Skip to content

Toggle service links
You are viewing information for England.  Change country.

MA in History


This degree course is based around the study of British and Irish local and regional history between 1750 and 1950. Using our world-class collection of online primary source materials you will be encouraged to produce an independent research project on a topic of your choice. It will suit you if you have the appropriate entry qualifications, a passion for history and are looking for an intellectual challenge.

Planning your studies

You must hold an honours degree to study for our MA in History course. Your degree need not be in history, but you must have the basic skills expected of a graduate in that area. The first module brings you up to date with the latest ideas and approaches in history but does not offer remedial undergraduate training for those without a history-related bachelors degree or inadequate experience.

If you do not hold an honours degree then the Advanced Diploma in Local History (COXR305), offered in collaboration with the Oxford University Department of Continuing Education is accepted as an alternative entry qualification to this degree. This course would provide suitable preparation if your degree is not in history or a closely related subject (for further information please visit our collaborative schemes website).

In all cases before you enter the degree you should be confident that you will be able to:

  • write clear, concise, grammatically correct and accurately spelt prose
  • read large quantities of text quickly, accurately and critically
  • identify different types of sources and assess their reliability
  • argue logically, consistently and sceptically
  • assemble a range of sources into a well-structured piece of writing.

If you are in any doubt about whether you possess these skills, or if you would like help to assess your preparedness you can contact us for advice.

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

You must complete this qualification within ten years.

Career relevance and employability

This degree will provide you with a  foundational knowledge of British and Irish local history as well as practical skills in the use of print and online primary source material.  It will also give you experience of project planning, research methods and writing a dissertation. It will be valuable if you are, or are planning a career as, a teacher, librarian, museum or heritage professional, or have an interest in local history and want to develop your historical research skills. Careers where history would be useful include journalism, writing, the civil service or public administration. History can open up options to a wide range of careers.

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.


For this masters degree you require:

180 credits from the following compulsory modules:

Postgraduate compulsory modules Credits Next start
MA History part 1 (A825)

Explore British and Irish histories from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries and increase your understanding of a range of key approaches to studying history.

See full description

120 Oct 2015
MA History part 2 (A826)

This module focuses on the planning and writing of a dissertation which will test your ability to present a sustained academic argument in clear, logical prose.

See full description

60 May 2016

You must pass A825 before studying A826.

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes, and how they are acquired through teaching, learning and assessment methods.

Credit for previous study elsewhere

For this qualification, we do not allow you to count credit for study you have already done elsewhere.

On completion

On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded the Master of Arts in History, entitling you to use the letters MA (Hist) (Open) after your name. You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.

If you leave the programme before you qualify for the MA you can gain a Postgraduate Diploma in Humanities (D35) after successfully completing the 120-credit module MA History part 1 (A825).


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:

These regulations are also available on our Essential Documents website.

How to register

If you want to study for this qualification, read the description and check you meet any specific requirements (for example, some of our qualifications, require you to be working in a particular environment, or be sponsored by your employer). Then select the module you wish to study first and ensure it is suitable for you before following the registration procedure for that module. During the registration procedure you will be asked to declare which qualification you are studying towards.

See a full list of modules available for this qualification

About this Taught Masters
Code F28
Level Postgraduate
Made up of 180 credits

Get a prospectus

Download or