Sussex is a leading centre of historical research in contemporary history. This MA offers a distinctive programme of study that is methodologically innovative and thematically diverse. It provides a firm foundation for advanced research work in the field and for the particular challenges of writing the history of the recent past.
Our approach emphasises everyday experiences within a social, cultural, economic and political context. We provide opportunities to study key aspects of the contemporary history of Asia, North America and Europe, as well as to participate in our world-leading work on contemporary Britain. Alongside modules that focus on the history of particular regions, the course offers intellectually demanding thematic modules on the history of rights, of the environment, genocide and warfare. By the end of the course students are equipped to undertake research of the highest quality and significance.
The course equips you with the intellectual and subject-specific skills necessary to conceptualise research projects in contemporary history. Through the coursework, you immerse yourself in the literature of the field and learn how to integrate the historical perspective with that of the other social sciences. There is a strong emphasis on the comparative study of different regions and countries.
Historical Skills and Methods is assessed by a portfolio consisting of a group submission, an individual essay and a research proposal. Each other module is assessed by a 5,000-word term paper, each paper to be written in the vacation following the end of the module in question. All students write a 20,000-word dissertation, which is submitted towards the end of the summer vacation.
We continue to develop and update our modules for 2016 entry to ensure you have the best student experience. In addition to the course structure below, you may find it helpful to refer to the Modules tab.
Most modules are taught in weekly small-group seminars, for which you prepare written work and oral presentations. Lectures, workshops and conferences organised by the History Department give you further access to the latest historical research and debate. Taught modules provide training in appropriate research techniques, including the development of skills in using concepts and sources likely to play a part in the research project for the dissertation.
You may, on certain courses and subject to the approval of the course convenor, write any or all of your assessment exercises in a language other than English. Please note that all teaching is in English.
The options listed below are an example of modules that may be available. You take four modules during the MA.
Autumn term: Historical Skills and Methods • The People’s Century, Britain 1900-2000 • Genocide in Comparative Perspectives.
Spring term: you take two from Empire, Science and the Environment • Germany, France and the Making of 20th-Century Europe • Human Rights
in History • Race, Religion and Modern America.
Summer term: you work on a supervised dissertation on a topic of your choice, agreed with your supervisor. Part-time students are expected to begin background reading for the dissertation in their first summer term.
Some modules are closely linked to exciting new fields such as resistance studies, others are linked to long-established interdisciplinary research centres at Sussex such as: