Politics and Contemporary History MA

The University of Nottingham - Faculty of Social Sciences

Program Description

Politics and Contemporary History MA

The University of Nottingham - Faculty of Social Sciences

Politics and Contemporary History MA

The MA Politics and Contemporary History is well established and attracts applicants of exceptional quality from the UK and abroad.

This interdisciplinary course is explicitly historical in scope, having particular focus on those things within living memory. It reflects the vast upsurge of interest in contemporary history following the end of the Cold War and the attendant opening of much of the hidden history of the 20th century.

The course will address contending approaches to recent events which have shaped your own life and the lives of those immediately around you.

Areas of special interest include:

  • 20th-Century American History
  • 20th-Century Chinese History
  • Anglo-American Relations
  • Art and Politics
  • Cold War History
  • Communism and Fascism
  • Contemporary British Political History
  • Film History
  • Intelligence and National Security
  • Labour and Urban History, especially in Britain and Europe
  • Modern German History including the Holocaust
  • Modern Russia, especially imperial, diplomacy and war
  • Modern War in Europe, Asia and the Pacific
  • Religion and Conflict in the Middle East
  • South East Asia, especially social movements
  • United States foreign and security policy
  • Women's History

Key facts

  • The University of Nottingham boasts one of the highest concentrations of research expertise in contemporary history in the UK. Staff in the School of Politics and International Relations are actively engaged in contemporary historical research and further expertise is found in the schools of American and Canadian Studies, History, the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, and the Institute for Contemporary Chinese Studies.
  • The Research Excellence Framework 2014 ranked the School of Politics and International Relations in the top 15 in the UK for research power.

Course details

The unique structure of the MA Politics and Contemporary History degree allows you to choose from a wide range of modules offered by the school as well as those offered by other schools within the University to reflect your personal interests.

You will be required to take a minimum of 60 credits worth of modules offered by the School of Politics and International Relations, together with the dissertation which is undertaken during the summer.

The remaining 60 credits may be accumulated from a list of modules offered by other schools and departments, with certain courses being especially recommended.

Please note that modules may change to keep abreast of political and academic developments.

Your studies will culminate in the research and writing of a substantive dissertation within the field of politics and contemporary history. The dissertation should be 15,000 words in length and must contain a strong research element.

You will register your dissertation on a subject of your choice and will be allocated with a dissertation supervisor to oversee your progress.

The MA Politics and Contemporary History can be studied on a full-time basis over one year or part-time over two years.

Teaching is spread across two semesters: autumn, which begins in September and ends in January, and spring, which begins in January and ends in June. The summer months between June and September are spent writing a dissertation.

The MA consists of 180 credits - 120 credits from modular taught study and 60 credits from the completion of a dissertation of around 15,000 words in length.

Assessment is typically by a mixture of coursework and examination, both of which will usually be assessed in the Semester in which the module is taught.

Modules are offered usually as 20 or 15 credit versions.


Example of module offered by the school include:

  • Air Power and Modern Warfare
  • China's International Relations
  • Contemporary Warfare
  • Justice Beyond Borders
  • Strategy and Security
  • Terrorism and Insurgencies
  • War, Peace and Terror


The MA in Politics and Contemporary History will introduce you to the advanced study of contemporary history and equip you for a wide range of career possibilities from media and leisure to national government and in international organisations.

A significant proportion of postgraduate students on this course progress to doctoral level study, and some have carried on in academia and hold permanent positions in some of the leading universities in Europe.

Graduating from Nottingham means that you have opened the door to an opportunity to an interesting and well paid career. Our students are highly regarded by employers because of the strong academic foundation and transferable skills that they gain during their degree course.

Our postgraduate courses provide a firm foundation for a wide range of careers. Many of our students take an active role in politics throughout and following their time in the School. Politics is the ideal academic discipline to study if you are interested in a career in politics or government. Other students go into a range of careers, including management, marketing, teaching and broadcasting.

For those students who wish to continue with their studies following the successful completion of one of our MA programmes, the School offers MRes and MPhil/PhD degrees. Research degree supervision in most of the major sub-areas of the discipline of politics is offered by the increasing number of academic staff working in the School.

The University of Nottingham's Centre for Career Development offers excellent careers guidance, information and resources, and holds workshops on CV writing, completing application forms and interview techniques. Nottingham is one of the top three universities most often targeted by the leading graduate employers in the UK, and the CCD organises employer-led events where companies visit the University to explain what they do and what they look for when recruiting.

Entry requirements:2.1(Upper 2nd class hons degree or international equivalent)

IELTS:6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic:62 (minimum 55)

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated August 14, 2015
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2016
1 - 2 years
Part time
Full time
Start date Aug. 2016
United Kingdom Nottingham, England
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 1 - 2 years
Price Request Info