Birkbeck, University of London

Birkbeck, University of London

History of Ideas

This Master's degree in the history of ideas is concerned with excavating and understanding the lived reality of ideas. We consider how the study of the history of ideas can help us to interpret individual thinkers and their ideas and how these have shaped past societies. The history of ideas is a dynamic and expanding field and this programme enables you to pursue an exciting programme of study, exploring ideas comparatively and in their geographical, social and historical contexts. If you want to understand and investigate the relationship between ideas and actions across a wide variety of historical periods, geographical places, and theoretical and methodological perspectives, then this is the degree for you. The introductory core module explores key topics and questions within the history of ideas and will introduce you to the conceptual background needed for the historical study of ideas at postgraduate level. We offer a wide range of option modules, covering topics in periods from classical antiquity to the present day, including ancient philosophy, politics and ethics, Judaism and Antisemitism, early modern politics, Darwinism and race in the nineteenth century, psychoanalysis, modernity and technology, and Islam and the politics of fundamentalism. You will also receive training in research skills to enable you to undertake the researching and writing of a dissertation on the topic of most interest to you.

Entry requirements

At least a 2nd-Class Honours degree, with good supporting references. We also offer a 1-year Graduate Certificate in history , which can be used as a conversion course if you want to study history at postgraduate level, but have a degree in a significantly different discipline. 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

We offer a wide range of option modules, covering topics from classical antiquity to the present day.

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

Mastering Historical Research: Birkbeck Approaches .

Option modules:

Ancient Knowledge;
China and the West: Encounters;
Civil Society: Ideas, Practices and Dilemmas in the Modern World, 17th Century to the Present;
Cultural History of War in Britain and America between the First World War and the Conflict in Vietnam;
Darwin, Darwinism and the Modern Ages;
Empires in Modern East Asia;
Gender in Britain;
Globalisation: A Short Historical Introduction;
Jews and Antisemitism in Modern Europe: Histories and Approaches;
Madness and its Meanings;
Magic, Science and Religion in the Renaissance;
Monastic Lives in Medieval England;
Politics and Islam;
Race and the Victorians;
Religion in Society and Politics: Britain and Ireland, 1801-2001;
Technology, Modernity and the Nation: Britain and Germany, 1880 to 1930;
The Making of Modern Societies: Britain and Europe, c.1500-c.1750;
The Rise of the Modern Consumer: Consumers and Politics in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries;
The Two Irelands 1911-1998;
The Victorian Communication Revolution;
Vice and the Victorians: Moral and social reform in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century .

Assessment methods

Core and option modules are assessed by essays of 5000 words (4 in total); dissertation of 15,000 words.

Qualifications

Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Course duration
MA Full-time October 2016 GBP 6,950 per Year 1 (EU) 1 years
MA Full-time October 2016 GBP 6,950 per Year 1 (England) 1 years
MA Full-time October 2016 GBP 13,750 per Year 1 (International) 1 years
MA Full-time October 2016 GBP 6,950 per Year 1 (Northern Ireland) 1 years
MA Full-time October 2016 GBP 6,950 per Year 1 (Scotland) 1 years
MA Full-time October 2016 GBP 6,950 per Year 1 (Wales) 1 years
MA Part-time October 2016 GBP 3,975 per Year 1 (EU) 2 years
MA Part-time October 2016 GBP 3,975 per Year 1 (England) 2 years
MA Part-time October 2016 GBP 6,875 per Year 1 (International) 2 years
MA Part-time October 2016 GBP 3,975 per Year 1 (Northern Ireland) 2 years
MA Part-time October 2016 GBP 3,975 per Year 1 (Scotland) 2 years
MA Part-time October 2016 GBP 3,975 per Year 1 (Wales) 2 years
MA Full-time October 2017 - 1 years
MA Part-time October 2017 - 2 years

Campus details

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

Get in touch

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Key information

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