Postgraduate study

Medieval History MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Medieval History

This programme will provide you with what you need to pursue advanced research in medieval history, and it will help you to expand your own research interests through small, seminar based classes. You will also have access to world-class resources, most notably the impressive combined collections of the National Library or Scotland and of the University of Edinburgh Main Library. In addition to that, you will belong to a thriving community of scholars by becoming 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.

Our programme includes a core course that offers knowledge of the principal categories of surviving primary evidence from the Middle Ages and the technical skills to use them. You will get the opportunity to work with a range of sources, from manuscripts held in the university library’s Special Collections, to objects in the city’s museums (subject to availability).

You will then be able to choose from two sets of optional courses, subject to availability. One set will allow you to further expand your research skills, including courses on Paleography, Latin and research methodology, for example. The other set contains courses reflecting the research specialism of our medieval historians.

It may also be possible to enroll on relevant courses in other parts of the University, such as the School of Divinity, the Edinburgh College of Art, and the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, which gives the opportunity to learn the value of an interdisciplinary approach to medieval research. On the whole the optional courses that we offer range widely in terms of chronology (from Classical Antiquity to the Renaissance), geography (the western fringes of Europe to the eastern Mediterranean) and methodology, and you will be able to select them in order to build your own path.

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 a compulsory course on primary sources and five other courses, including at least two language options or skills-based options (which include Latin) and at least two academic options (which cover Europe and the Mediterranean). You will then complete an independent research dissertation and will be assigned a supervisor from the outset.

The compulsory course is:

  • The Sources of Medieval History

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
  • Historical Research: Skills and Sources
  • Historical Methodology
  • 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

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
MScMedieval History1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2019/20
MScMedieval History2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2019/20

This programme is designed to provide a grounding in the principal categories of surviving evidence and the technical skills needed to read them, namely palaeography and linguistic knowledge (generally Latin), and demonstrates the value of an interdisciplinary approach to medieval research.

You will also deepen your knowledge and understanding of selected themes and topics in a way that enables 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 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, 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.

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
MScMedieval History1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScMedieval 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 government loan schemes. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and 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
  • 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