Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

History MSc

Awards: MSc

Funding opportunities

Programme website: History

This comprehensive programme allows you to take full advantage of the breadth of our research expertise.

On this programme we will help you to:

  • develop a specialised knowledge and understanding of history and its central issues
  • examine historical sources
  • evaluate existing research
  • 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
  • carry out an extended piece of written work, while some courses may also assess non-written skills
  • complete two compulsory courses
  • select a further four course options from a wide range on offer
  • undertake 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:

  • Black Activism in Britain since 1800
  • The Politics of History in the Arabic-Speaking World (c.1750-Present)
  • Islamic Africa
  • The Cold War in Latin America
  • The Sixties in the United States
  • Race, Religion, and Ridicule: The American South from Reconsturciton to World War II
  • The Dark Side – Tourism and Difficult Heritages
  • An uncertain world: The West since the 1970s
  • Freedom and Coercion in the Making of the Atlantic World
  • 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

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
  • 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 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 History or another humanities or social science subject with a significant historical component.

We will also consider an honours degree in another subject if you have relevant experience, or professional or other qualifications.

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’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
  • 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