Mode of Study

Full-time by distance learning, Part-time by distance learning

Duration

1 year full-time distance learning, 2 years part-time distance learning

Start date

September 2023

Overview

Transform your love of naval and maritime history into a versatile postgraduate qualification on this Master's in Naval History, all from the home of the Royal Navy.

Thanks to our partnerships with the National Museum of the Royal Navy, the HMS Warrior and other key maritime heritage institutions, you'll have digital or in-person access to a treasure trove of expertise, archives and galleries to enrich your studies.

With the entire course online via distance learning, you can choose to study full-time over a year or part-time over two years, if you're looking to study alongside work or military service.

You'll embark on a deep dive into the global legacy of developments in the naval domain from 1508 to 1960. Considering factors from strategic to sociological, technological to cultural, you'll explore subject areas including the role of the Women’s Royal Naval Service during the Second World War, debates around the naval battle at Jutland, how Nelson won at Trafalgar, and what contributed to the Boston Tea Party.

You'll learn from a team of naval experts and historical curators who share your passion for the field, and analyse topics with a diverse cohort of fellow students from all around the world.

When you graduate, you'll have specialist expertise in naval history as well as enhanced career-ready skills in critical analysis, research, source evaluation and writing. You'll be an ideal candidate for PhD study, or for roles in fields such as journalism, education, museum curation, or the Armed Forces.

Eligibility

This course accepts UK, EU, and international students.

97%

Agree this course challenged them to produce their best work

(Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2022)

97%

Satisfied with the quality of the course

(Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2022)

Course highlights

  • Immerse yourself in a rich exploration of naval history, into areas such as the European Imperial expansion, the birth of the United States, and the role of the sea in the English Civil War, the Spanish Armada, the reign of King Henry VIII and the disappearance of the Mary Rose
  • Enjoy digital or in-person access to the collections of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, the HMS Warrior, Lloyd's Register Foundation, the Legasee Educational Trust, and the Wellington Trust, and have the chance to get involved in research projects, field trips and behind-the-scenes tours
  • Hear from expert guest lecturers, such as Dr Edward Hampshire from the Royal Navy’s Naval Historical Branch, and opt to attend history research seminars conducted by the University and external academics
  • Develop your ability to carry out historical research and interpret multi-archive sources using our extensive interactive library, including unique primary sources, secondary literature, and video clips of experts in the field
  • Build a network of fellow naval historians and, once you graduate, join our naval history alumni group
  • Choose an area of naval history to explore in-depth for your dissertation or research project

Benefits of distance learning

  • Work from anywhere, at your own pace, in your own time – with interactive online learning materials hosted on our virtual learning environment, Moodle, and available 24/7 on any device – find out how distance learning works
  • Access to over 600,000 ebooks, 55,000 online journals, digital newspapers and a postal loan service from our University Library – see all library support for distance learners
  • Invitations to online forums where you can discuss your studies with other students and your lecturers
  • Access to all student support services via email, phone, online chat or video call

What you'll study on this MA Naval History (Distance Learning) degree course

Full-time

All modules on this MA Naval History degree are core.

What you'll learn
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Interpret a broad range of primary source material and critically assess their value in relation to our understanding of the relevant historical context.
  • Produce an extended written argument displaying advanced analysis and critical evaluation of primary and secondary sources, relating to early modern naval history to 1815.

Explore this module

What you'll learn
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Critically review the historical scholarship on the history of the navy and its relationship with British and other societies during the modern period.
  • Locate, interpret and critically evaluate primary source material and relate it to relevant secondary literature.
  • Synthesise primary and secondary sources, demonstrating an advanced appreciation of historiographical debates and interpretation.
  • Develop and effectively communicate an extended and coherent written argument.

Explore this module

What you'll learn
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Select, design and justify, in conjunction with a supervisor, an independent project within a defined area of naval, maritime or coastal history.
  • Prepare a project plan, incorporating appropriate use of source materials, reflection on methodological approaches and pertinent historiographical debates.
  • Reflect critically on written feedback offered on their plan and tutorial guidance received during the process of developing their final project portfolio
  • Produce a research-based project portfolio (informed by feedback given for the plan and tutor - supported, self-directed study) that meets the research objectives of the specific project.

