School of History, Classics & Archaeology

MA Economic and Social History

Although Economic History has been taught in Edinburgh since 1884, Social History began to develop in the 1950s and 1960s as an approach to the past influenced by the social science tradition.

Adam Smith

This degree will give you the opportunity to study the way in which economies and societies have developed around the world and across the centuries. It will explore the relationship between economic, social and cultural change in a range of chronological and geographical contexts. In studying for this degree you will learn to evaluate both quantitative and qualitative evidence in order to explain the causes and consequences of economic growth or decline, and analyse the evolution of social structures and social relationships over time. 

Economic History is primarily concerned with the production, distribution, exchange and consumption of goods and services in the past. It explores, in a diversity of historical contexts, the ways in which individuals, households, communities and nations have utilised resources, traded commodities, and maximised wealth. It examines the government policies, financial instruments and institutional structures that have variously imposed, facilitated or inhibited these developments. And it analyses the oscillating economic fortunes of regions, and states both individually and comparatively.

Social History focuses on the ways in which women, men and children lived their lives in the past. It seeks to recover the experiences of individuals, families and communities, and to examine the relationships that bound them together over time. By examining the ways in which systems of belief, forms of behaviour and patterns of identity have emerged, evolved and changed over the centuries it seeks ‘to understand ourselves in time’.

A degree in Economic and Social History fuses these complimentary approaches to the past. Economic structures and economic changes are products of the wider societies from which they emerge and, in turn, have a profound impact on the nature and development of those societies. By studying the economic and the social in tandem you will gain a rounded appreciation of the peoples, places and periods that have shaped the modern world. 

 

September 2017 entry

Pre-honours

Year 1

In year 1 you will study the following courses:

  • The Historian’s Toolkit (20 credits)
  • Economic History 1: British Economic and Environmental History since 1900 (20 credits)
  • Social History 1: British Society since 1650 (20 credits)

You will study a further 60 credits of other courses of which 40 credits are chosen from courses in Social Sciences.

Year 2

In year 2 you will study the following courses:

  • Introduction to Historiography (20 credits)

40 credits from:

  • Global Connections since 1450 (20 credits)
  • Economic History 2: the Global Economy Part 2 (20 credits)
  • Social History 2: The Making of the Modern Body (20 credits)

You will study a further 60 credits of other courses of which 40 credits are chosen from courses in Social Sciences.

Honours

Year 3

In year 3 you will study the following courses:

  • Skills and Methods I (20 credits)
  • Skills and Methods II (20 credits)
  • 3 courses in Economic and Social History (60 credits)
  • 1 course from named Social Science subjects (20 credits)

Year 4

In year 4 you will study the following courses:

  • Dissertation in History - topic in Economic and Social History (40 credits)
  • course(s) in Economic and Social History (40 credits)
  • 40 credits of courses from named Social Science subjects

 

September 2018 entry

This programme is not available after 2017-2018.

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