MA Landscape History

"The MA has given me the opportunity to pursue Latin and Latin palaeography, the essential skills of any medieval historian. It has also allowed me to develop important research skills for future work"

In their words

Richard Turk, MA Medieval History graduate

Key facts

(REF 2014)

The English landscape has been described as ‘the richest historical record we possess’, and this MA programme focuses both on the skills of ‘reading the landscape’ and on the practical and theoretical issues involved in the study of the countryside.

The key theme of the MA Landscape History is the relationship between human beings and the natural environment from prehistory to the present day. You will also discover how an understanding of the historic environment has applications within the heritage industry, conservation agencies, local government and archaeological management.

This MA offers an intensive and practical preparation for those wishing to undertake further postgraduate study in landscape history, but also for those who wish to enter a profession for which knowledge of the historic environment is desirable.

This course is also available on a part-time basis.


During this course you will immerse yourself in the study of different approaches to the history of the English landscape. You will study a core module covering the theory and practice in landscape history. This is supplemented by training in the use and application of Geographical Information Systems (GIS).

Landscape History at UEA is deliberately eclectic in its approach: it is not constrained by period or geographical boundaries. You will benefit from teaching material that ranges from early prehistory to the Cold War, from henges and hillforts, to historic gardens and wartime pillboxes. We also place an emphasis on long-term trends over time and the ways in which landscape has an enduring legacy in the structuring of attitudes and beliefs in local and regional communities..

Course structure

The MA in Landscape History discusses key elements in the history of the English countryside from prehistory to the present day. The year-long core module, Past Environments: Theory and Practice in Landscape History, revolves around four major themes, examining different 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 woodpasture, heaths and moors) and introduces ideas of historical ecology and what is sometimes, mistakenly, called ‘environmental determinism’.
  • Society and Landscape is more concerned with human agency in the landscape and the more obvious signs of manipulation of the countryside. It discusses ideas concerning landscape design, enclosure and the impact of modernity.
  • Regions and Regionality takes a slightly different approach and examines patterns 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 more the product of later ‘attrition’?

Alongside the core seminar, a supplementary module will involve training in Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Through a week-long intensive practical training session, you will gain the ability to use GIS in your dissertation research. This module is tailored with landscape historians in mind and with an emphasis on the specific analytical operations that you are likely to find useful.

We also provide you with skills training in independent research in landscape history, through two semester-long modules in the first year. In the autumn, Sources for Landscape History offers you training in where to find historical and archaeological information, introducing you to a wide range of source material. In the spring, you’ll take English Palaeography, which provides training in reading historic handwriting.

The MA dissertation is very much the centrepiece of the course and allows you to focus on a particular place of interest or a specific research question. Given the range of expertise within our School, we can provide supervision for most dissertation topics. Recent dissertation subjects have included: 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. A substantial number of our students’ dissertations have formed the basis for published articles.

Skills and experience

Norwich is the most complete medieval city in Britain. It’s a fine historic centre with buildings spanning more than a thousand years of English history. The Norfolk Record Office houses one of the richest collections of documents for medieval and early modern history, as well as contemporary records. You will be able to take advantage of this wealth of historical sources throughout your studies.

As part of our School of History, you will be working within a vibrant postgraduate community of students and researchers, with specialisms in fields including British and European medieval history; landscape and environmental history; and local and regional history. We have a strong record of securing research funds from the AHRC, Wellcome Trust, English Heritage, Leverhulme, Norwich HEART and others.

As a postgraduate student at UEA, you will also benefit from our numerous guest lectures and postgraduate training seminars, and have the chance to develop your professional skills through sessions organised by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities Graduate School. 


You will be assessed on coursework essays, as well as on research training, specialised skills and the dissertation. The module Past Environments: Theory and Practice in Landscape History comprises 50 credits, Geographical Systems for Landscape History 30 credits, Sources for Landscape History 10 credits, and English Palaeography 10 credits. Your dissertation will be 14,000–16,000 words long and comprises 80 credits.

Course tutors and research interests

Lecturers on the course have included:

Dr Jon Gregory: post-medieval landscapes and agricultural improvement; GIS for landscape history.

Prof. Robert Liddiard: medieval high-status landscapes; landscapes of fortification.

Dr Sarah Spooner: post-medieval parks and gardens.

Prof. Tom Williamson: all aspects of English landscape; designed landscapes, especially 18th- and 19th-century parks and gardens; field systems; past environments.

Where next?

You will graduate ready to pursue a wide range of occupations, thanks to the breadth of the skill base you will have had the opportunity to acquire during your Master’s. Many of our graduates go on to pursue academic careers; others have developed careers in business, public service, teaching and management. You will be offered a variety of workshops and sessions focused on career development,

Course Modules 2018/9

Students must study the following modules for 180 credits:

Name Code Credits


Essential for all landscape historians and archaeologists who wish to be able to read the handwriting of the period that they are researching. It can be demanding, but involves the mastery of skill essential for those who wish to study original documents.




The use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) has become a key part of landscape history research in the 21st century. On this module you will learn how to apply GIS techniques in your own research through weekly practical sessions using ESRI's ArcGIS software. You will 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




You'll examine the nature of past environments from prehistory to the present. You'll 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.

Further Reading

Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject History or a related subject
  • Degree Classification UK BA (Hons) 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 6.0 in all components)
  • PTE (Pearson): 62 (minimum 55 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

Tuition fees for the academic year 2018/19 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £7,550
  • International Students: £15,800

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).

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.

You can apply online.

Further Information

To request further information & to be kept up to date with news & events please use our online enquiry form.

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

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