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 take advantage of Edinburgh’s remarkable range of historical expertise from the comfort of your own home. Thanks to our e-learning tools and extensive digital resources, you can gain a world-class postgraduate qualification without the expense of relocating. Our flexible structure allows you to fit your studies around work or family commitments and to develop your own specialised interests under the expert guidance of experienced academics.

The thematic breadth of this programme means you can choose from a diverse range of topics from American politics to modern Japanese history, from interwar 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.

The PgCert requires completion of a skills training course and two specialist options. The PgDip requires completion of two skills training courses and four specialist options. The MSc requires completion of the diploma and then a supervised dissertation based on independent research. You may begin your studies in September or January.

Compulsory courses:

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

Option courses previously offered include:

  • The Lords of the Isles: Clan Donald, c1336–c1545
  • 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 Crusades and the Euro-Mediterranean World
  • Athens of the North – The Origins and Ideas of the Scottish Enlightenment
  • Willingly to War? The Origins of the First World War
  • British Empires, 1601–1948
  • Ideology and Politics in the Soviet and Post-Soviet Space
  • The Rise of Modern American Conservatism
  • Myth and the History of Scholarship in Early Modern Europe
  • The Shadow of Versailles: Interwar Europe, 1918–1939

Our students view the programme and a graduate degree from Edinburgh as an advanced qualification valued and respected by many employers. Those students interested in long-term academic careers consider the programme as preparation for a PhD.

The combination of skills training, specialised seminars, and independent research provides you with transferable skills that will be beneficial whatever path you choose. Graduates work in related areas such as museums, policy think-tanks, national and international civil services, non-governmental organisations, galleries, libraries and historic trusts whilst others build their transferable skills to enter business, media, public administration or marketing.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, US GPA 3.4 or other international equivalent, in a subject related to this programme.

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: d.kaufman@ed.ac.uk
  • 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
11 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: d.kaufman@ed.ac.uk
  • School of History, Classics & Archaeology
  • Graduate School Office, Room 2.29, William Robertson Wing
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG