Maritime History and Naval History Education at the Centre for Maritime Historical Studies


Founded in 1855, The University of Exeter is a public university in South West England. It is one of the UK’s most popular and successful universities with campuses in Exeter, Devon, and near Falmouth in Cornwall. The University also has Project Offices in Shanghai, Beijing and Bangalore. It belongs to the 1994 Group, an association of 19 of the United Kingdom's smaller research-intensive universities. Exeter was ranked among the top 200 universities in the world for the first time, coming 184th in the THE World University Rankings.

With 17,950 students registered, of which 16,550 are full-time and 1,400 part-time, it is ranked sixth in the UK for student satisfaction in the latest National Student Survey amongst full service universities. According to the Sunday Times, a subject taught at Exeter won the accolade for the most satisfied students in the UK for two years running - Sports Science in 2007 and Finance and Accounting in 2008.

The Centre for Maritime Historical Studies was formed in 1991 as a result of the perceived need to promote a wider understanding of the significance of maritime history within the world of historical scholarship. Taking on the theme that the seas connect rather than divide mankind, the Center and its members set out to explore the nature of these connections and how this impacted on all aspects of the economy and society, and, through the emergence of navies to contest and control these connections, had a major impact on the development and policies of governments.

Academic Programs

Masters Programs

  • MA in Naval History: As the only MA in Naval History at a British university, this program offers a unique opportunity to students interested in naval history and looking to develop their skills and their knowledge of this area to a higher level. The aim of the program is to set British naval power in the wider context of world naval development, showing the problems and solutions over time to operating navies – traditionally the most technologically sophisticated, wide-ranging and powerful instruments of war – in order to explain why Britain has been so successful and how this has impacted on British history.
  • MA in Maritime History: This program is built upon a long tradition of teaching maritime history at Exeter where it was the first Maritime History MA to be taught at a British University. anging from the local to the international level, this program studies the technological and commercial developments that made this possible, from which students can develop their own interests into a dissertation.
  • Masters Entry Requirements: As a general rule, you will be required to have, or expect to obtain, a minimum Second Class Honours degree, or international equivalent. Plus English language requirements.

PhD Programs

  • PhD Study Opportunities: The Center is supervising PhD students in a range of different topics, and are willing to provide supervision in the following areas of research: All aspects of British maritime history from the Middle Ages to today; Business history and maritime trade; Port cities and communities; Mariners' welfare and education; Naval history from the Middle Ages to the present day, in particular, the connections between naval, political, social, economic and other histories; Relief outside the Chapel of John Greenway; merchant and ship owner, c.1517. St. Peter’s Church, Tiverton, Devon; Naval leadership from the late-seventeenth century to the mid-twentieth century; British naval administration and logistics; Mediterranean maritime history from the middle ages to the eighteenth century; and African maritime history and African port cities.
  • PhD Entry Requirements: Entry requirements for research degrees vary and also depend on the quality of your research proposal and whether suitable supervision is available. Normally students will have a good undergraduate Honours degree (UK Upper Second Class Honours or equivalent) and in some cases, a Masters degree. If you are seeking funding through one of the Research Councils (UK/EU students only), you will need to hold a minimum Upper Second Class Honours degree, although often these awards are won by those with First Class Honours due to high levels of competition. International students will also need to satisfy our English language entry requirements.

EXETER Scholarships

  • Anning Morgan Bursary
  • Cornwall Heritage Trust Scholarship
  • Merit Scholarships
  • Charitable trusts
  • Progression Scholarships
  • The Philip Nicholas Bursary
  • The South West Maritime History Society bursaries
  • Financial Support for Members of the Armed Forces
  • Plus more

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