Manchester Metropolitan University



2017 entry

Features and benefits of the course

  • A long and successful record in teaching postgraduate students from a range of different backgrounds.
  • Opportunities to become familiar with the rich range of sources available to historians in Manchester and the North West.
  • Individual support available throughout the course.
  • The Manchester Centre for Regional History is housed within the Department and you will benefit from our strong links with historians and archives that extend beyond the University.

The History Department has a wealth of expertise, with leading researchers whose published work covers a wide range of times and places:

• Roman Britain/archaeology
• Medieval Crusades
• Tudor religion
• Early Modern politics and culture
• Industrial Manchester
• World War Two
• Museums and Public Policy

Placement options

Public History and Heritage students have a placement element to the dissertation, working with a local heritage group, a library or archive. We will help you to source your placement. 

About the course

Core aspects include a research methods and historiographical unit and a dissertation which allows you to develop your own historical interests in a structured, supportive context. 

Typical units of study may include

Year 1

Your core study includes:

  • Historical Skills and Research Methods (for all pathways)
  • Dissertation (or work placement project for Public History and Heritage route)

On the MA History route you also choose from the following options:

  • British and World Politics since 1918, parts I and II 
  • Northern Identities and Victorian Culture
  • Nobles, States and Society in Early Modern Europe: The Transformation of European Elites, 1400-1800
  • A Good War? American's World War II at Home and Abroad,  c. 1938-47
  • Professional Heritage and Practice
  • Case Studies in Controversy: History and Memory in Public
  • The Second Crusade: Holy War on the Periphery of Latin Christendom
  • Cultures of Consumption: The British at Home, 1660-1830

For MA History (Public History and Heritage) you will study the core units as above plus:

  • Professional Heritage and Practice 
  • Case Studies in Controversy: History and Memory in Public

 You will also choose one unit from the following options: 

  • Britain and World Politics since 1918, parts I and II
  • Northern Identities and Victorian Culture
  • Nobles, States and Society: The Transformation of European Elites, 1400-1800
  • A Good War? America’s World War II at Home and Abroad, c. 1938-47 
  • The Second Crusade: Holy War on the Periphery of Latin Christendom
  • Cultures of Consumption: The British at Home, 1660-1830

Core Units

In this unit you will disseminate the results of your research in the form of an extended piece of academic writing.

Historical Skills and Research Methods

This unit covers a variety of topics essential to the study of History at a higher level, including themes such as research methods devoted to the use of film, literature and history, historiography, multidiscipline methods and theories, palaeography for medievalists and early modernists, oral history, researching in archives and the compilation of a bibliography.

Likely Optional Units
A Good War? America’s World War II at Home and Abroad, c. 1938-47

This unit will provide a cultural and social history of the American experience of World War II, paying close attention to issues of race, gender and class. Conceptually, the unit will interrogate the idea that this conflict was, for Americans, a ‘Good War’. The unit begins c.1938, the point in time at which President Roosevelt's administration began mobilising for a potential conflict (expansion of the Navy and Army); it then moves through the chronology of the war, before concluding c. 1947, the point in time at which the key outlines of the post-war world had emerged (Containment, Marshall Plan, Iron Curtain, Bretton Woods).

Britain and World Politics since 1918: Aspects of British Foreign Policy

This unit, in two parts, examines various aspects of Britain’s changing role in the world through a number of major events, issues and key concepts. Part one covers the emergence of the ‘new diplomacy’ – Britain’s role at the Versailles Conference and as an international peacekeeper during the 1920s; Britain and the Spanish Civil War; Appeasement and the coming of the Second World War; Wartime alliances and Britain’s role in post-war reconstruction; Indian independence; Palestine and Britain’s changing role in the Middle East; Britain and the Cold War; and the Suez crisis.  The second part covers the politics of reappraisal, post-Suez; Retreat from empire; Anglo-American relationships – from Macmillan to Cameron; Britain and European integration – from the Schuman Plan (1950) to plans for a second referendum; The politics of realism, international law and morality in foreign policy – Britain’s role in ‘modern’ conflicts – the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan and in the aftermath of the ‘Arab spring’. 

Case Studies in Controversy: History and Memory in Public

The importance of the past to contemporary society is best shown by exploring some of those instances when various organisations and individuals – politicians, journalists, local and national governments – have been drawn into discussion and debate regarding the purpose, rights and responsibilities of History. From the Holocaust denial trial of David Irving (which saw professional historians called to the witness stand), to the ethics of museum curatorship in our post-colonial age, to the significance and worth of history and heritage to local and national communities, this unit interrogates the value of the public past in the 21st century through revealing public ‘controversies’.  

Cultures of Consumption: The British at Home, 1660-1830

This unit explores the homes of the British elite and middling sorts, asking how and why they were transformed during the long eighteenth century, and what this tells us about broader shifts in British society. In tracing changes in domestic material culture and the motivations underpinning consumption, it provides challenging perspectives on identity, social relations, commercial interaction and spatial practices.

