Entry requirements

Students wishing to take this programme should normally have a 2.1 or equivalent in a Bachelors degree in history or a related subject (i.e. English, languages, politics, philosophy, archaeology or journalism) from a recognised UK or overseas university.

Months of entry


Course content

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.

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

Historians have long been fascinated by modernity and the societies to which it gave rise. From the French Revolution, human history has been marked by state-sponsored attempts to transform social and cultural life, from the dechristianisation campaigns of the Terror to the recreation of non-European societies by imperialism and the mass mobilisations of state socialism and the two world wars. Many of these attempts at transformation have given rise to episodes of appalling violence and genocide. Yet modernity has also brought undoubted benefits, not least the extraordinary human and scientific progress experienced first in the West. Representative government, the growth of the press and mass media, the rise of consumer culture and, in the twentieth century, the experience of sustained affluence made a real difference to the length and quality of ordinary people's lives and fostered new forms of participatory politics and social movements.

Sheffield's long and distinguished tradition in modern history continues today with a group of internationally-renowned scholars working at the cutting-edge of their fields. Current staff interests cover a wide range of thematic and methodological perspectives from the early nineteenth-century to the twenty-first century and across the globe. Particular areas of expertise include fascism, repressive regimes and political violence; nationalism and international and economic relations; intellectual and cultural history; social history and welfare; gender and cultural history and media, popular culture and sexuality.

The MA in Modern History draws on this expertise to examine these changes, allowing you to explore the political cleavages and cultural uncertainty unleashed by the great revolutions, the mobilisations and resistance of the two world wars, and the transnational forces of empire, and globalisation.

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 2016).

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 covers a huge range of topics and offers a range of research centres and networks many of which are interdisciplinary or focus on cross-cutting research themes. These centres all have their own research event series and often incorporate postgraduate-led events. 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, and develop your understanding of the contemporary world and skills in using relevant sources, while focusing on the particular skills that are most important to you through our optional modules. 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 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.

Part-time study

All our masters can be taken part-time. Seminars are held during working hours (9am–6pm) – there are no lectures. The number of contact hours will vary over the two years, but you’ll usually have at least one two-hour seminar each week. You’ll take one core module each year and the rest of your course will be made up from optional modules giving you plenty of choice and flexibility over what you study.

Core modules
Research Presentation; Modernity and Power: Individuals and the State in the Modern World; Dissertation.

Examples of optional modules
Modernity and the Self: Negotiating Identities with the Soviet State; Media and Political Culture in Modern Britain; Prisoners of War in the Twentieth Century; Sex and Power: The Politics of Women's Liberation in Modern Britain; Stories of Activism, 1960 to the present; Another Country: America and the Problem of Decolonisation; Autobiography, Identity and the Self in Muslim South Asia; The Japanese Empire in East Asia, 1895-1945; Voices of the Great War: Gender, Experience and Violence in Great Britain and Germany, 1914-1918; Medical Humanity? Medicine and Identity; Human Rights in History; International Order in the Twentieth Century; The United States and the Global 1970s; Presenting the Past: Making History Public; Work Placement and a variety of modern languages.

Information for international students

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

Fees and funding

We have over £1 million to fund talented new UK and EU Postgraduate students in 2017. A range of scholarships for international are also available. Please contact us or see our website for further details. You’ll need to submit your application by the appropriate funding deadline (deadlines are in March and May). Find out more: www.sheffield.ac.uk/history/study/ma/funding.

Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

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