Birkbeck, University of London

Birkbeck, University of London

Public Histories

Public history is concerned with the practice of history outside of academia in all its myriad forms and public historians come in all shapes and sizes: they are consultants, museum professionals, archivists, preservationists and curators, cultural resource managers, policy specialists and community activists, among many other roles. What they share is a commitment to making history relevant, beneficial, informative and instructive within the public sphere. The practice and significance of 'public history' has grown significantly in recent years, as historians become more aware of audiences beyond the academy, of the role of history in politics, of the need for their research and analysis to have an impact in the real world, and of the growing public and media interest in popular history and heritage. This MA will introduce you to key aspects and issues of the practice of public history. It will provide you with the necessary theoretical and practical skills to undertake critical assessments of public history projects and interventions - as well as to create your own. Its focus on public history in practice will provide you with a wide range of examples of different types and methods of public history, from museums and material culture, to public history in the media, to the role of history in policy making. This MA aims to give you a sense of the wide range of public history, the variety of roles played by historians in public, and the importance and impact of public history in politics, culture, and society. The MA Public Histories provides relevant training for careers in media, education, museums and heritage, publishing, and policy, and it also provides rigorous training in the historical discipline suitable to prepare you for further personal or professional research, or research at MPhil/PhD level. Highlights - Arts and humanities at Birkbeck are ranked fifth best in London, 18th in the UK and 87th globally in the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject. - Our Department of History, Classics and Archaeology is a world-renowned centre of original, influential research. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), History at Birkbeck was ranked sixth in the UK for the percentage of our research deemed world-leading or internationally excellent. Of our eligible staff, 94% submitted research, and we achieved 100% for a research environment supporting world-leading and internationally excellent research. - Many Birkbeck historians take very active public roles as policy consultants, columnists in newspapers, editors of digital history websites and leaders in community history projects. Students on the MA Public Histories will be given the opportunity to benefit from their expertise. - Tutors and potential dissertation supervisors on the course could include: Dr Julia Laite, whose work focuses on aspects of women's history and policy and who is an expert in history online; Professor Matt Cook, who works extensively in community history, oral history and queer history and is a Director of the Samuel Raphael History Centre; Professor David Feldman, who has worked extensively in history and policy related to migration and minorities and is Director of the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism; Professor Orlando Figes, an expert in oral history and the history of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russia; and Professor Fiona Candlin, an expert in museum studies, whose work focuses on small museums and public heritage. - Our Department is home to thriving student societies and a number of affiliated research centres that actively run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research. These include the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, the Raphael Samuel History Centre and the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities.

Entry requirements

MA: The usual requirement is a second-class honours degree in a humanities subject, as well as references. We may request writing samples or ask you to attend an interview, if you don't meet the entry criteria but have non-traditional educational or professional qualifications/experience.

Course modules

For information about course structure and the modules you will be studying, please visit Birkbeck's online prospectus.

Assessment methods

Assessment is via written work, with a different essay for each module, and a dissertation of 15,000-16,000 words. Every module has an attendance requirement, so you will need to attend at least 60% of classes in order to pass.

Qualifications

Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Course duration
MA Full-time October 2019 8,350 per Whole course (Northern Ireland) 1 Years
MA Full-time October 2019 8,350 per Whole course (Wales) 1 Years
MA Full-time October 2019 8,350 per Whole course (EU) 1 Years
MA Full-time October 2019 15,200 per Whole course (International) 1 Years
MA Full-time October 2019 8,350 per Whole course (England) 1 Years
MA Full-time October 2019 8,350 per Whole course (Scotland) 1 Years
MA Part-time October 2019 8,350 per Whole course (Northern Ireland) 2 Years
MA Part-time October 2019 8,350 per Whole course (EU) 2 Years
MA Part-time October 2019 8,350 per Whole course (Scotland) 2 Years
MA Part-time October 2019 15,200 per Whole course (International) 2 Years
MA Part-time October 2019 8,350 per Whole course (Wales) 2 Years
MA Part-time October 2019 8,350 per Whole course (England) 2 Years

Campus details

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

Get in touch

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Key information

Contact: 
Department of History, Classics and Archaeology
Telephone number: 
02076316268