Skip to main content Skip to navigation

MA in Global & Comparative History

Global and Comparative History MA

This innovative MA course is one of the first in the UK to focus on global history, offering you the chance to investigate one of the most dynamic areas of current historical enquiry and debate. At its centre is a core module exploring the way in which global history has emerged, the methods it adopts, the subject areas it addresses, the analytical power it offers, and the criticisms it has attracted.

Throughout, you are encouraged to explore how the global can be investigated in relation to the regional and the local, through wider debates on historical methods and interpretation. This provides an excellent route into studying major regions of the globe, including Latin America, Africa, India and China. It also offers powerful methodologies for studying the historical forces that have and do connect peoples and regions in different parts of the world. You’ll also benefit from the Department’s highly respected Global History and Culture Centre, through participating in seminars, lectures and conferences arranged by the Centre.

The course offers an excellent route into PhD research in the fields of global history and culture. Recent postgraduates have also advanced into careers in a range fields, including the cultural sector, consultancy, research, media and teaching.

Autumn term

An important module designed to help you acquire the methodological skills needed to undertake an extended piece of historical research and writing.

Outline syllabus

Week 1: Introduction to Global History

Week 2: Global History: Methods and Concepts

Week 3: Area Studies vs. Global History

Week 4: Environments and the Anthropocene

Week 5: Science

Week 7: Migration and Labour

Week 8: Imperialism

Week 9: Global Political History

Week 10: Whither Global History?

Spring term

  • Two Optional Modules: to be selected from options listed below (30 CATS each)

Summer term

  • Dissertation (15,000 words) (60 CATS)

Optional modules

This team-taught one-term option complements other modules by focusing on the (vast) role of religion in early modernity. Rather than following a chronological structure or dealing with individual denominations, it examines religious issues through (a) the perspectives of different academic disciplines and (b) coverage of key themes. Students will be able to engage with the multiplicity of approaches pursued in the field more generally and by members of the History department in particular.

This optional module is intended to give a critical overview of one of the fastest growing and most dynamic areas of modern historical enquiry - the history of gender and sexuality. It aims to provide students with an understanding of how feminist and queer history has emerged from earlier approaches to the study of history, what makes it distinctive and what its principal strengths and weaknesses might be. It spans geographical period and chronological period.

This module draws on the considerable expertise throughout the department to consider how historians engage with the question of 'empire.' It spans geographical area and chronological period.

This module draws on the considerable expertise throughout the department to consider how historians engage with the question of 'consumption.' It spans geographical area and chronological period.

This module will address two to three topics in the history of medicine (broadly construed) selected by its students from a menu of possible options. This unusual structure gives 'Matters of Life and Death' the flexibility required to ensure that it is always focused on subjects closely related to student interests and dissertation research. Possible topics range across the expertise of teaching and research staff in the Centre for the History of Medicine, and of our Associates in the wider University context.

How can we understand the social and natural world in which we live? Concepts such as ‘nature’, ‘environment’, ‘the body’, ‘the economy’, or ‘society’ help us to classify and order the endless phenoma in the material and natural world that we encounter every day. Yet while such concepts are vital, and seem fixed, transhistorical and objective, they emerged at particular moments in history, their meanings changed, and they were often deployed for particular purposes.

This module investigates the rise, changing meanings and purposes of such ordering concepts and the practices which go with them. It also explores how such concepts and practices reflected the social, economic, and political contexts in which they emerged and flourished.

Please note that the department will be able to offer only those modules for which there is sufficient demand in a given academic year.

How to apply


Part-time study

Funding your studies


Master of Arts (MA)


1 year full-time, 2 years part-time


PGT Director, Dr Colin Storer or course director, Prof David Anderson