MA Early Modern History
- Full Time
- Degree of Master of Arts
- Course Length
- 1 years
- Course Start Date
- September 2024
Don’t just study history: write it. Our Early Modern History Master’s degree will equip you with the tools you need to examine and interrogate primary and secondary sources, so that you graduate with the skills to develop refined and informed original historic research.
Our Master’s programme focuses on early modern culture, politics, religion, and society between 1500 and 1750. Taught by our eminent historians, whose seminars relate directly to their research, you’ll be learning at the very forefront of historical debate.
Our School has a vibrant postgraduate community, attracted here by our specialist academics and our research output. In fact, we have one of the UK’s highest concentrations of historic expertise, and in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) UEA’s research in History was rated third in the whole UK.
Focusing on Britain, continental Europe, and the Atlantic world between 1500 and 1750, our Early Modern History MA covers a wide variety of topics including religion and politics, gender history, power and social relations, mentalities, orality and print culture, questions of authenticity and forgery, and material culture.
Our programme is characterised by its intensity, rigour, and creativity of study. Through it, you’ll not only acquire a deeper and more advanced knowledge and understanding of early modern history, but you’ll also develop and improve your understanding of the problems and opportunities posed by primary sources and documents. You’ll discover, as well, how you can apply these skills in the heritage industry and other professional contexts.
You’ll learn how to apply complex historical theories and concepts to test hypotheses against detailed examples and case studies. You will also acquire the ability to discriminate between conflicting interpretations and perspectives, and to discuss findings and communicate them in a clear manner, both in discussion and in your work. In our English Paleography module, you’ll even learn how to decipher handwriting of the past.
Through our taught modules and your own independent research, you’ll develop the skills and knowledge you’ll need to undertake advanced independent historical research, which you’ll demonstrate through your Master’s dissertation. You’ll graduate ready to take your studies on to doctoral level, and with qualities that are in high demand in the workforce, including problem-solving, self-discipline and time-management, the ability to work with others, and excellent oral and written skills.
Study and Modules
At the heart of our MA is a module that will provide you with a thorough grounding in the ways to approach early modern history: historiographically, thematically, and methodologically. It will cover religious, political, social, and cultural history, and also focus more closely on topics such as mentalities, social relations, gender, Atlantic history, and the forms and structures of daily life.
We’ll help you to identify and interpret primary sources, and to conceptualise related historical problems. And we’ll discuss the obstacles and opportunities of historical research, through a series of case studies drawn from the expertise of our early modern staff.
As you study, you’ll also be supported in beginning to select a dissertation topic.
Alongside this comprehensive grounding in early modern historiography, you’ll also master the tools essential to developing a refined piece of original historical research and learn how to apply those tools to a wide range of other careers. Through hands-on workshops and seminars you will gain familiarity with various practical research methods as well as important aspects of research dissemination both within and outside academia. There will be sessions to help you transition from undergraduate- to postgraduate-level historical research, and we will pay particular attention to employability, with opportunities to engage and learn from partners at local archives, museums, and/or heritage institutions. Seminars on approaches to archival research will be facilitated by members of the School of History who are specialists in particular historical methods. Each year the content of this team-taught module adapts to developing trends within historical studies. Topics covered may include: collective memory; digital humanities; life narratives; oral history; using institutional documents; material and visual cultures; transnational histories; and decolonisation within the heritage industry. By the end of the module, you’ll be equipped to undertake historical and professional work, such as working in an archive, and writing and delivering conference papers, using the latest methodologies.
To complement these skills in historical and archival research, you’ll learn specialist skills in ‘paleography’, the study of old handwriting. Paleography is essential for all historians and archaeologists who wish to be able to read the handwriting of the period they are researching. You’ll learn the skills needed to read and transcribe a range of early modern archival sources. This exercise in historical ‘code breaking’ is as demanding as it is rewarding and fun.
Tutorials will then allow you to specialise in the area of early modern history that interests you most by choosing one topic from a wide array of annually updated options. Recent examples include ‘The World of the English Country House c. 1550-1950'; ‘English Travellers in France during the Long Eighteenth Century, 1688-1815'; ‘Atlantic Wars from the Fifteenth Century to the Age of Revolution’; and ‘Religion and revolution in 17th-century Britain and Ireland’.
