Naval History (Distance Learning) MA
MA Naval History (Distance Learning)
If you're fascinated by British naval history – from Nelson's journey to national hero status, to the Royal Navy's role in the British Empire – our MA Naval History degree course lets you transform your interest into a postgraduate qualification.
Through flexible distance learning, you'll explore 400 years of naval history, take a deep dive into the subject through our links with the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) and HMS Warrior, and get expert teaching from naval experts and curators.
You'll study subjects such as the Royal Navy's importance to British and global history, and how the navy is represented in popular culture. You'll look at Naval life from many perspectives, learn about the lives of ordinary sailors in peace and war, and examine the cult of the naval hero.
When you complete this course, you'll have expertise in British naval history and transferable skills too – like independent learning, written communication, textual analysis and time management – that'll make you an ideal candidate for PhD study, or for a career in fields like journalism, administration or archival and museum curation
MA Naval History (Distance Learning) Master's degree entry requirements
Qualifications or experience
- A good honours degree or equivalent in History or a related subject, or equivalent professional experience in a relevant field such as heritage or the navy and armed forces.
English language requirements
- English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
What you'll experience
On this course you'll:
- Have access to the archives, expertise and galleries of the NMRN, Lloyds' Register and HMS Warrior
- Make the most of our links with domestic and international maritime museums, including opportunities to go on field trips and behind the scenes tours
- Learn about key areas of Royal Navy history, from the early modern period to present day
- Develop your ability to carry out historical research and interpret multi-archive sources
- Get transferable skills which will help in your future career
- Use our extensive interactive resources, including unique primary sources, secondary literature, and video clips of experts in the field
- Use of our huge collection of digital archival material from the University Library to aid your research
- Write a dissertation based on your own research
- Be supported by staff and experts through seminars, field trips and remote learning
Lloyds' Register is an official partner to the MA Naval History course. They'll present their collections during your induction, and will host lectures and workshops during your study. You'll also enjoy privileged access to Lloyds' Register archives, once conditions allow the archive to reopen, if you wish to pursue a research project with them.
Careers and opportunities
What can you do with a Naval History degree?
The transferrable skills that you develop on this course will make you an excellent candidate for a number of careers, including:
- Archive and museum work
- Civil service
- Armed forces
Other graduates have continued their studies to PhD level or set up successful businesses with help and support from the University.
Work experience and career planning
We'll help you to identify voluntary roles and opportunities that will complement your studies.
When you complete this course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the heritage, teaching, or other related industries.
After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.
What you'll study on this MA Naval History (Distance Learning) degree course
Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.
You will need to study modules worth a total of 180 credits across 1 year (full time) or 2 years (part time). For example, 4 modules worth 30 credits and 1 module worth 60 credits.
Due to changing circumstances as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we may need to make changes to courses to ensure your safety and to ensure compliance with Government guidelines. We'll provide you with as much notice as possible of any such changes. Your course leader will inform you of these. Changes may include things such as modules being taught in teaching block 2 instead of teaching block 1 and teaching activities occurring in smaller group sizes.
Modules currently being studied
You will study the following modules:
- Naval History Research Skills
- The Wooden Walls - The Royal Navy Under Sail: 1500-1815
- Rise and Fall: Naval Hegemony and Decline: 1815-1960
- Dissertation or Major Naval History Project
- Naval History Project
We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.
Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry.
As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).
ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:
academicwriting notetaking timemanagement criticalthinking presentationskills referencing workingin groups revision, memory and exam techniques
Teaching methods on this course include:
- interactive online resources
- one-to-one feedback and guidance with lecturers
- online live/real-time virtual seminars
There are also optional activities, such as:
- opportunities to attend regular History research seminars conducted by both University of Portsmouth and external academics
- field trips - domestic and abroad
How you'll spend your time
Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:
- September to December – teaching block 1
- January – assessment period 1
- January to May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
- May to June – assessment period 2
Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday.
You’ll get a timetable 4 weeks before the start of a teaching block.
How you're assessed
You’ll be assessed through:
- document analysis
- book reviews
- 15,000 word dissertation
You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.
You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.
Tuition fees (2021 start)
UK/EU/Channel Islands/Isle of Man/International students
- Distance learning full time: £7,300
- Distance learning part time: £3,650 per year
All fees subject to annual increase.
Additional course costs
These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.
Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.
You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.
You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.
You'll need to meet the costs of any optional field trip that you take, around the UK and Europe. These costs are normally in the region of £500 - £1000.
There's an optional 1-day induction event held in Portsmouth. You'll need to cover your travel expenses if you attend.
Starting in September 2021
If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply directly to us (above) or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region. To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.
If you don’t meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
Admissions terms and conditions
When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.