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MA Modern History & Culture

Deepen your knowledge of modern and contemporary social and cultural history, becoming a highly skilled independent researcher with practical knowledge and experience of archival research.

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      Course Length: 1 Year Full-Time, 2 Years Part-Time
      Start Dates: September 2022, September 2023
      Subjects: History
      Location: Edge Hill University

      Immersing you in the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries, this taught Masters degree provides an advanced insight into modern and contemporary history, with a particular focus on the social and cultural history of the past 200 years. You will deepen your understanding of the modern world, exploring how major historical developments and events have intersected with the lives of normal every-day people, shaping views, attitudes and cultures. Developing an enhanced appreciation of the methods, approaches and concerns that inform social and cultural history, including the use of historical archives, you will gain expertise in the specialist practical skills required of research-active, professional historians. You will also develop other transferable skills and enhance your employability by engaging in real-world public-facing tasks and activities.

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      In Depth

      What will I study?

      The programme enables you to explore a variety of historical and cultural themes. These range from Victorian popular culture and entertainment practices to the evolution of attitudes towards criminality and criminal justice.

      You can examine the history of antisemitism, investigate the material history of traceable human communication, analyse the transformation of US foreign policy, or assess the relevance of medieval history to modern thinkers, politics and religious movements.

      There is also the opportunity to agree and undertake a historical project of your own design using archive materials.

      The core strand of the programme focuses on the practical skills, theoretical approaches
      and research methods required for the advanced study of history. The development of these research skills will prepare you for the in-depth and extended study of a strand of history which will culminate in a dissertation.

      How will I study?

      You will learn through a combination of lectures, seminars and guided independent learning. There will also be field trips to archives and other activities. If you are studying full-time you will typically attend two sessions per week and if you are studying part-time you will typically attend one session per week.

      How will I be assessed?

      You will be assessed through a combination of assignments which, depending on the modules you choose, may include essays, critical reviews, presentations, blog posts, online articles, other research-based projects and a dissertation.

      There are no formal written examinations as part of the current assessment methods on this programme.

      Who will be teaching me?

      You will be taught by a team of specialist tutors who are committed teachers and active researchers at the forefront of research in their respective fields. Their interests include American history; the history of journalism and Victorian culture; the history of crime and punishment; the history of the British Empire, the Middle East and racism; Britishness and national identities; British politics and Labour history; French history and protest movements; the Middle Ages and their reception in modern times.

      This research activity informs the design and delivery of the modules you will study, providing a highly focused and specialised postgraduate programme. By joining the MA you will become part of a community of active researchers, thus getting the opportunity to immerse yourself in the department’s research culture and develop your own research skills.


      The Department of English, History and Creative Writing is based in the Main Building at the centre of the campus, near the £26million Catalyst building which includes the University library.

      A prime example of 1930s architecture, the Main Building has undergone extensive refurbishment to combine a traditional setting with modern facilities, including the £15million Student Hub.

      The building includes lecture theatres, seminar and tutorial rooms, which are ideal for group discussions and one-to-one tuition, as well as IT resources and social learning spaces.


      You can expect to receive your timetable at enrolment. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day or evening of the week.


      Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of our published course information, however our programmes are subject to ongoing review and development. Changing circumstances may necessitate alteration to, or the cancellation of, courses.

      Changes may be necessary to comply with the requirements of accrediting bodies, revisions to subject benchmarks statements, to keep courses updated and contemporary, or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make variations if we consider such action to be necessary or in the best interests of students.


      Expand All

      Compulsory modules:

      HUM4058Crime, Criminal Justice and the City c.1840-1940 (30 credits)

      Crime, Criminal Justice and the City c.1840-1940 examines crime and the evolution of attitudes towards criminality, as well as society’s responses to it between c.1840 and 1940. The module will consider broad contextual changes such as the shift in penal options available to the courts and the influence of new technology on crime and policing, as well as include case studies of forms of crime that attracted particular public attention, including murder and car crime. In addition to this, you will explore the extent to which social representations of the menace of crime were perceived to be a product of urban spaces and their tensions.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      HUM4400Dissertation (60 credits)

      Dissertation provides you with the opportunity to undertake an in-depth and extended study within a specific area of history. Through consultation with an appropriate supervisor (or supervisory team), the module will enable you to develop a detailed and sustained line of analysis that is personal to your research interests. Developing both oral and written skills, you will foster expertise in guided independent inquiry that will culminate in a dissertation project.

