Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, examinations may be replaced by an alternative form of assessment during the academic year 2020/2021. Please refer to the Programme Specification on these pages for further details.

About the course

Continue your studies with a top history department and develop under the guidance of world-leading academics. We are ranked first among all History departments in the country for the social and cultural impact of our research.

Our innovative MA programme connects the local to the global. The study of everyday life is central to the identity of the University’s History Group, and this is reflected in the range of modules we offer. 

Covering the period from 1550 to the present, you will explore the impact of big historical forces on ordinary lives, examining how the past affects us today as individuals and as communities.

You’ll take two subject modules in the first semester. Money-makers, Murderers, Medics and Mothers uncovers the multifaceted nature of women’s lives in the 17th and 18th centuries. In Local and Global you’ll examine the impact of the development of consumer societies on communities and cultures from the 18th to the 21st centuries. In the second semester, you’ll take Customs, Rights, Resistance and Community Culture, 1714-1914, which looks at the nature of the customary rights upheld by rural and urban communities in England, and the social tensions that arose from their erosion by social, economic and religious changes over the period.

Alongside these, you’ll take two research methods modules. The first will support you as you transition from undergraduate to postgraduate studies, while the second will train you to write for, and present to, different audiences and help you prepare for your 15,000-word dissertation. This is the culmination of the MA programme and an opportunity for you to develop a research project on a topic of your choice, under expert supervision.

Offered as a one-year full-time course or part-time over two years, throughout this MA you will be taught by our prize-winning academics, who publish widely and contribute regularly to national and international television and radio. Recent publications include Professor Owen Davies’s A Supernatural War: Magic, Divination, and Faith During the First World War, Dr Katrina Navickas’s Protest and the Politics of Space and Place 1789 – 1848, Professor Jonathan Morris’s Coffee: A Global History and Dr Jennifer Evans’s Maladies and Medicine, 1540-1740.

If you choose to study part-time over two years, you will take one subject module and one research methods module in semester A and one subject module in semester B of year one. In year two, you will take one subject module in semester A and one research module, as well as writing your dissertation.

Why choose this course?

Top 5 reasons to study the MA History at the University of Hertfordshire

We give you:

  • An exceptional academic team, conducting world-leading research
  • Access to established links to heritage organisations and history groups through our renowned Heritage Hub and award-winning Oral History Team
  • Excellent digital research and teaching resources including the Mass Observation Archive of everyday 20th century life and the Irish Life and Lore oral history collection
  • Training to develop new writing styles and skills through our research methods modules
  • The opportunity to write a dissertation on a topic about which you are passionate

Is this course for me?

Our MA History will be of interest to:

  • Graduates who have just finished their BA degree
  • People looking for a career change or break, or for intellectual fulfilment on retirement
  • Teachers looking to enhance their subject knowledge
  • Heritage industry professionals interested in deepening their knowledge and acquiring transferable skills (if so, you can also consider our unique Professional Doctorate in Heritage)

What will I study?

Teaching is in small group seminars on weekday early evenings, led by members of the History Group. We may also offer Saturday sessions for the Research Methods II module. 

Your presentation of research in different formats will be an essential part of the Research Methods modules. This ‘hands-on history’ approach will develop your presentation skills in accessible as well as in standard academic formats. This is a distinctive feature of the course that will enhance the employability of those looking to use the MA as a stepping stone in their professional career and who may not be going on to further postgraduate study.

As one of our MA students you will benefit from being part of a diverse and active academic community. We see our postgraduate students as fellow researchers, and we place a great deal of importance on sharing and developing skills. Our ‘History café’ offers an informal get together with other Humanities postgraduates before classes, while each year the History Group arranges an off-campus staff-student weekend conference. 

We encourage our postgraduates to attend Institute of Historical Research (IHR) seminars convened by members of the History Group, which has institutional membership of the IHR. The History Group also encompasses the University’s Folklore Studies MA, which offers its students membership of the renowned Folklore Society and access to its library. 


Employability underpins what we do. Our graduates go on to a variety of careers, including teaching, law, the heritage industry and museums, and the civil service. The History Group has good connections with school and sixth-form teachers of History, both from among our alumni and our collaborators on pedagogical research projects. Through the University’s Heritage Hub and the Professional Doctorate in Heritage, we also have established connections with heritage organisations and employers such as John Lewis.

Please note that some of the images and videos on our course pages may have been taken before social distancing rules in the UK came into force.