Postgraduate study

History (Online Learning) MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Part-time Intermittent Study, 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:

This programme can be taken at your own pace and can be completed in a period of between one and 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. You will be examined through a combination of coursework and discussion forum tasks, source reviews, article reviews or 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
  • Theories of Empire in the Early Modern Period
  • The Lords of the Isles: Clan Donald, c.1336 - c.1545
  • Ideology and Politics in the Soviet and Post-Soviet Space
  • The Rise of Modern US Conservatism
  • Questioning the 'Revolutions' in Economic and Social History
  • Modern Latin American History
  • The Holocaust
  • The Closest of Enemies: Cuban-American Relations, 1898-2014
  • 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
  • Scotland and Ireland, 1800 - 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

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
MScHistoryUp to 6 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2019/20
MScHistory1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2019/20
MScHistory2 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. 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 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:

Hear from our recent graduates:

A UK 2:1 honours degree, US GPA 3.4 or other 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.*

(*Revised 25 June 2019 to reflect that a writing sample is no longer required).

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
MScHistoryUp to 6 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees
MScHistory1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScHistory2 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 tuition fee status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Co-Programme Director, Dr David Kaufman
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 3857
  • Contact: 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
9 September 2019 19 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.

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

  • Co-Programme Director, Dr David Kaufman
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 3857
  • Contact: 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