Postgraduate study

Scottish History MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Scottish History

Taught by one of the largest groups of specialist Scottish historians found at any university, this programme is world leading.

It offers an unrivalled range of courses that explore Scotland’s past across a broad period - from the early medieval period to contemporary developments - and Scotland’s place in comparative and global contexts.

The examination of Scotland’s past has been at the centre of history teaching at the University since the Sir William Fraser Chair of Scottish History and Palaeography was established in 1901.

You will have access to some of the most impressive archival collections in the UK, including:

  • our Centre for Research Collections
  • the National Library of Scotland
  • the National Records of Scotland

You will:

  • take a variety of seminar-style courses in small groups
  • be assessed by means of an extended piece of written work, some courses may also assess non-written skills
  • complete two compulsory courses
  • select a further four course options from a wide range of subjects on offer
  • be assigned a supervisor and complete an independent research dissertation

Compulsory courses

The compulsory courses are:

  • Historical Methodology
  • Historical Research: Skills and Sources

Option courses

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.

  • Saints Cults, Pilgrimage and Piety in Scotland
  • Edinburgh's Slavery Connections
  • Slavery in the British Atlantic World, 1650-1834
  • Athens of the North: The Origins and Ideas of the Scottish Enlightenment
  • Contemporary Scotland
  • The Material Culture of Gender in Eighteenth Century Britain
  • War and Identities in Twentieth Century Britain and Ireland
  • Literature and History in Early Medieval Britain and Ireland

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
MScScottish History1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2022/23
MScScottish History2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2022/23

On successful completion of this programme, you will have gained:

  • a specialised knowledge and understanding of Scottish history
  • a detailed knowledge and understanding of the central historiographical issues of this area
  • an understanding of the interaction between historical sources and explanation
  • an appreciation of the historical and historiographical context of the student's individual area of research

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 MSc 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
  • historic trusts

Others build on the transferable skills gained and enter areas as diverse as:

  • business
  • media
  • public administration
  • marketing

These entry requirements are for the 2023/24 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2024/25 academic year will be published on 2 October 2023.

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 (not necessarily Scottish).

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

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 Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • 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 three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScScottish History1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScScottish 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
  • 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
11 September 2023 19 June 2023

Due to high demand, the school operates a number of selection deadlines.

We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline when we will offer a proportion of the places available to applicants selected through a competitive process.

If you are applying for funding or require a visa we advise that you apply as early as possible.

Deadlines for applicants applying to study in 2023/24

Round Application deadline Places awarded
1 5 December 2022 16 January 2023
2 13 February 2023 3 March 2023
3 17 April 2023 29 May 2023
4 19 June 2023 14 July 2023

You must submit two references 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