Explore this module

What you'll learn
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Critically analyse and evaluate historiographical issues and debates in naval history.
  • Reflect critically on feedback for previous work, and develop effective strategies for improvement.
  • Demonstrate appropriately advanced skills in connecting critical approaches to historiography with the possibilities of archival research.
  • Prepare informative materials including visual presentation materials and accompanying script in relation to a range of aspects of the syllabus.

Explore this module

What you'll learn
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Plan, execute and present a substantial dissertation/project in naval history according to the specification provided.
  • Justify, deploy and critically evaluate advanced techniques of analysis and enquiry within an ethical framework.
  • Systematically interpret complex issues from literature, current research and other data and communicate conclusions coherently and appropriately for either the academic or workplace community.
  • Review and identify the potential for new hypotheses and/or insights and ongoing study.

Explore this module

Part-time

All modules on this MA Naval History degree are core.

What you'll learn
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Interpret a broad range of primary source material and critically assess their value in relation to our understanding of the relevant historical context.
  • Produce an extended written argument displaying advanced analysis and critical evaluation of primary and secondary sources, relating to early modern naval history to 1815.

Explore this module

What you'll learn
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Critically review the historical scholarship on the history of the navy and its relationship with British and other societies during the modern period.
  • Locate, interpret and critically evaluate primary source material and relate it to relevant secondary literature.
  • Synthesise primary and secondary sources, demonstrating an advanced appreciation of historiographical debates and interpretation.
  • Develop and effectively communicate an extended and coherent written argument.

Explore this module

What you'll learn
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Select, design and justify, in conjunction with a supervisor, an independent project within a defined area of naval, maritime or coastal history.
  • Prepare a project plan, incorporating appropriate use of source materials, reflection on methodological approaches and pertinent historiographical debates.
  • Reflect critically on written feedback offered on their plan and tutorial guidance received during the process of developing their final project portfolio
  • Produce a research-based project portfolio (informed by feedback given for the plan and tutor - supported, self-directed study) that meets the research objectives of the specific project.

Explore this module

All modules on this MA Naval History degree are core.

What you'll learn
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Critically analyse and evaluate historiographical issues and debates in naval history.
  • Reflect critically on feedback for previous work, and develop effective strategies for improvement.
  • Demonstrate appropriately advanced skills in connecting critical approaches to historiography with the possibilities of archival research.
  • Prepare informative materials including visual presentation materials and accompanying script in relation to a range of aspects of the syllabus.

Explore this module

What you'll learn
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Plan, execute and present a substantial dissertation/project in naval history according to the specification provided.
  • Justify, deploy and critically evaluate advanced techniques of analysis and enquiry within an ethical framework.
  • Systematically interpret complex issues from literature, current research and other data and communicate conclusions coherently and appropriately for either the academic or workplace community.
  • Review and identify the potential for new hypotheses and/or insights and ongoing study.

Explore this module


Changes to course content

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. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

Studying MA Naval History was a very good experience, as it really helped me to develop analytical and writing skills needed for my future career path. I also liked the fact that I was able to study the course from a more global perspective. One of the best things was the feedback of my lecturers, as it was constructive and helped me to improve my skills where necessary.

Anna-Lena Schneider, MA Naval History

Careers and opportunities

Careers this Master’s prepares you for

This MA in Naval History will enable you to fully understand the role naval activity has played in shaping the world as we know it, as well as Britain’s place within it and the context of geopolitics today.

Armed with this knowledge and the higher-level research and analytical skills you'll gain, you'll be ready to seek promotion in your current role or military career, or to pursue senior positions in charities, financial institutions, publications, and maritime and heritage organisations. You could also continue your studies to PhD level.

Graduates of this course have gone onto areas such as:

  • journalism
  • law
  • teaching
  • administration
  • archive and museum curation
  • research
  • PhD study 

Graduates of this course have gone on to work for organisations such as the:

  • Civil Service
  • Armed Forces

Career planning

During your course you'll have expert career support from your tutors and from our Careers and Employability Centre, which you can access for 5 years after you graduate.

Female student standing at careers and employability help desk

You'll benefit from:

  • Networking events
  • 1-to-1 appointments  
  • CV and cover letter advice
  • Interview preparation and practice
  • Workshops to enhance your employability skills
  • Recruitment events including the Student and Graduate Opportunities Fair
  • Support starting your own business

Learn more about your career support

How you'll spend your time

We recognise that you'll probably be juggling more demands when you do your Master's degree, as you may be working or you may have family responsibilities.

