Economic and social history has always formed an important part of the teaching and research within the University of Cambridge's History Faculty. It is widely regarded as one of the best in the world with much pioneering work in the ‘new’ social history of communities, demographic history, business history and the history of economic thought being done here. The MPhil in Economic and Social History provides an extremely thorough training in statistical and social science methodology, while building on other strengths such as an emphasis on researching economic relations and institutions as cultural phenomena.
The MPhil in Economic and Social History combines taught and research elements over an 11-month full-time programme which includes taught modules, training in social science research methods encompassing quantitative and qualitative analytical tools, and a long piece of independent research (15,000 – 20,000 words).
Throughout the course students will be supervised by a dedicated member of staff, who will guide their research towards the completion of an original historical subject chosen and developed by them. In addition, students will benefit from Cambridge’s vibrant research environment, attending and participating in guest talks, workshops and other events throughout the year.
The course is designed for those who have completed degrees in which History is the main or at least a substantial component and who want to consolidate their knowledge of economic and social history. It is particularly appropriate for those who may wish to continue on to a PhD, at Cambridge or elsewhere, but it is also well-suited for those who seek simply to explore economic and social history at a deeper level. It is expected that this will be the normal means by which those without an appropriate Master’s degree from elsewhere will prepare for the PhD degree in Economic and Social History at Cambridge.
Students on the MPhil in Economic and Social History will be provided with an in-depth study of some of the key areas of research in Economic and Social History and all students will have a Supervisor who will guide them through the requirements of the course and, most crucially, the Dissertation.
In this manner, all students are provided with the historiographical knowledge and analytical skills necessary to understand and evaluate existing research and to pursue research in their own fields of intellectual interest. Through individual supervisions and group classes students are introduced to the more specialised and intensive nature of research required at a postgraduate level.
By the end of the course, students will have:
- developed a deeper understanding of their chosen area of social and economic history and the critical debates within it;
- a conceptual and technical understanding that enables the evaluation of current research and methodologies, and:
- the ability to situate their own research within current and past methodological and interpretative developments in the field.
The Faculty’s MPhil programmes provide excellent preparation for doctoral study and many of our MPhil students choose to stay at Cambridge to pursue a Cambridge PhD.
Students wishing to continue to the PhD are expected to achieve an overall mark of 70 in their MPhil with a mark of at least 70 in their dissertation.
Admission to the PhD is always subject to the availability of a suitable supervisor.