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Pursue MA in History in the UK

ACAlpina ChariOct 13, 2023

Pursue MA in History in the UK

History is an evergreen field that contributes heavily to how we understand the world around us. Especially in these turbulent times with volatile relations and wars looming, it becomes important to look back. In the current global context, where issues such as climate change, migration, democracy, and human rights are becoming more urgent and complex, there is a great need for historians who can provide historical perspectives and insights that can inform policy and action. Studying MA in history in the UK can open up many opportunities for aspiring historians, as they can learn from leading experts, access a wealth of resources, and engage with a vibrant academic community.

Moreover,  the country has a rich and diverse historical heritage that spans across continents and centuries. The UK has contributed immensely to the field of history, producing some of the most influential historians, such as David Hume, Edward Gibbon, Eric Hobsbawm, and Mary Beard. The UK also boasts some of the best universities and libraries in the world for historical research and education. In this article, we will look at some of the best master’s programs in history in the UK. 

Overview of MA in History in the UK

No of Universities  80+
No of Programs  200+
Degrees Offered  MSt, MPhil, MA, MSc
Duration of Study  9 months-1 year
Tuition Fees  20,000-35,000 GBP

Why Study an MA in History in the UK?

Rich Historical Heritage: The United Kingdom has a long and rich history that spans centuries, from the Roman occupation to the British Empire and beyond. This historical depth provides a unique opportunity for students to study and immerse themselves in a wide range of historical periods and events.  

World-Class Universities: The UK is home to many prestigious universities with renowned history departments. The best universities in the UK for history offer excellent history programs with world-class faculty and resources. 

Diverse Curriculum: UK history programs typically offer a diverse curriculum covering various geographical regions and periods. Students can choose to specialize in areas such as medieval history, modern history, British history, or global history, among others.  

Access to Primary Sources: Many historical archives and libraries in the UK house a wealth of primary source materials, making it an ideal location for historical research. Students have the opportunity to work with original documents, manuscripts, and artifacts.  

Cultural and Intellectual Hub: The UK is a global hub for culture, politics, and academia. Studying history in this environment allows students to engage with a wide range of ideas, perspectives, and cultures, fostering a more well-rounded education.  

Interdisciplinary Approach: History programs in the UK often encourage an interdisciplinary approach to the subject, integrating aspects of literature, sociology, anthropology, and other fields to provide a holistic understanding of the past.  

Critical Thinking and Research Skills: History education in the UK emphasizes critical thinking, research, and analytical skills. These skills are highly transferable and can be valuable in various career paths.  

Support for International Students: UK universities are accustomed to hosting international students, and many provide support services, including language support, to help students from around the world adapt to a new academic environment. There are many financial aid and scholarships available for international students as well. 

Career Opportunities: A history degree from a UK institution is well-regarded by employers in various fields. It demonstrates a strong work ethic, research skills, critical thinking, and the ability to communicate effectively, which are valuable in a wide range of professions. Besides, the UK offers post-study work visas for students to stay back and find work after completion of their degree. Additionally, international students can work and study at the same time during their stay.  

Best MA History Programs in the UK

University of Oxford 

The University of Oxford is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world. It has a rich history that dates back to the 11th century when scholars from different parts of Europe gathered in Oxford to study and teach. The Faculty of History at the University of Oxford organizes the teaching and research in medieval and modern history. Medieval and modern history has been studied at Oxford for longer than at virtually any other university. The faculty also hosts several research centers and institutes that focus on specific themes or regions, such as the Oxford Centre for Global History, the Oxford Centre for Medieval History, the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research, and the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. The faculty publishes several journals and book series, such as Past & Present, English Historical Review, Journal of Modern History, and Oxford Historical Monographs. The Faculty of History offers a Master of Studies (MSt) degree in History, which is a one-year taught course that provides advanced training in historical research methods and skills. The MSt degree allows students to choose from a wide range of options on different periods, regions, and themes of history, such as British history, European history, global history, intellectual history, economic history, gender history, and military history. 

