MA Military History

Entry requirements: First or second class honours degree or relevant experience 
Full or Part-time: Full-time, Part-time
School: School of Humanities

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Course outline

With military history one of the fastest-growing areas of academic study, the University of Buckingham introduced a one-year MA in Military History, by research, in 2009. This is a groundbreaking programme: the first one-year Research MA in Military History, and the first with an integral course of seminars by visiting lecturers of international repute. The programme was enthusiastically reviewed by The Financial Times, which noted that “Intellectually curious professionals are signing up for a new course that gives them the opportunity to exchange thoughts on security, diplomacy and the armed forces over dinner with stellar historians and military top brass.”

The programme is London-based and directed by one of the country’s finest military historians, Professor Saul David. The lectures offered by the Course Director will be supplemented by a series of ten guest seminars by some of the most eminent scholars and authors in the field, including Professors N.A.M. Rodger, Hew Strachan, Richard Overy, Tim Blanning and Gary Sheffield, Antony Beevor and Sir Max Hastings.

The programme runs from October to September with thirteen research seminars – three on research techniques and ten by guest lecturers. Please click on “Teaching and Assessment” for the list of seminars.

Associate students

For those wishing to attend the evening research seminar programme, but unable to devote the time to the coursework or to register for the MA degree, there is the option of becoming an Associate Student.  This status will enable the student to attend the ten research seminars and to meet the guest lecturers, in the first six months of the programme, but does not require the submission of written work. Associate Students are not registered for, and do not receive, the MA degree.

What our students say

I completed the one year Research MA in Military History in 2012 and subsequently went on to complete a DPhil also at the University of Buckingham.

Like most students I embarked on the MA course with a longstanding interest in military history but little understanding of the skills and disciplines involved in academic research. The unique and exciting quality of the Buckingham programme is that it enables an interested amateur as I certainly was then to tackle a historical question that is entirely new and to produce a work that can withstand rigorous professional scrutiny within an incredibly short timescale.

If the opportunity provided by the Buckingham course is exciting, its strength lies in the way it combines three elements which support and guide the student. The first is a well-crafted introduction to research techniques backed by exercises to develop research and writing skills. This element is relevant and practical and it is adjusted to the needs of the individual. The second is the series of general interest lectures over the first half of the year all provided by first rank historians. These expose students to new historical problems and the latest research and the format over dinner allows genuinely stimulating debate. They provide invaluable context to the student’s individual work. However, the critical element that stands out at Buckingham is the quality of the individual guidance and supervision in selecting a research topic and then executing successive stages. I cannot rate too highly the individual supervision that I and my fellow students received. I think DPhil students at the best universities would count themselves fortunate to receive tailored support of this quality and care and not least time from some of the best historians in the United Kingdom.

I would also like to commend the general administration of the Buckingham MA programme. It is a complex programme with diverse students with different requirements, a complex lecture programme and no dedicated Buckingham owned site in London. Yet the execution from logistics around successive lectures through to the examination of the final thesis and the monitoring of academic standards was close to perfect.

Andy Boyd, 21 March 2016

Entry requirements

The minimum entry level required for this course is as follows:

  • a first or second-class honours degree from a recognised university or,
  • a recognised professional qualification with relevant work experience

Mature students

Age is no barrier to learning and we welcome all applications from suitably qualified students.

International students

We are happy to consider all international applications and if you are an international student, you may find it useful to visit our international pages for details of entry requirements from your home country.

The University is a UKVI Tier 4 Sponsor.

English levels

If English is not your first language, please check our postgraduate English language requirements. If your English levels don’t meet our minimum requirements, you may be interested in applying for our Pre-sessional English Language Foundation Programmes.

Selection process

Candidates apply online, sending in their supporting documents, and will be assessed on this basis by the Programme Director.  The Programme Director or Admissions Assistant will be happy to answer any enquiries.


Claire Prendergast

Humanities Research Secretary

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Terms and conditions for prospective students

When you are offered a place at the University you will be notified of the terms and conditions between the University and students on our courses of study. When you accept an offer of a place on the course at the University a legal contract is formed between you and the University on the basis of the terms and conditions outlined in your offer letter. Your offer letter and the terms and conditions contain important information which you should read carefully before accepting any offer. Read the admissions terms and conditions > >

Quality teaching

We offer high quality, traditional Oxbridge-style teaching, which leads to our degrees being recognised around the world. The standards of degrees and awards are safeguarded by distinguished external examiners – senior academic staff from other universities in the UK – who approve and moderate assessed work.

High calibre staff

Most of our academic staff teach for three terms out of four, with the remaining term used for research. Because of this, we have no difficulty in attracting high calibre, highly respected lecturers, many of whom also have a background in business or industry and can offer networking opportunities for students.

Teaching methods

The MA does not offer systematic instruction in the facts of history; instead, the emphasis is on independent research.

At the heart of the Buckingham MA is the close working relationship between student and supervisor. While the final thesis must be an independent work, it is the supervisor who offers advice on refining the topic (if necessary), on primary sources, on secondary reading, on research techniques and on writing the final text (which should be not less than 20,000 words). Supervisors and students will meet frequently throughout the year, and not less than twice a term; and the supervisor shall always be the student’s primary contact for academic advice and support.

