This is a one-year full time, or two-year part-time postgraduate course.

It is aimed at students with a passion for history but does not necessarily require an undergraduate degree in the subject.

The course covers the role of history in the public arena: museums, documentaries, monuments, lectures, guided tours and community events are just some of the things that constitute Public History. It also examines the relationship between history and politics, and the powerful influence of history on contemporary society.


Emphasis is placed upon students using course concepts to develop their own interests. Students write a portfolio of nine pieces of work (including pieces of public history) and a dissertation or produce a larger piece of public history as an alternative. Throughout students are encouraged to pursue their own interests and to prepare their work for publication and presentation.

Dissertation/Dissertation Alternate

The final module provides students with the opportunity to bring together everything they have learnt so far in either a 12,000-word dissertation on a topic of their choice made in consultation with their tutor or to produce a substantial piece of public history, again on a topic of their choice made in consultation with their tutor.

This course is intended to:

  • Develop students’ systematic understanding of the theory and practice of Public History at post-graduate level
  • Foster students’ critical awareness of the latest developments in public history including critical evaluation of different approaches
  • Provide students with extensive opportunities to practice the techniques and concepts of public history
  • Encourage students’ originality in the acquisition and application of historical research and enquiry
  • Develop students’ skills in the critical evaluation of current research and debate in public history
  • Enable students to think imaginatively and creatively about the nature of history
  • Build on students’ existing enthusiasms and historical knowledge to develop new approaches to historical inquiry

Outcomes for students

Knowledge and understanding

After successfully completing the course, students will be able to:

  • Systematically and critically deal with complex historiographical and methodological ideas
  • Critically engage with the debates within and surrounding public history
  • Apply their knowledge and critical understanding of (public) history at a high level

Cognitive skills

After successfully completing the course, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate self-direction, knowledge, and originality in tackling and solving problems
  • Think imaginatively and creatively about the nature of (public) history
  • Critically evaluate current research, practice, and debate in (public) history

Practical and professional skills

After successfully completing the course, students will be able to:

  • Present historical research to specialist audiences
  • Present historical research to non-specialist audiences
  • Act autonomously in planning and executing research and writing
  • Continue to advance their knowledge through independent work and practice
  • Act as part of a team in planning and executing research and writing

Transferable skills

After successfully completing the course, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate initiative, personal responsibility, and decisionmaking in complex and unpredictable situations
  • Demonstrate originality in the acquisition and application of ideas to specific content/practice
  • Confidently share ideas verbally or in writing
  • Develop content appropriate for an online forum


The programme modules are underpinned by a learning and teaching strategy adopting a range of approaches including presentations, seminars, and one-to-one tutorials. Within classes, emphasis is placed on interactive teaching and learning. Students will be expected to engage personally, in small groups and larger classes, with a range of material and ideas. Students will engage critically and analytically with a written, visual, oral and audio-visual material, including IT material and their own material.

One-to-one tutorials provide students with the opportunity for an individual or small group discussions on work submitted both at the conceptual and the drafting stages. Coupled with the College’s Learning Development team, teaching via tutorials allows for strong relationships to develop between staff and students and among students themselves, thus further creating a supportive learning environment.

Attention is paid throughout the modules to both researching a range of materials and reflecting on historiographical processes. Particular focus will also be given to current debates in public history.

Assessment is varied, including some more traditional academic history essays and reviews, alongside more creative projects that enable students to produce pieces of public history or engage with the sector in other ways. In requiring students to complete nine

pieces of work before they start the dissertation module we are encouraging them to develop a variety of skills.

Students are encouraged, and required in two modules, to produce practical work in different formats. This may include new materials for a course they teach; a guided walk and critique; a critique of an exhibition; a new guide for a museum; a video with critical analysis; oral history interviews; or a detailed analysis of an object or visual image. The dissertation or dissertation alternate are viewed as an opportunity for students to bring together everything they have learnt in both an academic form and one more accessible to nonspecialists.

The placement is designed to allow students to gain experience and reflect on the public history sector while also producing academic work. The placement constitutes part of the Consuming and Producing Public History module and as such offers another opportunity for in-depth engagement with public history. Students and staff will work together to find a suitable placement—students who are already working or volunteering in the public history sector may use that as their placement.


This is a postgraduate course. We expect most, though not necessarily all, candidates to have first degrees in a relevant subject. Applicants do not need to have a first degree in History but do need to be able to demonstrate their ability to study at postgraduate level. Recent students have had backgrounds in Art, Engineering, Media Studies, Design, Science, Literature, Languages, Classics as well as History. They have included teachers, lecturers, artists, stately home guides, archivists, local tourist guides, archaeologists, museum workers, oral historians, trade union activists, journalists, family historians and adult educators. Dr Ruth Percy is very happy to discuss the course and admission requirements with potential applicants prior to formal application and interview


This course starts in September and applications close on 15th August. For enquiries, please contact Hannah Jones, the Academic Registrar on 01865 759604 or Programme Co-ordinator, Dr Ruth Percy on 01865 759631.


A Public History Masters is not only useful preparation for work in heritage, museums, and archives but, because it combines attention to detail with broad analysis, it is also highly valued in a range of careers including policy development, civil service.

Tuition Fees 2015/16

Access to HE Programmes, Level 3, Full Time: £3,358

Certificate of Higher Education Level Full Time Part Time Business and Social Enterprise Level 4 £6,000 £3,000 English Studies: Creative Writing and Critical Practice Level 4 £9,000 £4,500 History Level 4 £9,000 £4,500 International Labour and Trade Union Studies Level 4 £9,000 £6,750 Law Level 4 £9,000 £4,500 Social and Political Studies Level 4 £9,000 £4,500 Writing for Performance Level 4 £9,000 £4,500 B.A. Degree Level Full Time Part Time Social Work Level 4 £9,000 £6,750 Youth and Community Level 4 £9,000 £6,750 MA Programmes Level Full Time Part Time Public History Level 7 £5,100 £2,550 Resident Study Bedroom Rates 2014/15
40wks per wk Study Bedroom standard Y£4,000 £100 Study Bedroom en-suite £4,840 £121

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