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’ll have access to some of the most impressive archival collections in the UK, including our Centre for Research Collections and the nationally significant collections held by the National Library of Scotland and the National Records of Scotland, both of which are nearby.

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. Some courses may also assess non-written skills.

You will complete three compulsory courses and select a further three options from a wide range of subjects on offer.

You will then be assigned a supervisor and complete an independent research dissertation.

Compulsory courses

The compulsory courses are:

  • Historical Methodology
  • Historical Research: Skills and Sources
  • Themes in Scottish Historiography

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
MSc1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2021/22
MSc2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2021/22

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 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 3 October 2022.

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.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: 70 overall 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.

(*Revised 17 November 2021 to add accepted PTE Academic qualifications.)

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
MSc1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MSc2 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
12 September 2022 1 August 2022

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

References are not usually required for applications to this programme.

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