MA Landscape History


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Key facts

In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) 99% of UEA's research in History was rated as internationally recognised, including 77 per cent rated 4* (world leading) or 3* (internationally excellent).

Key facts

In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), UEA was ranked third in the UK for research intensity in History (Times Higher REF 2014 Analysis).

The English landscape has been described as the richest historical record we possess. Society has developed in geographical pockets, as reflected in our attitudes, beliefs, social structures, industries – and our accents.

Our MA will provide you with the skills you need to read the landscape, and to unearth clues about the relationship between human beings and the natural environment.

Our approach to Landscape History is deliberately eclectic – unconstricted by eras or geographical boundaries. You’ll study materials from prehistory to the present day; from henges and hillforts, to historic gardens and wartime pillboxes. You’ll discover long-term trends, and the enduring legacy our landscapes have had on local and regional communities.

Our Master’s course offers intensive and practical preparation for further postgraduate study. However it is also ideal preparation to enter professions requiring knowledge of the historic environment, such as tourism, heritage and conservation work.


Our landscape is a living record of the way humans have interacted with the land; how we’ve exerted our will over it – and how it in turn has shaped our society.

Our Master’s course will arm you with the skills you need to read the landscape, as well as knowledge of the practical and theoretical issues involved in the study of the countryside.

You’ll study the relationship between human beings and the natural environment from prehistory to the present day. You’ll look at man-made and semi-natural spaces, such as woodpastures and heaths, in the context of historical ecology. And you’ll examine regions – why they exist, and the behaviours and patterns they create.

You’ll undergo intensive practical training in Geographical Information Systems, which will prove invaluable in your independent studies. You’ll discover where to seek out historical and archaeological information. And you’ll even learn how to read historic handwriting in our English Palaeography module.

Your dissertation will obviously form a large part of the course. It will allow you to select and focus on a particular place of interest or a specific research question. We have a huge range of expertise within our School, which means we can provide supervision for a wide range of topics. And we’re proud to say that a substantial number of our students’ dissertations have gone on to form the basis for published articles.

Throughout the course you’ll also discover how an understanding of the historic environment has applications within the heritage industry, conservation agencies, local government and archaeological management, all of which will offer excellent career opportunities following graduation. Or you may wish to undertake further postgraduate study, for which the MA will provide invaluable preparation.

Course Structure

Our Landscape History Master’s degree covers the key periods and developments in the history of the English countryside, from prehistory to the present day.

Our core, year-long module, Past Environments: Theory and Practice in Landscape History, revolves around four major themes, and looks at the ways the landscape has been impacted in different periods:

What is Landscape History? explores the ways in which landscape history is practised and its relationship with other disciplines.

Landscape and Environment discusses the history and archaeology of various man-made and semi-natural environments, such as woodpastures, heaths and moors, and introduces ideas of historical ecology, as well as the subject that is sometimes mistakenly referred to as ‘environmental determinism’.

Society and Landscape is concerned with human agency in the landscape, and the ways in which we’ve manipulated the countryside. Within this theme you’ll discuss ideas concerning landscape design, enclosure and the impact of modernity.

Regions and Regionality takes a slightly different approach, examining patterns and asking questions of regionality in the landscape: Why do regions exist? Are they created by social and economic behaviour that reflects different regional identities, or are they the product of later attrition?

In your autumn semester the module Sources for Landscape History will provide you with training in where to find historical and archaeological information, introducing you to a wide range of source material. And in the spring you’ll take English Palaeography, which will help you learn to decipher and read historic handwriting.

You’ll also complete a supplementary module that will provide training in Geographical Information Systems (GIS). This week-long module has been tailored to the needs of landscape historians, and places a particular emphasis on the specific analytical operations that you will find useful. So by the end of the intensive practical training, you’ll be able to put GIS to invaluable use in your dissertation research.

Your Master’s dissertation will be the main focus of the course, and is your opportunity to go into real depth about a subject or place that interests you. We have a vast range of expertise within our School, so we’re confident that we can provide supervision for most dissertation topics, and many of our students’ dissertations have gone on to form the basis for published articles.

Examples of recent dissertation subjects include: The Landscapes of Medieval Monasteries, Medieval Hunting Landscapes, The Archaeology of Ancient Woods, Regional Patterns of Enclosure, Landscape Characterisation, and Second World War Coastal Defence.

Teaching and Learning


Our integrated approach means that your learning from each module will relate to and inform your other modules. Broad and thorough, this also makes for a more interesting and stimulating study experience.

Our skills-based modules will provide you with the theoretical and methodological tools key to the study of Landscape History, as well as the conceptual knowledge you’ll need to complete the core module and your dissertation.

