School of Society and Culture

ResM History

Are you eager to explore a historical topic in depth? The ResM (full time or part time) offers individual supervision of an extended project by staff specialising in a range of British, European and world historical fields, from 1450 to the present. This degree is designed for those with the potential for an academic career: if you make excellent progress and have your supervisor’s approval, the ResM route allows you to transfer onto our PhD programme.

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.
  • Benefit from a rich historical environment of research seminars, guest speakers with the Historical Association through the University's Arts Institute, research networks such as Plymouth University Nineteenth Century Studies (PUNCS) and links to local archives.
  • 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.
  • Flexible study allows you to complete a masters degree, full or part-time, so you can tailor your time at university to meet your needs by fitting your study around work and personal commitments
  • You will take the same modules regardless of whether you choose to study full or part-time, and will complete an extended research-based thesis in a subject of your choosing. 
  • In the full-time mode, you’ll submit your thesis between 12–18 months; in part-time mode, you’ll submit your thesis between 24–36 months (two years of part-time study with 12 months to work on your thesis).
  • With one eye on further study you may be eligible to transfer directly into our PhD programme after two years, rather than submitting a ResM thesis.
* In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, 97.6% 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
  • Year 1

    • You can study the ResM in History full time (up to 1.5 years) or part time (up to three years). 
    • Your studies will consist of three modules – two taught modules (60 credits) that must be passed, providing you with the knowledge, research skills and expertise to excel in the third, your 22,500–25,000 word research masters thesis on a subject of your choosing. 
    • The Key Debates and Research Methods in History module (MAHI700) will provide you with both the knowledge and skills to conduct postgraduate historical research. 
    • The Research Skills in the Arts, Humanities & Business module (MARE707) further broadens your knowledge, with training in methods across the broad range of subjects within the arts, humanities and business to give you the capability to be flexible and original in your research.
    • The pinnacle of your studies will be your thesis. This is an original piece of historical research focused on a subject of your choosing from anywhere within the past six centuries of human history. As an individual research project, the thesis is largely self-directed. You will be given tutorial guidance that includes clear milestones and expectations, working closely with your chosen supervisor to create and present.

    Core modules

    • Key Debates and Research Methods in History (MAHI700)

      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.

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
A 2:1 or first-class honours degree from a UK university or equivalent, or a professional qualification recognised as equivalent to a degree. Other qualifications accompanied by substantial experience in an appropriate field may also be considered. Non-standard applications will be considered on a case by case basis.
You are also required to submit a research proposal.
Please view the country specific pages for further information regarding the equivalency of your degree. International applicants will be required to provide evidence of their English language ability, for example by achieving an IELTS score of 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in each element) or equivalent. Pre-sessional English language courses are available if you do not meet these requirements.
Scholarships and bursaries are available for postgraduate taught programmes.
Fees, costs and funding
Please visit tuition fees for postgraduate research for information about fees. ResM History is in Band 2 for fees purposes.
If you are a full time student, you will pay full time fees for one year. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional six month 'writing up' period (that is, half of the 'writing up' fee indicated on this page).
If you are a part time student, you will pay part time fees for two years. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional one year 'writing up' period.
You are responsible for meeting all of the costs related to your own research project, beyond the resources available in the department.
This programme is eligible for a postgraduate loan.

Find out more about your eligibility for a postgraduate loan

You may now be eligible for a government loan of over £11,000 to help towards the cost of your masters degree.
How to apply
Submitting your application
You are strongly encouraged to contact the ResM History programme leader (Dr James Gregory) to discuss the proposed research before you apply.
Application is by project proposal and evidence that you are prepared to successfully complete this project. Your proposal must provide a suitable basis for a dissertation of 25,000 words. Your proposal should be 2,500 words maximum: setting out the scope, aims and schedule for carrying out the project (including bibliography of primary and secondary sources set out in appropriate scholarly format) and should conform to the MHRA style guidelines.
This material will be used to determine both your aptitude for the programme and the suitability of your proposed project, as well as the availability of an appropriate supervisor. We will also consider the ability of the department to support your research project with resources appropriate to your needs.
Please attach your project proposal to your application form as a separate document.
All applicants will be interviewed, either in person or by Skype/telephone, prior to being accepted onto the ResM History programme.
Complete your application and upload supporting documents to the Doctoral College by completing our online application form.
Questions on the application process?
We're here to help. Please contact the Doctoral College and we'll be happy to assist you.
You can view or download our postgraduate research admissions policy on the student regulations, policies and procedures page
If you have a disability and would like further information on the support available, please visit Disability Services.
International Student Advice (ISA) provides support for our international students.
Find more information about How to apply for a research degree.

