Modern European History

The MA Modern Eurpean History at Aberystwyth offers you the opportunity to study European politics and society from the early 19th century to the present, with specialists in the history of both Western and Eastern Europe whose research interests range from the uses of the past in German society to Russian diplomatic history.  The scheme also provides you with intensive training in research skills and methods for modern history, including the opportunity to develop or enhance your knowledge of a European language.

  • Key Facts
  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Employability
  • How to Apply
  • Student Views

Key Facts


One year full-time, or up to three years for part-time study

Contact Time:

Approximately 6 hours a week in the first two semesters.  During semester three you will arrange your level of contact time with your assigned supervisor.


The course is assessed through a diverse range of assignments, including the 15,000 word MA dissertation.  

Entry Requirements:

Good Undergraduate degree 2.2 (UK) (or above) equating to a mark of 56.5 or above. European and International applicants can find their grade equivalence on our comparability page. Those who are not graduates must satisfy the University that they are of the required academic standard to pursue postgraduate study.

English Language Requirements:

If you have a Bachelor’s degree from a UK University, you do not need to take an English proficiency test.

Non-native English speakers who do not meet this requirement must take a University-recognised test of academic English language proficiency. For further information please see our English Language requirements page.

Course Fees:

Please see the tuition fee pages for current tuition fees. Please note that all fees are subject to an annual increase. 


Funding opportunities may be available, please check our funding calculator for details.


Our Masters programme in Modern European History draws on our longstanding research strengths in a range of aspects of modern European history, including the history of class and mass movements, totalitarian societies, historiography and the mass media, to enable you to develop your own research interests in European history.

In Semester 1 you’ll follow a core module that addresses the concept of political culture (addressing such issues as the public sphere, community and participation, the role of the media, etc.) in the modern era.  This is followed by a range of options in Semester 2 on topics such as science and the Victorians, politics and the mass media, Anglo-American interactions, and popular memory and the Second World War. 

Alongside this study, you will benefit from specialist research training tailored to your own particular research interests: for instance, the use of public opinion data or private correspondence, visual and sound media, newspapers and broadcast sources, oral history, etc.  You will also have the opportunity to study a modern European language at either beginners or advanced level.

There are also classes to help you research and write your MA dissertation, an original research project (15,000 words) undertaken by you and written over the course of the year under the close supervision of a specialist within the Department.

All our lecturers are active researchers who publish their work, and you will benefit from being taught the latest historical theories and techniques. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014) assessment the university was placed in the top 50 institutions for research power and intensity. It submitted 77% of eligible staff and 95% of the university's research was of an internationally recognised standard.

For more information on this scheme please see the Department of History and Welsh History website.

Our Staff

Department of History and Welsh History lecturers are all qualified to PhD level, and most also have a PGCHE.

Course Content

Welsh medium modules available

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

Year 1 Core (20 Credits) you must take the following

Semester 1

Research Methods And Professional Skills In History HYM0100

Semester 2

Research Methods And Professional Skills In History HYM0120

Year 1 Core (20 Credits) you must take the following

Semester 1

Political Culture In Modern Britain, Europe And The Usa HYM5020

Year 1 Core (60 Credits) you must take the following

Semester 3

Dissertation 2 HYM1160

Year 1 Options you must take at least two of the following

Semester 1

Understanding The Cold War HYM7820

Media History: An Introduction HYM8020

Working With History HYM9900

Semester 2

Political Power And The Media In Britain HYM3120

The European Powers In The Age Of World Wars HYM3420

The Allure And The Uses Of The Past: Historical Culture In Modern Europe HYM5720

Science, Place And Victorian Culture HYM6220

Working With History HYM9920

Britain And Zion. The Arab-israeli Conflict In British Politics IPM1420

British Counterinsurgency Warfare In The Twentieth Century IPM8820

Year 1 Options you must take at least one Research Training option from the following

Semester 1

Sources For Postgraduate Research In The Modern Humanities And Social Sciences HYM1220

Information And Society ILM5120

Qualitative Data Collection And Analysis PGM1100

Semester 2

Qualitative Data Collection And Analysis PGM1120


Qualification:             Masters in Modern European History

This degree will suit you:

  • If you wish to study the formation and development of Modern Europe at an advanced academic level;
  • If you desire a strengthen your critical and scholarly abilities through engagement with historical sources;
  • If you wish explore your enthusiasm for this exciting and highly satisfying subject;
  • If you aim to foster transferable skills and engage in professional and personal development for entering employment.


