MA in Queer History

  • Length
    1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
  • Department
1983 London Lesbian Strength March, AlisonW

Course overview

The MA in Queer History is a pioneering programme in one of the most exciting areas of historical enquiry, giving a voice to those who throughout much of history have been denied one.

This MA provides a comprehensive introduction to the themes and methods of Queer History as well as laying a solid foundation in general historical study. It offers a first-rate overview of important thought and methods from the fields of queer theory as well as the histories of gender and the body and sexuality.

This programme aims to historicise often binary categories, such as male/female, heterosexuality/homosexuality, active/passive, and uncover the processes through which these categories came to be seen as ‘natural’. It further pays close attention to questions of power, including how sexual orientation and race throughout history have often become interlinked in asymmetrical, oppressive ways.

Students conclude the programme with a 10,000 word dissertation on a topic of their own choice. The dissertation research is aided by access to the shared library and archival resources of the wider University of London and the city of London, one of the world’s queer capitals. Goldsmiths aims to build the Archive of Queer Life Histories and involve MA students in this process.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Justin Bengry

Modules & structure

The emphasis of the MA is in the Early Modern and Modern periods. Both the Western invention of ‘homosexuality’ in the 1860s and the emancipatory movements, especially of the post-1969, post-Stonewall period, figure prominently.

You will take 3 core modules, as well as optional modules to the value of 60 credits.

Core modules Module title Credits
  Explorations and Debates in Queer History 30 credits
  Research Skills 30 credits
  Dissertation 60
Optional modules Module title Credits
  Global Queer Subjectivities 30 credits
  Sexualities and Transnational Mobilities in the 20th Century 30 credits
  Queer Public History 30 credits
  Ethnic Conflict and Reconciliation in Modern Europe 30 credits
  The History of Emotions 30 credits
  A History of Violence 30 credits
  Life in the Trenches: Perspectives on British Military History, 1914-18 30
  Medicine on the Silk Roads: Traditions and Transmissions 30 credits
  Mughals, Munshi and Mistresses: Society and Rule in Early Colonial India 30 credits
  Religious and Political Controversies in Early Modern Europe 30 credits
  Sex and the African City 30 credits
  Visual Culture and Empire in Early Modern Venice 30 credits

Download the programme specification, relating to the 2017-18 intake. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

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*, and in the world's elite**


History at Goldsmiths isn't just a sequence of events - we study the past thematically as well as chronologically.

You will be taught by research-active, publishing historians whose wide range of expertise across different periods and many countries will help you to explore the diversity of past human experience through themes like madness, medicine, revolution, religious beliefs, identities and the body.

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
**QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017

Skills & careers

The programme will build skills in data gathering and analysis as well as effective written and spoken communication to prepare students for jobs in diversity administration in private business, government, National Government Organisations, the education sector and legal professions.

As opposed to primarily theory-oriented subjects the programme will lay a solid empirical foundation in queer history, arguably the best possible basis for sexual diversity jobs.


Student profiles

Joe Cryan

"By realising the struggle the Queer community has gone through we can hopefully create an environment where voices will never be denied again."

"My experience at Goldsmiths has influenced so many aspects of my life and changed the way I work. It is one of the most creatively engaging environments I've had the pleasure to work in. The chance to immerse myself in furthering my studies at the institution was always something I considered, and with the launch of the Queer History MA, it was very much a 'right place, right time' situation for me. Unbelievably, the course is the first of its kind, and so when I saw it being publicised on Facebook, I applied immediately.

With 2017 coinciding with the anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales, this course is more relevant now than ever before. As a programme we are documenting forgotten histories of the wider Queer community. For me, this is one of the most exciting parts of the course. As a white homosexual male, I am also looking forward to developing my knowledge of all aspects of the LGBTQ+ experience, and examining how far we still have to go for the heteronormative reality to be equal to a 'homonormative' ideal.

The first stage of understanding is listening, and reviving stories from history are the initial steps towards giving the Queer community the acknowledgement they deserve. Many people's voices were not heard at the time, so uncovering their stories now is an important learning tool and finally gives them a voice. By realising the struggle the Queer community has gone through we can hopefully create an environment where voices will never be denied again.

I'm doing this MA part time, so am continuing to work alongside my studies. I hope to use the course to spring board a career within the Queer community and within Queer culture. I've always been open to ideas and change, so I'm giving myself the chance to experience this course and see what challenges arise, and what opportunities are available to me."

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least second class standard in any subject. Although a specialised background in history is not required, students with a background in Literature, Gender Studies, Sociology and Anthropology are welcome to apply.

You might also be considered 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 6.5 in writing

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
  • A personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online

Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement

  • 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 & scholarships

Find out more about tuition fees.

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.

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