School of Humanities and Performing Arts

Maritime History

What is maritime history and why does it matter? Study for our MA Maritime History at the University of Plymouth and you will have the opportunity to grapple with these and other key debates in history. Plymouth’s long and storied relationship with the sea makes it the perfect location to explore five centuries of maritime history from the Spanish Armada of 1588 through to questions around the continued importance of sea power and navies in the modern world.

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Find out more about your eligibility for a postgraduate loan

You may now be eligible for a government loan of over £10,000 to help towards the cost of your masters degree.

Find out more about your eligibility for a postgraduate loan

Alumni loyalty reward for postgraduate study

  • a 20% discount on home/EU tuition fees
  • or a £2,000 discount on international tuition fees.

For further details, and contact information, please review our alumni discount policy.

Key features

  • Study Maritime History in Britain’s Ocean City and explore more than five centuries of fascinating maritime history.
  • Work with world leading experts in maritime history from 1500 to the present day to develop your interests and research.
  • Be part of a community of maritime historians who are shaping the future of the field with cutting edge research and publications.
  • Develop your analytical skills with our exciting range of maritime and naval history modules.
  • Showcase your research skills with a dissertation on a maritime history topic of your choice.
  • Make the most of our excellent maritime history resources and partners in the University Library, The Box and wider city of Plymouth and region.
  • Work with local and national maritime organisations; enjoy a wide range of field trips to sites of interest.
  • Our MA is designed for a range of applicants including recent graduates and those with a broad interest in maritime history.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • You can study MA Maritime History full time over one year or part time split across two years. 

    Your studies consist of four modules, two of which are core: key debates and research methods in history – an assessment of current trends and methodologies in the discipline of history, and public history – an examination of the theory and practice of how the past is presented to public audiences. 

    You supplement these with two option modules, where you select the areas of history that interest you the most as you choose from the research specialisms of the history team.*

    The programme culminates in an independently researched MA History dissertation.

    Core modules

    • Key Debates and Research Methods in History
    • Key Research Methods in Maritime History
    • MA History Dissertation

    Optional modules

    • Piracy and Privateering, 1560-1816
    • Seapower in History
    • Anglo-American Relations in Maritime Perspective, 1775-1991
    • Maritime Explorations and Encounters
    • Independent Research Project in History

Entry requirements

An honours degree in history or a related subject, or a professional qualification recognised as being equivalent to a degree. 

Or an ordinary degree, foundation degree, higher national diploma or university diploma, accompanied by substantial experience in an appropriate field. References from previous university, employer or similar.

We are happy to chat to prospective applicants about their qualifications and suitability for this programme – so please do get in touch. 

If you possess overseas qualifications you can check their comparability with the UK equivalent through UK NARIC, who provide an advisory service. International students: IELTS score of 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in each element).

Fees, costs and funding

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

New Student 2019 2020
Home/EU N/A £7,800
International N/A £14,800
Part time (Home/EU) N/A £450
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

Alumnus loyalty reward for postgraduate study

The University applies a discretionary alumni reward where alumnus meet certain criteria on particular postgraduate taught courses.

  • a 20% discount on home/EU tuition fees
  • or a £2,000 discount on international tuition fees.

PGCE programmes, Master of Architecture, MChem, MEng, MGeol, MPsych, MSci, ResM, MSc Psychology, MSc Advanced Psychology, MSc Clinical Psychology, MSc Occupational Therapy, MSc Environmental Consultancy, MSc Sustainable Aquaculture and postgraduate research degrees are not included in this reward. Please note that students must have applied directly to be eligible.

For further details, and contact information, please review our alumni discount policy.

Postgraduate scholarships for international students

We offer several scholarships for international students who wish to study postgraduate taught (PGT) degree programmes.

Find out about the postgraduate scholarships available to you as an international student

How to apply

When to apply

Most of our taught programmes begin in September. Applications can usually be made throughout the year, and are considered until programmes are full. 

Before you apply

Familiarise yourself with the information required to complete your application form. You will usually be required to supply:
  • evidence of qualifications (degree certificates or transcripts), with translations if not in English, to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements
  • evidence of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language
  • a personal statement of approximately 250-400 words about the reasons for your interest in the course and outlining the nature of previous and current related experience. You can write this into the online application form, or include it as a separate document
  • your curriculum vitae or résumé, including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience, professional registration/s and visa status for overseas workers
  • proof of sponsorship, if applicable.
If you require further information take a look at our application guidance.

Disability services

If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services website. 

International students

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Submitting an application

Once you are happy that you have all of the information required you can apply using our online postgraduate application form (the blue 'Apply now' icon on this page).

What happens after I apply?

You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeks of us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information; two academic/professional references, confirming your suitability for the course; or to take part in an interview (which in the case of overseas students may be by telephone or video conference) and you will be sent a decision by letter or email.

We aim to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Enquiries team is on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail.

If you would like any further information please contact the Admissions and Course Enquiries team:

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858
Email: admissions@plymouth.ac.uk 

Admissions policy

More information and advice for applicants can be referenced by downloading our Student Admissions Policy Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.

Featured module: Piracy and Privateering in the British Isles, c. 1560-1816

The history of piracy has become mired in cliché and in many people’s minds fact and fiction have become blurred.

This module aims to explore the reality of piracy and privateering activity in the seas around the British Isles and further afield.

Find out more about the module

Dr Elaine Murphy - Maritime History

Dr Elaine Murphy talks about her research into the British Civil Wars in the 1640s and 1650 and the role of women in naval history.

Dr Harry Bennett - Second World War

Dr Harry Bennett talks about his research into Second World War coastal convoys. This feeds through into his second year module on the Second World War in Europe from Dunkirk to D-Day.

The Box: Plymouth's heritage hub

Postgraduate history students will be able to benefit from the new flagship heritage centre in Plymouth, called The Box. This will bring together the Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery, Plymouth and West Devon Record Office, South West Film and Television Archive and South West Image Bank, in one exciting heritage hub.

<p>The Box -&nbsp;image courtesy of Plymouth City Council</p>
<p>The Box - image courtesy of Plymouth City Council<br></p>

MA Maritime History team