Graduate School

Taught courses

You will take several courses across two semesters of teaching, including two compulsory courses and a range of optional courses.

Core courses

There are two required core courses for this programme: two history skills training courses (20 credits each), one in each semester, which are taken by all MSc students in History in the school.

The compulsory courses for this programme are:

Course name   Credits
Historical Research: Skills and Sources 20
Historical Methodology 20

Optional courses     

You will choose a further 80 credits from a wide selection of optional courses, subject to availability. 

Option courses previously offered include those listed below.  Option courses change from year to year and those available when you start your studies will be different from those shown in this representative list.

Course name    Credits  

The United States and the Vietnam War: Origins and Repercussions

The Sixties in the United States 20

African Print Cultures: Newspapers and their Publics in Modern African History, c. 1880 to 1975

Islamic Africa 20
Global Environmental History 20
Conservatism in the United States, c.1930-c.1990 20

Black Activism in Britain since 1800


An Age of Great Dreams: The 1960s in the United States


Empire or Continent?: British Foreign Policy in the Era of the Great War

The Civil Rights Movement 20
Themes in American Historiography  20
The United States and the Cold War  20
War and Identities in Twentieth Century Britain and Ireland 20
History as Romance, Profession, Critique: Theory and Scholarship in the West, 1835 to 1985 20
Cinema and Society in South Asia, 1947-Present 20
Genocide in Contemporary History 20
Thinking the 20th Century - Hannah Arendt and the breakdown of European Civilization 20
Citizens and Subjects: concepts of citizenship in modern African intellectual history 20
The British Empire in Political Thought  20
Revolutions in Modern Europe 20
Gender, Crime and Deviancy: Britain c. 1860-1960 20
Contemporary Scotland 20
Gender in the History of the Americas 20
A Cultural History of Photography 20
China's foreign and security policy: a twentieth-century perspective 20
Cinema and Society in Britain 20
The Closest of Enemies: Cuban-American Relations 1898-2014 20

You may also be able to select from relevant courses from the Online MSc History programme.

Teaching and assessment

You will take a variety of seminar-style courses in small groups.

Most courses are assessed by means of an extended piece of written work, while some courses assess non-written skills. 

Further information

You can see more details about the 2022/23 programme structure on the Degree Programme Table for the MSc in Contemporary History. We expect the 2023/24 programme structure to be available from May 2023.