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:

  • MA in History (F28)

This qualification is no longer available to new students. 


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
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.
OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
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'll 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 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 this module will be to produce 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'll next provide a full dissertation plan and sample chapter upon which your tutor will provide further feedback. You'll 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 continues from part 1 to:

  • 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), by email or phone as appropriate.

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

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

Future availability

MA History part 2 starts once a year – in May. This page describes the module that will start in May 2023 when we expect it to start for the last time. 


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations 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
    06 May 2023 Jan 2024 -

    Registration now closed

    May 2023 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.

    Future availability

    MA History part 2 starts once a year – in May. This page describes the module that will start in May 2023 when we expect it to start for the last time. 

    Additional costs

    Study costs

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

    Ways to pay for this module

    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, including a postgraduate loan, if you study this module as part of an eligible qualification. To find out more, see Fees and funding.

    Study materials

    What's included

    You will receive a Module Guide explaining some of the general processes involved in writing at postgraduate level. You will have access to a module website, includes:

    • a week-by-week study planner
    • module materials
    • audio and video content
    • assessment guide
    • online forums
    • electronic resources via The Open University Library.

    Computing requirements

    You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11), or macOS (11 'Big Sur' or higher).

    Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

    To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

    Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

    Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

    It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.

    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. Visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer.