Postgraduate study

History (Online Distance Learning)

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Part-time Intermittent Study, Full-time

Online learning

Funding available

This innovative online programme allows you to study for a graduate degree with one of the world’s most prestigious universities, at a pace that suits you and fits around your ongoing work or personal commitments.

Our state-of-the-art e-learning software and extensive digital resources enables you to develop your own specialised interests under the expert guidance of distinguished academics, and to gain a world-class postgraduate qualification without the expense of relocating.

The thematic breadth of this programme means you can choose from a diverse range of topics from American politics to modern Japanese history, from post Second World War Europe to medieval Scottish history, and you will be able to further your own specialised interests through the dissertation.

The online MSc History is delivered entirely online. Both the core and option units are taught through a combination of live virtual seminars and discussion board forums. All of our teaching is divided into themed weeks.

The method of assessment will vary from course to course and may include essays, short reports on primary or secondary sources, discussion forum activity and presentations.

Each course has a dedicated lecturer responsible for running it and you can expect to receive regular feedback from them.

You can choose to apply for the MSc either full-time (in one year) or part-time (between two and four years).

You can study for a single course, a certificate, a diploma or the MSc, with a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 60 credits being undertaken in any given semester.

The certificate requires one core training course and two specialist options, while the diploma requires both training courses and four options. If you wish to earn the full MSc, you will complete the requirements for the diploma before going on to produce a dissertation based on independent research.

Compulsory courses:

  • Historical Research: Approaches to History
  • Historical Research: Skills and Sources

Option courses may include:

  • The Lords of the Isles: Clan Donald, c.1336–c.1545
  • From Consensus to Thatcherism: Government and Politics in Post-War Britain
  • Seeking 'Japan' in a Westernising World: Revolution, Romance and Imperialism 1868–1945
  • Scotland and Ireland, 1800–1945
  • The Rise of Modern American Conservatism
  • The American Civil War
  • The Shadow of Versailles: Interwar Europe, 1918–1939
  • Willingly to War: the Origins of the First World War
  • Photography and Irish Life, 1839–2000
  • Angels and Inverts: Sexuality, Gender and Power in Britain, 1837–1914
  • Athens of the North – The Origins and Ideas of the Scottish Enlightenment
  • The Crusades and the Euro-Mediterranean world
  • Diaspora, Migration and Exile: The History of the Global Irish since 1600
  • Mythology and the History of Scholarship

The Certificate, Diploma or MSc could lead you towards a number of career directions depending on your individual interests and experience. Some students of History pursue work in related areas such as museums, galleries, libraries and historic trusts, whilst others build on the transferable skills gained and pursue areas as diverse as business and media, to public administration and marketing.

The programme could be of interest to those considering pursuing a teaching career, however, we recommend that you contact the regulatory authority for teaching in your country and teacher training institutions to discuss the statutory requirements for entering the profession before making a decision.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a relevant discipline. Relevant experience or professional or other qualifications will be considered.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than two and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

  • Programme Director, Dr David Kaufman
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 3857
  • Email:
  • School of History, Classics & Archaeology
  • Graduate School Office, Room 2.29, William Robertson Wing
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG
Programme start date Application deadline
18 September 2017 5 July 2017

We strongly recommend you submit your completed application as early as possible, particularly if you are also applying for funding or will require a visa. We may consider late applications if we have places available.

You must submit a reference with your application.

You may also need to supply references for funding applications. Read the application guidance for more information:

If you wish to study for anything less than the full MSc, you should still apply for the flexible MSc programme and will be able to exit when you meet the requirements for either a course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Programme Director, Dr David Kaufman
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 3857
  • Email:
  • School of History, Classics & Archaeology
  • Graduate School Office, Room 2.29, William Robertson Wing
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG