Birkbeck, University of London

Birkbeck, University of London

Global History: Empires, States and Cultures

This Master's degree in history will expand and deepen your understanding of world history through the exploration of global perspectives and the interconnections that work across geographical and national boundaries. The course will introduce you to a wide range of approaches, including comparative histories of empires, nationalism and decolonisation, migration and diaspora, world culture and global archives. You will be encouraged to think expansively about connections between historical themes in world history and you can also focus on a particular region of the world, such as South and East Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and the USA. Drawing on the wide spread of research and teaching expertise within the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology and other departments at Birkbeck, the programme features a wide range of comparative and interdisciplinary modules. The core module explores specific topics and questions in world history and will equip you with the conceptual ideas and skills needed to study history at postgraduate level. You can then choose 3 option modules from a wide variety, opting, if you wish, to take a focused pathway through the degree by specialising in the history of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, or the imperial and postcolonial periods. You will be encouraged to develop both conceptual and theoretical approaches to understanding the historical development of the modern world, as well as learning research methods that will enable you to specialise in a particular topic of your choosing and undertake the researching and writing of a dissertation. The course is designed to offer you training to continue on to PhD research in topics in comparative and global history, if you wish, but it will also equip you with the specialist knowledge and transferable skills you need to work in a wide range of intellectually challenging environments, including policy research, media, NGOs and public history.

Entry requirements

Second-Class Honours degree and references. If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

Course modules

The introductory core module aims to equip you with the conceptual background necessary for historical study at postgraduate level. It includes 10 broad lectures and 10 weekly seminars dedicated to exploring specific topics and questions in world history.

You may choose 3 from a wide variety of option modules, but those wishing to take a more focused pathway through the degree may specialise in Asian History, Africa and the Middle East, Imperialism and Post-Colonial Societies.

You will also write a dissertation.

Not all modules are available each year. View the full timetable for the year.
Core module:

Mastering Historical Research: Birkbeck Approaches.

Option modules:

Africa in the European Imagination;
An Empire of Knowledge: Science, Colonialism and Nationalism in British India;
Arab-Israeli Question;
Battleground Spain, 1936-1939;
China and the West: Encounters;
Cultural History of War in Britain and America between the First World War and the Conflict in Vietnam;
Disease and Society in Africa in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries;
Empires in Modern East Asia;
Immigration and Society since 1945;
Internationalism and International Organisations in twentieth-century Europe;
Jews and Antisemitism in Modern Europe: Histories and Approaches;
Literature and Modern Chinese Nationalism;
London and Berlin in the Age of Empire;
Money and Empire c. 300-c. 800;
Politics and Islam;
Post-Colonial Discourse and the Novel;
Public Histories in Practice;
Race and the Victorians;
Religion in Society and Politics: Britain and Ireland, 1801-2001;
Western Images of China and Japan.

Assessment methods

Each core and option module is assessed by an essay of 5000 words. Dissertation of 15,000 words.

Qualifications

Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Course duration
MA Full-time October 2017 - 1 years
MA Part-time evening October 2017 - 2 years

Campus details

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Get in touch

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Key information

Contact: 
Department of History, Classics and Archaeology
Telephone number: 
020 7631 6268