Research course

History of Sport

University of Buckingham · School of Humanities
MA by research

Entry requirements

The minimum entry level required for this course is as follows: a first or second-class honours degree from a recognised university or; a recognised professional qualification with relevant work experience.

Months of entry


Course content

Course outline

Based in London, this groundbreaking Master’s programme offers students unique access to world-class scholars, thinkers and practitioners drawn from the world of sport and its academic study.

It is directed by Ed Smith, the commentator, historian of sport, and former cricketer for England, Middlesex and Kent.

The course enables the student to undertake research on a specific topic, agreed with the supervisor, in any aspect of the history of sport over the last two centuries. Assessment is by a dissertation, written under expert guidance over the course of the year.

A central feature of the programme is its series of ten evening seminars and post-seminar dinners in a London club, at which participants can engage in general discussion with guest speakers. These experts include:

  • Mike Brearley OBE, former Captain of the England Cricket Team and former President of the MCC
  • Ed Smith, prize-winning author and former England cricketer
  • Sir Clive Woodward OBE, Winning Rugby World Cup Coach
  • Professor Christopher Young, historian of sport, University of Cambridge
  • Lord King of Lothbury (Mervyn King), KG, GBE, FBA, Director of Aston Villa FC and former Governor of the Bank of England
  • David Goldblatt, award-winning writer and sports historian, author of The Game of Our Lives
  • Professor Richard Holt, founder of the International Centre for Sport History and Culture and author of Sport and the British
  • Simon Kuper, award-winning writer and author of Soccernomics

Sport’s place in modern life has never been more central, and the history of sport is a rapidly growing area of academic study. The course will touch on all major sports – in Britain, America and on the Continent. Some of the themes addressed by the lectures will be:

  • Why was Britain so central to the development of modern sport?
  • When and how did sport become politicised?
  • How has sport influenced attitudes towards class, race, gender and sexuality?
  • Sport’s role as an agent and beneficiary of globalisation.

Teaching methods

The MA does not offer systematic instruction; instead, the emphasis is on independent research and one-to-one supervision.

At the heart of the Buckingham MA is the close working relationship between student and supervisor. While the final thesis must be an independent work, it is the supervisor who offers advice on refining the topic (if necessary), on primary sources, on secondary reading, on research techniques and on writing the final text (which should not be less than 20,000 words). Supervisors and students will meet frequently throughout the year, and not less than twice a term; the supervisor shall always be the student's primary contact for academic advice and support.

The course will begin with two seminars about how to choose, research and write an academic dissertation, held at the University’s London offices, 51 Gower Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 6HJ. These will be followed by ten guest lectures and dinners, held at the splendid Caledonian Club (Halkin Street, London SW1X 7DR), a few moments from Hyde Park Corner in central London.

Graduate employment

We have a high graduate employment rate; The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) ranked Buckingham top for graduate employability with 98.1% in July 2015.

Our graduates have gone on to further study at most of the world's leading universities, including Harvard, London, Oxford and Cambridge and secured jobs in senior positions around the world. Among our alumni we have a graduate who became the head of his country's civil service and one who became a leading Formula One motor-racing driver. Another secured a position as the Minister of Sabah, and one female law graduate became the first British lawyer to become a French Advocate.

Information for international students

Buckingham is a truly global community with students of all ages and cultures. It is a place to establish lasting networks, both professionally and socially. We are happy to consider all international applications; please visit our international pages for details of entry requirements from your home country.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Please visit our website for information on: Fees & Scholarship

Qualification and course duration

MA by research

part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

+44 (0)1280 820204