Postgraduate Students


Edinburgh contains exceptional resources for study and research in the Medieval and Renaissance periods.

The School

Our historic building combines study spaces with exhibition areas, including collections of documents, many which have been digitised.

We have our own library known as the Student Research Room, which is a large airy space used both for study and to house the School’s book collections, including late antique and medieval history, American, European and Scottish history, and economic and social history.

  • Centre for Modern Conflict Book Collection
  • The Compton Collection of American History
  • The Jim McMillan Collection of European History
  • Michael Flinn Collection of Economic and Social History
  • Scottish History Book Collection


Many of our students are also members of cross-School research groups, including our Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, which aim to stimulate inter-disciplinary, collaborative research, and widen awareness of individual scholarship.

The University

The University Library is one of the largest university libraries in the UK and contains a substantial collection of primary and secondary materials and a vast collection of rare books and manuscripts, including medieval ones.

Postgraduate students are welcome to study original objects and have made many important research discoveries while working on the archives. There is an incredible range of material in the collections that is available nowhere else in the world.

The Edinburgh University Musical Instrument Collection is one of the world's most important collections of this type, including instruments dating back 500 years. There are regular performances of renaissance music by the Edinburgh University Renaissance Singers and the Edinburgh Renaissance Band.

The City

The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh are Unesco World Heritage sites, the Old Town retaining many of its medieval buildings and streets. These include Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Both the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland care for a diverse range of properties, including many that date from the middle ages and renaissance.

Edinburgh’s rich historical resources and archives feature prominently in our teaching and the History subject area enjoys close ties with various museums and galleries in Edinburgh. Many of our graduate students find these local repositories invaluable, as they mean most MSc students can complete their degrees without the need for extensive research trips.

  • National Museums Scotland - Collection of Scottish and Global applied art and sculpture, including important collections of medieval and renaissance artefacts.
  • National Library of Scotland - A copyright library, receiving legal deposits since 1710, and also has important collections of medieval and renaissance manuscripts and early printed books.
  • National Records of Scotland - Holds material relating to Scottish history from the 12th century.
  • National Galleries of Scotland - Collections include medieval and renaissance paintings, drawings and prints by artists such as Botticelli, Raphael and Titian.
  • Queen's Gallery - Exhibitions of works from the Royal Collection, which often include paintings and drawings of the renaissance and early modern period.
  • The Royal Observatory - Holds the Crawford Collection, a significant collection of medieval, renaissance and early modern astronomical and astrological texts.
  • The Royal College of Physicians library - Includes many important early printed books of anatomy.
  • The Library of the Royal Botanic Gardens - Collections of early botanical books dating from 1486.