Taught course

American History

University of Sheffield · Department of History

Entry requirements

A 2:1 honours degree or equivalent in history or other humanities or social science discipline from a UK or overseas university

You may be asked to supply examples of previous written work.

Months of entry


Course content

Our MA degrees are carefully designed to allow you to build a programme that suits your needs: whether you want to progress to postgraduate research, aid your career development or simply expand your knowledge in your chosen area of history.

About the course

Contemporary politics shows that, more than ever, there is a need for a critical understanding for the formative political, social, economic and intellectual trends in American history.

Sheffield's long and distinguished tradition in American history continues today with a group of internationally-renowned scholars working at the cutting-edge of their fields. Current staff interests range from early colonial settlement to the political culture of twentieth-century America. Particular areas of expertise include urban history; social and cultural history; foreign relations and political history; and cultural encounters in the early modern Atlantic world.

Drawing on this expertise, the MA in American history gives you the opportunity to study the historical development of the United States from the first encounter between Europeans and Native Americans in the colonial period through to the end of the Cold War.

Core modules

  • Approaches to the American Past
  • Dissertation
  • Research Presentation

Example option modules

  • Cold War Histories
  • New York City and the End of the 20th Century
  • The U.S. Civil War in Global Context
  • The United States and the Global 1970s
  • Burying the White Gods: Indigenous People in the Early Modern Colonial World
  • Research Skills for Historians
  • Presenting the Past: Making History Public
  • Work Placement.

Part-time study

All our masters can be taken part-time. Seminars are held during working hours (9am–6pm). The number of contact hours will vary over the two years, but you’ll usually have at least one two-hour seminar each week.

Our department

The Department of History at the University of Sheffield is one of the largest, most active and successful centres for teaching and historical research both in the UK and internationally. Our academic reputation means that we are ranked third in the UK for our world-leading research (Research Excellence Framework 2014) and ranked in the world’s top 100 history departments (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017).

Our team of around 45 academic staff and over 130 postgraduate students work together to create a thriving and supportive research community. The Department has its own research seminar series, which runs regularly during semester-time and covers a huge range of topics. This active research community also includes a range of research centres and networks many of which are interdisciplinary or focus on cross-cutting research themes. We actively encourage our MA students to make the most of their time at Sheffield by getting involved in our research activities and events, as well as organising their own through the Postgraduate Forum.

Our teaching

Our world-leading research informs what we teach. We offer a flexible degree structure with a wide range of modules covering a variety of periods, locations, themes and approaches.

The flexibility of the programme allows you to carry out specialist research under expert supervision, while focusing on the particular skills that are most important to you. You can choose modules that expand your historical knowledge; further develop your research skills - undertaking the language and technical training best suited to your research needs; or aid your career development - our public history modules are specifically designed to provide you with skills that will transfer directly to the workplace.

Our commitment to teaching is demonstrated by the National Student Survey 2016, where our students gave us a satisfaction rating of 94%, making our students the amongst the most satisfied history students in the Russell Group.

You’ll be taught through seminars and individual tutorials. Assessment is by bibliographical and source-based exercises, written papers, oral presentation, and a 15,000 word dissertation.

Your future

These kinds of skills are why our graduates are successful in both further study and a wide range of careers – from taking PhDs, lecturing and working in the museum and tourist industry to business management, marketing, law and working in the media.

In addition to the personal and professional development you will experience through your modules, we offer dedicated careers support to enable you to successfully plan your future.


Our MA degrees begin in September and you can usually apply up until mid-August. To be eligible for funding, you will need to apply before the relevant deadline(s), these are usually in March and May.

Information for international students

Overall IELTS grade of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component, or equivalent.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

For 2018 entry, the University of Sheffield is offering over 100 awards of £10,000 available across the University for UK/EU applicants who meet one of our Widening Participation criteria or are predicted to achieve a first in their BA. Deadline: 14 May 2018.

The Department of History is also offering two £9,000 scholarships for 2018 entry. Deadline: 15 June 2018.

Find out more: www.sheffield.ac.uk/history/study/ma/funding

Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months


AssessmentWhat kind of work will I be doing? (proportionally)
Written coursework / continuous assessment105
Dissertation60 (15000 words)

Course contact details

Beky Hasnip (Admissions Manager)
+44 (0)114 222 2552