Joshua Allen

Subject History
Course MA Modern British Studies (part-time)
Country United Kingdom
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I have been pursuing my M.A History from IGNOU India..I am interested to pursue Ph.d in History. Kindly let me know about the procedure..


Pleased to hear that you’re interested in pursuing your studies further.

I don’t work for the university’s admissions office, who are probably the best people to respond to your query; why don’t you get in touch with them yourself? Details are here:

All best,


I work full-time, and I’m thinking about doing the MA History Distance Learning part-time. Do you have any advice?

Hi there,

Thanks for getting in touch.

When I was a student I studied part-time, so I was campus based, just spreading my studies over two years rather than one. As such my experience probably wasn’t directly comparable to studying at a distance, though there might be some similarities.

Doing an MA can be a lot of work, but can also be very rewarding. Keeping on top of the reading requires a fair degree of commitment, so if you’re primarily intending to study in the evenings, you might find that you fall behind a bit with what’s on Netflix! Or at least I certainly did.

The main difference I imagine though is that you lack the direct contact with academics, other students and the general research environment. I think that some people studying at a distance find this tough, though for others this isn’t really a problem, and they just enjoy being able to get on with it. Its certainly an enriching thing to do, changes how you think and gets you’re mind working in a way that it might not otherwise.

If you have any more specific queries about studying at a distance, I’d get in touch with the course convener. They’re always super helpful, and the ones who look after the distance learners are really great!

Good luck with your application,


Do you have anything lined up for once you have completed your degree?

From September I will be working for the School of History and Cultures here at the University of Birmingham as their Research Development Officer. This is a diverse role focused upon communicating the School’s research internally and externally, organising and managing events particularly those aimed at “non-academics”, measuring the “impact” that the School’s research has, and generally ensuring that History and Cultures remains an exciting and stimulating place to work and study! I began my MA broadly thinking that I’d like to move into public history and research communications, but not having a clue how to do so; so I appear to be stepping in the right direction.

What piece of advice would you give anyone considering postgraduate study in your field?

Don’t be afraid to have a go. Almost everybody you meet will be keen to involve you in things they are doing and working on, so don’t be afraid to grasp at opportunities to be involved, even if this is just going along to departmental or research centre seminars. Even if you don’t say anything during the event, you get to listen to exciting work in progress and better understand the field. Plus, people will notice and really appreciate you being there and it’s a great way to meet a wide range of people.

Have you joined any clubs or societies, gone on any research trips or done any volunteering?

Working two-three days a week in an office and freelancing alongside my degree has meant that I’ve always been quite busy! However, I have tried to take advantage of the things that the university offers its postgraduates, both formally and informally. In addition to Careers Network and student focused events I have gone along to lots of research seminars and talks, which are usually very interesting and a great way to meet people. I’ve attended a number of conferences, even giving a research paper at one, and had a minor role in organising a few events. In a voluntary capacity I was a course rep in my first year, and wrote a book review for the School’s postgraduate journal. This year I have worked closely with an academic and another staff member, as well as a couple of student interns, to develop a grant proposal to run a public history project next year. Worklink is also a great way of trying out different types of work.

Can you describe your journey from school to where you are now?

I took A-Levels in History, English Literature and Religious Studies at Solihull Sixth Form College, finishing in 2010. I then went to study History at the University of York, which offered a great course; but where I got rather more into politics and journalism than studying! After graduating in 2013 I stayed in York for a bit and worked as the Editorial Assistant/Web-Editor for a local arts magazine called One&Other. They ran out of money to pay me in spring 2014 and being broke myself I ended up moving back to Birmingham. I freelanced for a bit (had pieces published in the New Statesman, Apollo and The Observer amongst others) and did some very temporary jobs e.g. leafleting outside New Street Station, but needing something more regular I applied to Pertemps to temp at the University. I ended up working in the study abroad team, where due to staff leaving I ended up administering Birmingham’s outgoing exchange programmes. Once I began my masters they very kindly offered me a role through Worklink as their Marketing Assistant working three days a week. I did this for a year until I saw the College of Arts and Law advertising for the newly created post of Postgraduate Student Experience Officer, I applied not thinking I’d get it, and was amazed to be successful, so did this alongside my studies during the second year of my master’s. Towards the end of my master’s the full-time Research Development Officer post became vacant in History and Cultures and I was very flattered when a number of people suggested I apply. The role touches on many of my interests and my experience seemed to fit the job description, so I applied and was delighted to be successful! I was helped in applying because alongside working for the Student Experience team, during the second year of my master’s I worked for one of the Professors who’d taught me in my first year as the web-editor of a journal he edits called Past & Present.

Why did you choose the University of Birmingham?

Growing up not far from campus I was familiar with the university and that it was a very well-regarded institution. I did not however, know anything about history (my discipline) at Birmingham and that the School of History and Cultures is considered one of the best in the country. The summer before I started I saw an exhibition that had been curated by some of the modern British historians in the department. It was very different from a lot of the history inspired exhibitions I’d seen before (who’d have thought that historians and artists could collaborate so well?!), so my interest piqued I googled the Centre for Modern British Studies and read about their exciting approaches and projects. In need of a bit of direction I decided to apply for their MA.