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MA in History

This degree course will enable you to develop your research and analytical skills and upgrade your qualifications. It will suit you if you have the appropriate entry qualifications, a passion for history and are looking for an intellectual challenge.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Career relevance and employability

This degree will provide you with theoretical and practical training in major themes in local and regional history, research methods, project planning and writing a dissertation. It will be valuable if you are, or are planning a career as, a teacher, librarian, museum or heritage professional, or have an interest in the subject and want to develop your historical skills. Careers where history would be useful include journalism, writing, and careers in the civil service or public administration. History can open up options to a wide range of careers.

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU's Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.


For this masters degree you require:

180 credits from the following compulsory modules:

Postgraduate compulsory modules Credits Next start
MA History part 1 (A825)

Explore British and Irish histories from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries and increase your understanding of a range of key approaches to studying history.

See full description.

120 Sep
MA History part 2 (A826)

This course focuses on the planning and writing of a dissertation which will test your ability to present a sustained academic argument in clear, logical prose.

See full description.

60 May

You must pass A825 before studying A826.

Educational aims

This taught postgraduate programme in history will:

  • build upon and develop your existing knowledge of, and interest in, history
  • provide you with appropriate training in the techniques of postgraduate study in history
  • enable you to develop your research and analytical skills and upgrade your qualifications.

Learning outcomes

The qualification provides opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas:

Knowledge and understanding

When you have completed this degree you will have:

  • a good understanding of the methodological approaches to local and regional history, and some practical experience of working within these methods and leading to a project or dissertation
  • an understanding of the major themes in the discipline, taking account of traditional and more recent theoretical approaches
  • a critical understanding of some of the issues involved in treating a range of historical sources appropriate to local and regional studies
  • an awareness of strategies that can be applied to analysing and researching non-traditional sources, such as statistical data, maps, material culture, film, etc.
  • a knowledge of the diversity of ways of presenting historical findings and writings and about audience reception and incorporating them into a dissertation.

Cognitive skills

When you have completed this degree you will have the ability to:

  • analyse works of local and regional history
  • analyse secondary texts for the purposes of documenting and analysing historical developments in localities
  • appreciate the use of primary sources in writing local and regional history, and incorporating them into a dissertation
  • comparatively evaluate different methods and approaches in assignments and a dissertation
  • assess the relevance and persuasiveness of arguments and present them in assignments and a dissertation
  • frame appropriate questions for historical investigation in a local or regional project.

Practical and/or professional skills

When you have completed this degree you will be able to:

  • locate books, documents and statistical data appropriate to local and regional history
  • use ICT resources in support of independent inquiry
  • use scholarly reference conventions effectively
  • exercise powers of discrimination in theories and debates applied to local and regional history
  • employ appropriate ethical standards in the use of historical sources and data, (e.g. late 20th Century oral testimony) both in coursework and research.

Key skills

When you have completed this degree you will be able to:

  • communicate ideas effectively in written form
  • use ICT for the purpose of locating and retrieving resources
  • learn how to apply methods and approaches in supported self-directed study in assignments and a project.

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