Many of our Masters graduates go on to PhD study and academic careers.  Others apply their skills in heritage administration, in tourism, museums and archives, or related branches of public administration, the civil service and local government, or go on to careers in related fields such as teaching, journalism or the broadcast media.

Work placements in collaboration with the National Library of Wales, the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments in Wales, or another of the heritage agencies based in and around Aberystwyth, are available for course credit in some schemes (please contact us for further information).


Every element of the Aberystwyth Masters in Modern Europe enhances your employability.  Alongside the development of your subject-specific knowledge and experience, an especially noteworthy strength of this course is the emphasis on personal development.  As an emerging Master historian, your strengthened research and critical faculties will make you a strong candidate for any post where ideas and topics need research, analysis, discussion, expansion and classification.

Throughout the course you will demonstrate initiative and self-motivated learning, supported by the crucial self-awareness to be flexible and independently-minded.  Allied with strengthened skills in communication, you will be fully confident in framing coherent and insightful questions and expressing them in oral and written form. 

Your comprehensive awareness of the factors affecting the creation of Europe as we know it today will make you a perceptive and extremely useful employee in spheres of work which operate across Europe.  In addition, employers in every industry value such skills and the discipline of creativity, research, analysis and discussion you will undertake in this course will provide you with highly marketable skills which will, upon graduation, stand you in excellent stead for entry into the jobs market.  The organisational skills you will learn on this course will help you direct and therefore make the most of your individual flair, bringing a balance of skills that prospective employers will find attractive. 

Advanced Skills in Writing and Reporting

As the assessment for this Masters course is done through essay-writing, tutorial and seminar presentation, culminating in the 20,000 word dissertation, you will receive much practice in writing and reporting, as well as rigorous feedback on your submissions.  This will develop in you a thorough knowledge of the structure, conventions and development of written communications, which will, in turn, make your writing clear, accurate and authoritative.  These skills will stand you in good stead for your future progression into employed and academic environments. 

A host of employers look for accuracy, thoroughness, an eye for detail and the ability to find and prove connections across broad subject matter, and you certainly will have proven yourself, simply by graduating from this prestigious MA course. 

How to Apply

Postgraduate applicants can submit their application either on-line or off-line. Please see our How to Apply page for further information.

Departmental contact details 

Tel: (01970) 622841
Fax: (01970) 622676

Department of History and Welsh History
Hugh Owen Building
Penglais Campus
Aberystwyth University
SY23 3DY

If you'd like to see how we assess your application please click and watch our Application videos.

Further Information

It is important you feel at home in the Department, University and Town. Here are some links for you to explore these areas further:

Student Views

Name: Zuzana Podracka

Course: MA in Modern European History

I chose the MA in Modern European History programme because it enabled me to further pursue all my main interests, and because having taken an undergraduate module in the Department of History and Welsh History before, I knew that the approach of the Department towards both the content and the structure of the course were right for me.

The seminars are very stimulating and I have come to look forward to the Postgraduate Research Seminars – they are a great opportunity not only to engage with a wide range of lecturers presenting their research, but also to socialise with other members of the Postgraduate community.

All of the lecturers I have been taught by are supportive people who are just as keen to pass their knowledge on to you as they are keen to know what you think.

After completing my Masters I hope to embark on a PhD, and during this course I have discovered just how hard you need to work to become a respected member of a wider research community; which came to be an incredibly motivating eye-opener.