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First World War Studies MA

Key information

Qualification type

MA - Master of Arts

Subject areas

War Studies International History War History

Course type


Course Summary

This new MA programme explores the military, cultural, political and social history of the First World War, introducing you to advanced concepts of historiography and cultural theory. Although based in the School of History, this Masters programme takes an inter-disciplinary angle on the First World War drawing on expertise from the School of Arts, and involves the collaboration of the In Flanders Fields Museum, Ieper/Ypres. History, memory and culture are the heart of the programme which is based on two bespoke core modules that introduce different disciplinary approaches examining the history of the war and how it has been interpreted and understood since. You have the opportunity to travel to the battlefields of the Western Front around Ypres, to examine the memorials and cemeteries and engage with the In Flanders Fields Museum staff to explore their collections, and consider the changing ways in which the war has been presented to the public. The programme draws upon an extremely wide range of sources including official documentation, propaganda materials, plays, films, radio broadcasts, architecture and even the landscape itself.

The programme aims to: allow students to explore and develop their interest in and understanding of the First World War, based on an interdisciplinary approach to the history and cultural legacy of this period; provide a well-balanced programme of study mixing seminar teaching with a substantial piece of research in the core dissertation element; produce students with the potential to take on research degrees, capable of undertaking high level analysis of specialist material, capable of producing high quality written work and oral presentations. (The last three are valuable transferrable skills.); provide an interdisciplinary approach drawing upon support from Arts (Theatre and Film) and SECL (German), which will provide students with experience of other methodologies and theoretical positions. This will enhance the transferable skills element by imbedding mental flexibility. The programme will also offer students the opportunity to commence (or enhance) modern European language skills through the modules and resources of SECL in order to enrich their studies; allow students, through the use of museum displays and exhibitions, to gain an insight into the way the past is transferred and interpreted in the public realm; provide teaching which is informed by a high degree of research and teaching expertise in this field and is designed to provide a feeder for postgraduate research programmes; provide students with the opportunity to utilise University connections with the In Flanders Fields Museum (Ieper/Ypres), National Army Museum (London) and the Royal Engineers Museum (Chatham), German Literature Archives (Marbach), Austrian State Archives (Vienna), giving them the opportunity to access these institutions’ primary and secondary sources; provide teaching that is based upon a well-provisioned library (both physical and online resources), and which makes use of the additional resources of the School of History’s Centre for the Study of Propaganda, War and Society.

Different course options

Full time | Canterbury Campus | 1 year | SEP

Study mode

Full time


1 year

Start date



The aim of this module is to explore the concept of propaganda and roles of the mass communications media in times of conflict. This will involve an historical approach which takes into consideration the numerous theoretical problems associated with the study of propaganda as well as the different ways political propaganda has been interpreted and used internationally in time of war or peace. Using case studies ranging from the First World War to the present day, the aim of the module is to enable students to think critically about the manner in which propaganda is disseminated in wartime and the pressures governments, media organisations and journalists face in times of conflict. The module explores how different types of conflict and changing technology have elicited different relationships between the media, the military and government. The module also examines the impact of the media upon public opinion and the increasingly important part played by the home front in twentieth century warfare.

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


International fees
Course fees for non-UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


Entry requirements

Students need to have minimum 2.1 or equivalent in history or a relevant subject (eg, politics, international relations, archaeology). In certain circumstances, the School will consider candidates who have not followed a conventional education path. These cases are assessed individually by the Director of Graduate Studies. All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, and professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications.