Take a Master's in History at Lancaster University
Enhance your career or academic credentials with a Lancaster University Master's degree in History, Digital Humanities or Military and International History.
The digital sphere is transforming the way we live and work, as well as how we study the past. On this dynamic degree you’ll learn how to apply cutting-edge technology to traditional humanities and cultural heritage research. Building expertise that can be applied in academic research, as well as careers in a wide range of industries.
Lancaster University is a world leader in the integration of new technologies in humanities research. During this course, you’ll learn from globally recognised experts in the field and engage with cutting-edge research in digital humanities.
From visualisation and data design, to text mining and geographic information analysis and retrieval, the technological skills and knowledge you gain from this course will prepare you for rewarding roles in a wide range of sectors. You’ll learn about the use and creation of digital assets and databases, relevant interdisciplinary theories and methods, as well as applications of artificial intelligence such as natural language processing, machine learning, and computer vision.
You'll develop digital and historical research skills and complete core modules in Digital Humanities and Spatial Technologies for Humanities Research. This will allow you to analyse data in more complex and sophisticated ways.
For instance, you will:
Learning about researching and writing history will be an important part of your degree too. You’ll apply this knowledge to develop your own original research for your dissertation.
This MA equips you with a valuable set of transferable skills. You’ll be able to continue into academia on research projects, or apply your newly acquired skills in the private and public sectors.
We prepare our graduates for success in many fascinating careers including:
Previous graduates have successfully achieved positions as a Digital Curator with the BBC, a GIS consultant in private industry, and a Digital Humanities Librarian in Higher Education.
This Master's degree also puts graduates in a strong position to further their studies at doctorate level. A PhD is a brilliant opportunity to continue your research and deepen your digital humanities skills in a specific area. Previous graduates secured PhD scholarships both in the UK and overseas.
2:1 Hons degree (UK or equivalent) in History or a related discipline, this could be in any humanities discipline or fields such as Library Science, journalism, etc.
We may also consider non-standard applicants, please contact us for information.
If you have studied outside of the UK, we would advise you to check our list of international qualifications before submitting your application.
We may ask you to provide a recognised English language qualification, dependent upon your nationality and where you have studied previously.
We normally require an IELTS (Academic) Test with an overall score of at least 6.5, and a minimum of 5.5 in each element of the test. We also consider other English language qualifications.
If your score is below our requirements, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language programmes.
Contact: Admissions Team +44 (0) 1524 592032 or email email@example.com
You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.
Despite huge advances in digital technologies, many of the approaches historian use remain rooted in the analogue age. Perhaps the only major change that computers have led to among historians to date is the use of major digitised archives, such as Early English Books Online, Old Bailey Online or the British Newspaper Archive. Even with these, many historians simply use these to search and browse, never making use of their full potential or able to critique the digitised sources effectively.
In the first part of this course you will look at how paper sources are digitised and encoded to create digital historical resources. This will enable you to understand how digital sources are created, and encourage you to think critically about their benefits and limitations. The second part of the course explores how digitised historical sources can be explored and analysed in more sophisticated ways. Corpus linguistics enables us identify and summarise themes of interest from millions or billions of words of text in ways that go far beyond simply keyword searches. It also helps the historian decide which parts of a large body of text require further research and which do not.
You do not need any prior knowledge of computing beyond the basics all history students will have. We will draw on examples from a wide range of topics from the early modern to modern British. You will also have the opportunity to use the techniques and approaches learnt with their own sources.
This 18,000-20,000 word dissertation provides the opportunity for you to demonstrate the knowledge, understanding, research skills and techniques of presentation developed in the taught modules of the MA degree scheme. The specialist field of enquiry is chosen by the student in consultation with a supervisor and other members of the department before arrival and in the first half of Michaelmas Term. Individual one-to-one supervisions will be provided throughout the year to support taught modules, define and formulate a research hypothesis, identify relevant qualitative and quantitative sources, offer guidance on presentation and comment on the structure of the dissertation.