      Assessment: Coursework: 85%, Practical(s): 15%.

      HUM4054Research Methods for Historians (30 credits)

      Research Methods for Historians introduces you to some of the key methodologies, debates and approaches employed in the study of modern history. The module also focuses heavily on the development of practical research skills, such as the use of archives (physical and digital) and the critical interrogation of primary sources.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      You will select three of the following optional modules:

      HUM4057Antisemitism and the West (30 credits)

      Antisemitism and the West investigates where antisemitism comes from, examines its place in Western societies, and considers what its existence tells us about the world we inhabit. For many years, scholars considered antisemitism to be a very modern hatred that sat on the fringes of society. According to this view, hatred of the Jews was epitomised by the Nazis and the industrial killing of the Holocaust. However, in the classic work of Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment, published in 1947, it was suggested that antisemitism was, in fact, at the centre of Europe’s intellectual universe. This argument will be the starting point of our own intellectual exploration.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      HUM4055Archival Project (30 credits)

      Archival Project enables you, with guidance and support from your allocated project supervisor, to agree and undertake a historical project of your own design, based on the materials available in a particular archive. The aim of the module is to enable an increased level of independent study, across a wide choice of potential subject matter, in a supported step towards undertaking independent research at Masters level. You will improve your range of research and transferable skills and, most importantly, gain experience of working with archival materials.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      HUM4059Awakening Giant: The US and World War II (30 credits)

      Awakening Giant: The US and World War II examines how the US sought to ensure that it emerged from World War II as the preeminent world power. The module will investigate the processes, both external and internal, that informed this journey of transformation, including identifying the key actors and agencies responsible for this unprecedented awakening. You will examine the roles of ideology, government, bureaucracy, business and leading personalities in the crafting of the US response to the world crisis. What emerges is a picture of a patient, considered and determined elite in Washington that grew conscious of the potential and possibilities existent within the global crisis to realise America’s full potential.

      Assessment: Coursework: 70%, Practical(s): 30%.

      HUM4060Book History and Material Culture (30 credits)

      Book History and Material Culture explores the material history of traceable human communication. The module focuses on the form, production, reception and materiality of textual records created to convey meaning. You will consider how we define a text, as well as what importance and social or other function, for example, we assign to its purpose. Taught sessions will consist of careful explorations of terminology and themes, including examining diverse texts such as the Eagles’ Hotel California. The module as a whole will contextualise the current digital communications revolution within the history of text technologies, from early manuscripts and early printed books to the digital page as a material object. You will also explore the emergent development and use of digital technologies such as virtual reality to gain a better understanding of historical texts and documents. The module will therefore be of interest to anyone interested in the history of the book, the history of information and text-based work in the digital humanities.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      LIT4003Entertaining the Victorians (30 credits)

      Entertaining the Victorians examines the history of nineteenth-century popular culture, with a particular focus on Victorian leisure and entertainment practices. You will use digital archives to research a wide range of activities that the Victorians did for fun and discover the roots of modern leisure. The module covers topics such as sport, music hall, drinking, dancing, comedy, and popular periodicals.

      Assessment: Coursework: 70%, Practical(s): 30%.

      HUM4056Modern Medievalisms (30 credits)

      Modern Medievalisms acknowledges that, although often unrecognised, the influence of the long period known as the Middle Ages (c.500 – c.1500 AD) surrounds us even today. This influence, however, is just as much a result of the use and interpretation (conscious and unconscious) of medieval history by later generations, as it is of the actual events themselves. This module seeks to highlight and explore the ways in which modern thinkers, politics and religious movements, artists and states have used medieval history to promote particular agendas and views, thus shaping the modern world. You will examine topics ranging from modern Hollywood depictions of the Middle Ages to the use of medieval history by nationalist movements in the nineteenth century and the use of medieval imagery by the Third Reich.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      Optional modules provide an element of choice within the programme curriculum. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by timetabling requirements.

      Entry Criteria

      Entry Requirements

      You should have a degree equivalent to UK first-class or second-class honours (2:2 or above) in a relevant subject.

      Alternative professional qualifications and experience will also be considered, together with full and well-argued responses in your online application.

      An interview forms part of the selection process. In exceptional circumstances, you may be requested to complete an entrance task, typically a critical review of a text.

