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 Back to course finder

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 with a ‘Research Skills Study Day’ 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.

Seminars 2016-17

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 2016 to March 2017, seminar speakers will include recently serving generals and some of the most distinguished scholars and commentators in the field of modern war studies. The 2016-17 seminar programme is:

Research Skills Study Day

Saturday 1 October 2016


  • 5 October 2016: Professor Steven Casey (London School of Economics), ‘Counting and Confusing the Cost of War: American Combat Casualties during the Korean and Vietnam Wars.’
  • 26 October 2016: Professor Lloyd Clark (University of Buckingham / Centre for Army Leadership), ‘What is Generalship? The Enduring Nature of Strategic Leadership.’
  • 9 November 2016: Air Chief Marshal The Lord Stirrup (Former Chief of the Defence Staff), ‘The Pursuit of Security in a Chaotic World.’
  • 23 November 2016: Professor Joanna Burke (Birkbeck College, University of London), ‘Hazing: A History of Bullying in the American Military.’
  • 7 December 2016: Dr Rob Johnson ­(Pembroke College, University of Oxford), ‘Home Advantage? The Use of Local Personnel in Security Forces by the West.’
  • 11 January 2017: General Sir Rupert Smith (Former Deputy Supreme Commander Europe and author), ‘Command and Leadership in History.’
  • 8 February 2017: Frank Ledwidge (Barrister, author and broadcaster), ‘Silver Bullets: The Dubious Promise and Underwhelming Achievement of Special Forces.’
  • 22 February 2017: Professor Sir Hew Strachan (University of St Andrews), ‘A Shot in the Dark?: Predicting the Character of Future Warfare.’
  • 8 March 2017: Mr Mark Francois MP (Former Minister for the Armed Forces), ‘Reflections of a Former Armed Forces Minister.’
  • 22 March 2017: Baroness Neville-Jones (Former Chair Joint Intelligence Committee and Minister for Security and Counter-Terrorism), ‘Cyber Insecurity: How Great is the Threat?’ – please note the change of date

The seminars will be held at the Royal Air Force Club, 128 Piccadilly, W1.

Seminars 2017-18

Research Skills Study Day

The Research Skills Study Day will take place at the University’s London premises at 51 Gower Street, Bloomsbury, London, WC1E 6HJ on the following date:

Saturday 7 October 2017


The seminars will be held at the Royal Air Force Club, 128 Piccadilly, London, W1 on the following dates:

  • Wednesday 11 October 2017
  • Wednesday 25 October 2017
  • Wednesday 8 November 2017
  • Wednesday 22 November 2017
  • Wednesday 6 December 2017
  • Wednesday 25 January 2018
  • Wednesday 7 February 2018
  • Wednesday 21 February 2018
  • Wednesday 7 March 2018
  • Wednesday 21 March 2018

Speakers will include:

  • General the Lord Richards
  • Air Chief Marshal the Lord Stirrup
  • Admiral the Lord West
  • Professor Sir Hew Strachan
  • Jack Fairweather

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

What our students say

Patrick Walker: ‘The Master’s course exceeded all expectations. The quality of the lecture programme and access to the extraordinary list of speakers, all leaders in their fields, was quite excellent, as was the painstaking guidance given to us on scoping and writing our dissertations. Professor Clark [the Course Director] was tireless in his encouragement, wide-ranging in his suggestions, and an inspiration to my crafting and completing the course essay. It is testament to his engagement that I am now taking forward my studies towards a PhD in the subject.’

Dr Andy Winrow: ‘The MA has been a really rewarding project and a great antidote to my professional work. The seminars have been great fun and there has been a real sense of camaraderie among the students.’

For further details contact:
Humanities Research Admissions on +44 (0)1280 827514

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 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.

Professor Lloyd Clark

Professorial Research Fellow in Modern War Studies | Programme Director, MA Modern War Studies

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Maria Floyd

Admissions and Marketing Officer, London Programmes

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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

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 normally 20,000 words. 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 and Contemporary Military History for the academic year 2016-17 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.


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

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, 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 was 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 is 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.

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.