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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

American History is no longer accepting new applications.

American history at the University of Cambridge is a dynamic field which covers the history of what is now the United States, from the colonial period to the modern era. The MPhil in American History enables students to develop expertise in this ever-expanding field of historical scholarship.

The MPhil in American History combines taught and research elements over a nine-month full-time programme. The taught elements include three modules, as well as training workshops and seminars. All students will also complete a substantial piece of independent research (a dissertation of 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 a dissertation on a subject chosen and developed by the student.

Cambridge graduates in American history have taken up posts in universities and academic-related spheres of work around the world. The MPhil in American History provides a point of entry into this rich tradition. However, the MPhil has also provided an excellent basis on which to proceed to a career in other, non-academic professions.

Learning Outcomes

Students on the MPhil in American History will be provided with an in-depth study of some of the key areas of research in American history. All students will be assigned 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 small-group classes, students are introduced to the more specialised and intensive nature of research required at a postgraduate level.

By the end of the programme, students will have:

  • knowledge of key debates and trends in American history and historiography
  • greater understanding of issues, events, and people in American history
  • skills in presenting work in both oral and written form
  • advanced research and writing skills at postgraduate level


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 normally 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. 

Open Days

The Postgraduate Virtual Open Day usually takes place at the end of October. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions to admissions staff and academics, explore the Colleges virtually, and to find out more about courses, the application process and funding opportunities. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.

See further the Postgraduate Admissions Events pages for other events relating to Postgraduate study, including study fairs, visits and international events.



Key Information

9 months full-time

Study Mode : Taught

Master of Philosophy

Faculty of History

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Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
April 11, 2024
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Course Funding Deadline
Dec. 5, 2023
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2023

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.

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