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 Search all courses
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Course outline

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 2018-19

All seminars will take place at the University’s London premises at 51 Gower Street, Bloomsbury, London, WC1E 6HJ as follows:

Research Skills Study Day

Saturday 6 October 2018, 09:00 – 17:00

Guest Speaker Seminars

All guest speaker seminars commence at 19:00 and are followed by a dinner at a nearby restaurant.

  • Wednesday 17 October 2018: General Sir Rupert Smith (Author and Former NATO Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe) on ‘Applied Strategy’.
  • Wednesday 14 November 2018: General The Lord Richards (Former Chief of the Defence Staff) on ‘Threats, Leadership and the Strategic Horizon’.
  • Wednesday 12 December 2018: Professor Sir Hew Strachan (Author and University of St Andrews) on ‘Maritime Strategy’.
  • Wednesday 16 January 2019 – Major Russell Lewis MC (Parachute Regiment Officer and Centre for Army Leadership Teaching Fellow) on ‘Military Leadership in the 21st Century – Preparing for Complexity and Change.’
  • Wednesday 13 February 2019 – Dr Mike Martin (King’s College. London) on ‘The Evolutionary Psychology of Warfare’.
  • Wednesday 12 June 2019 – Professor Lloyd Clark (University of Buckingham and Centre for Army Leadership) on ‘Leadership and Generalship in the British Army, 2025’.

Post-seminar dinners

Each of the guest speaker seminars is followed by a dinner at a nearby restaurant. As the dinners are optional, their cost is not included in the tuition fees, and students will be invoiced for any that they attend, at a rate of £70 each.

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 a 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.’

Full details in the Curriculum Handbook 

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

Entry requirements

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

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

In cases where candidates are applying on the basis of work experience, they may be asked to complete a short written assignment and/or attend an interview as part of the applications process.

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.  Due to their flexibility, our London-based MAs by research attract a wide variety of applicants from a range of backgrounds, including people in full-time employment and retirees. Our current students range in age from 21 to 75.

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.

Professorial Research Fellow in Modern War Studies

Admissions and Marketing Officer, London Programmes

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 > >


Teaching & Assessment

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.

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 25,000 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.

Assessment methods

Examination is by a research dissertation on an approved topic of not less than 25,000 words.

See the Humanities Curriculum Handbook for further course details.


After Your Degree

The University’s Course Directors, students’ supervisors, and the Research Officer and Tutor for Graduate Students are available to discuss students’ post-graduation plans and how they may utilise most effectively the skills acquired during their studies.


Fees & Scholarships

Please note that the University of Buckingham has four terms per year. The tuition fees quoted are for the degree (e.g. if you start a degree at Buckingham in January 2018, you will pay the same termly fee for the duration of your degree – you will not be affected by the price increase in September 2018). Students will pay the same termly fee for the duration of their studies, unless studies are interrupted and resumed later. The tuition fee quoted is therefore the total cost of the degree.

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

Please click here for Associate Student fees (or here for international Associate Student fees).

Postgraduate loan scheme

A new system of postgraduate loans for Masters degrees in the UK was introduced in August 2016 with support from the UK Government. The loan will provide up to £10,609 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 >>


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.

Fees may increase annually in line with inflation. For details, please see our Fees and Finance 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.