Is a ResM the right choice for me?

The ResM is particularly well suited to you if:

  • you are in employment in the cultural and creative industries or a recent graduate and wish to proceed to doctoral (PhD) research;
  • you wish to be employed in the cultural and creative industries (such as publishing, teaching, design, the media, galleries and museums, the heritage industry, journalism, theatre, dance) and want to gain a self-directed academic qualification to lead to further career enhancement.
Because the ResM specifically prepares you to be a researcher in the arts and humanities, and to conduct an extended research project, it is particularly useful if you want to further develop academic skills, pursue particular subject enthusiasms, or carry out a cherished research project with specialist guidance.

What are the unique opportunities of studying on the ResM?

Because it’s classed as a postgraduate research programme:

  • you’ll follow the same milestones and processes as MPhil/PhD candidates, including annual monitoring, the appointment of examiners, formal acceptance of your proposal by the University, and adherence to research ethics.
  • you’ll be able to attend any sessions within the University’s Doctoral College Researcher Development Programme.
  • you’ll have a supervisory team (Director of Studies plus a second supervisor) assigned once your proposal has been accepted.
  • you may have the option to apply to transfer straight into our PhD programme, subject to certain conditions, rather than submitting for a ResM award.
You’ll have the option to study either full or part time (although we generally recommend full time for international students).

<p>Getty old key</p>

Our research community

History at Plymouth has an established tradition of internationally recognised research excellence in the fields of social and cultural history – which broadly defined encompasses expertise in early modern religion, gender and sexuality, Victorian and twentieth-century British society, politics, crime and law; modern labour history, popular politics, modern US politics and civil rights – as well as in modern political, maritime, military and diplomatic history, the British Empire and modern China and Japan. We also have research strengths in Heritage, Public History and Oral History, Eighteenth-Century Architectural History, Maritime History, and Archives and Digital Humanities.
Discover more about our research and researchers in history and art history.

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.

Japan 400. Homecoming of the <b>Clove,&nbsp;</b>Plymouth Sound


How will my thesis be examined:

  • It’s assessed by an internal examiner, who is not your supervisor, and an external examiner from another institution.
  • You’ll need to attend a viva voce. This is an oral examination where you’ll discuss your thesis with your examiners. It usually takes place between one to three months following the submission of written elements.
  • You won’t receive a percentage grade for the ResM degree.
  • You may be asked to make corrections to your thesis before being allowed to submit a final electronic version of it and being awarded your degree.
  • The award title will be a ResM and the certificate will include the title of your thesis, with no grade classification.

<p>Samurai of the Chosyu clan, during the Boshin War period (source: Wikimedia Commons)<br></p>

Samurai of the Chosyu clan, during the Boshin War period (Wikimedia Commons).

History resources

Research students have access to a host of e.resources for undertaking primary research, in addition to our large and growing collection of secondary sources on the Library’s open shelves, as e.books and e.journals, and the diverse historical material in our Rare Books collection. 

The databases are extensive but include JISC Historical Texts, covering Early English Books Online, Eighteenth Century Collections Online and Nineteenth Century Books; key newspaper sources from the Burney Newspapers collection, 19th century British Library Newspapers, Times Digital Archive to contemporary history source such as Nexis. Periodicals collections include 19th Century UK Periodicals Online, and Vogue Archive. Our specialist databases range from Victorian Popular Culture (covering such topics as spiritualism and music hall) to modern history through Mass Observation Online, while wider perspectives can be found in India, Raj and Empire, and The Grand Tour. A rich array of audio-visual sources is also available.

Academic staff