This is a London-based course. The seminars in 2016-17 will be held at Caledonian Club, 9 Halkin Street, London SW1X 7DR ( The nearest London Underground stations are Hyde Park (Piccadilly Line) or Victoria (Victoria, District and Circle Lines).  The introductory classes will be at the University’s London headquarters in Gower Street (details below).

Each seminar (approximately 90 minutes, 18:30-20:00) is followed by a post-seminar dinner, at the Caledonian Club, for those who wish to attend, where there will be an opportunity to continue the seminar discussion in an informal environment.

Attendance at these dinners is entirely at the choice of the student, and their cost is not covered by the tuition fee.

2016-17 Introductory classes:

The introductory classes are for students taking the full MA. If any Associate Students would like to attend, could they let Professor David know in advance. Location: University of Buckingham in London, 51 Gower Street, Fitzrovia, London WC1E 6HJ.

  • Monday 3 October 2016, 19:00-20:00: Professor Saul David (University of Buckingham), “Military History: Research Techniques 1”.
  • Tuesday 4 October 2016, 19:00-20:00: Professor Saul David (University of Buckingham), “Military History: Research Techniques 2”.
  • Wednesday 5 October 2015, 19:00-20:00: Professor Gary Sheffield (University of Wolverhampton), “Military History: Research Techniques 3”.

2016-17 Guest seminars and dinners:

All students are invited to attend the guest seminars and dinners that follow.  Location: The Caledonian Club, 9 Halkin St, London, SW1X 7DR.

  • Monday 17 October 2016, 18:30-20:00: Professor Saul David (University of Buckingham), “The Duke of Marlborough: Britain’s Greatest General?”. Followed by dinner at 20:15.
  • Monday 31 October 2016, 18:30-20:00: Dr Matthias Strohn (University of Buckingham), “German War Strategy: from the Franco-Prussian War to the Schlieffen Plan”. Followed by dinner at 20:15.
  • Monday 14 November 2016, 18:30-20:00: Dr Andy Boyd (Senior Research Fellow, Humanities Research Institute, University of Buckingham), “The Royal Navy in the Indian Ocean, 1942”. Followed by dinner at 20:15.
  • Monday 28 November 2016, 18:30-20:00: Professor N.A.M. Rodger (All Souls’ College, Oxford), “The Early Ironclads: 1865-1885”. Followed by dinner at 20:15.
  • Monday 12 December 2016, 18:30-20:00: Professor Sir Hew Strachan (University of St Andrews), “The Redefinition of Battle: Verdun and the Somme, 1916”. Followed by dinner at 20:15.
  • Monday 16 January 2017, 18:30-20:00: Professor Gary Sheffield (University of Wolverhampton), “The British Style of Generalship from Marlborough to Montgomery”. Followed by dinner at 20:15.
  • Monday 30 January 2017, 18:30-20:00: General Sir Mike Jackson, “The New Cold War: A Russian Perspective”. Followed by dinner at 20:15.
  • Monday 13 February 2017, 18:30-20:00: Professor Antony Beevor, “Arnhem”. Followed by dinner at 20:15.
  • Monday 27 February 2017, 18:30-20:00: Sir Max Hastings, “The Secret War: Spies, Codes and Guerillas, 1939-1945”. Followed by dinner at 20:15.
  • Monday 13 March 2017, 18:30-20:00: Professor Richard Overy (University of Exeter), “Just Wars? Unjust Wars? – The Moral Relativism of World War Two”. Followed by dinner at 20:15.

Graduate employment

We have a high graduate employment rate, The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) ranked Buckingham top for graduate employability with 98.1% in July 2015.

Our graduate prospects are excellentOur graduates have gone on to further study at most of the world’s leading universities, including Harvard, London, Oxford and Cambridge and secured jobs in senior positions around the world. Among our alumni we have a graduate who became the head of his country’s civil service and one who became a leading Formula One motor-racing driver. Another secured a position as the Minister of Sabah and one female law graduate became the first British lawyer to become a French Advocate.

The tuition fees quoted are for the degree (e.g. if you start a degree at Buckingham in January 2017, you will pay the same termly fee for the duration of your degree – you will not be affected by the price increase in September 2017). Fees are normally paid in termly instalments.

Postgraduate loan scheme

A new system of postgraduate loans for Masters degrees in the UK will be introduced from 1 August 2016 with support from the UK Government. The loan will provide up to £10,000 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. The loans can be used for tuition fees, living expenses or both.  Find out more >>

Postgraduate first class scholarship

From July 2015 a first class scholarship will be available to both home and international students following a taught postgraduate degree at the University. The scholarship will reduce tuition fees by 33%. The scholarship will be automatically awarded to applicants who already have a first class honours degree that is recognised to UK standard.

Details of other scholarships can be found on our main Bursaries and Scholarships page. You should make an application to study at the University and receive an offer letter confirming our acceptance of your application before applying for a scholarship.

You may also find it useful to visit our External Funding page.

*The University reserves the right to increase course fees annually in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering educational services. If the University intends to increase your course fees it will notify you via email of this as soon as reasonably practicable.

Due to the mode of study on this course you will not normally need a room in University accommodation during your degree.

However, if you require short-term accommodation in Buckingham we would be happy to provide a list of local bed and breakfast or hotel accommodation. Alternatively, please contact our Accommodation Office for advice.

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