MA (History)

College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies

Course overview

Students taking the MA and the Postgraduate Diploma in History follow the same taught programme but only MA students write a dissertation.

This newly revised popular post-graduate course has been structured so as to offer students greater choice. Entrants may choose the omnibus History MA which combines a thorough training in the craft of history with an exploration of the ways in which history is and has been interpreted by historians, politicians, the media and others. Alternatively, students may choose to specialize in Local and Regional History, a branch of the programme which introduces a variety of regionally-focussed approaches to the past, in Ireland and abroad, or they may select Transnational History, which explores the movement of people, ideas and goods across national borders. Whatever their specialism, students on the History MA develop their ability to carry out research and to construct their own historical arguments.

Aims and objectives

This programme enables students to develop critical and analytical skills.  it trains them in ways of evaluating evidence and encourages them to reflect on different modes of presenting information in print and electronic formats.

The taught programme aims to increase students’ awareness of the nature of historical change and to deepen their understanding of the mentalities of other historical periods. In doing so, they develop a critical awareness of the relationship between current events and political, social, economic and cultural processes in the past. Students are introduced to a wide range of historical sources and taught to appreciate and understand many different kinds of source from estate rolls and depositions to newspapers, memoirs and oral evidence. This year, students may choose to specialize in Local and Regional History or Transnational History. As well as the taught courses which they must take and for which they must submit essays/projects, students are given guidance in framing research questions and carrying out independent research, culminating in their dissertations. Continuous feedback from dedicated staff enables them to hone their research techniques and to present their findings clearly and accessibly in thesis form.

Lecturers on the programme include historians working in medieval, early modern and modern history across a range of geographical areas and using a variety of historical approaches. Students are encouraged to develop comparative perspectives across Irish, European, North American and world history. Transnational History students will take courses that explore the movement of peoples, ideas and goods across national borders. Students on all three branches of the programme will take the same two core courses: Sources and Resources, and Historical Debates and Controversies.

Key facts

Entry requirements

There is a common entry for all three branches of the programme: students will choose the branch they wish to pursue by the end of the first week of term. Successful applicants will normally hold an honours degree of H2.2 standard, including a minimum H2.1 in history, or GPA of 3.5. Selection will be based on applicants' academic record and academic references testifying to their academic ability and enthusiasm for history.

The same entry requirements and application procedure are in place for both the MA and PGDip programme.

Duration: 1 year, full-time

Next start date: September 2015

ECTS weighting: MA—90, PGDip—60

Average intake: 15

Closing date: Please see the offer round dates for further information.

Mode of study: Taught

Course outline

Students taking the MA and the Postgraduate Diploma in History follow the same taught programme but only MA students write a dissertation.


(Must be taken by students on all three branches of the programme):

  • Sources and Resources  (15 ECTS)
  • Historical Debates & Controversies  (15 ECTS)


Each student must take three courses (30 ECTS) from the list below.

Studies in Local History 10 ECTS
Regional Identities 10 ECTS
Studies in Oral History 10 ECTS

Comparing Slavery, Antislavery and Nationbuilding: The Americas, The Atlantic and Europe

10 ECTS   

NGOs & The Making of the Twentieth Century World

People on the Move: Studying Migration 10 ECTS
The First Crusade and the Sources            10 ECTS
Studies in the History of Imperialism and Colonialism  10 ECTS

 All students carry out original research and produce a dissertation of 15,000 - 20,000 words. Students may research an area of their choice as long as the project they envisage allows them demonstrate the competencies being tested and an appropriate supervisor in the area is available.

Further information about these modules is available at: Course Modules

Applications and selections

Applications are made online via The Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC). Relevant PAC application code(s) above.

Selection will be based on applicants' academic record and academic references testifying to their enthusiasm for the subject and their ability to carry out a research project.

Further information on how to apply is available from: How to apply

Who teaches this course?

This programme draws widely on the expertise of the History staff, with most input from Mary Harris, Caitríona Clear, John Cunningham, Kim LoPrete, Roisin Healy, Laurence Marley, Enrico Dal Lago and Gearóid Barry.

Find out more

Dr John Cunningham, History
School of Humanities
National University of Ireland, Galway 
T +353 91 495 642
F +353 91 494 556

PAC code


Fees for this course

EU (Total): €6,015 p.a. 2015/16 (inclusive of Levy)
 - Tuition: €5,791 p.a. 2015/16
 - Student levy: €224 p.a. 2015/16
Non-EU (Total): €13,250 p.a. 2015/16

Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant – please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €2,000 towards your full-time tuition.  You will be liable for the remainder of the total fee.  An F5 grant is where SUSI will pay full-time TUITION up to a maximum of €6,270.  SUSI will not cover the student levy of €224.