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Contemporary British History MA

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Our course offers you the chance to study Contemporary British History at an advanced level in one of the top ranked History departments in Europe.

You can choose from a wide range of options taught by experts in the field, covering British economic, social, cultural, political, military, imperial, and diplomatic history, as well as the history of British science, technology and medicine.

Our course leads to careers in research, journalism, the civil service, politics, teaching and finance.

Key benefits

• One of the best history departments in the world, ranked in the top five in Europe (QS World University Rankings 2017).

• King’s graduates enjoy one of the best employment rates and starting salaries in the UK. Ranked 4th in the UK for graduate employability (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2017).

• The central London location offers students unrivalled access to world-class museums, collections, archives and libraries as well as easy access to resources in Europe.

• Vibrant research culture, including seminars and conferences hosted by the department and Kings Contemporary British History, at which students are encouraged to participate and give papers.

• Unique course ranging widely across contemporary history, historiography and research methods.

Key information

Application status Open

Duration 1 year FT / 2 years PT, September to September

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Credit value UK 180 / ECTS 90

Course intake Variable

Course leaders Professor David Edgerton

Further details

Course contact for further information

Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office
tel: +44 (0)20 7848 7000 fax: +44 (0)20 7848 7200 


Course contact form Postgraduate admissions

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Department Department of History



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Course detail


Our Contemporary British History course will provide you with training in and experience of the historical analysis of issues that are central to understanding contemporary Britain. While we focus on the study of British history over the past century, we also recognise that you can’t understand British history without reference to other countries and regions, in particular the Empire/Commonwealth, Europe and North America.

Alongside teaching you the techniques, skills and knowledge relevant to your interests and research needs, we will equip you for both independent research and analysis in primary and secondary material, and train you to write at an advanced level. We will foster your intellectual development and independent learning ability, which you will need to continue your own professional and personal development.


Course format and assessment

If you are a full-time student, we will provide you with six hours of teaching each week through lectures and seminars. We will expect you to undertake 34 hours of independent study alongside this.

If you are a part-time student, we will provide you with two to four hours a week of teaching through lectures and seminars in your first year, and two to four hours in your second year. Alongside this we will expect you to undertake 12-24 hours a week of independent study.

For your dissertation, we will give you six hours of one-to-one supervision, and we will expect you to undertake 574 hours of self-study.

Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work

We assess the majority of our modules through coursework, although modules from other departments may differ. We will assess your dissertation module through a 15,000-word essay.

Regulating body
King’s College London is regulated by the Office for Students.


Year 1

Courses are divided into modules. You will normally take modules totalling 180 credits.
Required Modules

You are required to take:

• Advanced Skills for Historians (20 credits)
• Britain 1900–1945: Politics, Society, Economy, Culture, International Relations (20 credits)
• Britain since 1945: Politics, Society, Economy, Culture, International Relations (20 credits)
• Dissertation (60 credits)

Part-time students typically take the required taught modules and one optional module in Year 1 and two optional modules and the dissertation in Year 2.

Optional Modules

In addition, you are required to take three modules (totalling 60 credits) from a range that typically includes the following from History and other departments:

  • The Provisional IRA (20 credits) (History)
  • The British Empire (20 credits) (History)
  • Britain & Decolonisation (20 credits) (History)
  • London Calling: Colonial & Postcolonial Encounters with the Metropole (20 credits) (History)
  • Gender & British Society (20 credits) (History)
  • Science, War & the Nation: Britain 1900–2000 (20 credits) (History)
  • Patriotism and National Identities in Britain 1870-1914 (20 credits) (History)
  • The Treasury (20 credits)
  • No. 10 Downing Street and the History of the Prime Minister I 1945-79: Lessons in Leadership from Attlee and Churchill (20 credits)
  • No. 10 Downing Street and the History of the Prime Minister II: Lessons in Leadership from Thatcher and Blair to Cameron (20 credits)
  • The Blair Years (20 credits)
  • Anglo-American Relations (20 credits) (Department of Political Economy)
  • Britain & the Cold War (20 credits) (DPE)
  • Election Campaigning, Public Opinion & Politics in Britain 1945–2010 (20 credits) (DPE)
  • History & Policy: Policymaking Under Pressure (20 credits) (DPE)
  • Parties, Voters & Political Culture in Britain 1945–2000 (20 credits) (DPE)
  • Welfare and the State in Britain 1900-1945 (20 credits) (DPE)
  • Welfare and the State in Britain since 1945 (20 credits) (DPE)

Other modules from the History Department and other departments may be taken in consultation with the course convenor.

