MA Modern War Studies and Contemporary Military History

Qualification Start dates Entry requirements Full- or Part-time Assessment
Master of Arts (MA) September First or second class honours degree or relative experience Level of English required Full-time and part-time Dissertation

With Britain having recently been more heavily involved in overseas wars than at any point in the last half century, the University of Buckingham has launched a Master’s degree in Modern War Studies and Contemporary Military History based at a central London Club. The course commences in October 2014 with three ‘research skills seminars’ and after a year of supervised independent research, culminates with the student’s submission of a dissertation. During the first six months, candidates are encouraged to attend a series of guest seminars and dinners (set out in detail below) at which some of the most eminent names in the field present papers. This series of talks examines why and how modern wars are fought, and the principal influences that will affect the conduct of war – and Britain’s role – in the future. This seminar programme will also be attended by Associate Students who are not degree candidates but wish to attend the talks and enjoy the ensuing discussion over dinner.

For Master’s degree candidates the core of the programme is the writing, under supervision, of the dissertation on a subject chosen by the student in the field of Modern War Studies. Subject to approval by the Course Director, the topic to be examined in the dissertation can address any aspect of warfare since 1945, and the precise topic is usually formulated in a process of discussion with the Course Director and/or the student’s supervisor. The length of the dissertation is not more than 40,000 words and usually not less than 20,000. Research does not have to be confined to British-related subjects. Some of the themes which students may wish to examine include: political decision making; alliances; warfare and faith; the impact of critical strategic thinkers; intelligence gathering; the impact of technology on the battlefield; the development of doctrine; military-media relations; leadership; command and control; the application of force at the strategic, operational and tactical levels of war on land, sea and air; and the influence of war on non-combatants, politics, society, economies and cultures. The Regulations for the MA in Modern War Studies for the academic year 2013-14 are available as a PDF download here.

Where will you study?

This is a London-based course. The seminars will be held at the Royal Air Force Club, Piccadilly, W1. Seminars begin at 19:00 and are followed by a formal post-seminar dinner at which students can engage in a general discussion with the speaker.


The venue for seminars: the Royal Air Force Club, Piccadilly, London W1


There will be a programme of three research skills sessions and ten guest seminars, directed by Professor Lloyd Clark. Running approximately every other week from October 2014 to March 2015, seminar speakers will include recently serving generals and some of the most distinguished scholars and commentators in the field of modern war studies. The 2014-15 seminar programme is:

Provisional dates:

  • Research Seminars: 7, 8 & 9 October 2014
  • Seminar / Dinners: 16 October / 29 October / 12 November / 26 November / 10 December 2014; 14 January / 28 January / 11 February  / 25 February / 11 March 2015


  • General The Lord Dannatt (Former Chief of the General Staff)
  • General Sir David Richards (Former Chief of the Defence Staff)
  • General Sir Nick Carter (Commander Land Forces)
  • Kate Adie (Journalist, broadcaster and author)
  • Mark Urban  (Journalist, broadcaster and author)
  • Lord Ashdown (Politician, diplomat and author)
  • Professor Sir Hew Strachan (All Souls’ College, Oxford)
  • Professor Sönke Neitzel (London School of Economics)
  • Sir Max Hastings (Author and military historian)
  • Robert Kershaw (Author and military historian)

How is the programme assessed?

  • Examination is by a research dissertation on an approved topic of not less than 20,000 words.

What are the entry requirements?

Students will normally be required to have:

  • A first or second class honours degree (or equivalent) or substantial relevant work experience.

Students shall also have satisfied the Programme Director that they have sufficient background knowledge to undertake the degree. It is likely that they will already have a background of study in history or a cognate discipline and that they have identified a research topic which they wish to study and which they are qualified to pursue. The emphasis of the Buckingham MA in War Studies and Contemporary Military History is on independent research.

How much will it cost?

Tuition fees and methods of payment, including discounts for advance payment, can be found on our postgraduate tuition fees page. There is a small additional cost for the dinners.

A 20% discount on tuition fees for this course is available to serving Officers in the British Armed Forces.

Associate students

For those who wish to attend the seminars and dinners, but do not have time to complete the coursework involved in the MA programme, it is possible to register for the course as an Associate Student. This status enables Associate Students to attend the seminars and to meet the guest lecturers, but not to proceed to the MA degree.

Programme Director and Admissions Tutor

Professor Lloyd Clark, Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and Professorial Research Fellow in War Studies, Humanities Research Institute, University of Buckingham

Course enquiries and applications

Claire Prendergast
Humanities Research Institute
University of Buckingham
Buckingham MK18 1EG
Tel. +44 (0)1280 820204

Ministry of Defence Enhanced Learning CreditsApproved by MOD for Enhanced Learning Credits. Provider ID 1460

  • Applications & enquiries

    Course enquiries and applications: applications are open for entry in September 2014

    Contact: Claire Prendergast, Humanities Research Institute, University of Buckingham, Tel: +44 (0)1280 820204, Email:

    Applications can be made online.

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