Master's Programme in Modern History

120 credits

The Master's Programme in Modern History is committed to the belief that a greater appreciation and understanding of European history is critical for understanding today's social and political problems. You will gain a broad familiarity with some of the main political, social, economic and cultural processes characteristic of the past 100–200 years. We offer a broad understanding of modern times with a strong emphasis on research skills.

Autumn 2023 Autumn 2023, Uppsala, 100%, On-campus, English

Autumn 2024 Autumn 2024, Uppsala, 100%, On-campus, English

The Master's Programme in Modern History will provide you with knowledge of, and insight into, the modern world. The programme will give special consideration to the 20th century up until today, but also provide some background from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Our focus is on Europe but the programme also pays attention to the main political, social, economic and cultural developments and processes in other parts of the world.

These processes include state and nation building; the struggle between democracy and dictatorship; European imperialism and anti-imperial movements; the rise of identity-based social and political movements; political extremism and how governments have responded to it; and changing policies on migration out of and into Europe.

You will acquire skills in doing research and writing, and learn to analyse a wide array of sources, including handwritten materials, images and material artefacts, and online databases. You will be introduced to digital humanities approaches, and you will have access to a number of digital resources and databases and the rich collections in the Uppsala University Library.

During this programme, you can expect to:

  • gain the theoretical and research skills you need to conduct your own independent research
  • have access to a number of digital resources and databases and the rich collections in the Uppsala University Library
  • present your original Master's thesis to experts in the field
  • have the opportunity to apply for an internship at a cultural or governmental institution, or do a research internship within one of the research projects at the department.

Student profile

You have a broad interest in the humanities or social sciences and have studied a good amount of history during your Bachelor's programme. Having an interest in current issues in society and some social engagement will probably also help during your Master's studies. You are extremely motivated and have confidence in your ability and knowledge. You enjoy opportunities to study primary sources and discuss them with your peers. You are comfortable talking and writing in English.

You expect to contribute as much to the educational experience of others as you expect to learn from their previous experiences and knowledge. A future PhD education is a distinct possibility, but entering the job market right after graduation is also something you are considering.


The programme leads to the degree of Master of Arts (120 credits) with History as the main field of study. After one year of study, it is possible to obtain a degree of Master of Arts (60 credits).

During the first semester, you will take two compulsory courses in modern history, one course in historical theory and one course in historical narration. During the second semester, you will take two compulsory courses in modern history and one course in digital history and start working on your Master's thesis.

If you graduate from the programme after one year, you will spend the entire second semester working on your thesis.

During the third semester, you will take elective courses and one course in historical methods and continue working on your thesis. You can also do an internship or participate in a student exchange programme. The fourth semester consists entirely of thesis writing.

Courses within the programme

For courses within the programme, see the programme outline.

The specific forms of teaching and assessment vary across courses within the programme. Generally, teaching takes the form of lectures, seminars, and thesis supervision. Assessment is usually based on individual oral and written work. Requirements for class participation vary across courses.

You are expected to take greater responsibility for your learning as the programme progresses and the thesis should reflect your ability to critically, independently, and creatively formulate and solve problems based on knowledge and skills acquired within the programme. In addition to interacting with other students in the programme, you will have the opportunity to meet students enrolled in other Master's programmes in history and in other disciplines.

The language of instruction is English.

Graduates with a Master's degree in history will be employable in a wide variety of occupations. It provides you with a good basis for advanced positions in secondary and higher education, and also for employment within:

  • civil service at local, regional and national levels,
  • personnel management,
  • journalism,
  • international organisations,
  • tourism,
  • enhancing cultural heritage in its various manifestations including archives, museums and libraries.

A Master's degree in history is a prerequisite for a successful career in historical research.

Many graduates with a Master's degree in history from Uppsala University have been admitted by a PhD programme in Sweden or abroad. This includes the universities of Alberta, Budapest, Cambridge, Lund, Seoul, Sheffield, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Uppsala University. Other graduates work at, for example, Radio Free Europe, International IDEA and SIDA. Job titles include editor, programme officer and policy specialist, etc.

Career support

During your time as a student, UU Careers offers support and guidance. You have the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities and events that will prepare you for your future career.