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Contemporary British History MA

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This course offers you the chance to study Contemporary British History at an advanced level in a strong research environment in central London where you can choose from a wide range of options taught by experts in the field. It also includes economic, social, cultural, political and diplomatic history. Our unique course covering contemporary historiography and research methods leads to careers in research, journalism, the civil service, politics, teaching and finance.

The course information sheet is a printable version of the information on this web page, which you can download here.

Key benefits

  • Comparative approach to contemporary British history.
  • Our unique location in the heart of the British administrative centre with unrivalled access to library and archival resources and easy access to resources in Europe, as well as a wide range of contemporary history experts.
  • You attend regular research seminars in contemporary British history and have full access to the Institute of Contemporary British History’s (ICBH) other exciting activities, such as our oral history programme, history & policy, conferences and research projects.
  • Our annual residential workshop for ICBH MA and PhD students at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor Great Park.
  • Our specialist historiography and research methods course for contemporary history, including oral history, and expert dissertation supervision in contemporary political, economic, social and diplomatic history.

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 purpose

To provide you with a distinctive programme with which to proceed on to a PhD and to study contemporary British history at an advanced level, preparing you for a career both in academia and/or in journalism, the civil service, consultancy, teaching, publishing and elsewhere.

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 24 hours a week of independent study in your first year and 12-24 hours in your second year.

For your dissertation we will provide six hours of supervision and we will expect you to undertake 500-600 hours of independent 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 Higher Education Funding Council for England.


Year 1

Required Modules

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

You are required to take:

  • Britain 1900–1945: Politics, Society, Economy, Culture, International Relations (20 credits)
  • Britain since 1945: Politics, Society, Economy, Culture, International Relations (20 credits)
  • Advanced Skills for Historians (20 credits)
  • Dissertation (60 credits)
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)
  • English Exceptions since 1918 (20 credits) (History
  • Spiritual Nation: Secularization, Multiculturalism & Christianity in Britain, 1945-present (20 credits) (History)
  • Britain & Decolonization (20 credits) (History)
  • The British Empire (20 credits) (History)
  • London Calling: Colonial & Postcolonial Encounters with the Metropole (20 credits) (History)
  • From Farm to Fork: Food in Modern Britain (20 credits) (History)
  • Gender & British Society (20 credits) (History)
  • Science, War & the Nation: Britain 1900-2000 (20 credits) (History)
  • Downriver: Writing the Thames Estuary from 1890 to the Present (20 credits) (English)
  • Anglo-American Relations (20 credits) (DPE)
  • 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)

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

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 UK 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.
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 and a non-refundable application fee of £55 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

Please submit a one-page personal statement with your application, 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. Please also list the optional modules in which you are interested.

Application closing date

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible.  Our first application deadline was the 30th March 2018.  Applications will remain open if places are available and programmes will be closed as soon as they are full.  For programmes with spaces remaining, no further applications will be accepted from non-EU (Overseas) nationals after 27th July 2018 or from UK/ EU nationals after 31st August 2018.

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 UK fees: £9,900 per year (2018/19)
  • Full time overseas fees: £19,320 per year (2018/19)
  • Part time UK fees: £4,950 per year (2018/19)
  • Part time overseas fees: £9,660 per year (2018/19)

Please note: Current regulations allow some students to pay UK tuition fees on the basis of their EU citizenship or residency. Until these eligibility criteria are changed, the EU tuition fee will remain the same as the UK tuition fee. 

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 2018, payment is due by 27th April 2018.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st April 2018 and 30th June 2018, payment is due within one month of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st July 2018 and 31st July 2018, payment is due within two weeks of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer on or after 1st August 2018, 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.


Next steps

View our postgraduate guide

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

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Page last modified on 20 December 2017.