Taught course

Historical Research

University of Sheffield · Department of History

Entry requirements

A first-class 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

This course is excellent preparation for a PhD degree in history. You can further your interests, broaden your knowledge and at the same time hone your research skills. As well as specific research training in history, you’ll also gain a broad range of transferable skills that will be of value to employers outside academia.

Studying History at Sheffield allows you to explore great events, extraordinary documents, remarkable people, and long-lasting transformations, from the ancient world to the modern day, and across the globe.

We have around 45 members of academic staff specialising in ancient; medieval; early Modern; modern British and European; American and global history and covering a variety of themes such as society and culture; politics; religion; gender and the history of violence and peace research. This provides you with the ideal environment to further your own interests and broaden your field of knowledge alongside developing your research skills and preparing for your future PhD study.

Core modules

  • Dissertation
  • Research Presentation

A choice of research skills modules including:

  • Research Skills for Historians
  • Directed Reading
  • Palaeography
  • Latin and modern languages

Example option modules

A wide range of modules depending on your chosen area of specialism including:

  • Early Medieval Clerical Exemption in a Digital Age
  • Greek and Roman Gods and Goddesses
  • Language and Society in Early Modern England
  • Prisoners of War in the Twentieth Century; Stories of Activism, 1960 to the present
  • The Japanese Empire in East Asia, 1895–1945
  • Human Rights in History
  • The United States and the Global 1970s

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 current and future 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. Public history is a growing discipline, which makes these skills equally relevant for students interested in a career in academia.

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 completing 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.

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 Faculty of Arts and Humanities are offer a small number of £10,000 scholarships for students planning to progress to PhD study following the MA programme. Deadline: 22 March 2018.

The University of Sheffield is also 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.

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