Postgraduate study

American History MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: American History

This programme allows students to explore American History in the hemispheric sense, taking ‘America’ to mean the whole hemisphere of the Americas. You will have the opportunity to take a comparative or transnational approach to the history of the Americas, as well as to study some countries and regions in more depth.

The University has an exceptional range of historians of the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean, which allows us to provide courses and research supervision in a wide array of topics and time periods, ranging from the American Revolution, to comparative slavery, from the Latin American dictatorships to the Cold War foreign policy of the United States.

You will take a variety of seminar-style courses in small groups while developing your own research project in consultation with a member of an internationally-respected team of historians. The programme provides advanced knowledge and understanding of selected topics in American history, and will enhance your skills in independent research, critical analysis, and both oral and written presentation.

You are also encouraged to participate in a vibrant research culture that includes regular lectures, seminars, and other events on American topics involving leading historians from the United Kingdom and internationally. Our staff strengths are complemented by the impressive combined resources of the University’s Main Library and the nearby National Library of Scotland, which boasts one of the UK's largest collections of Americana, encompassing excellent collections for Caribbean and Latin American history as well as for US history.

You’ll take two semesters of seminar-style courses in small groups, then apply your independent research skills developing your dissertation, with the supervision of academic staff. This is your chance to be creative; our breadth of expertise means we’re open to almost any area of interest. You will complete three compulsory courses and select a further three options from a wide range on offer.

Compulsory courses previously offered include:

  • Historical Methodology
  • Historical Research: Skills and Sources
  • Themes in American Historiography. (Please note that the Themes in American Historiography course will likely be replaced with the proposed Themes in the History of the Americas course for those students entering the programme in 2019/20).

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

  • Slavery in the British Atlantic World, 1650-1834
  • Conservatism in the United States, c.1930-c.1990
  • The Civil Rights Movement
  • The United States and the Cold War
  • The American Civil War and Reconstruction

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScAmerican History1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2019/20
MScAmerican History2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2019/20

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 specialised skills training courses and seminars, and the opportunity for independent research provides you with transferable skills that will be beneficial whatever path you choose. Graduates pursue 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 on the transferable skills gained and enter areas as diverse as business, media, public administration and 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 also be considered.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: 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

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 22/03/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScAmerican History1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScAmerican History2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • 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
9 September 2019 31 July 2019

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 one reference with your application.

Please read the application guidance for more information:

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

Further information

  • School of History, Classics & Archaeology
  • Graduate School Office, Room 2.29, William Robertson Wing
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG