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Department of History

MA in Historical Research Methods

Duration: Full-time: 12 months; Part-time: 24 or 36 months

Overview

Minimum Entry Requirements: Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent); relevant background in the region of specialism

Start of programme: September intake only

The MA in Historical Research Methods is designed to train students in research skills to the level prescribed by the research training guidelines favoured by UK Research Councils. It is intended for students with a good first degree in history, or who possess a taught Masters degree in history. Most students would be expected to progress to a research degree in history at the end of the degree, but it is also possible to take it as a stand-alone programme.
Students must complete a programme in research training and submit a dissertation on an approved topic which is connected to the core course of this programme (Sources and Research Design in Historical Research). As part of this course candidates must also submit a number of research related assignments which, taken together with the dissertation, are equivalent to approximately 30,000 words.

Email: wd2@soas.ac.uk

Structure

Learn a language as part of this programme

Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.

Core Course

Sources and Research Design in Historical Research (1.0 unit)
This course provides one-to-one training in research design and in the use of sources for a specific region under the guidance of the MA dissertation supervisor. It is assessed by 2 essays (10,000 words in total). The first is normally on source-based problems and the second on research design which is linked to the dissertation topic.

Structure of the Programme

This degree programme consists of four elements, including a 10,000-word dissertation:

  1. Sources and Research Design in Historical Research (Core course, 1.0 unit)
  2. Research Methods in History with reference to Asia and Africa (1.0 unit)
  3. Dissertation (1.0 unit)
  4. a minor course or courses (equivalent to 1.0 unit) chosen from the Minor Course Options list and/or a language course from the Faculty of Languages and Cultures.

Please note that not all the courses listed here will be available every year, and some new courses are likely to be added. 

For any queries, please contact the convener of the History MA Programme, who will also be pleased to provide more detailed information on individual courses. 

Minor Course Options

Comparative/Global
Africa
Near and Middle East
South Asia
East Asia
South East Asia

Programme Specification

Teaching & Learning

Teaching & Learning

Lectures and Seminars 

Teaching is generally by informal lectures and seminar discussions. At Masters level there is particular emphasis on seminar work where students may be expected to make full-scale presentations for units they take.

In addition to their studies on the MA programme, students at SOAS are able to participate in a wide range of research seminars, lectures and conferences that regularly take place in the School and in the University of London.

Dissertation

The 10,000 word Dissertation on an approved topic linked with one of the taught courses.

Learning Resources

SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world. The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.

Destinations

A postgraduate degree in Historical Research Methods from SOAS provides its students with an understanding of the world, giving them specialised historical knowledge and understanding of cultural sensibilities of a region.  Postgraduate students are equipped with the expertise to continue in research as well as the skills needed to enable them to find professional careers in the private and public sectors.  

Postgraduate students leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek, including familiarity with methods of research; the competence to manage large quantities of information; the ability to select and organise information and analytical skills.  A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

A Student's Perspective

For postgraduate students, the greatest attraction of SOAS is its research culture. There simply isn’t another institution with such a concentration of academic expertise on African and Asian history.

Jack Lord