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History (MA)

MA|Postgraduate Taught


Entry year
Entry requirements
1 year (Full Time)
3 years (Part Time)
Places available
30 (Full Time)
30 (Part Time)
This course is now closed to applications for September 2021. If you are interested in September 2022 entry, please register your interest.
  • Overview

    The MA History programme at Queen’s has been redesigned to offer all its existing strengths in an innovative package of modules that challenges students to develop their knowledge and skills. Students will be taught by leading experts in public history, urban history, women’s and gender history, religious history, political history, and the history of race.

    Our Faculty have research specialisms across a range of chronological areas. We have major areas of research strength in the history of Ireland, Britain, the USA, Europe, Africa and Asia. History offers supervisory expertise to students who plan to work on ancient, medieval, early modern or modern/contemporary history. Modules are designed in a complementary fashion in order to develop the range of skills that employers expect from graduates from the best designed postgraduate taught programmes.

    The MA History programme at Queen’s is designed around students’ research interests and provides the opportunity to choose courses relating to a variety of historical periods and locations. You can opt to specialise in particular areas such as Gender History, Public History, Oral History, the History of Religion, Urban History, the History of Race and Ethnicity, the History of the Cold War, Social History, Political History or Economic History. You can opt to take these approaches within American History, British History, Irish History, European History, African History, Asian History or Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern History.

    History highlights

    History at Queen’s is ranked in the top 150 History Schools worldwide (according to the QS World University Rankings 2017) and our international reputation is enhanced by the work of our highly respected team of academics.

    World Class Facilities

    • The School is a world-leading centre for innovative and dynamic historical research. In the 2014 UK assessment of research (REF), History at Queen’s was ranked in the top 20 departments for research.

    Internationally Renowned Experts

    • Modules focus on cutting-edge staff collaboration on emerging research themes with renowned experts in their field.

    Student Experience

    • The School has a rich research culture and postgraduate community. Postgraduate students host regular graduate-led seminars, colloquia and conferences. Students engage closely with research activities and events run by the Centre for Public History at Queen’s. This programme provides students with an opportunity to work in the largest and most international community of historians on the island of Ireland: Close involvement of practitioners from a wide range of organisations in many aspects of the course including practitioner-led workshops Field trips to Europe Rich research culture and postgraduate community Involvement in the Centre for Public History at Queen’s Involvement in the Institute of Irish Studies Involvement in QUOTE (Queen’s University Oral history, Technology and Ethics) Hub.
    • A placement option is available for MA History students, offering the opportunity to engage with practitioners from museums, media, heritage sites and leading historic visitor attractions and to benefit from the hands-on experience of working in a public history context.
    • Studying MA History at Queen’s offers a unique insight into many of the key issues relating to contested histories, cultural memory, commemoration, identity, and community history in a very real and meaningful way, and to gain first-hand understanding of the relationship between public history, heritage, policy, and the consumption of history at a local, national and international level.
  • Course content

    Course Structure

    Students in this programme are given both a strong foundation in the study of History as a disciplines, as well as the opportunity to specialise within particular fields of study. All students will participate in the study of research methods and historiography, and then specialise through elective modules, individually negotiated topics, and case studies.

    Course StructureMA History consists of six taught modules and a dissertation.

    MHY7090 - Pathways Through History
    Students are introduced to historiographical pathways followed by Queen’s staff and examine some of the grand debates that have taken place within political, social, culture and gender history. They are encouraged to reflect on their own pathway through history and to consider the range of historiographical and thematic approaches open to them as part of their postgraduate studies.

    MHY7020 – The Historian’s Craft
    Students probe some of the approaches used by historians to examine the past, including oral history, literary and visual sources and quantitative data. They receive training in research ethics, on the use of archival sources and on other key skills such as critical writing and high level presentations. The module also offers a careers-focused element by reflecting on the employment of historians inside and outside academia.

    MHY7011 - Individually Negotiated Topic
    An exciting opportunity for students to work with a research leader in their field on an essay topic that is selected by the student. Students work in a small Study Group (up to 3) and individually (with the supervisor), to assess the historiographical literature on a research question of their choice.

