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MA in Humanities

This degree course is for those who want to develop their research and analytical skills and upgrade their qualifications. It will suit anyone with appropriate entry qualifications who has a passion for the arts and is looking for an intellectual challenge. This MA course is designed to allow you to tailor your qualification to a particular subject interest and you can choose modules from subject lines in art history, music and philosophy. Within the humanities programme we also offer subject lines in history, classical studies, English and religious studies.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Career relevance and employability

Studying for an MA in Humanities degree will provide you with an opportunity to build on skills acquired at undergraduate level. It will further develop your capability to read and analyse large amounts of written material and enable you to apply your skills through the production of a dissertation. These transferable skills are in demand in many areas of the public and the private sector, such as advertising, marketing and public relations, educational, charity and development, or government and public administration.

Completing the MA in Humanities degree will give you a worthwhile and highly respected qualification in its own right. As well as developing your research skills it may be a first step towards further study at postgraduate level that could benefit your career.

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.

Modules

For this 180-credit masters degree you require:

At least 30 credits, but no more than 60 credits, from the postgraduate foundation modules:

Postgraduate compulsory modules Credits Next start
Postgraduate foundation module in art history (A840)

Prepare for higher level study of art history by learning about methodological approaches, from biography and iconography to feminist art history and the 'period eye'.

See full description.

60 Feb FINAL
Postgraduate foundation module in classical studies (A860)

Study the ancient world through four interdisciplinary topics - social history, ideas and values, literature and archaeology - honing your research and analysis skills in the process.

See full description.

60 Feb FINAL
Postgraduate foundation module in music (A870)

Find out how music research informs the study of musical performance through examining sources from recordings to ethnographies, across music from many periods and styles.

See full description.

60 Jan
Postgraduate foundation module in philosophy (A850)

Gain postgraduate-level skills in research, analysis and presentation of an argument, and explore some of the contemporary debates in philosophy on the theme of personhood.

See full description.

60 Jan

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules A810, A820, A830, AA810, AA820, AA830

And at least 30 credits from the following optional modules:

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
Issues in contemporary social and political philosophy (A851)

Building on the philosophy foundation course, explore issues going beyond simply academic philosophy - citizenship, nationalism, democracy and more - developing your critical skills in the process.

See full description.

60 Feb
Performances and repertories (A871)

Study musical performances - Western, non-Western and popular - in relation to the environments and institutions in which composers worked, pursuing your own enthusiasms through the course.

See full description.

60 Feb
The Greek theatre (A861)

Study all aspects of Athenian drama in the fifth and fourth centuries BCE, from tragedy to comedy, including staging, contemporary audience and later critical debates.

See full description.

60 Feb
Themes and issues in contemporary art history (A841)

Explore issues currently important in art history - from recent developments in the social history of art to themes of identity and difference in contemporary works.

See full description.

60 Feb

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules A811, A812, A813, A821, A822, A823, A824, A831, A832, A833, A834, D850, D851, D852, D854, D857

And a 60-credit dissertation selected from the following, which must be from the same subject line as your postgraduate foundation module:

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
The art history dissertation (A847)

Complete your MA in Art History with a dissertation of 16,000-18,000 words, on a subject of your choice, with the guidance of your course tutor.

See full description.

60 Feb
The classical studies dissertation (A867)

Complete your MA in Classical Studies with a dissertation of 16,000-18,000 words, on a subject of your choice, with the guidance of your course tutor.

See full description.

60 Feb
The music dissertation (A877)

Complete your MA in Music with a dissertation of 16,000-18,000 words, on a subject of your choice, with the guidance of your tutor.

See full description.

60 Feb
The philosophy dissertation (A857)

Complete your MA in Philosophy with a dissertation of 16,000-18,000 words, on a subject of your choice, with the aid and guidance of your tutor.

See full description.

60 Feb

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules A817, A827, A837

Educational aims

This taught postgraduate programme in humanities will:

  • provide you with appropriate training in the techniques of postgraduate study in the humanities
  • allow a degree of flexibility, so that you can combine modules from more than one subject specialism.

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes of the programme are described in four areas.

Knowledge and understanding

When you have completed this degree you will have knowledge and understanding of:

  • a range of research tools and methods appropriate to postgraduate study in the humanities
  • current issues and debates in more than one humanities subject area.

Cognitive skills

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

  • evaluate critically current research in more than one humanities area
  • evaluate and critique some of the methods used in humanities research
  • use concepts and theories appropriately
  • evaluate complex bodies of evidence and draw conclusions from them.

Practical and/or professional skills

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

  • use research libraries, their archives and their contents efficiently
  • use specialist online databases and other online facilities for postgraduate study
  • form arguments at postgraduate level and express those arguments in substantial pieces of writing using proper academic conventions
  • design a research proposal according to specific guidelines
  • work independently on an extended research project.

Key skills

When you have completed this degree you will be able to demonstrate the following skills:

Communication

You will be able to:

  • communicate effectively in writing to a specialised audience
  • vary your means of communication according to the specialised task at hand
  • be aware of the tools which can help you in the task of effective communication.

Improving own learning and performance

You will be able to:

  • plan an essay at postgraduate level
  • design a programme of research and writing with minimal support from a tutor
  • use feedback from your tutor and fellow students effectively to modify this programme of work
  • use other resources, such as libraries and ICT resources, to improve your learning.

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