Our teaching will enhance your knowledge and awareness of different disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches. And with the skills gained through the taught elements, along with our close supervision and advice, you will be in the position to undertake your extended, independent, original research project.

Independent study

The very nature of a Master’s course means that you will spend a lot of time carrying out independent study. You’ll have access to UEA’s state of the art library, which houses a wealth of specialist research collections in British, European, and global history. You’ll also have access to the East Anglian Film Archive and the Norfolk Record Office. Moreover, you’ll be able to work with libraries and archives across the country, including the British Library and The National Archives.

The balance we offer between independent thinking and study skills will help you grow into a self-motivated learner, an analytical thinker and an expert researcher. You will develop accuracy and precision in your written work through evidence-based analysis. And you will become well versed in time management, making you highly organised and confident in self-directed study.

Throughout your degree you will be given guidance on your work and constructive feedback to help you improve.


Our modules include both formative and summative assessments, with feedback provided in various ways. This includes – but is not restricted to – written feedback, oral feedback in seminars and tutorials, and peer-to-peer feedback.

Each module will include a sequence of assessments, giving you the opportunity to learn from your formative feedback. The process will encourage you to reflect on your performance and to approach subsequent pieces of work with greater confidence, improving your performance in summative assessments.

Formative assessment includes presentations, essays and dissertation plans, research training and specialised skills. Summative work is assessed through coursework essays – including the options to submit book and exhibition reviews – and your dissertation.

After the course

You will graduate ready to pursue a wide range of occupations, thanks to the breadth of the skills you will have acquired during your postgraduate history degree. Many of our graduates go on to pursue academic careers. Others develop careers in business, public service, teaching and management, or the heritage and tourism sector.

We work closely with UEA Careers Service, offering a number of events, workshops, and information sessions to help get your career off to the best start.

Career destinations

  • Teaching and research
  • Civil Service and local government
  • Heritage and tourism
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Business and finance

Course related costs

Please see Additional Course Fees for details of other course-related costs.

Course Modules 2020/1

Students must study the following modules for 180 credits:

Name Code Credits


All historians and archaeologists will find this module essential if they wish to be able to read handwriting of the period that they are researching. It can be demanding, but also enjoyable, leading to the mastery of a new skill.




The use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) has become a key part of landscape history research in the 21st century. Within this module you'll learn how to apply GIS techniques in your own research through weekly practical sessions using ESRI's ArcGIS software. You'll develop a range of skills such as georeferencing historic maps, using digital data including maps and LiDAR data, creating your own data and combining datasets to carry out more sophisticated analysis. An essay and portfolio of maps will enable you to develop your understanding of how GIS has been used more widely on historical and archaeological projects and to put your new skills into practice to create and present your own maps.




Dissertation for students taking the MA in the School of History. 14,000 - 16,000 Words




This year-long module allows you to examine the nature of past environments from prehistory to the present. You will focus on the theory and practice of Landscape History and examine a series of semi-natural environments, the archaeological footprint of the Middle Ages and the Post-Medieval period and aspects of regionality.




This is a specialist preparatory exercise, examining sources for landscape history, ranging from historical documents through to archaeological data sets and maps. There will be a strong practical element to this component, with an emphasis on how landscape historians use their sources.




Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

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Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject History or a related subject
  • Degree Classification Bachelors (Hons) degree - 2.1 or equivalent
  • Special Entry Requirements Applicants must submit a sample of written work (in English). This should be a typed essay on a historical subject, 2-3,000 words long, preferably a photocopy of an assessment marked by a tutor, complete with critical comments and a percentage or grade. The essay should address a specific question, and must demonstrate an ability to construct a historical argument, familiarity with the conventions of academic writing, and competence in English. This should be uploaded to your online application.

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 6.5 (minimum 5.5 in all components)
  • PTE (Pearson): 58 (minimum 42 in all components)

Test dates should be within two years of the course start date.

Other tests, including Cambridge English exams and the Trinity Integrated Skills in English are also accepted by the university. The full list of accepted tests can be found here: Accepted English Language Tests

INTO UEA also run pre-sessional courses which can be taken prior to the start of your course. For further information and to see if you qualify please contact


The School's annual intake is in September of each year.

Alternative Qualifications

If you have alternative qualifications that have not been mentioned above then please contact the university directly for further information.

Fees and Funding

Tuition fees for the academic year 2020/21 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £7,850 (full time)
  • International Students: £16,400 (full time)

If you choose to study part-time, the fee per annum will be half the annual fee for that year, or a pro-rata fee for the module credit you are taking (only available for UK/EU students).


Living Expenses

We estimate living expenses at £1,015 per month.

Scholarships and Awards:

There are a variety of scholarships and studentships available to postgraduate applicants in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. For further information relevant to the School of History, please click here.


How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.

To apply please use our online application form.

Further Information

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries: or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515