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 historical experience, from the Reformation period to the present day, while also fostering your awareness of values and experiences the British share with their European and global neighbours. This degree considers the constituent countries of the British Isles - England, Scotland and Wales - and asks how and why the geographical and political entity that is Britain 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.

Entry requirements

2nd-Class Honours degree and 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

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. Core module: Mastering historical research: Birkbeck approaches. Option modules (choose 3): Britain's medical marketplace 1750-1939; civil society: Ideas, practices and dilemmas in the modern world, 17th century to the present; coming to London: Migration, Society and the State in the Imperial Metropolis; Early Modern London: Society and Culture; Jews and anti-Semitism in modern Europe: Histories and approaches; plots, conspiracy theory and political culture in early modern Britain and France; power and authority in Britain, 1603-1689; 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; social conflict and urban change in 19th-century London; technology, modernity and the nation: Britain and Germany, 1880 to 1930; The Decline of Magic: Magical ideas in English society 1650-1750; the Victorian communication revolution; towns and cities in early modern Britain; vice and the Victorians: Moral and social reform in the late 19th and early 20th century. Dissertation.


Qualification Study mode Fee Course duration
MA Full-time £ 6,950 per Academic year (home fees) 1 years
MA Full-time £ 13,750 per Academic year (overseas fees) 1 years
MA Full-time £ 6,950 per Academic year (EU fees) 1 years
MA Part-time £ 3,975 per Academic year (home fees) 2 years
MA Part-time £ 6,875 per Academic year (overseas fees) 2 years
MA Part-time £ 3,975 per Academic year (EU fees) 2 years

Campus details

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

Key information

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