This module will offer an introduction to the range of theories and methods most commonly used today in Digital Humanities. As primary and secondary sources of information become increasingly available, Humanities scholars have the capacity to study these in ways not traditionally envisioned before, being now able to answer questions such as: What patterns emerge in the discourses from 1,000 volumes of parliamentary data? What changes can we identify at a landscape scale during the formation of the Aztec Empire? Can the Romantic Novel be visualised? Covering the most cutting-edge research at the intersection of computing and the humanities, the module will offer an overarching view of the latest research in the fields of history, archaeology, literature, sociology, linguistics, politics, and religious studies.
Each session will introduce a topic through specific case studies covering a variety of theories from Data Justice, and Digital Inclusion, to Decolonial technology; as well as techniques and methods ranging from Geographic Information Retrieval, Text Mining, Network Analysis, Data Mining, Computational Linguistics, Visualisation and Data Design, to Human Computer Interaction.
The student will learn a wide variety of approaches and will acquire a broad overview of the field as is practiced today.
Alongside having a passion for the past, researching and writing a quality piece of history requires close engagement with the historian’s craft. What does good history look like? How can we be sure we are at the cutting edge of our discipline? What does it meant to write well?
In this core module, you will be guided through the process of conducting advanced historical research, reflecting upon the skills that you have and how they can be applied to extended pieces of research. Spanning both Michaelmas and Lent term, this module will take you from an introduction to postgraduate study through to laying the foundations for your dissertation, developing your understanding of the discipline of history, and your identity as an historian. The module culminates with a conference, where you will present your work to peers and members of academic staff, receiving feedback to develop your own and the opportunity to help your peers develop their projects.
This module will be assessed by a portfolio of work developed throughout the course, including a feasibility study.
This module covers a range of geospatial technologies which are now available to historians, and is an opportunity to develop the practical and critical skills which will allow you to apply them to your own research. In doing so, you will also be exposed to many of the ongoing trends and debates within the growing field of Digital Humanities.
You will be introduced to the ‘spatial turn’ in the humanities, identifying its theoretical bases and technical requirements, as well as some of their limitations and practical implications. Topics include Spatial Theory and Thinking, Geographical Text Analysis, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
You will explore cutting-edge research in the field in a number of case studies, and engage with them critically. In addition to this theoretical component, you will have the opportunity to develop essential capabilities in GIS, including how to find, load, edit, visualise and analyse different kinds of data. You will learn how to combine texts and records with contemporary and historical cartography, sensor data, and satellite and aerial photography. This will allow you to visualize your own data in 2 and 3 dimensions, perform spatial statistical analyses, transform it into interactive time lines and visualisations, or produce high quality maps for presentations and publications. In doing so, you should acquire an important set of transferable digital skills and build an awareness of the opportunities, challenges and limitations of working with this medium.
In this module, you will examine historical approaches to a variety of sources, from the visual (or audio visual), to the aural, oral and artefactual. Whatever period you are studying, you will be able to investigate material relevant to your own research: in the past, the module has covered the gamut from ancient Rome to the modern day, and the sources you investigate will be tailored to suit the specialisms of your cohort.
Over the course of the module you will deepen your familiarity with the range of sources available, and be able to analyse how non-traditional sources have been approached by historians. The knowledge and skills you learn will provide insights into how you can approach such sources within your own research; indeed, you will have the opportunity to pursue a coursework topic that relates to your chosen area of historical investigation.
