This programme provides an intellectually rigorous introduction to Modern British Studies through two core modules and your choice of optional modules.
You will benefit from the expertise of a large number of British historians at Birmingham, who will both teach on the programme and provide expert supervision for your dissertation.
You will need an Honours degree in a relevant subject, normally of an upper second-class standard.
Academic requirements: We accept a range of qualifications.
English language requirements: You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:
by holding an English language qualification to the right level
by taking and successfully completing one of our English courses for international students
You will study four core modules:
New Directions in Modern British History: This module will expose you to some of the key debates and moments in Modern British Studies and its associated historiography. There are difficulties in identifying organising narratives for understanding modern Britain. How do we write history that remains intellectually inclusive, avoids privileging historic and contemporary historiographical concerns and creates conversations that cut across regional, temporal and disciplinary boundaries? This module will introduce you to historical works that have stimulated new visions the past and its role in public life. If British society and culture has changed, so has the way that historians have approached and conceptualised it. While the module focuses on a series of key interventions, we will situate these in the context of broader debates about Modern Britain.
Sites and Sources in Modern British Studies: This module goes beyond thinking about Britain in terms of the great and the good and introduces you to rich and diverse sources through which historians have tried to understand the contours of everyday life in the past. The module will enable you to capture the pluralistic and inchoate messiness of ordinary life and historical change. A seaside postcard can be just as useful to a historian as a work of art. It is a module that will give you grounding in the interpretation of different sources and the problems and possibilities these present in studying the past.
Historical Methods: This module introduces you to the major developments in historical approaches since the Second World War and to some of the major schools of, or tendencies in, historical research such as the Annales School, the English historians’ response to Marxism, cultural history, the linguistic turn, gender, history of science and critical social theory (Geertz and Foucault). The focus is on the application of the ideas to historical practice then and now.
Research Methods and Skills: Dissertation Preparation: This module covers what the dissertation project will entail. You will be expected to produce a short dissertation proposal for submission and you will be allocated a tutor who will supervise your dissertation preparation work. You will have one-to-one meetings with your supervisor, but you will also attend available generic sessions on skills run on the Research Skills module and available across the University.
You will also choose optional modules to the value of 40 credits (two single modules or one double module). These can be taken from the Department of History or from other programmes offered in the School of History and Cultures, with the approval of the Programme Director. Options available in History may include:
´A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall’: Nuclear Weapons and the Cold War
Britain at the Movies
Britain’s Wars of Colonisation and Decolonisation
Hidden from History: Homosexuality through History from the Ancient World to the Present Day
On the Road to Nowhere? Traffic, Transport and Mobility in 20th Century Britain
Reason and Romance: the cultural history of 19th Century Britain
Sex and Sexualities in the Modern British World, 1880-1970
Speaking to the People: Political Communication in 20th Century Britain
Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School. The University also offers a wide range of activities and services to give our students the edge in the job market, including: career planning designed to meet the needs of postgraduates; opportunities to meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs, employer presentations and skills workshops; individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.
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