History: Twentieth-Century History MA

  • Programme duration: Full-time: 12 months   Part-time: 24 months
  • Programme start: September 2023
  • Entry requirements: You should normally have a BA in History or a related discipline (2:1 or above, or international equivalent).


This absorbing MA gives you the opportunity to study and reflect on major twentieth-century events, such as total war, the rise and fall of communism, the collapse of the European empires, the changing place of women in western society and the decline of traditional religious belief.

You’ll be able to:-

  • Explore the features that made the twentieth century unique
  • Study social and political developments that most defined the character of the twentieth century
  • Focus in-depth on particular countries or themes that interest you
  • Develop the research skills needed to complete your 15,000 word dissertation on the topic of your choice.

This programme will appeal to a wide range of students, including those who’ve recently graduated or have decided to return to university later in life.

The structure of the course provides a good grounding for those intending to proceed to doctoral research.

Please note: when applying for this programme, please choose ‘MA History’ on the online application form. You should specify the specific pathway which you wish to study in your personal statement.

Students study: two 30 credit core modules, one 30 credit historical methodology module, one 15 credit (dissertation-linked) feasibility study, one 15 credit (or three 5 credit) optional modules culminating in a 60 credit dissertation.  

Case study: John Boden

Twentieth Century History MA

"The Sydney Jones Library has been a staple in my life now for nearly four years and the materials if offers are really good. The huge array of online sources it has means that I don’t have to wait for materials to be returned by others before I can use them".

John Boden

Why History?

Breadth of expertise

The interests of our staff and PhD students are extremely diverse and span the medieval, early modern and modern periods.

Their work encompasses political, social, cultural, economic, military and diplomatic history, across Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas.

Active seminar programmes, linked to our research centres and MA programmes, enable staff and postgraduates to present their work and listen to eminent visiting speakers.

 These are our on-going seminar series:

  • Medieval and Renaissance Studies
  • Eighteenth-Century Worlds
  • Contemporary Cultural and Social
  • History
  • International Slavery
  • Contemporary History and Policy
  • New Research (run by our postgraduate students)

Recent conferences and workshops have addressed ‘Religion in the Spanish Baroque’, ‘Text and Place in Medieval and Early Modern Europe’, ‘Re-thinking Post- Slavery’ and ‘British Nuclear Culture’.

Taught programmes that prepare you for future research

By pursuing our programmes you’ll gain the skills and knowledge you need to carry out further research towards a PhD.

Our MA programmes are taught by research-active experts who bring their knowledge of, and passion for, their subjects into the seminar room.

Teaching takes place in small-group seminars or workshops and through one-to-one tutorials, as we believe this leads to the best collaboration between students and staff.

We offer programmes in:

  • Cultural History
  • Eighteenth-Century Worlds
  • International Slavery Studies
  • Medieval and Renaissance Studies
  • Twentieth-Century History

You can also pursue an MRes in History or a vocational Masters in Archives and Records Management.

Support and skills training for PhD students

As a postgraduate research student you’ll receive comprehensive skills from the Graduate School, the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and History Department.

This will equip you with the research skills you need to successfully complete your PhD.

Our PhD programmes place a strong emphasis on independent research and study, culminating in a 100,000-word dissertation. Two supervisors (normally experts in your chosen field) who will advise and support you through the process.

Our commitment to postgraduate students

We welcome enquiries from all postgraduate students interested in studying here and will give you all the academic, practical and pastoral support we can.

Students have a voice here and are represented on the School Postgraduate Committee. There’s also a dedicated staff – student liaison committee to oversee our MA and PhD programmes.

Postgraduate studentships and bursaries are often available.