In recent years, the history of the body has emerged as an important framework for re-thinking the relationship between individuals and the state in war. While histories of war have for a long time focused on the political causes, course, outcome, and legacies of wars, ‘new’ military histories now seek to better understand how warfare has been experienced ‘from below’ – both by those mobilised as combatants as well as by civilians who came directly into contact with the apparatus of war. This module embraces such developments in the history of war, using a focus on the body which will enable students to re-evaluate the impact of conflict on those who participated in it. Structured around four broad themes—medicine, the body, sexuality, and the mind—this module will consider the bodily legacies of warfare in a wide range of times and places. The module thus ranges from topics such as the role of the military in the emergence of clinical medicine in the 18th century to the medical impact of widespread disability on medical and social care practices following the American Civil War; or from the long history of rape as a ‘weapon of war’ to the surprising story of the use of methamphetamines by the German Wehrmacht in the Second World War. Drawing on a large range of sources, including diaries, memoirs, medical texts, engravings, photographs, and wartime propaganda, this module will thus give students the opportunity to explore the changing ways in which people experienced conflict and its aftermaths through their bodies.
Corpus linguistics is a methodology whereby large collections of electronically transcribed texts are used in conjunction with computer tools to investigate language. This module aims to give you a general introduction into corpus based language study. It centres around two main parts – corpus methods for exploring linguistic variation and the applications of corpus linguistics such as language teaching, forensic linguistics and discourse analysis. In this module you will learn how to use corpus analysis packages such as CQpWeb, #LancsBox and Antconc.
This module introduces approaches to critical analysis of key forms of contemporary media and culture such as commodities, celebrities, platforms and different media forms and environments.
We will read and discuss recent and formative writings in cultural and media studies, allowing you to develop an understanding of key concepts such as subjectivity, platform, materiality, commodity, difference, value and power, and how they help us make sense of contemporary social life. You will also engage with analytical work on specific media platforms, products and practices, ranging from photographs and search engines to newspapers and reality TV.
Topics we may explore include:
concepts of culture in relation to images, commodities and brands
popular culture, audiences and media practices associated with celebrity
contemporary digital media cultures, and their circulation and consumption
embodiment, differences, politics and identities amidst media change
This module offers you the opportunity to think about the objects and spaces through which history is presented to the public. You will have the chance to engage with scholarly perspectives about heritage practises and to gain insight into the workings of public institutions.
Its aim is to give you the opportunity to engage with scholarly criticisms of heritage practices and to gain insight into the workings of public institutions. Questions we will explore include: What are the processes through which history becomes heritage? By what means are objects gathered together and arranged in order to present, and preserve, ‘the past’? How are the meanings of these objects controlled and communicated to the public? In thinking through these, and other similar, questions, you will have the chance to consider the means through which ‘the historical temper’ is cultivated in both institutions and public spaces and, in particular, how and why the presentation of the past has changed over time. The module combines seminars with site visits, tours and sessions with heritage professionals.
This module introduces you to the practicalities and philosophies of doing interdisciplinary research in gender and women’s studies. You will learn to interpret, understand and explore the consequences of particular research methods. You will also be encouraged to critically consider the relationship between theories and methods in research. The module also provides scope for reflecting on the politics of knowledge, the ethics of research, and the relationship between disciplines and interdisciplinary fields such as gender and women’s studies. You will learn how some key conceptual frameworks within feminism (for example, sex and gender, body politics, sexual difference, queer theory) have been constructed over time through both research practices and theoretical arguments. This module will be useful as preparation for your own research later in the programme and particularly for your Master's dissertation.
In this module you will explore the ascent of Russia as a great power, examining first how Peter the Great’s desire to open a ‘Window on the West’ helped to lay the foundation for tsarist Russia to become a European great power, and then how nineteenth-century Russia sought to balance its role in European politics with ‘imperial’ expansion to the south and East. You will then explore the role of the USSR in the international political system, before examining how Russia’s contemporary international presence can be understood in terms of both the Soviet and the Tsarist past.
Gaining a broad historic overview of key themes and developments, you will also have the opportunity to study particular events in depth in order to relate them to broader patterns of change (eg Seven Years War, Napoleonic Wars, Crimean War, Russo-Japanese War, First World War, Great Patriotic War; etc).
