Taught course

Naval, Maritime and Coastal History (Distance Learning)

University of Portsmouth · School of Area Studies, Sociology, History, Politics and Literature

Entry requirements

A minimum of a second-class honours degree or equivalent in History or a related subject (International Relations, War Studies, Journalism etc.), or equivalent professional experience in a relevant field such as heritage or the navy and armed forces.

English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.5.

Months of entry


Course content

Transform your love of naval and maritime history into a versatile postgraduate qualification on this Master's in Naval, Maritime and Coastal History, all from the home of the Royal Navy.
Thanks to our partnerships with the National Museum of the Royal Navy, the HMS Warrior and other key maritime heritage institutions, you'll have digital or in-person access to a treasure trove of expertise, archives and galleries to enrich your studies.
With the entire course online via distance learning, you can choose to study full-time over a year or part-time over two years, if you're looking to study alongside work or military service.
You'll embark on a deep dive into the global legacy of developments in the naval domain from 1508 to 1960. Considering factors from strategic to sociological, technological to cultural, you'll explore subject areas including the role of the Women’s Royal Naval Service during the Second World War, debates around the naval battle at Jutland, how Nelson won at Trafalgar, and what contributed to the Boston Tea Party.
You'll learn from a team of naval experts and historical curators who share your passion for the field, and analyse topics with a diverse cohort of fellow students from all around the world.
When you graduate, you'll have specialist expertise in naval history as well as enhanced career-ready skills in critical analysis, research, source evaluation and writing. You'll be an ideal candidate for PhD study, or for roles in fields such as journalism, education, museum curation, or the Armed Forces.

Course highlights
  • Immerse yourself in a rich exploration of naval history, into areas such as the European Imperial expansion, the birth of the United States, and the role of the sea in the English Civil War, the Spanish Armada, the reign of King Henry VIII and the disappearance of the Mary Rose
  • Enjoy digital or in-person access to the collections of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, the HMS Warrior, Lloyd's Register Foundation, the Legasee Educational Trust, and the Wellington Trust, and have the chance to get involved in research projects, field trips and behind-the-scenes tours
  • Hear from expert guest lecturers, such as Dr Edward Hampshire from the Royal Navy’s Naval Historical Branch, and opt to attend history research seminars conducted by the University and external academics
  • Develop your ability to carry out historical research and interpret multi-archive sources using our extensive interactive library, including unique primary sources, secondary literature, and video clips of experts in the field
  • Build a network of fellow naval historians and, once you graduate, join our naval history alumni group
  • Choose an area of naval history to explore in-depth for your dissertation or research project

Career planning

During your course you'll have expert career support from our Careers and Employability Centre, your tutors and our Business and Law Career-Ready Programme. This support will continue for 5 years after you graduate.

Career support

You'll benefit from:

- Networking events

- Regular emails from the Career Ready Programme sharing job opportunities, application tips and events

- Applied projects with companies such as IBM, Boeing and Hampshire County Council

- Workshops to enhance your employability skills

- Recruitment events including the Student and Graduate Opportunities Fair

- 1-to-1 appointments

- CV and cover letter advice

- Interview preparation and practice

- Support starting your own business

Careers and opportunities
This MA in Naval, Maritime and Coastal History will enable you to fully understand the role naval activity has played in shaping the world as we know it, as well as Britain’s place within it and the context of geopolitics today.
Armed with this knowledge and the higher-level research and analytical skills you'll gain, you'll be ready to seek promotion in your current role or military career, or to pursue senior positions in charities, financial institutions, publications, and maritime and heritage organisations. You could also continue your studies to PhD level.
Graduates of this course have gone onto areas such as:
  • journalism
  • law
  • teaching
  • administration
  • archive and museum curation
  • research
  • PhD study
Graduates of this course have gone on to work for organisations such as the:
  • Civil Service
  • Armed Forces

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    full time
    12 months
    • Online learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    24 months
    • Online learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Admissions Team
023 9284 5566