Birkbeck, University of London

Birkbeck, University of London

History of the British Isles

This programme will deepen your appreciation of the distinctive political, social and cultural aspects of the British and Irish historical experience, from the Reformation period to the present day, while also fostering your awareness of values and experiences the British and the Irish share with their European and global neighbours. This Master's degree considers the constituent countries of the British Isles - England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales - and asks how and why the geographical and political entities that are Great Britain, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland came into being. The pressing current day issue of devolution is encouraging discussions about the formation of nation-states and national identities which feed into debates amongst historians about whether the territorial state is the most useful or constructive means of assessing historical developments and how the creation (and re-creation) of national identities relate to religion, race, gender and class.

Course modules

A 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 on the history of Britain. You also choose 3 option modules from a list covering a wide chronological and thematic spread. Not all modules are available each year. View the full timetable for the year. Core module: Mastering Historical Research: Birkbeck Approaches . Option modules: Britain's Medical Marketplace 1750-1939; Civil Society: Ideas, Practices and Dilemmas in the Modern World, 17th Century to the Present; Early Modern London: Society and Culture; Jews and Antisemitism in Modern Europe: Histories and Approaches; Madness and its Meanings; Monastic Lives in Medieval England; Plots, Conspiracy Theory and Political Culture in Early Modern Britain and France; Power and Authority in Britain, 1603-1689; Public Histories in Practice; Queer Histories/Queer Cultures; Race and the Victorians; Religion in Society and Politics: Britain and Ireland, 1801-2001; Representations of poverty in Britain from 1850 to the present; Technology, Modernity and the Nation: Britain and Germany, 1880 to 1930; The Making of Modern Societies: Britain and Europe, c.1500-c.1750; The Two Irelands 1911-1998; The Victorian Communication Revolution; Towns and cities in early modern Britain .

Assessment methods

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


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Course duration
MA Full-time October 2018 GBP 14,450 per Year 1 (International) 1 Years
MA Full-time October 2018 GBP 7,950 per Year 1 (Home/EU) 1 Years
MA Part-time October 2018 GBP 7,225 per Year 1 (International) 2 Years
MA Part-time October 2018 GBP 3,975 per Year 1 (Home/EU) 2 Years

Campus details

Campus name Town Postcode Region Main campus Campus Partner
Bloomsbury Campus WC1E 7HX London

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Key information

Department of History, Classics and Archaeology
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