    MHY7089 - Case Studies in History
    Students select two options from a range of 6-week mini-modules that are designed to discuss exciting and innovative historical issues in a range of geographical or chronological contexts. The aim is to develop student’s knowledge of those issues beyond their own research field and to enhance their ability to evaluate fully the historical evidence they encounter during their research. Examples of these mini modules include ‘Sex and the City’, ‘Unruly Women’, ‘Commemoration after Fascism’, ‘Contested Public Histories’, ‘Ireland and the wider world’, ‘Religion and toleration’, ‘Commemoration and Irish history’, ‘Perspectives on the Cold War’, ‘Race and Labour in Transnational Perspective’.

    MHY7081 – Topics in Irish History
    Topics in Irish History is designed to introduce you to the study of Irish history at an advanced level, through an exploration of selected topics spanning the period from the late middle ages to the present day. The topics chosen are deliberately diverse, taking in issues in politics, religion, culture, and gender, as well as a critical examination of the role of history itself as a cultural and political instrument.

    MHY7035 - History and Theory
    In this module individual lecturers introduces students to a theoretical approach that has inspired or influenced their research. The module examines some of the big theoretical debate about history and truth, history and class, history and gender, and history and identity. The module uses case studies to bring passion and insight to the students’ understanding of theoretical approaches. Staff teaching on the module are asked to reflect on the key books and articles that made them either shake with disbelieving anger or race to the archives full of inspiration!

    MHY7025 - Presenting Sources
    Students are given an opportunity to undertake practical work on a selection of primary sources. This can include the production of a calendar of previously uncatalogued documents, a finding aid to primary sources on a defined theme, or a database drawn from primary sources.

    MHY7077 - Placement module
    As an alternative to Presenting Sources, students can opt to take this module (subject to caps on numbers). This option enables students to relate their academic studies to a practical setting and gives them some experience of a work-place environment.

    A placement is taken in their choice of a range of cultural institutions, heritage sites and organisations. Internships have previously been carried out with the following: Armagh Public Library; Ballymoney Museum; BBC; Belfast City Council; Castle Leslie; Causeway Coast and Glens Museums Service; Doubleband Media; Hillsborough Castle (Historic Royal Palaces); Linen Hall Library; Mount Stewart (National Trust); Museum of Free Derry; Newry and Mourne Museum; Presbyterian Historical Society; Public Record Office of Northern Ireland; Servite Priory, Benburb; Special Collections (QUB); Titanic Foundation; Ulster American Folk Park; Ulster Museum; Ulster Rugby Museum and Education Centre

    MHY7010 - Dissertation
    Students (with the help of a supervisor) will research and write a 20,000 word dissertation on a subject of their choice. This is a triple-weighted module.
    ModulesStudents MUST take the following courses

    MHY7020 – The Historian’s Craft – Autumn Semester
    MHY7090 – Pathways Through History – Autumn Semester
    MHY7035 - Theory in History – Spring Semester
    MHY7089 – Case Studies in History or MHY7081 – Topics in Irish History – Spring Semester
    MHY7010 - Dissertation

    Optional Modules (Autumn Semester)
    MHY7011 – Individually Negotiated Topic or History and its Audiences or in consultation with their Programme Convenor, students may take another Semester One module from an optional list of modules offered across the AHSS Faculty.

    Optional Modules (Spring Semester)
    MHY7025 - Presenting Sources
    MHY7091- Public History Internship (numbers on this are subject to available places)

    "Students will be notified each academic year of the optional modules being offered in the following academic year. Students are advised that not all optional modules will necessarily be offered in each academic year. Also, the delivery of a module may be subject to a minimum number of enrolments as well as unforeseen circumstances (e.g. illness of a member of staff). The range and content of optional modules will change over time as degree programmes develop and students' choice of optional modules may also be limited due to timetabling constraints."

    People teaching you


    Dr Eric Morier-Genoud is a historian of Africa and empire. His work focuses on religion, politics, war and conflict-resolution. He has published extensively on the history of missionaries, the Catholic Church, Protestantism, and Islam in Africa. His most recent work is on the history of the civil war in Mozambique. Email:


    Professor Fearghal McGarry works on 20th-century Ireland. His research and teaching focuses on politics, violence and culture in revolutionary and independent Ireland. He is interested in how the past is represented through commemoration, films, and museums. He is leading a research project exploring the Irish revolution in a global context. Email:

    Career Prospects

    The MA can be regarded either as an end in itself, culminating in the distinction of having obtained a postgraduate degree and enhanced your employability skills as a researcher, or as a stepping stone to the higher research degree of PhD. Many graduates have gone on to PhD programmes both at Queen’s and other world-leading Universities. Others go into a wide variety of employment including careers in museums, archives or libraries; journalism or media related work; teaching; private and public administration; economic development and the voluntary sector.

