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MA History part 2

MA History part 2 is primarily focused on the planning and writing of a dissertation and will build on skills and knowledge gained from MA History part 1 (A825). The dissertation tests your ability to present a sustained academic argument in clear, logical prose. You’re not expected to make an original contribution to scholarly knowledge, but you must demonstrate an understanding of work done in the subject area, with a thorough survey of primary and secondary sources. Your tutor will support you in the development of your work.

Vocational relevance

When combined with successful completion of MA History part 1 (A825), this module will provide you with theoretical and practical training in major themes in local and regional history, research methods, project planning and writing a dissertation. It will be valuable if you have, or are planning, a career as a teacher, librarian, museum or heritage professional, or have an interest in the subject and want to develop your historical skills. Careers where history would be useful include journalism, writing, and careers in the civil service or public administration. History can open up options to a wide range of careers.


A826 is a compulsory module in our:

Some postgraduate qualifications allow study to be chosen from other subject areas. We advise you to refer to the relevant qualification descriptions for information on the circumstances in which this module can count towards these qualifications because from time to time the structure and requirements may change.

Excluded combinations

Sometimes you will not be able to count a module towards a qualification if you have already taken another module with similar content. To check any excluded combinations relating to this module, visit our excluded combination finder or check with an adviser before registering.


Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level
OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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What you will study

Your dissertation must be related to the work you carried out for your end-of-module assessment in MA History Part 1 (A825). Your tutor will help you to decide what is feasible.

While the work you produce will not be expected to be entirely original (originality of that kind is a requirement for a PhD), you will be expected to undertake a survey of the relevant primary and secondary sources and to be up to date with recent publications on your chosen subject. You must, however, base your research on primary sources. Your dissertation must be well written and must show that you are confident in creating the scholarly apparatus necessary to support your argument, using the Modern Humanities Research Association (MHRA) conventions.

The first task for A826 will be the production of an outline proposal with relevant bibliography, to be discussed with and approved by your tutor and the Examination and Assessment Board. Your tutor will provide feedback and recommend any necessary revisions. You will next provide a full dissertation plan and sample chapter upon which your tutor will provide further feedback. You will then draw on this guidance to produce your dissertation, which will be an independent research thesis of 15,000 words. This will be assessed by your tutor and a second marker. Their recommendations will help to determine the result awarded by the Examination and Assessment Board.

You will learn

This is the second part of a two-part programme, which, continuing from part 1, will:

  • provide you with further advanced training in the postgraduate study of history, develop the skills you acquired in part 1 and enable you to apply them in a research project and dissertation
  • further enhance your knowledge and understanding of key issues in the study of history, of how to conduct research and of how history is communicated in a scholarly fashion
  • provide further advanced training in research methods and hands on experience for a clearly defined project
  • enable you to present your findings in a dissertation showing how your research relates to one or other of the course themes and to historical discourse generally.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Your tutor will help you decide upon a suitable dissertation topic and provide feedback on drafts of your work at set points in the module. Your tutor will also support you via online forums (on the A826 website), or by email or telephone as appropriate. There is one national day school where you can meet your tutor.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

You must submit your dissertation in hard copy, according to the instructions you will receive during the module.

Course work includes

2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Course satisfaction survey

See the satisfaction survey results for this course.

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in May 2015 and May 2016. We expect it to be available once a year.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

Entry requirements

Normally you must have completed MA History part 1 (A825) before you take this module.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

Outside the UK

While it would be theoretically possible to study elsewhere, the module has as its prime target those wishing to study in Britain and Ireland. You will need physical access to historical records (such as those held in libraries, archives or record offices) within Britain or Ireland to complete the module.


Start End England fee Register
07 May 2016 Jan 2017 £1840.00

Registration closes 30/01/16 (places subject to availability)

This module is expected to start for the last time in May 2022.

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

Ways to pay

We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options. To find out more see Fees and funding.

Study materials

What's included

You will receive a Dissertation Guide explaining some of the general processes involved in writing at postgraduate level. You will have access to a dedicated website, including online forums, and electronic resources via the Open University Library.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this module as the study materials and activities are accessible via a web browser. Any other computer-based activities you will need to carry out, such as word processing, using spreadsheets, taking part in online forums, and submitting files to the university for assessment, are specified in the module materials. If any additional software is needed for these tasks it will either be provided or is freely available.

We recommend either of the following:

  • Windows desktop or laptop computer running Windows 7 or later operating system
  • Macintosh desktop or laptop computer running OS X 10.7 or later operating system.

A netbook, tablet, smartphone or Linux computer that supports one of the browsers listed below may be suitable. The screen size should be at least 1024 (H) x 768 (W) pixels. If you intend to use one of these devices please ensure you have access to a suitable desktop or laptop computer in case you are unable to carry out all the module activities on your mobile device.

We recommend a minimum 1 Mbps internet connection and any of the following browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 9 and above
  • Apple Safari 7 and above
  • Google Chrome 31 and above
  • Mozilla Firefox 31 and above.

Note: using the latest version for your browser will maximise security when accessing the internet. Using company or library computers may prevent you accessing some internet materials or installing additional software.

See our Skills for OU study website for further information about computing skills for study and educational deals for buying Microsoft Office software.

If you have a disability

Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader. Alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future.

During your studies you will need to use suitable primary historical data sources (such as local archives). These may not be available as online resources; in which case, you may need to arrange physical access to their location (such as a library or other public record office).

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our services for disabled students.