School of Humanities and Performing Arts

MRes History

Take the opportunity to pursue an individual research project of your choosing, with expert guidance and personal supervision from a member of the University’s history team. You’ll develop your knowledge of the range of research methodologies, approaches and primary source materials necessary for postgraduate research in history. The core of your work will be your thesis, based on a topic of your own devising, with proposals welcome in any period of history from 1450 to present day.

This programme is also available as a Research Masters (ResM). Further details are available on these pages.

Key features

  • Choose your own path through six centuries of human history by proposing your own research topic for your masters thesis.
  • Work closely with internationally recognised researchers* who are experts in a range of historical fields as you develop the skills that will allow you to begin a career in historical research, with the knowledge and expertise to progress onto MPhil or PhD studies.
  • Join the thriving postgraduate research community at Plymouth University with students across a vast range of arts and humanities subjects supported by the Centre for Humanities, Music and Performing Arts research (HuMPA).
  • Explore history with your friends and colleagues by joining the History Society, a lively and supportive community hosting educational and social events.
  • Discover the most up-to-date ways of studying history through our online resources including a vast eBook library. Build links with local record offices and archives, accessing opportunities to develop your expertise in the local and regional history of Plymouth and the South West.
  • Study flexibly, with the research focus of the programme meaning both the full and part-time methods of study allow you to complete a masters degree while in employment, and with little time on campus.
  • If you would like to study part time, we recommend our ResM in History. This includes the same taught modules as the MRes, and will also see you complete an extended written thesis in a subject of your choosing. Unlike the MRes you have the flexibility to submit your thesis any time between 24–36 months (two years of part-time study with 12 months to work on your thesis) or, if you are making excellent progress, you may apply to transfer directly into our PhD programme after two years, rather than submitting a ResM thesis.

* In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, 85% of the history team’s research outputs (primarily books and journal articles) were considered to be internationally recognised in terms of significance, originality and rigour.

Course details

  • Programme structure
  • You can study MRes History full-time (one year), or the ResM pathway either full time or part time (two years). Your studies will consist of three modules – two taught modules providing you with the knowledge and expertise to excel in the third, your 25,000 to 30,000 word research masters thesis on a subject of your choosing. The key debates and research methods in history module will provide you with both the knowledge and skills to conduct postgraduate historical research. The research in the arts and humanities module rounds out your knowledge further with training in research methods across the broad range of subjects within arts and humanities, giving you the capability to be flexible and original in your research. Finally, the pinnacle of your studies will be your thesis – working closely with your chosen supervisor to create and present an original piece of historical research focused on a subject of your choosing from anywhere within the past six centuries of human history.
    Core modules
    • MARE700 Research in the Arts and Humanities

      This module provides students with research skills training and a critical awareness of different methodological approaches in the arts, humanities, cultural industries and associated fields, to enable them to make appropriate choices in their own research. It is designed to complement and support individual research projects carried out by students.

    • MAHI700 Key Debates and Research Methods in History

      This module will provide students both with an understanding of current debates about approaches, theories and methodologies in History and a grounding in research skills such as locating and using primary source material and making effective use of library and database resources.

    • MARE701 Masters Thesis in the Humanities and/or Performing Arts

      This module provides the opportunity to engage in autonomous research within the humanities, performing arts and related interdisciplinary fields. Students work closely with a supervisor in order to structure and present a substantial piece of research which has been informed by appropriate methodological and critical frameworks. It is delivered via independent study, supervisory tutorials and research group discussion.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MRes History 3573

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

To join a postgraduate level history programme you will need:

  • a second-class honours degree in history or a related subject, or a professional qualification, recognised as being equivalent to degree standard 
  • an ordinary degree, foundation degree, higher national diploma, or university diploma, accompanied by substantial experience in an appropriate field.

If you possess overseas qualifications you can check their comparability with the UK equivalent through UK NARIC, who provide an advisory service.

How to apply

You should include a proposal for research on your application form. This proposal (maximum of 500 words) should outline your proposed research project, suitable for the production of a thesis of 25,000-30,000 words.

Further, if you are not a Plymouth University graduate you should also attach a sample piece of previously completed critical writing, such as an undergraduate essay (maximum 3000 words).

Your full application will be read to determine your aptitude for the programme. The suitability of your proposal in relation to the level, interest, and the ability of staff to supervise it, and the ability of the department to support your research project with appropriate resources will play a role in our decision.

More information about the history team’s particular areas of research focus is available on the research specialisms page.

Although they are very similar programmes with the same application forms and supplementary material required, the MRes and ResM History have slightly different application processes:



The MRes is a taught postgraduate programme and your application form must be sent to:

Our Admissions and Course Information team is on hand to offer help with your MRes application and can put you in touch with appropriate staff members  if you wish to discuss the programme in detail. 



The ResM is a postgraduate research programme and your application form must be sent to:

The Graduate School is available to answer any queries about our ResM programmes and any other postgraduate research degrees (such as MPhil/PhD).


Make sure that you clearly indicate at the top of your application form whether you are applying for ResM or MRes.


If you would like to discuss your application please contact the programme leader, James R. Gregory

Applying for postgraduate study

The University aims to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Information team are on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail. The Doctoral College is also available to answer any queries on our postgraduate research degrees.

Submitting an application

Apply for postgraduate study using our online postgraduate application form.

If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by the University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services website. Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office.

If you would like to speak to one of our course information advisors, please contact us:

Telephone: +44 1752 585858


Documents for downloading

ResM with the School of Humanities and Performing Arts - further details

You can also take this course as a Research Masters (ResM). With the ResM you'll have some taught elements and an extended research phase. There is the option to study full time or part time.

You may also have the opportunity to progress directly into a PhD programme.

On campus with ResM History

You can study ResM History full time or part time. While much of your study and research is self-led, there’ll still be many opportunities to work closely with the history team.

You’ll be expected to attend a number of academic-led sessions.

Find out more about contact hours and attendance requirements

Research specialisms

Explore the research specialisms listed and select one that ignites your interest. Learn more about the history team members who will be supervising your research in this area.

Select an area of research you're interested in

Graduate profile - Lucy Huggins

The MRes is challenging but extremely rewarding and I feel that it has well-equipped me for PhD studies.

History resources

From historical texts and paper-based archives to online databases and research seminars, you’ll have a whole host of history resources at your fingertips.

Academic staff