Taught course

Public Histories

Institution
Birkbeck, University of London · History, Classics and Archaeology
Qualifications
MA

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Entry requirements

The usual requirement is a second-class honours degree (2:2) or above in a humanities subject, as well as references. We may request writing samples or ask you to attend an interview, if you don't meet the entry criteria but have non-traditional educational or professional qualifications/experience.

Applications are reviewed on their individual merits and your professional qualifications and/or relevant work experience will be taken into consideration positively. We actively support and encourage applications from mature learners.

Months of entry

October

Course content

Public history is concerned with the practice of history outside of academia in all its myriad forms and public historians come in all shapes and sizes: they are consultants, museum professionals, archivists, preservationists and curators, cultural resource managers, policy specialists and community activists, among many other roles. What they share is a commitment to making history relevant, beneficial, informative and instructive within the public sphere. The practice and significance of ‘public history’ has grown significantly in recent years, as historians become more aware of audiences beyond the academy, of the role of history in politics, of the need for their research and analysis to have an impact in the real world, and of the growing public and media interest in popular history and heritage.

Our MA Public Histories will introduce you to key aspects and issues of the practice of public history. It will provide you with the necessary theoretical and practical skills to undertake critical assessments of public history projects and interventions - as well as to create your own. Its focus on public history in practice will provide you with a wide range of examples of different types and methods of public history, from museums and material culture, to public history in the media, to the role of history in policy making. This programme aims to give you a sense of the wide range of public history, the variety of roles played by historians in public, and the importance and impact of public history in politics, culture, and society.

The programme provides relevant training for careers in media, education, museums and heritage, publishing, and policy, and it also provides rigorous training in the historical discipline suitable to prepare you for further personal or professional research, or research at MPhil/PhD level.

Highlights
  • We are an international centre of excellence. Since 2001 we have consistently been in the top ten departments evaluated by the Research Excellence Framework (REF).
  • Our research is unique in its range across geographical and chronological boundaries. We are the only university department in London to include historians, classicists and archaeologists investigating every period from prehistory to the early twenty-first century. We see the study of the past as crucial for our understanding of present-day society, culture and politics.
  • All Master’s students are eligible to apply for our prestigious Eric Hobsbawm Scholarships. One of the most influential historians of the twentieth century, Eric Hobsbawm taught at Birkbeck for over five decades and embodied what is central to our teaching and research: a continued commitment to critical enquiry and public engagement.
  • We are at the heart of academic London with access to unparalleled research resources. Situated very close by are: the Institute of Classical Studies, with its library, training facilities and seminars; the British Museum, with its extensive collection of classical antiquities; and the British Library, the largest national library in the world.

Information for international students

If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this course is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.5 in each of the sub-tests and at least 7.0 in writing.

If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses and foundation programmes to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Name
Student Advice Service
Email
studentadvice@bbk.ac.uk
Phone
+44 (0)20 3907 0700