We'll give you as much indication here as we can of how much time you'll need to spend in online lectures and seminars and how many hours you can expect to spend in self-directed study, but please note that these indications are always subject to change.

Course structure

This Master's degree will take:

  • 1 year (full-time study)
  • 2 years (part-time study) 

You can expect:

  • 12 live online seminars for each taught module you study, with each held at two different times so as many students as possible can attend. These will also be recorded for later viewing or if students are unable to attend a session. All core material is available online at all times so you can create your own study schedule around work or other commitments.
  • 36 hours of independent study each week if you study full-time, or 18 hours each week if you study part-time.

In the last 3 months of the course you'll be focusing on your research project.

Teaching

Master's study is deeper and more specialised than an undergraduate degree. This means you'll focus on something that really matters to you and your career as you work closely with academics committed to the subject.

You'll spend more time in independent study and research than you did for your undergraduate degree.

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • interactive online resources
  • one-to-one feedback and guidance with lecturers
  • online live/real-time virtual seminars

This Master's in Naval History is delivered by supported distance learning. You will receive high-quality course materials via Moodle, our online learning environment.

You'll get to chat with fellow students, discuss and present your work and keep in touch with tutors. You'll get plenty of support throughout your studies, including help on writing and structuring essays, and how to undertake research.

You'll need access to a computer and a web connection. You may be able to access some of the resources through a tablet or smartphone, with limited functionality. You don't need to be especially computer literate, although typing skills are useful.

Assessment

You'll be assessed through:

  • essays
  • document analysis
  • book reviews
  • 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.

Teaching staff

These are some of the expert staff who'll teach you on this course:

Emily Claire Walsh Portrait

Media ready expert

Dr Matthew Heaslip

Senior Lecturer

matthew.heaslip@port.ac.uk

School of Area Studies History Politics and Literature

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

PhD Supervisor

Read more
Cathryn Jean Pearce Portrait

Media ready expert

Dr Cathryn Pearce

Senior Lecturer

cathryn.pearce@port.ac.uk

School of Area Studies History Politics and Literature

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Read more

Term dates

September start

The Master's academic year runs from September to the following September. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter. Over the summer you'll be writing your project/dissertation.

See key dates

Facilities

You'll have digital or in-person access to the historical collections of the following maritime heritage organisations during your studies.

28/05/2021.B-Roll Day 4 - University of Portsmouth..All Rights Reserved - Helen Yates- T: +44 (0)7790805960.Local copyright law applies to all print & online usage. Fees charged will comply with standard space rates and usage for that country, region or state.28/05/2021.B-Roll Day 5 - University of Portsmouth..All Rights Reserved - Helen Yates- T: +44 (0)7790805960.Local copyright law applies to all print & online usage. Fees charged will comply with standard space rates and usage for that country, region o

National Museum of the Royal Navy

Explore the archives of the NMRN, the most comprehensive collection of Royal Navy heritage in the UK, which chart how the service helped shape the modern world through stories of courage and determination, enterprise and endeavour, heroism and sacrifice.

Explore the museum

Sam Shaw; 11th June 2019; Portsmouth Photoshoot

HMS Warrior

Discover the history of Britain's first iron-hulled armoured battleship, launched in 1860 and once the largest and fastest of all Royal Navy ships, as well as her influence on warship design and what life at sea was like in the Victorian Navy.

Find out more about HMS Warrior

History student examines historical record. BA (Hons) History.

Lloyd's Register Foundation

Attend online lectures and workshops hosted by the Lloyd's Register Foundation during your studies and enjoy privileged access to its digital archive library of ship plans, survey reports, statistical tables, books and journals.

Visit the foundation

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BY REQUESTING THIS PHOTO, YOU ARE AGREEING TO THESE TERMS.

Legasee Educational Trust

Delve into Legasee's collection of veteran videos interviews and personal accounts to hear about modern naval history from the people who made it.

View Legasee's video archive

The Wellington Trust

Discover how the Wellington Trust preserve the decommissioned warship HQS Wellington and the history of the Merchant Navy. 