Finally, your Master’s dissertation will provide you with an opportunity to pursue your own original historical research. You will be supervised by one or several members of the School, who will provide guidance and support throughout the process of researching and writing
Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, the University will endeavour to consult with students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will inform students.
Teaching and Learning
Our integrated approach means that your learning from each module will relate to and inform your other modules. Broad and thorough, this also makes for a more interesting and stimulating study experience.
In our core modules, you’ll be taught the key themes and issues across periods and countries, usually based on selected case studies. Our skills-based modules will provide the theoretical and methodological tools key to the study of early modern history, as well as the conceptual knowledge you’ll need to complete the core module and your dissertation. And in our Specialist Tutorials we’ll encourage you to engage with historiographical debates and explanations in greater detail.
Our teaching will enhance your knowledge and awareness of different disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches. And by the end of the spring term, with our close supervision and advice, you will be in the position to embark on your extended, independent, original research project.
The very nature of a Master’s course means that you will spend a lot of time carrying out independent study. You’ll have access to UEA’s state-of-the-art library, which houses a wealth of specialist research collections in British, European, and global history. You’ll also have access to the East Anglian Film Archive and the Norfolk Record Office. Moreover, you’ll be able to work with libraries and archives across the country, including the British Library and The National Archives, as well as similar resources overseas.
The balance we offer between independent thinking and study skills will help you grow into a self-motivated learner, an analytical thinker and an expert researcher. You will develop accuracy and precision in your written work through evidence-based analysis. And you will become well versed in time management, making you highly organised and confident in self-directed study.
Throughout your degree, you’ll be given guidance on your work and constructive feedback to help you improve.
Our modules include both formative and summative assessments, with feedback provided in various ways. This includes – but is not restricted to – written feedback, oral feedback in seminars and tutorials, and peer-to-peer feedback.
Each module will include a sequence of assessments, giving you the opportunity to learn from your formative feedback. The process will encourage you to reflect on your performance and to approach subsequent pieces of work with greater confidence, improving your performance in summative assessments.
Formative assessment includes presentations, essays and dissertation plans, research training and specialised skills. Summative work is assessed through coursework essays – including the options to submit seminar and exhibition reviews, or conduct a work experience placement at the Norfolk Record Office and at selected East Anglian heritage organisations – and your dissertation.
- Degree Classification
- Bachelors degree (minimum 2.1 or equivalent)
- Degree Subject
- Humanities subject
- English Foreign Language
Applications from students whose first language is not English are welcome. We require evidence of proficiency in English (including writing, speaking, listening and reading):
IELTS: 6.0 overall (minimum 6.0 in Writing & Speaking with 5.5 in the others)
Test dates should be within 2 years of the course start date.
We also accept a number of other English language tests. Review our English Language Equivalencies for a list of qualifications that we may accept to meet this requirement.
If you do not yet meet the English language requirements for this course, INTO UEA offer a variety of English language programmes which are designed to help you develop the English skills necessary for successful undergraduate study:
This course is open to UK, EU and International applicants. The annual intake for this course is in September each year.
Additional Information or Requirements
Our Admissions Policy applies to the admissions of all postgraduate applicants.
Fees and Funding
Tuition fees for the Academic Year 2024/25 are:
UK Students: £9,975 (full time)
International Students: £21,200 (full time)
If you choose to study part-time, the fee per annum will be half the annual fee for that year, or a pro-rata fee for the module credit you are taking (only available for Home students).
We estimate living expenses at £1,023 per month.
Further Information on tuition fees can be found here.
Scholarships and Bursaries
The University of East Anglia offers a range of Scholarships; please click the link for eligibility, details of how to apply and closing dates.
Course Related Costs
Please see Additional Course Fees for details of course-related costs.
How to Apply
Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.
To apply please use our online application form.
If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying, please do contact us:
Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515
International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.
After the Course
You’ll graduate ready to pursue a wide range of occupations, thanks to the breadth of the skills you will have acquired during your postgraduate history degree. Many of our graduates go on to pursue academic careers. Others develop careers in business, public service, teaching and management, or the heritage and tourism sector.
We work closely with UEA’s Careers Service, offering a number of events, workshops, and information sessions to help get your career off to the best start.
A degree at UEA will prepare you for a wide variety of careers. We've been ranked 1st for Job Prospects by StudentCrowd in 2022.
Examples of careers that you could enter include:
Teaching and research
Civil service and local government
Heritage and tourism
Business and finance
Discover more on our Careers webpages.