    Modules focus on skills development in terms of high level intellectual development and presentational competence.

    Learning and Teaching

    Assessment procedures: a combination of essays, reviews, placements, posters, projects and a research-based dissertation.

    Cognitive Skills

    Acquisition and development of reflective practice and critical thinking in the analysis of source material.
    Identification and analysis of primary sources for research and verbal and written communication of findings based on analysis of research materials.
    Management of individual learning including planning, organisation and management of time and activities to ensure delivery of assessed work within set time-frames.
    Understand and evaluate differing interpretations.
    Critically evaluate primary sources, placing them in their context and assessing their potential as evidence.
    Identify and assimilate evidence relevant to a particular enquiry from a variety of primary sources.
    Formulate and test hypotheses and interpretations.
    Develop and present an argument based on the analysis of historical evidence.

    Knowledge and Understanding

    An understanding of the theoretical basis of historical study.
    An insight into the preservation, accessibility and use of historical documents and primary sources.
    The role of history in the public sphere and the contribution of historical study to culture, society, economics and politics.

    Subject Specific Skills

    An ability to identify and evaluate different interpretations of the past.
    Knowledge of different approaches to historical study from a range of perspectives including, but not limited to, gender, race, ethnicity, society, economics and culture.
    The opportunity to apply historical methodology to the study of history from the ancient to the contemporary periods, with particular opportunity to focus on Irish, British, American, European and Asian history.
    Understand the work of archives and/or public history institutions in cataloguing and preserving historical materials and/or interpreting and presenting these to non-academic audiences.
    Present the results of historical research, using quotation, citation and bibliography in a manner consistent with professional standards of accuracy and presentation.
    Extract material relevant to a particular theme or problem from primary sources and record it in a systematic and accurate manner.
    Read manuscript material from their chosen period of study.
    Identify and locate primary sources relevant to a particular field of study, using standard bibliographical resources.
    Identify and locate secondary sources relevant to a particular field of study, using standard bibliographical resources.

    Transferable Skills

    Conduct research on a variety of issues, making intelligent use of the available material.
    Work independently.
    Communicate effectively in writing.
    Interpret and analyse information from a range of sources.
    Evaluate arguments and evidence.


    Assessment and feedback are continuous throughout the course of study. Assessments associated with the course are outlined below:

    • coursework
    • essays
    • written projects
    • oral presentations
    • class contributions

  • Entry Requirements

    Entrance requirements

    Normally at least a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in an Arts and Humanities discipline. Applicants with a Social Sciences Honours degree will be considered on a case by case basis.

    Applicants who hold a 2.2 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in an Arts and Humanities discipline, or relevant other discipline who can demonstrate relevant professional experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

    Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible and ideally no later than 12th August 2022 for courses which commence in late September. In the event that any programme receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close the application portal. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Application Portal against the programme application page.

    International Students

    Our country/region pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country/region. Use the dropdown list below for specific information for your country/region.

    English Language Requirements

    Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required (*taken within the last 2 years).

    International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

    For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

    If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

    • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
    • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

    INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

  • Fees and Funding

    Tuition Fees

    Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £6,650
    Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £6,650
    England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £7,470
    EU Other 3 £18,200
    International £18,200

    1 EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.

    2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees, in line with the Common Travel Agreement arrangements.

    3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.

    All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2022-23, and relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

    More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

    Additional course costs

    All Students

    Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

    Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.

    Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

    If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

    Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

    There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

    History costs

    Students undertaking a placement are responsible for funding travel, accommodation and subsistence costs. These costs vary depending on the location and duration of the placement. Students may receive payment from their placement provider.

    How do I fund my study?

    The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

    A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £10,609 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

    More information on funding options and financial assistance.

    International Scholarships

    Information on scholarships for international students, is available at

  • Apply

    How to Apply

    Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

    Apply now

    When to Apply

    The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2021. In the event that any programme receives a high volume of applications, the university reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Entry Portal (DAP) against the programme application page.

    Terms and Conditions

    The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.
    Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.

    Download a prospectus