Postgraduate study

History MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: History

This comprehensive programme allows you to take full advantage of the breadth of our research expertise. We’ll help you to develop a specialised knowledge and understanding of history and its central issues, examine historical sources, evaluate existing research, and work towards a specialised research project of your own.

Taught by one of the largest groups of historians in any British university, you will encounter a stimulating environment in which to further your interest in practically any era of history and many regions of the world. By joining this programme you’ll also take part in a rich programme of events featuring our renowned academic staff and distinguished visitors from all over the world.

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 may also assess non-written skills. You will complete two compulsory courses and select a further four options from a wide range on offer. You will then complete an independent research dissertation under the guidance of an assigned supervisor.

The compulsory courses are

  • Historical Methodology
  • 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:

  • Thinking with Things: History and Material Culture Studies
  • Literature and History in Early Medieval Britain and Ireland
  • Medieval Men and Masculinities
  • Studying Women in Late Medieval England: Sources and Approaches
  • Medieval Travellers in the Mediterranean, Africa and Asia
  • Propaganda in Renaissance Scotland
  • Constantinople: The History of a Medieval Megalopolis from Constantine the Great to Suleyman the Magnificent
  • The Global Renaissance
  • Slavery in the British Atlantic World, 1650-1834
  • The Scientific Revolution in Global Perspective
  • The European Enlightenments, 1670 - 1820
  • The Material Culture of Gender in Eighteenth Century Britain
  • Edinburgh's Slavery Connections: Research Seminar
  • History as Romance, Profession, Critique: Theory and Scholarship in the West, 1835 to 1985
  • Gender, Crime and Deviancy: Britain c. 1860-1960
  • Revolutions in Modern Europe
  • Gender and Empire: Contested Meanings and Divergent Practices
  • American Borderlands: Histories of the Western Hemisphere
  • An Unhappy Valley: Mau Mau, culture and colonialism in Kenya's highlands ca.1895-ca.1964
  • Conservatism in the United States, c.1930-c.1990
  • War and Identities in Twentieth Century Britain and Ireland
  • Thinking the 20th Century - Hannah Arendt and the breakdown of European Civilization
  • Cinema and Society in South Asia, 1947-Present
  • The United States and the Cold War
  • China's foreign and security policy: a twentieth-century perspective
  • The Civil Rights Movement
  • Citizens and Subjects: concepts of citizenship in modern African intellectual history
  • Contemporary Scotland
  • Genocide in Contemporary History
  • Narrating Native Histories
  • A Cultural History of Photography
  • The Sources of Medieval History
  • Themes in American Historiography
  • Introduction to Contemporary History
  • The Crusades: Thirteenth Century Crossroads
  • Myth and the History of Scholarship in Early Modern Europe
  • The Germans and the East: Myth, Migration and Empire 1795 - 1970
  • The British Empire in Political Thought
  • Debating Marriage between Antiquity and the Middle Ages
  • Currents of Radicalism, 1776-1848

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
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 pursuing long-term academic careers and therefore consider the MSc as preparation for a PhD. The combination of skills training courses, specialised seminars, and 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, a minimum US 3.25 GPA or international equivalent, in History or another humanities or social science subject with a significant historical component.*

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

(*Revised 8 November 2019 to include GPA requirement)

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.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
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:

  • 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
14 September 2020 3 August 2020

If you are applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

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