MA in The Making of the Modern World


How has the decline of European empires in the extra-European world shaped the 20th century – and beyond?

The Master’s degree in The Making of the Modern World is an innovative programme which addresses the legacies of decolonisation on contemporary nation and state-building around the world. Students are introduced to debates about decolonisation and its relationship with modernity, addressing the question of how the end of empire has shaped the modern world.

This MA examines the nature of decolonisation in comparative perspective, looking at the British, French, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Belgian empires, rather than limiting the study of empire to a few case studies or to a single colonial power. The MA examines the differences in colonial governance and decolonisation processes, and how this has impacted the development of successor colonial states and the processes of decolonisation, nation-building, and the strengthening of the state which these states experienced.

Upon graduating, students will receive a degree awarded by the University of London.

Students will:

  • Learn about and analyse the political, developmental, institutional and social legacies of the decolonisation process;
  • Understand the connectivity between domestic politics and society and international diplomacy and policymaking;
  • Develop skills in understanding and analysing archival sources and undertaking archival and oral research;
  • Understand the ways in which the decline of the European empires in the extra-European world has shaped the 20th century.

This advanced degree provides an excellent foundation for students who wish to expand their knowledge of international history, politics and society prior to working for international organisations, the media, or in other professional capacities. It also provides the base for those wishing to do further research in African, Asian or European studies.

In addition to the knowledge gained over the course of the MA, the skills students develop - including the ability to analyse material in detail, process quantitative and qualitative data to reach informed conclusions, critique existing knowledge and conduct independent research - will be relevant to a wide variety of careers and will broaden students' appeal to a range of employers.


For term dates please click here.

In order to pass the MA, students need to have achieved a total of 90 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) credits. ECTS credits are recognised across the European Union. The degree comprises four compulsory modules (including the dissertation), and three optional modules.

Required (core) modules (Autumn Term):

Optional modules* (Spring Term):

*All modules are subject to availability.

Dissertation [30 ECTS]

Students will complete a 15,000-word research-based dissertation on a chosen topic which is of special interest to them. This topic will be chosen in consultation with your dissertation supervisor, who will provide support.


The MA is assessed primarily through essays, although class participation also contributes towards assessment. Additional formative assessments include class presentations.

Mode of study

Study options: full-time over one year, or part time over 24 months.

Students undertaking the MA on a part-time basis will take two required modules in Autumn Term of their first year, and up to two optional modules in the Spring Term. They will take one required module in the Autumn Term of their second year, and one or two optional modules in the Spring Term.


Fees 2015-16 (subject to annual uplift in 2016-17):

Full-time: £7,650.00
Part-time 24 months: £4,360.00

Full-time: £13,550.00

Tuition fees


Please complete the School of Advanced Study application form and return to the School of Advanced Study Registry.

The deadline for applications for entry in 2016/17 is 31 August 2016.

Entry Requirements

The normal minimum entrance requirement would be a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree from a recognised university in the UK, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard (for example a Grade Point Average [GPA] of 3.0 or higher).

Applications from candidates who do not meet the formal academic requirements, but who offer alternative qualifications and/or relevant experience, could be considered.

English Language competency

All students whose first language is not English must be able to provide recent evidence (gained in the last two years) that their written and spoken English language is adequate for postgraduate study. This requirement is specified in order to ensure that the academic progress of students is not hindered by language difficulties and that students are able to integrate socially while studying and living in the UK.


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