      English Language Requirements

      International students require IELTS 6.5, with a score no lower than 6.0 in each individual component, or an equivalent English language qualification.

      If your current level of English is half a band or one band lower, either overall or in one or two elements, you may want to consider our Pre-Sessional English course.

      Career Prospects

      What are my career prospects?

      Graduates in History with a higher degree find employment in a wide variety of careers such as teaching, arts organisation and management, the heritage industry, publishing, advertising, journalism, libraries and learning centres, and management/administration.

      Alternatively, upon successful completion of the programme, you may wish to apply to progress onto a research degree such as an MPhil or PhD.


      Tuition Fees

      Tuition fees for full-time study on this MA are £7,000 for UK students and £13,500 for international students enrolling on the programme in academic year 2022/23.

      Tuition fees for part-time study on this MA are £39 per credit for UK students enrolling on the programme in academic year 2022/23. This is equivalent to £780 per 20 credit module.

      180 credits are required to complete a Masters degree.

      EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, as well as Irish nationals, may be eligible for the UK tuition fee rate.

      Financial Support

      For comprehensive information about the financial support available to eligible UK students joining postgraduate courses at Edge Hill University in academic year 2022/23, together with details of how to apply for potential funding, please view our Money Matters 2022/23 guide at www.edgehill.ac.uk/postgradfinance2022.

      EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme may be eligible to apply for financial support. Irish nationals should ordinarily apply to Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI). Please see www.edgehill.ac.uk/eufinance for further details.

      Financial support information for international students can be found at www.edgehill.ac.uk/international/fees.


      How to Apply

      There is an online application process for this programme.

      Please choose the application form for your preferred intake date and mode of study.

      Visit www.edgehill.ac.uk/applydirect for more information about the application process.

      Visit www.edgehill.ac.uk/applydirect to access the relevant online application form and to find out more about the application process.

      Further information for international students about how to apply is available at www.edgehill.ac.uk/applyinternational.

      Should you accept an offer of a place to study with us and formally enrol as a student, you will be subject to the provisions of the regulations, rules, codes, conditions and policies which apply to our students. These are available at www.edgehill.ac.uk/studentterms.

      Visit Us

      If you are considering applying to study at Edge Hill University, the best way to gain an insight into student life is to discover our stunning campus for yourself by attending an open day. You can view dates and book your place at www.edgehill.ac.uk/opendays.

      Alternatively, if you are unable to attend an open day, you can find out more about our full range of events for prospective students, including campus tours and virtual activities, at www.edgehill.ac.uk/visitus.

      Request a Prospectus

      If you would like to explore our full range of taught Masters degrees, MBA awards and our Masters by Research (MRes) degree before you apply, you can order a postgraduate prospectus at www.edgehill.ac.uk/postgradprospectus.

      Get in Touch

      If you have any questions about this programme or what it’s like to study at Edge Hill University, please contact:

      If you would like to talk to the programme leader about the course in more detail, please contact:

      International students should visit www.edgehill.ac.uk/international or email [email protected] with any queries about overseas study.

      Course Changes

      Expand All This tab outlines any material changes to course content, programme structure, assessment methods, entry criteria, and modes of study or delivery, implemented in the past two years. Future material changes will be added here as amends are made to course information.

      12th April 2021 - Clarification of Entry Requirements

      Entry criteria updated to clarify that alternative professional qualifications and experience will also be considered, together with full and well-argued responses in your online application.

      An interview forms part of the selection process. In exceptional circumstances, candidates may be requested to complete an entrance task, typically a critical review of a text.

      12th April 2021 - Change of Module Title

      Change of module title from HUM4059 Arsenal of Democracy, Architect of Peace: World War Two and the Rise of American Power (30 credits) to HUM4059 Awakening Giant: The US and World War II (30 credits).

      4th March 2021 - Change of Module Status

      HUM4058 Crime, Criminal Justice and the City c.1840-1940 (30 credits) changes from optional to compulsory.

      Covid-19 - Modern History & Culture Essential Information

      Teaching and Learning at Edge Hill University in 2020

      In this video Pro Vice-Chancellor, Lynda Brady, answers your questions and explains how teaching will work when you join us at Edge Hill University in September.

      Campus Facilities at Edge Hill University in 2020

      In this video Pro Vice-Chancellor, Lynda Brady, explains how we’re preparing the campus for your arrival in September and the facilities that will be available.

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