From Marlborough to Montgomery and MacArthur
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 Gary Sheffield. 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, Sir Hew Strachan, Richard Overy, Sir Richard J. Evans, David Reynolds, Saul David, and Sir Antony Beevor.
The programme runs from October to September with three introductory classes on research techniques and ten seminars by guest lecturers.
2021-22 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?
Date: Monday 27 September 2021
Location: University of Buckingham in London, 51 Gower Street, Fitzrovia, London WC1E 6HJ.
- 12:00: Professor Gary Sheffield (University of Buckingham), Introductory Lecture 1
- 14:00: Professor Gary Sheffield (University of Buckingham), Introductory Lecture 2
- 16:00: Professor Gary Sheffield (University of Buckingham), Introductory Lecture 3
2021-22 Guest seminars and dinners:
All students are invited to attend the guest seminars and dinners that follow. The cost of the post-seminar dinners is included in the tuition fees.
Location: The Caledonian Club, 9 Halkin St, London, SW1X 7DR.
Time: The seminars take place from 6.30pm – 8.00pm and are followed by dinner at 8.15pm.
Speakers and subjects: The speakers will include Professors Saul David, David Reynolds, Sir Hew Strachan, Richard Overy and Gary Sheffield talking about a range of military history subjects on the following dates:
- Monday 11 October 2021, 6.30-8pm: Professor Matthias Ströhn, ‘The First Battle of Ypres: The German Perspective’. Followed by dinner at 8.15pm.
- Monday 25 October 2021, 6.30-8pm: Patrick Bishop, ‘Operation Jubilee: Dieppe 1942’. Followed by dinner at 8.15pm.
- Monday 8 November 2021, 6.30-8pm: Professor Gary Sheffield ‘Why Napoleon was defeated, 1807-1815’. Followed by dinner at 8.15pm.
- Monday 22 November 2021, 6.30-8pm: Professor Richard Overy (University of Exeter), ‘Waging Economic War: The Lessons of World War II’. Followed by dinner 8.15pm.
- Monday 6 December 2021, 6.30-8pm: Professor Jeremy Black (University of Exeter), ‘Could the British have won the American War of Independence?’ Followed by dinner at 8.15pm.
- Monday 24 January 2022, 6.30-8pm: Professor Saul David (University of Buckingham), ‘SBS: The Early Years, 1940-1945’. Followed by dinner at 8.15pm.
- Monday 7 February 2022, 6.30-8pm: General Sir Mike Jackson, ‘The Iraq War: In Retrospect’. Followed by dinner at 8.15pm.
- Monday 21 February 2022, 6.30-8pm: Professor David Reynolds (University of Cambridge), ‘Learning the Lessons of History? How Britain Waged its World Wars’. Followed by dinner at 8.15pm.
- Monday 7 March 2022, 6.30-8pm: Professor Sir Hew Strachan (University of St Andrews), ‘How Lethal was the First World War?’ Followed by dinner at 8.15pm.
- Monday 21 March 2022, 6.30-8pm: Sir Antony Beevor, ‘The Russian Civil War, 1917-1922’. Followed by dinner at 8.15pm.
For those who wish to attend the evening guest seminar programme, but are 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 guest seminars and dinners, and to meet the guest lecturers, 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 found Buckingham’s MA in Military History by Research a very rewarding experience. After a business career in the technology sector I was able to finally devote some time to my passion for Military History. The task seemed daunting at first as it had been a long time since I was last in education and I had no knowledge of how to conduct historical research. However, the introductory course of lectures provided a solid study framework and detailed follow up discussions with my tutor enabled me to focus in on a specific historical area of interest and, more importantly, identify a particular question that needed answering.
The research-based nature of the course means at this point you embark on a solo process of discovery. Reading the existing literature and sifting the archives, both online and in person, you follow leads and gradually piece together the parts of your chosen puzzle. The course is demanding and academically rigorous with a high standard of work expected. However, the tutors are excellent and always there to support and guide your progress and check your work is of the required standard. Writing the dissertation is challenging but once completed it is a very satisfying feeling to know you have contributed to the historiography and understanding of your chosen area.
Whilst most students in my intake took the one-year full-time course I undertook the two-year part-time route and found it allowed me the time and space to investigate my chosen specialist area and really enjoy the whole process without pressure. If you have the time, it may be an option to consider.
If undertaking a masters currently seems too much of a commitment I would highly recommend becoming an associate just to attend the MA course’s accompanying series of illuminating evening events hosted by Professor Saul David. Each evening involves a standalone lecture given by an eminent historian followed by a dinner and conversation. It is highly enjoyable to spend time in the company of a diverse group of people with a common passion and to be able to talk to some of the biggest names in Military History. Even though I have completed my Masters I intend to be an associate for many years to come!
Andrew Thompson, Master’s (distinction), 2021
“The MA by Research in Military History at The University of Buckingham offers students the opportunity to channel their passion and intellectual curiosity into an academic endeavour full of reward.
The research seminars delivered by Professor Saul David equip the student early on with a solid foundation to build on, along with a road map to begin drawing out one’s chosen topic. Accompanying these are lectures from speakers at the apex of their field, which are both informative and inspiring, set within a comfortable environment conducive to open debate.
Moreover, the student support at Buckingham is second to none, with administrators on hand to answer any questions and avoid any pitfalls emerging, along with librarians available to assist in seeking out rare books. Taken together, the MA by Research in Military History guarantees a unique experience and provides the necessary tools to succeed.
I thoroughly enjoyed the course and found the whole experience both character building and rewarding. It provided an excellent platform to develop a keen interest into an extensive academic project, under the watchful eyes of expert supervision. I look forward to my next project within this space.”
Scott Sherriff, Master’s (distinction), 2020
“I completed the one-year Research MA in Military History in 2012 and subsequently went on to complete a PhD 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 for 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 PhD students at the best universities would count themselves fortunate to receive the 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.”
Dr Andy Boyd, PhD, 2015
Full details in the Curriculum Handbook
For further details contact:
Humanities Research Admissions on +44 (0)1280 827514