How are gender, sex and bodies understood in contemporary sociology and feminist theory? How do feminist theorists and social scientists address questions of difference, representation and performativity in their research? In this module, we engage with the work of particular theorists (enabling you to acquire skills in close reading and critical discussion), critically evaluate relevant empirical findings, and explore current issues of importance to sociology and feminism. Topics include medicalization and health, race and racism, sex and sexuality, bodily autonomy, and reproductive choice. The essays you write then give you scope to follow your own interests in more depth by using the reading lists provided and undertaking independent research.
This bespoke module is shaped by you and your allocated module supervisor. It enables you to develop a particular research interest if this cannot be accommodated within the dissertation or in other taught modules; alternatively, it can be used to undertake a guided reading programme under supervision. You should only consider this option if you have a clear idea of a particular project you wish to propose that is distinct from your dissertation project. You will be asked to consult the appropriate Director of Graduate Studies to discuss your choice, and the form of assessment will vary depending on the project, it will however be of equivalent weighting to 5,000 words of text.
This module will familiarise you with different theories in discourse studies and will provide practical skills and methods for analysing spoken, written and multimodal texts of different genres. It will involve hands-on practical work with texts which will help you acquire sufficient technical knowledge of linguistic description. More specifically, in this module we will approach discourse in two principal ways: on the one hand, we will regard discourse as structured use of language consisting of more than one sentence. The analysis of discourse in this sense will involve looking at the ways in which words, phrases and sentences hang together and make sense in context. On the other hand, we will consider discourse as language use as social practice that is influenced by, and influences, discourse practice and the wider social context. For example, we will speak of media discourse or political discourse and ask questions about their linguistic characteristics. We will also relate the texts that instantiate these discourses to the context of their production, distribution and reception, as well as to their wider social context.
This module aims to develop students’ understanding of the ways in which social phenomena are conceptualised, defined and measured. The module will be a mix of lectures, seminars, and computer-based labs where students will get to play with real data. You will access data, explore data sets, generate and modify variables, frequency counts, cross tabulation, produce tables, bar charts and scattergrams, and test relationships between variables.
How did people in the late Middle Ages conceive of the relationships between themselves and the natural world? How did early English literature react to and characterise the environment that seems an increasingly pressing concern for our own modern context? This module will explore the many roles that early literature played not just in reflecting the environment, but also in constructing and shaping human interactions with the natural world. The module examines a type of literary environment each week and investigates the kinds of relationships the texts posit between the human and non-human to address the above questions. We will work with theoretical approaches such as ecocriticism and encounter a wide range of primary source material that imagines early human interactions with the environment.
This module is designed to familiarise you with various ways of thinking about and analysing contemporary relations between science, technology and society. It draws upon a rich vein of theory and practice within science and technology studies (STS), an area of research that is particularly strong at Lancaster University.
You will be encouraged to ask sociologically-informed questions about the sciences and technologies that have become part of our everyday lives – including, for example, mobile phones, social media, cloud computing, genetic modification, human fertilisation techniques, air conditioning and technologies for electricity generation.
The module gives you the opportunity to understand how the different interpretive research methodologies used in STS – such as ethnography and participant observation, surveys, and analysis of social media – enable a researcher to ask important critical questions about science, technology, the environment and society.
Through case studies chosen by students on the module you will consider how we might engage as analysts – using which methods and practices? In what kinds of role? With what kind of limitations? And with what kinds of responsibility and accountability?
This module offers an introduction to understanding and exploring ideas of space, movement and identity in relation to major writers and texts across the nineteenth century with a particular interest in reading and mapping. What can and cannot be mapped? What resists or exceeds acts of mapping? We will read key writers of place alongside a range of relevant spatial and philosophical texts and extracts for each of the thematic themes that are addressed across the module. As the title suggests the course is particularly interested in the challenges involved in moving across and between direct physical and embodied experiences and the representation of place in different literary forms.
The module focuses on three themes: walking and writing; mapping literary place and space; and interior and exterior spaces. We will use these themes to think about how place and space are constructed through movement, action and reaction, as well as to consider how the visual representation of place through literary maps bears upon verbal description within a text.
