MA in History

  • Length
    1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
  • Department

Course overview

The MA in History is innovative, creative, free-thinking, stimulating, diverse and challenging – everything that is distinctive about history at Goldsmiths.

The Department of History’s approach is thematic and interdisciplinary, with staff expertise spanning the histories of Britain, East and West Europe, South Asia and Africa.

We are on the cutting-edge of our fields and the student-teacher ratio allows us to devote an unmatched amount of time to individual supervision.

Our focus is primary research and we encourage students to follow their own historical interests.

The MA in History aims to develop your research skills, and your understanding of key debates and methods in historiography. In addition, it allows you to develop their specific subject interests through a range of option modules and the dissertation.

Consequently, in addition to the compulsory core module (Explorations and Debates) and the Research Skills modules, you choose two options, one of which, if you wish, can be from another department at Goldsmiths or from the wide-ranging intercollegiate list (a list of MA modules available at other colleges of the University of London).

You'll end the programme by writing a 10,000-word dissertation on a topic of your own choice, based on primary research. The process of writing the dissertation includes participating in organising, and presenting at, the department's dissertation conference.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Professor Jan Plamper

Modules & structure

Compulsory modules

You take the following two compulsory modules:

Module title Credits
  Explorations and Debates in History 30 credits
  Research Skills 30 credits

Option modules

You also take two thematic option modules. You could:

  • choose both options from those offered by the Department of History
  • choose one departmental option and another from a different Goldsmiths department
  • choose one departmental option and another from the list of 30+ options available each year in other History departments that participate in the University of London MA Intercollegiate Sharing Scheme

The Department of History options encompass a diverse regional, conceptual and methodological range to investigate religious, cultural and political history in both the Western and non-Western world from the 15th century to the present. All options are based on the tutors’ current research, and currently include:

Module title Credits
  Ethnic Conflict and Reconciliation in Modern Europe 30 credits
  Italian Terrorism in the 20th Century 30 credits
  Islam and Christianity in Modern Africa 30 credits
  The History of Emotions 30 credits
  Visual Culture and Empire in Early Modern Venice 30 credits
  Religious and Political Controversies in Early Modern Europe 30 credits
  Life in the Trenches: Perspectives on British Military History, 1914-18 30 credits
  Medicine on the Silk Roads: Traditions and Transmissions 30 credits
  A History of Violence 30 credits
  Religious and Political Controversies in Early Modern Europe 30 credits

You also undergo training in Research Skills, which develops expertise in a variety of methodologies including the use of oral, visual and material, as well as textual, sources.

There will be a one-day, student-led, interdisciplinary research workshop to share ideas about projects and methodologies, and gain experience in event organisation.

And you'll complete a 10,000-word dissertation, based on primary research.

Download the programme specification for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.


History at Goldsmiths is ranked 11th in the UK for the quality of our research**


From the occult to dictators, from war to revolution, from madness to medicine, and from the body to ideas – this is history at Goldsmiths.

As a department we have a wide range of expertise covering all these areas and more. So as a student here you’ll be able to explore how people in past societies lived, loved, worked and worshipped.

For us, history isn’t just a sequence of events. We study the past thematically as well as chronologically. You’ll be thinking about the way history is informed by a wide range of other subjects and how knowledge of the past can help you to understand the world we live in today.

Find out more about the Department of History.

**Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings


Skills & careers


This MA develops a range of transferable skills which are highly valued in the jobs market. These include advanced research and analytical expertise; increased independence of thought; the ability to marshal, evaluate and communicate, in written and oral form, complex information and ideas; project management; teamwork and workshop organisation.


Graduate students from the department have continued to careers in museums and galleries, archives, journalism, charities, university and arts administration, local government and teaching as well as doctoral research.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths



"Goldsmiths shifted my cultural and theoretical horizons."

"I learnt a lot at Goldsmiths. Not only did I begin to understand how and why one should and could write politically engaged and culturally open histories, I also found out how British academics go about the things they are dealing with and why is so fascinating and multifacetted.

Goldsmiths equipped me with the skills I needed to write a book on British history. Goldsmiths shifted my cultural and theoretical horizons. And Goldsmiths is the place where I met some of my dearest friends.  

I'm now a Research Scholar at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Center for the History of Emotions. I'm currently working on a project about homosexuality and emotional life in rural West Germany (1960-1990). Based on magazines as well as on oral history interviews I want to show how the emancipation of gay men and lesbians or the gradual normalisation of homosexualities since the 1970s impacted the ways in which women desiring women as well as men desiring men voiced, dealt with and experienced feelings like anger, love, grief and fear.

My previous book compared the legal and administrative handling of ethnically heterogeneous populations in the British and the Habsburg empires between 1867 and 1918. For this work I was recently awarded the Wolfgang J. Mommsen Prize. It will soon be translated into English."

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least second class standard in a humanities or social science subject.

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.

For this programme we require:

IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.5 in the written test and no individual test lower than 6.0)

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online
  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

When to apply

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September. 

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. 

Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.

If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.

Selection process

Admission to many programmes is by interview, unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally, we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.

Find out more about applying.

Fees & funding

Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

The Department sometimes offers fee waiver bursaries for this programme.

Find out more about tuition fees.

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