Program Name  Duration of Study  Tuition Fees (2023/24)
MSt in History  9 months 33,970 GBP
MSc in Economic and Social History   11 months  33,970 GBP
MSt in Global and Imperial History 9 months  33,970 GBP

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University of Cambridge 

The University of Cambridge is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world, founded in 1209 and consistently ranked among the top five globally. The Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge is one of the largest and most diverse history departments in the world, with nearly 200 academics and postdoctoral historians pursuing original research in time periods from medieval to modern and in many geographic regions. The Faculty offers three ways to study history at Cambridge: as a single Honours subject, or jointly with either Politics or Modern Languages. The Faculty has been recognized as one of the top three history departments in the world in the QS University World Rankings.  The Faculty of History offers a range of masters level history programs, including the MPhil in History, the MPhil in Medieval and Renaissance Literature, the MPhil in World History, the MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History, and the MPhil in Modern European History. These programs provide students with advanced training in historical methods, theories, and skills, as well as the opportunity to pursue their own research interests under the supervision of leading experts. 

Program Name  Duration of Study  Tuition Fees (2023/24)
MPhil in World History 9 months 31,860 GBP
MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History 9 months 31,860 GBP
MPhil in Modern European History 9 months 31,860 GBP
MPhil in Economic and Social History 9 months 31,860 GBP
MPhil in Medieval History 9 months 31,860 GBP
MPhil in Early Modern History 9 months 31,860 GBP

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The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) 

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is one of the world’s leading social science institutions, founded in 1895 by a group of Fabian Society members. The Department of International History at the LSE is a modern international history department, with courses that span from the fifteenth century to the twenty-first century. The department is renowned for its international perspective on the past, giving as much attention to political, economic, social, and cultural developments within states as to the relations between them. The department’s research interests are diverse and interdisciplinary, covering topics such as global history, war and society, gender history, imperial and colonial history, intellectual history, economic history, diplomatic history, environmental history, and more.  The department offers a range of master’s level history programs, including MSc degrees in Empires, Colonialism and Globalisation; History of International Relations; Theory and History of International Relations; Women, Peace and Security; and double master’s degrees with Columbia University, Sciences Po Paris and Peking University. The programs are designed to prepare students for further academic study or careers in various sectors such as government, media, education, NGOs, and more.

Program Name  Duration of Study  Tuition Fees (2023/24)
MA Modern History 1 year 27,480 GBP
MSc Empires, Colonialism and Globalisation 1 year 27,480 GBP
MSc International and Asian History 1 year 27,480 GBP

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King’s College London 

King’s College London is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the UK, founded in 1829 by King George IV and the Duke of Wellington. It is a research-intensive institution that ranks among the top 10 in the UK and the top 40 in the world. The Department of History at King’s College London is one of the largest and most diverse in the country, covering a wide range of periods and regions from ancient to contemporary history. The department’s research interests are grouped into six themes: Global History; Imperial, Colonial, and Postcolonial History; Intellectual History; Medical Humanities; Political Culture; and War, Society, and Culture. The department hosts several research centers and projects, such as the Centre for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine; the Centre for Life-Writing Research; the Sir Michael Howard Centre for the History of War; and the Strandlines project.  The department also offers a range of postgraduate courses, including MA programs in Ancient History, Classical Art and Archaeology, Contemporary British History, Early Modern History, Medieval Studies, Modern History, and World History and Cultures.

Program Name  Duration of Study  Tuition Fees (2023/24)
MA Ancient History  1 year 27,996 GBP
MA Contemporary British History 1 year 26,160 GBP
MA Early Modern History 1 year 27,996 GBP
MA Modern History 1 year 27,996 GBP
MA World History & Cultures 1 year 27,996 GBP