This module offers you the chance to benefit from the Department’s established and expanding network of heritage partners by completing a professional placement. Our previous placement partners have included a number of notable organisations, such as the Duchy of Lancaster, Hoghton Tower, the Museum of Lancashire, the National Trust, the North Craven Trust, and the Senhouse Museum Trust.
The placement is centred on a specific project, which is agreed between the Department and the partner organisation, and completed under the supervision of that organisation. The work undertaken as part of the placement project can take a variety of different forms, ranging from cataloguing objects to assisting in arrangement for exhibitions to undertaking research work on a corpus of visual, audio or textual sources. You will need to take part in an application process with each heritage partner deciding on the best match of student for their placement.
The assessment for the module comprises a portfolio of work relating the placement and a (1,000-2,000 word) reflective essay.
This module – distinctive in its focus on the wider Middle East – explores twentieth and twenty-first century narrative texts by women writers, examining creative literary engagements with (post)colonial histories, societies and politics. Novels and memoirs are read alongside theory drawn from disciplines that might include literary criticism, history, geography, sociology and anthropology. The texts represent a range of responses to colonialism, national identity, patriarchy, Islam, migration and transnationalism. Indicative themes are: revolution; the female body in private and public space; violence; education; modes of resistance; memory; testimony; and the politics of representation.
This module aims to take students with no prior knowledge of computer programming and give them the skills to write programs suitable for assisting with Digital Humanities research. The module is run in collaboration with the Institute of Coding (IoC - https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/scc/study/institute-of-coding/). The IoC was set up to introducing programming skills to a diverse range of people who would not traditionally be interested in computer science and provide them with new skills that may help their research or give them the skills to work in the digital economy.
This module will be of particular interest if you are considering teaching as a career. The placement takes place over 10-weeks working part-time at either a primary or secondary school in the region. Typically our school placements involve a combination of classroom observation and teacher assistance, as well as the preparation of lesson plans, teaching plans and learning materials. You may also have the opportunity to teach the class as a whole. Participation in this module will give you first-hand experiences of young people’s responses to historical texts and problems, and it will give you the opportunity to develop confidence in communicating your subject. It will also increase your awareness of the roles of schools and universities in educational processes.
The assessment for the module comprises a portfolio of work relating the placement and a (1,000-2,000 word) reflective essay.
This module is designed to provide PGT level students interested in any aspect of historical research which appertains to the period c.1450 to c.1750 with the essential 'tool-kit' of skills, particularisms and themes which will underpin their study. Its syllabus will be varied across each student year-cohort, given the availability of teaching staff and their areas of expertise, but perhaps, more importantly, will be tailored to support and foster the research interests of individual students within any year. The notion of periodisation remains controversial within itself, and so part of the module will involve identifying what it is that distinguishes 1450-1750 from the eras earlier and later in time, to question the terminology of 'early-modern' and 'pre-modern' (and thus 'modern' and 'modernism'), and the Renaissance. We will also discuss the themes and issues which characterise early-modern history and through these, explore the types of evidence produced and how historians can access, use, interpret and analyse them.
Indicative topics may include:
Mobility and settlement;Adventurism, exploration and global links;Demographic change;The crisis of faith;The Scientific Revolution;The climatic crisis and its implications;Gender and power;Material Culture;Personal testimony, archives and manuscript;The dissemination of print.
This module examines, reflects on, and critiques the historical contexts of a range of colonial legacies and institutionalized inequalities in contemporary British society. These will be examined through a critical engagement with the ‘Atlantic’ in its myriad forms: as geographic space and living organism, as periodization, as diasporic identity, as the birth of modernity, as the site of millions of deaths of captive Africans, and as Anthropocene. It then introduces the ‘Global South’ in geographic, economic, epistemological, and theoretical terms and engages students to consider what Global South paradigms and perspectives can expose when applied to critical examination of contemporary colonial legacies and how they can subvert the power of the (North) Atlantic. The module invites students to ‘apply’ the theories, concepts, and perspectives they have engaged with in the course to contemporary social issues with a vision to create a fairer and equal society for the future.
