History of War, Culture and Society
War is a history of ourselves
Why take this course?
This unique programme brings to the fore an issue which lies at the heart of historical study, examining the impact of war on shaping nationhood, identity, class, gender and citizenship in European societies. It offers motivated and able students the opportunity to work with historians in their key area of expertise.
What will I experience?
On this course you can:
- Learn with one of the best history teams in the country, at present rated fifth in the National Survey of Student Satisfaction, in a location with a rich history at the centre of British military activity
- Specialise in topics including the French Revolution, the First and Second World Wars, warfare in the early modern world, the visual history of war, the history of genocide and the history of war and memory
- Undertake world class training which would support and develop careers in teaching, policy, journalism or further study
What opportunities might it lead to?
Recent history graduates from Portsmouth have gone on to pursue a range of graduate careers such as
- archive and museum work
The programme also offers a firm foundation for those who want to progress to PhD research.
The units on offer were varied both in terms of content and assessment, and I saw this as a great opportunity to investigate periods of history that I may not have done otherwise.
Piers McEwan, MA History of War, Culture and Society student 2013
- 1 year full time, 2 years part time
- A good second class honours degree or equivalent in History or a related subject, or equivalent professional experience in a relevant field, such as education or heritage. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2016/17 entry: full time: £4,700 part time: £2,350 p/a*
2016/17 entry: full time: £12,000 part time: £6,000 p/a*
*Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.
+44 (0)23 9284 8299
- School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies
- Programme specification
Structure & Teaching
Alongside your core study, you will have freedom to specialise as you receive full research management and training, as you work towards a dissertation on any war and society related theme.
The course units currently offered are:
- Introduction to War and Society, 1500–1945
- Humanities Research Skills
- War, Culture and Leisure, c. 1850–1960s
- Dissertation / Major Project
- EITHER Conflicts in Context
OR Independent Project: Humanities
Teaching and Assessment
You will experience a blend of seminar-based teaching and tutorial project support, based on meeting a tutor individually or in groups of two or three. Seminars will take place one evening a week, generally in two, two-hour sessions. Tutorials are arranged by mutual convenience and support can also be given by email. You will be given comprehensive materials for the seminars, including prepared readings necessary for participation in discussions.
As with any course of study, the MA History of War, Culture and Society will require a significant commitment of time outside formal teaching hours, for reading, preparation and assessment.
Like all Master’s degrees, especially if taken full time, the MA is a demanding course, but you will have plenty of support and guidance, given by telephone and email, to help you meet your goals.
How are you assessed?
You will also be expected to produce two or three significant pieces of work for each of the three taught seminar units, along with two project reports and your final dissertation, which itself will be in the region of 15,000 words.
Dr Karl Bell
This broad ranging course provides a stimulating exploration of the social and cultural history of warfare over five centuries. Whilst enhancing knowledge and understanding about the links between war, society, and culture it also engages with archival resources and equips postgraduate students with the skills to undertake advanced independent research.
Facilities & Features
During your studies you will have the opportunity to use two key war archives: Mass Observation Online, with revolutionary access to texts, photographs and eye-witness reports of post-blitz Britain, and Women, War and Society, a First World War collection from the Imperial War Museum comprising press cuttings, minutes and correspondence. Both of these online archives are mixed media collections and fully text searchable.
The Study Centre
A suite of rooms with a comfy seating area, desks where you can work, printers, Mac workstations and access to the wireless network so you can log in using your own laptop. There are also several study rooms where you can work on group projects, alongside access to the University 3rd Space.
Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.
Budgeting for your studies
There may be extra costs arising from your studies which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.
Some are common costs to all courses of study. These may include the cost of study texts, reference books, photocopying and computer supplies. Others relate to specific courses and may include field trips, materials and specialist equipment.
Other costs to consider
There may be travel costs for placements. These can be in the region of £50 - £1000.
Careers & Opportunities
Portsmouth has a solid reputation for graduate employability and our concern with your development is maintained throughout, with sessions emphasising the transferability of the advanced skills you will develop on the course. In addition to providing further evidence of professional commitment, for those already in educational or other professions, the intensive training in research and analysis of texts, management of large volumes of information and cogent expression of complex, analytical arguments will provide qualities valued in a wide range of professional environments.
One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degrees students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service – Purple Door – can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. Help is also available if you wish to find a part-time job while studying your degree.
We offer our postgraduate students and alumni one-to-one appointments with a careers adviser, or an online service for those not able to travel back to the University. Our alumni can call on our career services for five years after graduation.
In addition, regular employability events offer you the chance to meet employers, find out about different career sectors and improve your applications or CV. The Graduate Summer Programme provides a range of guidance and employability seminars and workshops.
Benefits of Postgraduate Study
Regardless of whether you are seeking to build on your studies, further your career or pursue a career change, a postgraduate qualification adds to your achievement record.
- Postgraduate study may greatly improve your chances of getting that first break.
- Many graduate employers prefer the higher intellectual rigour displayed in postgraduate students.
- Recruiters for roles requiring specialist knowledge or research particularly target those with higher level qualifications.
- Postgraduate study shows you can take the challenge of in-depth study; acquiring transferable skills in team working and problem solving techniques.
- If you have a passion for a particular subject, postgraduate study can also be something undertaken as part of your own development at an appropriate time in your life.
Online application form
Apply direct using our online form
Your application will be received by the University Admissions Centre for consideration.
Postgraduate Information Days
Our Postgraduate Information Days for 2016 entry have now finished.
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If you are unable to visit us, why not contact the admissions team for your course of interest via our course pages.
If you have any further enquiries about postgraduate study at Portsmouth, including advice on the Postgraduate Loan for 2016 entry plus scholarships and bursaries available visit our postgraduate pages.
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Fees and Funding
Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.