- Entry requirements: Related 2:1 degree (or equivalent)
- Full-time: 12 months
- Part-time: 24 months
Join a programme that places you at the forefront of investigations into the histories, legacies and commemorations of human enslavement and unfree labour. This MA combines historical perspectives with global insights into modern manifestations of slavery, forced labour and human trafficking.
Exploring the history of unfree labour and examining modern slavery, this MA reflects a growing interest in the histories and afterlives of transatlantic slavery.
The programme connects the local and the global. We’ll reflect, for example, on Liverpool’s role as the former ‘capital of the slave trade’ and review slave and unfree labour across different time periods and geographical locations.
We’ll challenge you to analyse historical forms of slavery and critique modern responses to human trafficking. Evaluating the legacies of slavery in contemporary society, you’ll apply critical and literary theories to different representations of slavery. Links with resistance, protest and activism will also be considered.
You’ll benefit from our unique relationship with the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool. Working with the Museum’s staff, you’ll study the commemoration and memorialisation of slavery. An optional project-based placement provides further opportunity to gain practical experience with a museum, archive or charity.
Membership of the University’s Centre for the Study of International Slavery will enable you to access a variety of seminars and conferences. You’ll meet international speakers at these events, attend talks and discuss cutting-edge research into historical and contemporary manifestations of slavery.
Discover what you'll learn, what you'll study, and how you'll be taught and assessed.
International students may be able to study this course on a part-time basis but this is dependent on visa regulations. Please visit the Government website for more information about student visas.
If you're able to study part-time, you'll study the same modules as the full-time master's degree over a longer period, usually 24 months. You can make studying work for you by arranging your personal schedule around lectures and seminars which take place during the day. After you complete all the taught modules, you will complete your final dissertation or project and will celebrate your achievements at graduation the following term.
Studying part-time means you can study alongside work or any other life commitments. You will study the same modules as the full-time master's degree over a longer period, usually 24 months. You can make studying work for you by arranging your personal schedule around lectures and seminars which take place during the day. After you complete all the taught modules, you will complete your final dissertation or project and will celebrate your achievements at graduation the following term.
You will study one compulsory module and choose your preferred research skills module in semester one.
The module will provide an interdisciplinary overview of slavery studies, ensuring that all students on the MAIS programme have a clear and inclusive understanding of enslavement as a historical and contemporary phenomenon. The emphasis will be on conceptual and theoretical approaches to slavery and unfree labour, providing students with broad knowledge of the chronological, geographical and cultural contexts in which these phenomena exist and the approaches that researcher adopt to analyse them. The module will provide a focus that links the local with the global, ensuring that students understand the role of Liverpool in the transatlantic traffic in enslaved Africans whilst also engaging with enslavement in national, transnational and global frames.
Historians draw many of their theoretical frameworks from the social sciences, including sociology, economics, and political science, and from literary and gender studies. This module investigates the role of theory in historical inquiry, both in framing research questions and in informing historians’ approaches to primary sources. It explores some of the major theoretical influences on historical research in recent decades, including Marxism, feminism, and postmodernism, and encourages students to reflect upon the theoretical and conceptual foundations of current research relating to their potential dissertation topics.
The majority of teaching will be delivered face-to-face on campus. Online delivery will be used to complement the on-campus delivery and where technology affords a better learning experience.
This module requires students to engage with contemporary forms of exploitation often categorised as ‘slavery’, to consider the origins and human experience of such activities, to assess proposals for combating them, and to apply these to an independent research project. Seminars will challenge students to analyse the major themes in legal and political responses to trafficking, forced labour and other forms of human rights abuse analogous to slavery. Students will develop strategies for researching practices and policies relating to contemporary ‘slaveries’ and they will develop an independent study of a particular aspect.
The purpose of this module is to provide students with an understanding of fundamental issues in political research methods and an overview of some of the research methods used to investigate political and social phenomena. Students will be required to use and demonstrate knowledge of key methodologies, theoretical frameworks, and methods used in practical scientific research.
You will study a 15-credit dissertation proposal module in semester two, as well as choosing one 30-credit optional module and one 15-credit optional module.
Students will work with an appropriate tutor to design a programme of research for a M-Level dissertation. The student and tutor will agree on the appropriate methodology and disciplinary referencing conventions for the project.
The module provides an overview of record keeping developments from an international perspective. It introduces students to record-keeping structures, traditions and practices throughout the world, and to the legislative, cultural and political traditions which affect those practices. In doing so it enables students them to approach record-keeping theory and practice in their home country both critically and comparatively. The module considers the role that records and archives have played over time, particularly, from 1945, in the area of human rights.
The module will introduce students to cross-disciplinary approaches to the study of trafficking and slavery in modern and contemporary contexts. It will draw on material from a range of fields including politics, sociology, criminology and law. Students will have an opportunity to study a range of sources, including policy documents and statistical information to engage critically with modern slavery and human trafficking. Current research from the Centre for the Study of International Slavery, the Anti-Slavery Knowledge Network and the Modern Slavery PEC will allow students to engage with the latest research and policy developments in the field.
Students will critically consider representations of slavery in a variety of media – such as films, images, novels and other texts. The module will confront the difficulties of recovering the historical experience of slavery from surviving sources but also the diverse ways in which representations of slavery have been created, received or consumed.
