Established in 1995, our Sports History and Culture MA will give you a firm grounding in modern sports development, from traditional forms to present day practices. This is a flexible and interactive programme that, thanks to its close links with the International Centre for Sports History and Culture (ICSHC), ensures your learning is at the cutting edge of research in this area.
You will investigate the origins of modern sport, examine its cultural and global significance, discover how sport can help us understand society and different communities, as well as consider how historians of sport can use primary sources. The scope of the course is global, not only analysing how modern sport spread from its British origins, but also how other nations embraced sport within their own cultural contexts.
The ICSHC has the foremost historians in the field on its staff who publish critically acclaimed books and articles, are editors of leading journals, organise international conferences, and work as consultants for a variety of projects, including the major BBC radio series Sport and the British. While you will study full-time or part-time via online lectures, you will also be invited to attend seminars and conferences organised by the ICSHC and partnership groups such as the British Society of Sports History and the European Committee for Sports History. These partnerships, coupled with our academic team’s expertise and real-world experience, will provide you with a challenging and rewarding intellectual experience. You will be encouraged to become part of our wider research community at the ICSHC, both in person and through social media.
Alongside gaining a deep understanding of the history of sport, you will develop skills in independent research by producing a sustained piece of writing and primary source analysis. As a graduate, you will be ideally placed for a career in sports writing, sport development, management, the media, teaching or to undertake PhD research.
As this course is delivered online by distance learning, you will need access to the internet and a computer with software capable of reading and writing Rich Text Format documents, such as Microsoft Word, Appleworks or StarOffice.
- You will explore and examine the process of sports development through a number of themes and lenses, including social and cultural history and the relationship between sport and politics.
- The ICSHC is widely acknowledged as the leading centre for the study of sport history in the world, organising international conferences, working with major media outlets such as the BBC and housing sport-themed archives of national significance in DMU’s Special Collections.
- Benefit from the ICSHC’s extensive network of sporting and cultural partnerships with local, national and global sporting bodies, including the British Society of Sports History, Musée National du Sport in France, the National Football Museum in Manchester, Leicestershire County Cricket Club and Leicester City Football Club.
- This online distance learning programme caters for both full-time and part-time students, enabling you to study at your own pace with ongoing support from our expert academic staff.
- You will learn from an expert teaching team, who are renowned in the field of the history of sport and who maintain links with major sporting organisations, professional associations and academic partners, ensuring that your learning is at the cutting edge of research in this area.
- The focus on individual research means this programme provides ideal preparation for progression to PhD study.
Structure and assessment
The course comprises of four taught modules, plus a 15,000 word dissertation on a subject of your choice selected in consultation with your tutor.
Social and Cultural Themes of Sport
This module examines the development of sport and physical culture in Britain and continental Europe from the 1850s. This includes the emergence of amateurism and the on-going tension between the amateur ethos and the commercialisation of sport as well as the codification, modernisation and globalisation of sporting practices. Particular reference is made to the importance of social divisions, such as class, gender and race.
Sport, Politics and Policy
This module examines the relationship between sport and international politics, and looks at how government public policies have impacted on sport and explores identity politics in sport. The module is based around the history of mega-events such as the Olympic Games and also global sporting institutions like the International Olympic Committee and FIFA. In addition, sport in the Cold War is also examined.
Investigating Sports History: Research Methods
The primary aim of this module is to prepare students for their dissertation. It comprises two mandatory essays a thematic review and a dissertation plan for which you will receive expert guidance, concerning historiography and methodology.
In addition, to help you specialise, you will choose one from the following:
Sport, Writing and History
The module considers written social and cultural aspects of the representation of sport in Britain and in an international context. The central aim is to promote appreciation of an historical approach to imaginative literature and non-fiction including autobiography, sports journalism and popular writing. This will enable students better to identify and explain long-term changes in the representation of sport and recreation and its transmission to a wide range of readers and audiences.
Football: Past and Present
This module explores the history of the game, from its origins, and its development from both domestic and international perspectives. It is arranged both thematically and chronologically and includes: the origins of football; the early professionalization and commercialisation of the game; the emergence of international football; football and the media; the football manager; football fans; the modernisation of football and global actors, such as FIFA.
The History of Rugby
This module examines the social history of rugby, starting in the mid-19 century and the popularisation of the sport through Tom Brown’s Schooldays to the 1995 professionalisation of rugby union. Using film, oral history and primary sources, the module examines the development of the sport through the perspectives of class, gender and national identity. At each stage the history of the sport is related to the broader history of British society in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Note: All modules are subject to change in order to keep content current.
Facilities and features
The Clephan Building is home to DMU’s humanities subjects, and is equipped with the latest audio-visual equipment and cinema screens.
Currently Clephan houses some key Arts, Design and Humanities student support facilities including the Arts, Design and Humanities Placement Team and the faculties Advice Centre, where you can access information about timetabling, specialist support queries. and any other questions you may have about your course.
The building also features the Leicester Centre for Creative Writing, Centre of Textual Studies, Centre for Adaptations, and the International Centre for Sports History and Culture.
The main Kimberlin Library is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (other than in exceptional circumstances) and offers a huge range of online resources, all of which can be remotely accessed from anywhere you choose.
The library is run by dedicated staff who offer additional support to students, including help with academic writing, research strategies, literature searching and reference management and assistive technology, and mathematical skills for non-maths students. There is also a Just Ask service for help and advice, available via email or telephone.
Our Learning Zones and the The Greenhouse also provide space for group or individual work and study.
There are 1,600 study places across all library locations, more than 700 computer stations, laptops to borrow, free wi-fi and desktop power outlets.
You can also book rooms with plasma screens, laptops and DVD facilities for group work and presentations, secure an individual study room with adjustable lighting or make use of our assistive technology.
Opportunities and careers
Starting a business
If you are thinking of starting your own business or working for yourself, the Enterprise Team can help provide you with the right advice and guidance to get your business off the ground.
This is our innovative international experience programme which aims to enrich your studies and expand your cultural horizons – helping you to become a global graduate, equipped to meet the needs of employers across the world.
Through #DMUglobal, we offer a wide range of opportunities including on-campus and UK activities, overseas study, internships, faculty-led field trips and volunteering, as well as Erasmus+ and international exchanges.
Many of our students have used their studies to develop careers in sports writing, sport development, management, the media and teaching. Others have gone on to undertake PhD research and pursue academic careers. A number have used their studies to publish work. A number of our students have undertaken a six month paid internship with the history management team at the Adidas headquarters in Germany.
We are actively developing our employability links with the course. With the flexibility of distance learning, our students often take the course part time while they work. Others choose the more intensive one-year study plan to obtain an MA before applying for further study such as a PGCE or PhD programme. This mixture makes the varied career profiles of our students a strength of the MA, in terms of its multi disciplinary intake.
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