Nobles, States and Society: The Transformation of European Elites, 1400-1800

This unit examines the transformation of the European aristocracy across a long period (c. 1400 to 1800) as part of the social and political processes of the development of the modern state. Was there a decline of the aristocracy with the collapse of feudalism? Or was there a transformation from warriors into statesmen? Was the court the ‘civiliser’ of the nobility? Did this transformation help or hinder the development of the modern state? Specific topics include: Late medieval warrior society; chivalry; family structures; emergence of the court in Northern Italy and Burgundy; etiquette, ceremonial and ritual; rise of the ‘new nobility’ in service of the state; reaction through rebellion and civil war; consolidation and absolutism; nobles as politicians and diplomats; the role of noblewomen; and the age of revolution. 

Northern Identities and Victorian Culture

This unit offers students the opportunity to explore the North’s place within English national culture in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Students are introduced to historiographical debates and to the theoretical problems of defining place, regional identity and culture. Topics covered include the image of the North within Englishness and national culture; regional mythologies and northern identities; insider and outsider perceptions; localities and county identities; class, ethnicity and gender; the post-industrial north and the northern urban renaissance. These themes are introduced through a range of different sources: newspapers, periodicals, tourist and travel writing to regional archive film, auto/biographies, historical fiction. Visits to museums and exhibitions as well as engagement with public campaigns are also integral parts of the unit. 

Professional Heritage and Practice

This unit provides detailed training in the methods used to record heritage and the historic environment, with the aims of equipping students with practical skills to enhance their employability in the professional heritage sector. It will focus on the process of heritage assessment and evaluation in the UK professional context, including field-recording of heritage assets, the production of industry-standard reports, and the integration of heritage decision-making into various areas of public administration.

The Second Crusade: Holy War on the Periphery of Latin Christendom

The largest and most diverse of its kind, the Second Crusade (1145-49) encompassed near-simultaneous attacks on numerous Muslim targets in Syria, Iberia and pagan strongholds around the Baltic Sea. The scale was unprecedented and would not be witnessed again. But in many ways the crusade was a failure: the two largest armies of the Second Crusade—headed by the most powerful kings in Europe—were devastated in the Byzantine Empire and Anatolia by malnutrition and Turkish attacks, even before the allied Christian campaign in Syria ended in a 'fiasco'. Combined armies of Danish kings and Polish and Saxon leaders could not put aside their differences to prevail against the pagans of the Baltic. And of the Christian campaigns against the Muslims of Iberia, only Afonso I’s capture of Lisbon proved enduring, with all other successes quickly overturned by the fundamentalist Almohads of northern Africa. Using an array of primary sources in translation, this unit will uncover the reasons for the failures of the Second Crusade while assessing its impact on the peoples and lands affected by it. In doing so, this unit will illuminate an episode that affected all areas of Christian Europe and those beyond its periphery.

Programme Review

Each programme of study that we offer undergoes an annual review to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. In addition, we undertake a major review of the programme, normally at 6-yearly intervals, but this can take place at a more frequent interval where required. Applicants should note that the programme currently provided may be subject to change as a result of the review process. We only make changes where we consider it necessary to do so or where we feel that certain changes are in the best interests of students and to enhance the quality of provision. Occasionally, we have to make changes for reasons outside our control. Where there are changes which may materially affect the current programme content and/or structure, offer holders will be informed.

Assessment details

Your assessment will take the form of essays, reviews, presentations and a dissertation.

Teaching Staff

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject. Details of departmental staff can be found at:

Typical entry requirements

You will normally have at least an upper second class undergraduate UK honours degree (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject, or equivalent academic qualification. If you have a different background you may be admitted if you have proven experience in a relevant field.

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

How do I apply for this course?

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Apply online now

If you are unable to apply online, you can apply for full- and part-time taught courses by completing the postgraduate application form. There are exceptions for some professional courses – the course information on our on-line prospectus will give you more information in these cases.

Please note: to apply for this course, you only need to provide one reference.

Career options after the course

The programme aims to provide the skills to progress to higher research programmes, and to offer opportunities for the acquisition of skills applicable to a range of careers from business and law to education. In particular, the pathways for Local and Regional History and Public History and Heritage are suitable for anyone considering a career in heritage management or associated fields, such as libraries and archives, tourism or local government.

Course Enquiries

For general enquiries, entry requirements, fees, accommodation and more, please contact the course enquiries team.

Questions about the course content can be directed to,

Confirmation of Regulator

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.

Important Notice

This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate and up to date. Please note that our programmes are subject to review and development on an ongoing basis. Changes may sometimes be necessary. For example, to comply with the requirements of professional or accrediting bodies or as a result of student feedback or external examiners’ reports. We also need to ensure that our courses are dynamic and current and that the content and structure maintain academic standards and enhance the quality of the student experience.

Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us.

The provision of education by the University is subject to terms and conditions of enrollment and contract. The current Terms and Conditions Applicable to the provision of the University’s Educational Services are available online. When a student enrolls with us, their study and registration at the University will be governed by various regulations, policies and procedures. It is important that applicants/students familiarize themselves with our Terms and Conditions and the Key Contract Documents referred to within. Applicants will be provided with access to an up to date version at offer stage. This can be found within the Information for Offer Holders document.