This optional module provides students with the opportunity to engage in a project-based work placement, to take place in a relevant public history, policy-focused or practice-based institution, such as a museum, archive or charity. The students will normally spend one day per week during the semester working with the chosen institution, which might involve developing a public engagement project, providing policy briefings, etc. In addition, they will attend fortnightly seminars on career development and academic approaches to public history, policy and practice.
The module offers a broad overview, ranging from a specific introduction to Liverpool’s role as the capital of the transatlantic traffic in enslaved Africans to providing more general context of slavery in a transatlantic frame. It also focuses on the afterlives of slavery, providing students with an opportunity to explore heritage, public history and contemporary activism. Students will have an opportunity to engage with the activities of the Centre for the Study of International Slavery, University of Liverpool partners in fields relevant to the module (notably the International Slavery Museum) as well as international networks (such as Universities Studying Slavery).
This is an independent project. One-to-one supervision is provided by the prospective dissertation supervisor, who will offer advice and provide feedback on work-on-progress. The advisor will read at least one full draft of the dissertation and provide feedback prior to submission, though it is the student’s responsibility to arrange a schedule permitting the advisor to do this well in advance of the assessment deadline.
Teaching takes place in small-group seminars and workshops, as well as one-to-one tutorials. The emphasis is on collaboration between students and staff.
External partners contribute directly to the programme and the MA offers extracurricular opportunities to engage with slavery and unfree labour in different contexts. This includes an optional project-based work placement where you would typically spend one day a week in a relevant public history, policy-focused or practice-based institution. This could be a museum, archive or charity.
You’ll be assessed through a series of research-based activities that will encourage you to reflect on the place of slavery and unfree labour in a range of historical and contemporary contexts.
This includes a combination of essays, case studies, presentations, self-reflective journal, policy paper and heritage brief, as well as a dissertation.
We have a distinctive approach to education, the Liverpool Curriculum Framework, which focuses on research-connected teaching, active learning, and authentic assessment to ensure our students graduate as digitally fluent and confident global citizens.
The Department of History is based in the School of Histories, Languages and Cultures, an ornate Georgian property located on historic Abercromby Square. Students have access to extensive library facilities, special collections and Liverpool’s renowned museums, libraries and galleries, including the University of Liverpool’s own Special Collections and Archives.
From arrival to alumni, we’re with you all the way:
The University of Liverpool is one of the few universities in the UK that offers an MA programme specifically dedicated to the study of both historical and modern slavery. This means that the programme benefits from being led by a cohort of academics who are extremely committed to furthering academic research in this particular field of study and supporting students with an interest in it.
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Developing your skills in communication, collaborative working, critical thinking and research are key features of the programme.
We’ll immerse you in public-facing thinking and activity on a regional, national and international basis. You’ll graduate able to demonstrate organisational skills, teamwork, time management, personal initiative and responsibility to potential employers.
After graduating, engaging with the Centre for the Study of International Slavery’s external partners, across the Liverpool and Merseyside region and beyond, could provide opportunities for you to collaborate on original research that provides new insights.
This MA delivers ideal training if you are seeking an academic career in the field of slavery and unfree labour. It also provides a solid foundation for broader careers in education, the cultural sector and third sector industries.
Potential opportunities include:
You may also decide to continue your studies to PhD level. Your research could focus on the study of slavery, dependence and subordination, or explore particular historical, political and social dimensions of these subjects.
Your tuition fees, funding your studies, and other costs to consider.
|UK fees (applies to Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland)|
|Full-time place, per year||£10,150|
|Part-time place, per year||£5,075|
|Full-time place, per year||£21,400|
|Part-time place, per year||£10,700|
Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching and assessment, operating facilities such as libraries, IT equipment, and access to academic and personal support.
If you're a UK national, or have settled status in the UK, you may be eligible to apply for a Postgraduate Loan worth up to £12,167 to help with course fees and living costs. Learn more about tuition fees, funding and Postgraduate Loans.
We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This could include buying a laptop, books, or stationery.
Find out more about the additional study costs that may apply to this course.
We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to help cover tuition fees and help with living expenses while at university.
The qualifications and exam results you'll need to apply for this course.
My qualifications are from: United Kingdom.
|Postgraduate entry requirements||
You will normally need a 2:1 honours degree or above, or equivalent, in History or a related discipline.
A personal statement, which clearly demonstrates an interest in the programme and an understanding of its context, is also required.
An interview may form part of the selection process. If you’re invited to interview, you’ll be requested to submit a sample of your historical analysis, between 1,500 and 2,500 words in English, for discussion. Please note, being invited to interview does not guarantee the offer of a place.
If you hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, but don’t meet the entry requirements for a master’s degree at Liverpool, a pre-master’s, delivered by our partner, University of Liverpool International College, can help you gain a place. Although there’s no direct pre-master’s route to this MA, completing a pre-master’s pathway can guarantee you a place on many other postgraduate courses which may interest you.
You'll need to demonstrate competence in the use of English language. International applicants who do not meet the minimum required standard of English language can complete one of our Pre-Sessional English courses to achieve the required level.
|English language qualification||Requirements|
View our IELTS academic requirements key.
Standard Level(Grade 5)
|INDIA Standard XII||70% or above from Central and Metro State Boards|
|Hong Kong use of English AS level||C|
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Last updated 26 May 2023 / / Programme terms and conditions /