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Postgraduate Admissions

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The MPhil in Economic and Social History is an 11-month full-time programme which combines elements of formal teaching with independent research. Students on the MPhil will join a group of researchers of all levels within the field of economic and social history, allowing them to integrate into the research culture at Cambridge.

The MPhil involves four assessed components:

  • a core course (eight two-hour classes) examined through an essay of 3,000-4,000 words (excluding footnotes), worth 10 per cent of the overall mark
  • two option courses (see representative list below; eight two-hour classes for each option) examined through an essay of 3,000-4,000 words (excluding footnotes), each worth 10 per cent of the overall mark
  • a 4,000-word dissertation proposal essay, assessed on a pass/ fail basis (see more below)
  • a dissertation of 15,000–20,000 words, worth 70 per cent of the overall mark

All students will also be required to attend a number of short courses in Social Sciences Research Methods which provide research students with a broad range of quantitative and qualitative research methods skills that are relevant across the social sciences. These are not assessed but are a compulsory part of the training required for the MPhil in Economic and Social History.

In addition to the above, students will attend the weekly Economic and Social History Research seminars and workshops which prepare students for presenting their work to an academic audience.

One to one supervision

All students admitted to the MPhil in Economic and Social History will be assigned a supervisor to work with them throughout the course, but crucially on the dissertation.

Students will meet regularly with their supervisor for one-on-one supervisions throughout the course. Frequency of supervisions will vary depending on the time of year, with the regularity of meetings increasing as the year progresses and the student begins to focus more on the dissertation. Students can expect at least one supervision session per term and normally eight across the year.

The University of Cambridge publishes an annual Code of Practice which sets out the University’s expectations regarding supervision.

Seminars & classes

All students will take the core module, Central Concepts in Economic and Social History.

Students will also take a number short courses in Social Sciences Research Methods, specified by the Faculty, which provide research students with a broad range of quantitative and qualitative research skills that are relevant across the social sciences.

Students will also select two modules from a list of options offered by the Faculty's seven MPhil courses. Typically, students will select one module in Michaelmas term and one module in the Lent term. The courses offered each year may vary.

In 2020-21 the following optional courses were offered through the MPhil in Economic and Social History:

  • ‘Late development’: the uneven spread of industrialization in Asia, Africa and Latin America (Michaelmas)
  • Inequality: a global history (Michaelmas)
  • Money, Trade and Politics (Michaelmas)
  • British industrialisation in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (Lent)
  • British currency and credit markets since the seventeenth century (Lent)
  • African economic history (Lent)
  • Issues in women’s (and men’s) work, 1300-2000 (Lent)
  • Institutions and development (course taught by MPhil in Development Studies, assessed in Michaelmas only)

Students are also required to attend and participate in the weekly graduate research seminar most relevant to their field of study. These thriving research seminars meet weekly during term-time and students are encouraged to ask questions and to engage with speakers.

A variety of additional training opportunities in both subject-specific and general skills are also available to students across the University.

Lectures

Although not compulsory, students are encouraged to attend relevant undergraduate lectures as indicated by their supervisor.

Posters and Presentations

All students will present their work at least once during the academic year and will receive feedback from academics and peers on their work-in-progress. This is not an assessed element of the course but is a valuable feedback tool for the dissertation.

Feedback

Students will receive regular constructive feedback throughout the MPhil.

Students can expect to receive:

  • regular oral feedback from their supervisor, as well as termly online feedback reports;
  • written feedback on essays and assessments;
  • feedback on Social Sciences Research Methods courses;
  • oral feedback from peers during graduate workshops and/or seminars;
  • written and oral feedback on their dissertation proposal essay to be discussed with their supervisor,
  • formal written feedback from two examiners after examination of a dissertation.

Assessment

Thesis / Dissertation

The dissertation is Part II of the MPhil in Economic and Social History.

All students will submit a dissertation of 15,000–20,000 words in mid-August, worth 70 per cent of the overall mark. 

At the discretion of the examiners, the examination may include an oral examination on the dissertation and on the general field of knowledge within which it falls.

Essays

Each of three modules in Michaelmas and Lent (one compulsory core, and two options) will require an essay of 3,000–4,000 words (or equivalent), which may be under timed conditions.

Each will count toward 10 per cent of the final degree mark, for a total of 30 per cent. Taken together, these are Part I, and students must receive passing marks in order to move to Part II.

Students will also prepare a 4,000-word dissertation proposal essay due in the Lent term. This is assessed on a pass/fail basis. Where a student fails the essay it may be compensated with a mark of at least 63 per cent in the dissertation. Students will meet with their supervisor to discuss the essay and get feedback in preparation for the dissertation.

Practical assessment

All students will present their work at least once during the academic year and will receive feedback from academics and peers on their work-in-progress. This is not an assessed element of the course but is a valuable feedback tool for the dissertation.

Students are also required to pass the Social Sciences Research Methods courses they take and may be required to take a practical assessment as part of these courses.

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Key Information


11 months full-time

Master of Philosophy

Faculty of History

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Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Michaelmas 2022

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2021
Application deadline
March 31, 2022
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2022

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

Graduate Funding Competition
Dec. 2, 2021
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 13, 2021

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2022, Lent 2023 and Easter 2023.


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