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MA by Research

History MA by Research

The breadth of expertise and experience in the History Department (forty or so full time members of staff), along with a thriving culture of research, seminars and conferences, make Warwick one of the very best universities in the UK to undertake research in history.

As a research student you will be given advice about crafting independent research topics and historical skills and approaches. Your closest contact will be with your supervisor, or supervisors, who will meet with you regularly to discuss your work, and agree a programme of reading, research and writing with you.

We normally recommend that students take the more standard taught MA routes, since the taught elements of these are usually the best way of framing a project and preparing you for in-depth research. A taught MA is often recommended to prospective MA by Research candidates for the following reasons:

  • if you are thinking of a doing a PhD, funding councils like to see the taught route, so that they can be sure there has been the right level of research skills training.
  • the taught MA still has an extensive dissertation (15,000 words) at its core, so there is plenty of opportunity to develop your research in a particular area.
  • the assessments for the taught modules (for which you have an array of options) can be used to broaden your knowledge and advance your dissertation idea i.e. you can formulate questions that relate to your interests and hence you can explore the topic from different directions even before you start on the dissertation.
  • the taught programme is the one followed by the vast majority of our students, so it helps you feel part of the postgraduate community, something that is particularly important for students joining Warwick from elsewhere.

But, there may be very good reasons to accept students on the MA by Research route and we welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you.

If you are contemplating an MA by Research please don't hesitate to get in touch to talk through the advantages and disadvantages of taking the taught or research route.

The Course

At the core of this programme lies the design, research and composition of a dissertation (maximum length 40,000 words). Students meet regularly with their supervisor/s and other members of the department to review their progress. Alongside their research project, students are expected to follow the Warwick Historical Research Core module, Theory, Skill and Method. The dissertation is assessed by internal and external subject specialists, who have the option of requiring the candidate to attend a Viva Voce (oral) examination.


All candidates must make an online application via the University PG AdmissionsLink opens in a new window pages. The application will be processed by the central University Postgraduate Admissions Team, who will then pass the application form to the department for consideration.

Applicants are normally required to possess a good (2.1 or higher) undergraduate degree in History or a related discipline.

Students applying for an MA by Research should complete an application form, provide two letters of reference, and supply required transcripts of their qualifications. Students must also meet the required English Language requirements.

As admission to the programme is dependent upon the Department’s ability to offer expert supervision in the chosen field, candidates are strongly advised to make contact with a potential supervisor or supervisors before filling in the application. A list of staff members and their research interests can be found in the staff page.


There are a number of requirements to fulfil in a programme of study for a research MA degree:


Additional support and training are provided by the Department, Arts Faculty and the Graduate School, as well as by History’s many reading groups, seminars, workshops and conferences. History researchers will benefit from the University Library’s Research Exchange, a dedicated postgraduate conference and study area, with state-of-the-art facilities.

How to apply

MPhil and PhD Research

Research expertise

Find a member of staff

Funding your research

MPhil/PhD FAQs

Entry requirements

2:i undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a closely related subject

English language requirements 

Band B
Overall IELTS (Academic) score of 7.0 and component scores


1 year full-time, 2 years part-time


MA by research

  • Course Code

  • P-V1PC


Mark Knights, Postgraduate Research Director