MA Modern War Studies and Contemporary 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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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 2015 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 under Teaching & Assessment) 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.

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

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

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

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.

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 and student testimonials 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 Admissions Team would be happy to answer any questions you may have:


Claire Prendergast

Humanities Research Secretary

Claire joined the University as Humanities Research Secretary in 2013. Tel: +44 (0)1280 820204 Email:

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

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.

The Regulations for the MA in Modern War Studies and Contemporary Military History for the academic year 2014-15 are available as a PDF download here


This is a London-based course. The seminars will be held at the Royal Air Force Club, 128 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 2015 to March 2016, seminar speakers will include recently serving generals and some of the most distinguished scholars and commentators in the field of modern war studies. The provisional 2015-16 seminar programme is:

Research Skills Study Day

Saturday 3 October 2015


  • 7 October
  • 21 October
  • 4 November
  • 18 November
  • 2 December
  • 13 January
  • 27 January
  • 10 February
  • 24 February
  • 9 March


  • Maj.-Gen. (rtd) Christopher Elliot (Author and military commentator), “High Command – British Military Leadership in Iraq and Afghanistan”
  • Jack Fairweather (Journalist and author), “The Good War – The Battle for Afghanistan 2006-14″
  • Professor Sönke Neitzel (LSE), “Germany and its Armed Forces in the Cold War”
  • Professor Jeremy Black  (University of Exeter), “Air Power and Modern War”
  • Lord Ashdown (Paddy Ashdown, politician and diplomat), “The Strategic Horizon in an Ever Changing World”
  • Professor Sir Hew Strachan (All Soul’s College Oxford), “Lessons for the Contemporary Armed Forces – From the Great War”
  • Sir Max Hastings (Journalist, broadcaster and author), “The Intelligence War”
  • Professor Lloyd Clark (University of Buckingham), “The Challenge of Lesson Learning in the Military – History into Action”
  • General Sir Rupert Smith (Former Deputy Supreme Commander Europe and author), Title TBA
  • General the Lord Richards (Former Chief of the Defence Staff), “Predicting Future War”

All students are invited to attend the guest seminars and dinners that follow. Attendance at these dinners is entirely at the choice of the student, and their cost is not covered by the tuition fee.

Assessment methods

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

Graduate employment

We have a high graduate employment rate:

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 below are for the degree (e.g. if you start an MBA at Buckingham in January 2016, you will pay the same termly fee for the duration of your degree – you will not be affected by the price increase in September 2016). Fees are normally paid in termly instalments.

Unless specifically stated otherwise, postgraduate degrees are normally studied over four terms (one year).

Postgraduate taught degrees


tuition fees

tuition fees

LLM (4 terms – Sept entry & 3 terms – Jan entry) (course info) £11.655
MA in Law Enforcement, Security and Intelligence (course info) £14,140
MA in Security and Intelligence Studies (course info) £14,140
MA in Security, Intelligence and Diplomacy (course info) £14,140
MA in Archaeology (course info) £12,240
MA in Biography (course info) £13,740
MA in Decorative Arts and Historic Interiors (3-terms) (course info) £13,500
MA in the English Country House 1485-1945 (course info) £14,140
MA in the Art Market and the History of Collecting (course info) £14,140
MA in History of Art: Renaissance to Modernism+
Associate student (course info)
MA in Human Rights+
Associate student (course info)
MA in International Affairs and Diplomacy (by research)‡+
Associate student (course info)
MA in Military History+
Associate student (course info)
MA in Modern War Studies and Contemporary Military History‡+
Associate student (course info)
MA in Philosophy+
Associate student (course info)
MBA (course info) £15,860
MD in General Internal Medicine (Clinical) (2-year, 8-term) (course info) £54,000
MSc in Clinical Science (course info) £27,000
MEd in Educational Leadership (18-month, 6-term) (course info) £4,300
MSc in Accounting and Finance (course info) £14,140
MSc in Applied Computing (18-months, 6-term) (course info) £17,010
MSc in Innovative Computing (course info) £13,860
MSc in Finance and Investment (course info) £15,860
MSc in Financial Service Management (course info) £14,460
MSc in Continuous Improvement in Public Services (2-years, part-time) (course info) £17,360
MSc Lean Enterprise (2-years, 8-term) (course info) £18,360
MSc Management in a Global Service Economy (course info) £14,140
MSc Management in a Service Economy (course info) £14,140
MSc Management in a Service Economy (2-years, 8-term)(part-time) (course info) £14,260

Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas


tuition fees

tuition fees

Certificate in Computing (2-terms) (course info) £6,930
Pre-Masters Course in Business (1-term) £5,095
Graduate Diploma in Computing (3-terms) (course info) £10,395 £6,300
Graduate Diploma in Computing (4-terms) (course info) £10,400 £6,300
Postgraduate Certificate in Middle Leadership (course info) £2,100
Independent PGCE (course info) £3,995
(course info)

Postgraduate research
(MA, MSc, MPhil, DPhil)

Annual fee

Annual fee

Full-time – English Literature £13,020
Full-time – Humanities, Business, Law £13,280
Full-time – Science♦ £13,280
Full-time – Computing♦ £13,020
Resident outside of the UK £6,640

#Students will pay the same termly fee for the duration of their studies. The tuition fee quoted is therefore the total cost of the degree.
All fees are subject to annual increase (in September). Total tuition fees will vary if the degree spans more than one calendar year.
Associate fees exclude dinners.
The fee for undertaking a research degree in the Clore Laboratory will include a bench fee. This will be dependent on the nature of the research project and will be notified to you in your offer letter.
‡20% discount available for accredited embassy staff (International Affairs and Diplomacy by research) / serving Officers in the British Armed Forces (War Studies).
+ Dinners following the seminars are available at a small additional cost.


Students who graduate from the University and plan to continue their studies with a postgraduate degree at Buckingham can benefit from a very generous automatic discount on their fees:

  • 33%, those with a first class honours degree from Buckingham
  • 25%, those with a Second Class Honours, Upper Division (2:1) degree from Buckingham


Details of 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.

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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