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The University of Edinburgh 

The University of Edinburgh is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world, founded in 1582 as the “Tounis College” by a royal charter from King James VI of Scotland. It is the sixth oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland’s ancient universities. The School of History, Classics, and Archaeology (HCA) is a school within the College of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Edinburgh. The school was formed in 2002 by the merger of the Department of History, the Department of Classics, and the Department of Archaeology. The school has several research groups and centers, such as the Centre for Late Antique, Islamic, and Byzantine Studies, the Centre for the Study of Modern and Contemporary History, and the Edinburgh Centre for Global History.  The school offers several undergraduate and postgraduate programs in history, classics, and archaeology. The master’s level history program is a one-year full-time program that allows students to choose from a range of courses and specializations in history. Some of the courses offered in the program include British History, European History, Global History, Scottish History, American History, Medieval History, Early Modern History, Modern History, and Intellectual History. The program also offers students access to excellent facilities and resources, such as the University Library, the National Library of Scotland, the National Archives of Scotland, and various museums and galleries.

Program Name  Duration of Study  Tuition Fees (2023/24)
MSc in History 1 year  28,800 GBP
MSc in Contemporary History 1 year  28,800 GBP
MSc in Medieval History 1 year  28,800 GBP
MSc in Intellectual History 1 year  28,800 GBP

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Admission Requirements for MA History in the UK

  • You will need an undergraduate degree, preferably in a related field like history or a closely related discipline. 
  • Official transcripts of your undergraduate degree showing your academic performance. 
  • A well-written personal statement outlining your motivation for pursuing the MA in History, your academic and research interests, and your career goals. 
  • Most UK universities require international students to demonstrate their English proficiency through standardized tests like the IELTS (6.0-7.0) or TOEFL (80-100).
  • Two or three letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources who can speak to your qualifications and potential as a history student 
  • Some programs may require a writing sample, such as an academic essay or a piece of writing that demonstrates your research and writing skills in the field of history. 
  • Some universities may require an interview as part of the selection process, especially for research-based MA programs. 

Career Opportunities for History Graduates in the UK

History graduates have a wide range of career opportunities in the UK, as they possess valuable skills such as critical thinking, research, communication, and analysis. History graduates can work in various fields, such as 

Heritage and culture: This includes working in museums, galleries, archives, libraries, and historic buildings. History graduates can pursue roles such as curator, archivist, heritage manager, conservation officer, museum educator, and more.

Education: This includes teaching history at secondary or higher education levels, as well as working in educational administration, policy, or research. History graduates can also work as academic researchers, lecturers, or professors in universities or other institutions. 

Media and communication: This includes working in journalism, broadcasting, publishing, marketing, public relations, and advertising. They can also work as editors, producers, consultants, or analysts in media organizations. 

Public service and administration: This includes working in government, civil service, law, politics, international development and human rights. 

The salary profile for history graduates depends on the industry, employer, location, and experience level. According to the Graduate Outcomes report by HESA, the average salary of a highly-skilled graduate in historical and philosophical studies is 24,500 GBP per year.


In conclusion, an MA in history in the UK can offer you many benefits, such as a deeper understanding of the past, a broader perspective on the present, and a richer appreciation of the culture and diversity of the world. Studying history in the UK can also help you develop valuable skills such as critical thinking, research, communication, and analysis, which can enhance your employability and career prospects in various fields.  However, pursuing an MA history degree in the UK is not an easy decision. You need to consider many factors, such as your academic interests, your financial situation, living expenses, your student visa requirements, and your future goals. You also need to navigate the complex and competitive admission and application process, which can be daunting and stressful for many international students. That is why we are here to help you! For assistance with the admission process and to filter out courses from the myriad of options, feel free to reach out to us at Gyanberry. Book your free video call appointment now!

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Frequently Asked Questions

The entry requirements vary depending on the university and the course, but generally, you will need a bachelor’s degree in history or a related subject, with a minimum of 2:1 or equivalent. Some universities may also require a personal statement, a research proposal, or an interview.

For international students, the fees range from around 20,000 GBP to 35,000 GBP per year at top universities. You may also need to pay for other expenses such as accommodation, travel, books, and visa.  

There are many reputable and prestigious universities that offer MA History in the UK, covering various historical periods and regions. Some of the top-ranked universities for history are Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, LSE, and King’s College London. 

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