Postgraduate study

History (Online Distance Learning)

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Part-time Intermittent Study, Full-time, Part-time

Online learning

Funding available

This innovative online programme allows you to take advantage of Edinburgh’s remarkable range of historical expertise from the comfort of your own home. Thanks to our e-learning tools and extensive digital resources, you can gain a world-class postgraduate qualification without the expense of relocating.

Our flexible structure allows you to fit your studies around work or family commitments and to develop your own specialised interests under the expert guidance of experienced academics. The thematic breadth of this programme means you can choose from a diverse range of topics and you will be able to further your own specialised interests through the dissertation.

The online MSc History is delivered entirely online. Both the core and option units are taught through a combination of live virtual seminars and discussion board forums. We aim to provide advanced knowledge and understanding of selected topics in history, as well as enhancing skills in independent research, critical analysis, and both oral and written presentation.

All of our teaching is divided into themed weeks. The method of teaching will vary from course to course and may include podcast lectures, group work and reflective diary posts. Each course has a dedicated lecturer responsible for running it and you can expect to receive regular feedback on your discussion posts and all written assignments from them.

This programme can be taken at your own pace and can be completed in a period of between one and six years. You can exit the programme at any stage with the qualification you have earned which is determined by the number of credits successfully achieved at the required level. You will be examined through a combination of coursework and discussion forum tasks, source reviews, article reviews or recordings of oral presentations. To complete the MSc you will complete two compulsory courses and select a further four options from a wide range on offer, followed by independent research in the form of a supervised dissertation.

Many students balance their studies alongside other commitments and the programme’s flexible structure supports this, allowing part-time students to take up to two fallow semesters, in which you remain on programme but do not register for courses.

Compulsory courses:

  • Historical Research: Approaches to History
  • 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:

  • Empire or Continent?: British Foreign Policy in the Era of the Great War
  • Theories of Empire in the Early Modern Period
  • The Lords of the Isles: Clan Donald, c.1336 - c.1545
  • Ideology and Politics in the Soviet and Post-Soviet Space
  • The Rise of Modern US Conservatism
  • Questioning the 'Revolutions' in Economic and Social History
  • Modern Latin American History
  • The Holocaust
  • The Closest of Enemies: Cuban-American Relations, 1898-2014
  • The Trial of the Templars
  • Athens of the North - The Origins and Ideas of the Scottish Enlightenment
  • Willingly to War? The Origins of the First World War
  • The Crusades and the Euro-Mediterranean World
  • British Politics and Policy in the Second World War
  • Consensus to Thatcherism: Government and Politics in Post-War Britain
  • The American Civil War and Reconstruction
  • Myth and the History of Scholarship in Early Modern Europe
  • The Shadow of Versailles: Interwar Europe, 1918-1939
  • Seeking 'Japan' in a Westernizing World: Revolution, Romance and Imperialism 1868-1945
  • Scotland and Ireland, 1800 - 1945
  • British Empires, 1601-1948
  • Diaspora, Migration and Exile: The History of the Global Irish since 1600
  • Ancient Egyptian Religion and the Afterlife
  • Society and Culture in the Soviet and Post-Soviet Space

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
MScHistory6 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2017/18
MScHistory1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2017/18

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 long-term academic careers and consider the MSc as preparation for a PhD. The combination of skills training, specialised seminars, and independent research provides you with transferable skills that will be beneficial whatever path you choose.

Graduates work in related areas such as museums, policy think tanks, national and international civil services, non-governmental organisations, galleries, libraries and historic trusts while others build their transferable skills to enter business, media, public administration or marketing.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, US GPA 3.4 or other international equivalent, in a subject related to this programme.

It is not necessary to have a full degree in History, but some previous study in History at honours/"upper undergraduate" level is strongly advised.

Relevant experience, or professional or other qualifications will also be considered. You may be asked to provide a writing sample.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): 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

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than two and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

  • Programme Director, Dr David Kaufman
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 3857
  • Email: d.kaufman@ed.ac.uk
  • School of History, Classics & Archaeology
  • Graduate School Office, Room 2.29, William Robertson Wing
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

Please note the deadline for applications is 6 July 2018.

You must submit a reference with your application.

You may also need to supply references for funding applications. Read the application guidance for more information:

If you wish to study for anything less than the full MSc, you should still apply for the flexible MSc programme and will be able to exit when you meet the requirements for either a course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Programme Director, Dr David Kaufman
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 3857
  • Email: d.kaufman@ed.ac.uk
  • School of History, Classics & Archaeology
  • Graduate School Office, Room 2.29, William Robertson Wing
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG