Postgraduate study
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History (Online Learning) MSc, PgDip, PgCert

Awards: MSc, PgDip, PgCert

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Online learning

Funding opportunities

Programme website: History (Online Learning)

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 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. We aim to provide advanced knowledge and understanding of selected topics in history, as well as enhancing skills in independent research, critical analysis, and both oral and written presentation.

All of our teaching is divided into themed weeks. The method of teaching will vary from course to course and may include podcast lectures, group work and reflective diary posts. Each course has a dedicated lecturer responsible for running it and you can expect to receive regular feedback on your discussion posts and all written assignments from them.

Studying online at Edinburgh

Find out more about the benefits and practicalities of studying for an online degree:

You can take this programme at your own pace and can complete it in a period of one to six years. You can exit the programme at any stage with the qualification you have earned which is determined by the number of credits successfully achieved at the required level. We will assess you through a combination of:

  • coursework
  • discussion forum tasks
  • source reviews
  • article reviews
  • recordings of oral presentations

To complete the MSc you will complete two compulsory courses and select a further four options from a wide range on offer, followed by independent research in the form of a supervised dissertation.

Many students balance their studies alongside other commitments and the programme’s flexible structure supports this, allowing part-time students to take up to two fallow semesters, in which you remain on programme but do not register for courses.

Compulsory courses:

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

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:

  • Empire or Continent?: British Foreign Policy in the Era of the Great War
  • The Lords of the Isles: Clan Donald, c.1336 - c.1545
  • Ideology and Politics in the Soviet and Post-Soviet Space
  • An Imperial Game? Cricket, Culture & Society
  • Modern Latin American History
  • The Holocaust
  • The Trial of the Templars
  • Athens of the North - The Origins and Ideas of the Scottish Enlightenment
  • Willingly to War? The Origins of the First World War
  • The Crusades and the Euro-Mediterranean World
  • British Politics and Policy in the Second World War
  • Consensus to Thatcherism: Government and Politics in Post-War Britain
  • The American Civil War and Reconstruction
  • Myth and the History of Scholarship in Early Modern Europe
  • The Shadow of Versailles: Interwar Europe, 1918-1939
  • Seeking 'Japan' in a Westernizing World: Revolution, Romance and Imperialism 1868-1945
  • British Empires, 1601-1948
  • Diaspora, Migration and Exile: The History of the Global Irish since 1600
  • Ancient Egyptian Religion and the Afterlife
  • Society and Culture in the Soviet and Post-Soviet Space

We aim to provide a Programme that will result in an advanced qualification valued and respected by many employers. Many choose to take this degree for personal satisfaction and to further their study of a discipline close to their hearts, while others are interested in long-term academic careers and consider the MSc 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 education (though additional training may be required), museums, policy think tanks, national and international civil services, non-governmental organisations, galleries, libraries and historic trusts while others build their transferable skills to enter business, media, public administration or marketing.

This video gives you details of how online degrees are taught:

Watch a short video introducing our MSc History (Online Learning):

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, a minimum US 3.25 GPA or international equivalent, in a subject related to this programme.

It is not necessary to have a full degree in History, but some previous study in History at honours/'upper undergraduate' level is strongly advised.

Relevant experience, or professional or other qualifications will also be considered.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

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

English language tests

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

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.0 in each component. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 59 in each component.

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, Trinity ISE or PTE, 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 (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Read our general information on tuition fees and studying costs:

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
  • your tuition fee 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
  • William Robertson Wing
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG

If you are applying for funding we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

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

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