MA in History with a BA in English?

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Paulska_
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I am currently preparing for the final year of my BA in English Lit at the University of Birmingham and am looking into my options for postgraduate study. When I was deciding what course to study for my Bachelors degree, I found myself picking between my two favourite subjects English Lit and History. I eventually chose English, excited at the prospect of the broad reading but also at the fact that a little historical knowledge is necessary when studying English (in comparison to no knowledge of literature being absolutely needed to study History).

I am looking at applying for MA/MPhil's in Modern/Contemporary History at some great Uni's, because I really really miss learning about History! I am hoping to apply for a taught course, since I think I will get a little more support as opposed to a research based course, given that I have not studied History at degree level before.

However, most of what I'm picking my potential courses on are my assumptions that I will receive the support I need to do well in a discipline I have not studied in a few years now, provided it is a taught course. Do any History grads/postgrads have any recommendations as to what unis/courses I should be looking at? Or if I should even be looking at history at all?

For some background info:
I am currently looking at the History MA's offered by Warwick, Birmingham, York and Oxford. All of these Uni's entry requirements are a High 2:1 / First. I have no doubt that I can achieve this with hard work this year (hopefully!).

My undergraduate dissertation has a heavy focus on 20th century trade unionism in the UK and socialist politics at that time (do you think this focus is 'historical enough' to be considered any sort of preparation for a History PG Degree?)

Thanks in advance for your advice!
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QHF
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(Original post by Paulska_)
I am looking at applying for MA/MPhil's in Modern/Contemporary History at some great Uni's, because I really really miss learning about History! I am hoping to apply for a taught course, since I think I will get a little more support as opposed to a research based course, given that I have not studied History at degree level before.
A taught course would be a wise choice, but master's courses in the humanities tend not to offer much in the way of pedagogical support for students who lack the knowledge and methodological training expected of someone with a BA in the same subject. Taught master's courses are usually intensive experiences which are designed to prepare you for doctoral research and so assume a pre-existing working knowledge of the discipline—there simply isn't time to bring people up to speed. Your desire to learn more history is praiseworthy but it isn't necessarily, in and of itself, going to convince admissions committees to give you master's places, or going to power you through the rapid grind of a master's course. I don't say this to discourage you, I just want you to be aware of the kind of task you're setting yourself.

(Original post by Paulska_)
I am currently looking at the History MA's offered by Warwick, Birmingham, York and Oxford. All of these Uni's entry requirements are a High 2:1 / First. I have no doubt that I can achieve this with hard work this year (hopefully!).
It would be worth checking that all these places will take students with a BA in another subject. I know Oxford will for their MSt, but, for example, a quick check of the York History website doesn't offer a ruling one way or another. (If you've already done due diligence on this then I apologise for raising it!)

(Original post by Paulska_)
My undergraduate dissertation has a heavy focus on 20th century trade unionism in the UK and socialist politics at that time (do you think this focus is 'historical enough' to be considered any sort of preparation for a History PG Degree?)
Besides your topic, you should consider whether your dissertation (and your other work) draws on the discipline of history in its methodology and/or its conclusions. It is possible for work in English to have a historical topic, and even what would be considered in English a very historicist approach, without actually deploying the techniques used by historians, or coming to conclusions which contribute to the discipline of history rather than the discipline of literary criticism. This is important not only for your own training, but because you will need some writing samples for your applications, and the people who make admissions decisions will want to see your abilities specifically as a historian. You will therefore want to have work in your pocket which looks like the kind of thing a good undergraduate in history would produce. Of course, this want exists in some tension with your need to achieve a good mark on your dissertation which will, ultimately, be marked by people who work in English, not history. I'm not sure I can help you navigate that particular conundrum, but perhaps your dissertation supervisor or another lecturer can. (You should, if you are not already, be talking to the academics you know at Birmingham and getting their advice on postgraduate study. You will need some of them to write references for you.)

If you find that, ultimately, it's difficult for you to secure a place on a pure history master's, you might want to consider interdisciplinary master's courses. I know several people who've very successfully switched from either of these two disciplines into the other by doing a BA in one, an interdisciplinary master's, and then a PhD in the other.
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