Master of History
For people who want to critically review the past and learn more than long lists of dates, facts and figures by heart, a master education in history is an appropriate choice. Students learn where and how to find historical sources and, especially, how to critically use the available source material. Next to source criticism (heuristics), the history student is trained in asking the right questions (what do I want to know?) and in applying the correct methods (how do I make my sources reveal the necessary information?). After this process, the revealed information is being analyzed, reduced to a synthesis and evaluated.
A master degree in history provides you with more insight in the great story of human civilization. A historian does not look at the history from an ivory tower, (s)he should aim to reconstruct and resolve different aspects of the birth, evolution and coherence of past and present societies. Knowledge of the past is always linked to knowledge of what is going on today. Individual and society are only explained by interlinking past and present processes and events. That is why history is the ultimate social science, not only of the past, but also of the present.
The history programme is an academic education and therefore aims to train historians with a science-oriented attitude and a critical, broad view on the world. Graduated historians should not only have a thorough knowledge of history and of human and social sciences, but should also have a scientific-critical approach to past and present events, be able to carry out independent historical research, present the results of scientific research to a broader public and be able to participate in contemporary public debate.
Whereas the Bachelor programme still offers a quite generic basis, true specializations start in the Master programme. The programme is built around the master thesis, through which the scientific skills of individual students are being evaluated. The importance of the thesis is reflected in the evaluation: half of all credit points are allocated to the master thesis. The other courses and practical exercises are linked to the chosen specialization (chronological, thematic or regional). The subject of the master thesis is chosen by the student and can be situated in either a certain period (“the Middle Ages”, for example), a certain theme (“urban history”) or a certain region (“African history “). The number of periods, themes and regions to choose from can be consulted in the study programme.
Traditional employment sectors for historians are the education sector, the scientific research sector (often through a PhD) and the archive sector (a specific inter-university Master programme is offered for this). Increasingly, the labour market is looking for graduates with a polyvalent education. The combination of a history education and an additional specialization can therefore be an important asset.
More and more history graduates are looking for a job outside the classical sectors mentioned above. Thanks to its broad nature and thanks to the scientific methods applied, a history education allows graduates to use their skills in numerous non-historical trainings and professions: culture, administration, journalism, diplomacy, the social sector, publishers, banks and insurances. Thanks to the polyvalent, flexible and critical nature of the programme, graduated historians are on average less likely to become unemployed.
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