What are the legacies of colonialism and empire that continue to pervade British society? In what ways does ‘the Atlantic’ perpetuate dominant readings of the past and simultaneously obscure others? How are Eurocentric and Global North epistemologies and framings of ‘the past’ shaping the narratives of our present? How can we incorporate Global South paradigms and perspectives to create change?
Students will address these questions and others exploring how ‘the Atlantic’ has powerfully shaped contemporary colonial legacies, and also how it can be the site for disruption, subversion, and social change when considered from Global South perspectives.
Indicative topics will typically include:
Colonial Legacies I: Beyond Race, Class, and Gender
Colonial Legacies II: The Role of the Atlantic and the Birth of the Global South
The Atlantic as Space and Place
The Atlantic as Time and Method
Diasporic Atlantics I: The Black Atlantic
Diasporic Atlantics II: The Brown Atlantic
Geographic Atlantics I: South/North Atlantic
Geographic Atlantics II: Waste, Modernity, and the Anthropocene
Reconfiguring a Global South Atlantic
The games industry, spanning everything from video games to board games, to pen and paper roleplaying games (RPGs), is incredibly popular. This module aims to introduce students to the core principles behind writing for games. We will examine the relationship between creative writing and narrative design, critically study contemporary games, and create narrative games of our own. Students will be introduced to interactive online programmes, such as Twine, to use as powerful narrative tools for creating branching narratives; they will be asked to develop, workshop and playtest narrative games, and will critically study a broad selection of media that uses narrative design.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research. Not all optional modules are available every year.
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2024/25 entry fees have not yet been set.
There may be extra costs related to your course for items such as books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation, you may need to pay a subscription to a professional body for some chosen careers.
Specific additional costs for studying at Lancaster are listed below.
Lancaster is proud to be one of only a handful of UK universities to have a collegiate system. Every student belongs to a college, and all students pay a small College Membership Fee which supports the running of college events and activities.
For students starting in 2023, the fee is £40 for undergraduates and research students and £15 for students on one-year courses. Fees for students starting in 2024 have not yet been set.
To support your studies, you will also require access to a computer, along with reliable internet access. You will be able to access a range of software and services from a Windows, Mac, Chromebook or Linux device. For certain degree programmes, you may need a specific device, or we may provide you with a laptop and appropriate software - details of which will be available on relevant programme pages. A dedicated IT support helpdesk is available in the event of any problems.
The University provides limited financial support to assist students who do not have the required IT equipment or broadband support in place.
For most taught postgraduate applications there is a non-refundable application fee of £40. We cannot consider applications until this fee has been paid, as advised on our online secure payment system. There is no application fee for postgraduate research applications.
For some of our courses you will need to pay a deposit to accept your offer and secure your place. We will let you know in your offer letter if a deposit is required and you will be given a deadline date when this is due to be paid.
If you are studying on a programme of more than one year’s duration, the tuition fees for subsequent years of your programme are likely to increase each year. Read more about fees in subsequent years.
Details of our scholarships and bursaries for 2024-entry study are not yet available, but you can use our opportunities for 2023-entry applicants as guidance.
Check our current list of scholarships and bursaries.
The information on this site relates primarily to 2023/2024 entry to the University and every effort has been taken to ensure the information is correct at the time of publication.
The University will use all reasonable effort to deliver the courses as described, but the University reserves the right to make changes to advertised courses. In exceptional circumstances that are beyond the University’s reasonable control (Force Majeure Events), we may need to amend the programmes and provision advertised. In this event, the University will take reasonable steps to minimise the disruption to your studies. If a course is withdrawn or if there are any fundamental changes to your course, we will give you reasonable notice and you will be entitled to request that you are considered for an alternative course or withdraw your application. You are advised to revisit our website for up-to-date course information before you submit your application.
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