King’s College London reviews the modules offered on a regular basis to provide up-to- date, innovative and relevant courses of study. Therefore, modules offered may change. We suggest you keep an eye on the course finder on our website for updates.

Entry requirements & how to apply

Contemporary British History Entry Requirements
Minimum requirements   2:1

 2:1 undergraduate degree in history, politics or a relevant discipline, eg public policy, law or social science.

Evidence of achievement of an academic level comparable to at least 2:1 honours standard through past studies, and where previous study, work or experience (eg in government or NGO service) has made the applicant a suitable candidate, will also be considered.

In order to meet the academic entry requirements for this programme you should have a minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree with a final mark of at least 60% or above in the UK marking scheme. If you are still studying you should be achieving an average of at least 60% or above in the UK marking scheme.

International requirements   Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English Language requirements Band C Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.


Application procedure

Applications must be made online using King’s online application portal apply.kcl.ac.uk and a non-refundable application fee of £60 applies.

We may wish to interview applicants, either in person or over the phone if they are normally resident overseas. Once references and transcripts are received, we aim to process all applications within four to six weeks although this may take longer in February, March and over holiday periods.

Personal statement and supporting information

You will be asked to submit the following documents in order for your application to be considered:

Personal Statement  Yes A personal statement of up to 4,000 characters (maximum 2 pages) is required, explaining why you wish to apply for this programme and why you feel it matches your interests, academic background and, if relevant, your career plans.
Previous Academic Study Yes A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing the subjects studied and marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. Applicants with academic documents issued in a language other than English, will need to submit both the original and official translation of their documents.
References Yes Two references are required with at least one academic. Professional references will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago.
Other Optional Applicants may wish to include a CV (Resume) or evidence of professional registration as part of their application


Application closing date

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible.  Our first application deadline is the 29 March 2019.  Applications will remain open if places are available and programmes will be closed as soon as they are full. 

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

Preparation courses

Fees and funding

  • Full time Home/EU fees: £9,990 per year (2019/20)
  • Full time overseas fees: £21,300 per year (2019/20)
  • Part time Home/EU fees: £4,995 per year (2019/20)
  • Part time overseas fees: £10,650 per year (2019/20)

Students starting their programme in 2019/20 who are eligible to pay EU fees will pay the same rate of tuition fees as UK students. This will apply for the duration of their programme, but may be subject to change by the UK Government for subsequent cohorts from 2020/21.

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.


When you receive an offer for this course you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit to secure your place. The deposit will be credited towards your total fee payment.

The UK/EU deposit is £500.

The INTERNATIONAL deposit is £2,000. 

  • If you receive an offer on or before 31st March 2019, payment is due by 27th April 2019.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st April 2019 and 30th June 2019, payment is due within one month of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st July 2019 and 31st July 2019, payment is due within two weeks of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer on or after 1st August 2019, payment is due within one week of receiving the offer.

If you are a current King’s student in receipt of the King's Living Bursary you are not required to pay a deposit to secure your place on the programme. Please note, this will not change the total fees payable for your chosen programme.


Additional costs/expenses

In addition to your tuition fees, you can also expect to pay for: 

  • Books if you choose to buy your own copies 
  • Library fees and fines 
  • Personal photocopies 
  • Printing course handouts 
  • Society membership fees 
  • Stationery 
  • Printing and binding two hard copies of your dissertation
  • Travel costs for travel around London and between campuses
  • Graduation costs

Please visit our web pages on fees and funding for more information.

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.

Career prospects

Our graduates develop the skills and knowledge to pursue further research in our Department or transfer them to careers elsewhere, such as the civil service, teaching, in journalism and politics.


Next steps

View our postgraduate guide

Learn more about postgraduate degree programmes at King's. Download or view our guide in PDF format.

Download guide

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