Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

Medieval History MSc

Awards: MSc

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Medieval History

This programme will provide you with what you need to pursue advanced research in medieval history. It will help you to expand your own research interests through small, seminar-based classes.


You will have access to world-class resources, most notably the impressive combined collections of the National Library of Scotland and the University of Edinburgh Main Library.

In addition to this, you will belong to a thriving community of scholars by becoming a member of the highly cross-disciplinary Edinburgh Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CMRS), which organises regular research seminars as well as a range of other academic and social events.

Core courses

You will take two compulsory courses, which will provide a general introduction to graduate study in history and give you the opportunity to develop your research skills.

Option courses

You will be able to choose from two sets of optional courses, subject to availability, and must choose at least one course from each set. One set will allow you to further expand your research skills. We encourage students to study Latin, although other skills courses may be taken if particularly appropriate for your research needs. The other set contains courses that reflect the research specialism of our medieval historians.

You can also choose up to two courses from the courses on offer to all students studying postgraduate history.

(Revised 06 December 2023 to remove information about enrolling on courses outside of the School of History, Classics and Archaeology)

You will take a variety of seminar-style courses in small groups. We assess most courses 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 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

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.

  • Elementary Gaelic 1
  • Elementary Gaelic 2
  • Elementary Latin (PG) 1
  • Elementary Latin (PG) 2
  • Intermediate Latin (PG) 1
  • Intermediate Latin (PG) 2
  • Body and soul in early medieval thought
  • Nepotism and Venality: Corruption and Accountability in the Middle Ages
  • Queens, Heiresses and Lords: Women Making Medieval Scotland
  • Scottish Palaeography 12th-16th centuries
  • The Crusades: Thirteenth Century Crossroads
  • Medieval Men and Masculinities
  • Literature and History in Early Medieval Britain and Ireland
  • Debating Marriage between Antiquity and the Middle Ages
  • Studying Women in Late Medieval England: Sources and Approaches
  • Constantinople: The History of a Medieval Megalopolis from Constantine the Great to Suleyman the Magnificent
  • Saints Cults, Pilgrimage and Piety in Scotland
  • Medieval Travellers in the Mediterranean, Africa and Asia

This programme is designed to:

  • provide you with a grounding in the principal categories of surviving evidence
  • give you the technical skills needed to read them, namely linguistic knowledge (generally Latin)
  • demonstrate the value of an interdisciplinary approach to medieval research
  • deepen your knowledge and understanding of selected themes and topics
  • enable you to select and execute an independent piece of research

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 specialised skills, training courses and research seminars, as well as independent research, will provide 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

Others build on the transferable skills gained and enter areas as diverse as business, media, public administration and marketing.

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.

You must demonstrate a background in Medieval History and/or relevant language skills in your transcript. If this cannot be demonstrated your personal statement must clearly show you are equipped to undertake this programme.

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 government loan schemes.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your residency 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

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.

Please be aware that applications must be submitted and be complete, i.e. all required documents uploaded, by the relevant application deadline in order to be considered in that round. Your application will still be considered if you have not yet met the English language requirement for the programme.

Deadlines for applicants applying to study in 2024/25:

Round Application deadline Places awarded by
1 05 December 2023 18 January 2024
2 02 February 2024 14 March 2024
3 01 April 2024 13 May 2024
4 05 June 2024 08 July 2024

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