Learn more about the Wellington Trust

Supporting your learning

Master's study is more focused on independent learning than undergraduate study, but you'll get lots of support via video and phone from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to postgraduate study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your Master's.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning development tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • Improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • Delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • Understanding and using assignment feedback
  • Managing your time and workload
  • Revision and exam techniques

As well as support from faculty 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:

  • Academic writing
  • Note taking
  • Time management
  • Critical thinking
  • Presentation skills
  • Referencing
  • Working in groups
  • Revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone, or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

The Maths Café offers advice and assistance with mathematical skills in a friendly, informal environment. You can come to our daily drop-in sessions, develop your maths skills at a workshop or use our online resources.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (September 2023 start)

  • Full-time: £8,500
  • Part-time: £4,250 per year

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time: £8,500
  • Part-time: £4,250 per year
  • Full-time: £8,500
  • Part-time: £4,250 per year

University of Portsmouth graduates may receive a 20% alumni tuition fee discount

Fees are subject to annual increase. Read our tuition fees terms and conditions.

You'll be able to pay your fees in instalments. Find out how to pay your tuition fees.

Funding your studies

Explore how to fund your studies, including available scholarships and bursaries.

If you're a UK student, you may be eligible for a Government Postgraduate Master's Loan, which you can use to help with course fees and living costs.

If you're a UK student who achieved a first in your undergraduate degree you may be eligible for a £3,000 University of Portsmouth scholarship.

Loans, scholarships and bursaries

Browse funding such as the Government Postgraduate Loan, our scholarships for new and returning students, and subject specific loans.

Explore funding

Funding for international students

Learn more about sponsorships, scholarships and loans for students applying from outside of the UK.

international business students
Discover your options

Fees and funding for postgraduate taught courses

Discover how you can fund your postgraduate studies at Portsmouth – including loans, scholarships and bursaries – and read our guidance on topics like how to budget, and how to get support if you're disabled or have dependents.

Explore funding

Additional 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. Additional costs could include:

  • Recommended reading: You can borrow key texts from the library and if you choose to purchase these texts they may cost up to £60 each.
  • General costs: such photocopying, memory sticks, printing charges, binding and specialist printing. We suggest budgeting £75 per year.
  • Final project transport or accommodation: where necessary, which relate to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

Read more about tuition fees, including what your tuition fees cover.

Entry requirements

Eligibility

This course accepts UK, EU, and international students.

September 2023

  • A minimum of a second-class honours degree or equivalent in History or a related subject (such as International Relations, War Studies, Journalism), or equivalent professional experience in a relevant field such as heritage or the navy and armed forces.

Please get in touch if you're not sure if your undergraduate subject is relevant to this degree.

Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will also be considered, such as military service, previous study, employment, voluntary work and training courses, including courses and qualifications you didn't complete. Learn more about our Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

If you're applying as an international student with a non-UK degree, you’ll need to show you meet the UK entry requirements listed above.

To find out if your non-UK degree or other qualification is accepted, please visit our page for your country and view the UK equivalent of your qualification. 

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 (or equivalent) with no component score below 6.0.

You do not need an IELTS or equivalent certification if:

  • you have a UK degree
  • you have a degree from a majority English speaking country (not taught by Distance Learning)
  • you are a national of a majority English speaking country

Degrees taught solely in English from non-majority English speaking countries will be considered on a case by case basis. Find out more about our English language requirements.

If you do not 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.

How to apply

Unlike undergraduate applications, which go through UCAS, applications for this Master's course are made directly to us. 

There's no deadline for applications to this course. We accept applications right up until the start date in September, as long as there are places available. If you wait until September to apply, you may find that the course is full. 

You can find more advice about applying in our Master's application checklist. Current students and recent graduates of the University of Portsmouth and international students also have some different application options, which are detailed below.

Extra information for international students

If you're an international student, you can apply directly to us using the same application form as UK students.

You could also 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.

Ready to apply?

Standard applications

Start this course in September 2023

Apply now (Full-time) – 1 year

Apply now (Part-time) – 2 years

I'm a current Portsmouth student, or a recent Portsmouth graduate

If you're currently in your final year of study at Portsmouth, or you graduated since July 2021, you're eligible to make a fast track application. You'll have:

  • a shorter application form to complete
  • access to the 20% Alumni fee discount
  • a guaranteed conditional offer, for most Master's courses 

Learn more about fast track

After you apply

Once we receive your application, we may ask you for further information. We will then either make you an offer or suggest alternatives if your application is unsuccessful.

You'll usually get a decision within 10 working days, so you shouldn't have to wait too long. Some courses have an interview stage – we'll let you know if you need to prepare for one.

Learn more about how we assess your application.

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.