK: part-time (two years)
£7,050 per year
Overseas: full-time
£28,200 per year

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to an 8% increase in fees each year.

More about tuition fees, living costs and financial support.

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 2024/25

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

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

Career prospects

Students who complete the MA in History have taken up careers in a number of different fields, including journalism, image and data capturing, heritage, 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 careers in fields such as public relations, accountancy, fund management, and 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.