Birkbeck, University of London

Course Introduction

This programme is concerned with excavating and understanding the lived reality of ideas. We consider how the study of the history of ideas can help us to interpret individual thinkers and their ideas and how these have shaped past societies. The history of ideas is a dynamic and expanding field and this programme enables you to pursue an exciting programme of study, exploring ideas comparatively and in their geographical, social and historical contexts. If you want to understand and investigate the relationship between ideas and actions across a wide variety of historical periods, geographical places, and theoretical and methodological perspectives, then this is the degree for you. The introductory core module explores key topics and questions within the history of ideas and will introduce you to the conceptual background needed for the historical study of ideas at postgraduate level.

Course Modules

Core modules: Mastering historical research: Birkbeck approaches; dissertation. Option modules (choose 3): Ancient political thought and its Medieval legacy; China and the West: Encounters; civil society: Ideas, practices and dilemmas in the modern world, 17th century to the present; Darwin, Darwinism and the modern ages; empires in modern East Asia; Freud and psychoanalysis: Past, present, future; globalisation: A short historical introduction; Jews and anti'Semitism in modern Europe: Histories and approaches; magic, science and religion in the Renaissance; politics and Islam; race and the Victorians; religion in society and politics: Britain and Ireland, 1801'2001; saving the phenomena: A history of ancient scientific thought; technology, modernity and the nation: Britain and Germany, 1880 to 1930; the rise of the modern consumer: Consumers and politics in the 19th and 20th centuries; the Victorian communication revolution; vice and the Victorians: Moral and social reform in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Course Additional Entry

At least a 2nd'Class Honours degree, with good supporting references. We also offer a 1'year Graduate Certificate in history , which can be used as a conversion course if you want to study history at postgraduate level, but have a degree in a significantly different discipline. If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub'tests.

Duration & Attendance Qualification Tuition fees
1 year
Full Time
MA (Postgraduate) £13,750  Academic year. First year overseas fees
1 year
Full Time
MA (Postgraduate) £6,950  Academic year. First year home fees
2 years
Part Time
MA (Postgraduate) £6,875  Academic year. First year overseas fees
2 years
Part Time
MA (Postgraduate) £3,975  Academic year. First year home fees