MA History and Politics
UCAS code: LV21
Duration: 4 years
School: History, Classics and Archaeology
College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
Introducing MA History and Politics
One of our most popular combined programmes, MA History and Politics provides the opportunity to link two key disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.
This programme will give you the chance to acquire a detailed understanding of history and political science. It is a good choice if you are interested in:
- adding theoretical understanding to your interests in political history
- providing historical context to your studies in political science
- combining two important subjects
Edinburgh is an ideal place to study this programme. In addition to the superb resources of the University, the city has a range of political and governmental institutions including the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government.
The National Records of Scotland also contains a major collection of material relating to the government of Scotland since the medieval period.
- [MA]: Master of Arts
You will study three compulsory courses in politics:
- Politics and International Relations 1A: Concepts and Debates
- Politics and International Relations 1B: The Global Dimension
- Political Thinkers (an introduction to political theory)
In Year 1, you will take broad survey history courses.
These emphasise processes and patterns within broad chronological and geographical frameworks. This learning is designed to prepare you for more specialised study in Years 3 and 4.
You will also:
- choose one Year 1 history course
- take a compulsory skills course, examining the nature of history as an academic discipline and the methods and skills required for historical research
- choose from a wide range of option courses outside your primary subjects
You will study at least one politics course, Comparative Politics in a Globalized World.
Year 2 history courses extend your range geographically and chronologically, covering various historic periods and themes in:
- American history
- European history
- British history
- Scottish history
- global history
As in Year 1, Year 2 history courses offer broad surveys that are designed to prepare you for more specialised study in Years 3 and 4.
You will also:
- choose one Year 2 history course
- take a compulsory course on historiography
- choose from a wide range of option courses outside your primary subjects
In Year 3, you will study courses from a wide range of specialised elective courses in both history and politics, including either a course on:
- global justice and citizenship, or
- approaches to politics and international relations
Depending on the courses you choose in Years 1 and 2, you may have the option to choose one from another subject outside of these areas.
Depending on your intended dissertation subject, we recommend you take certain courses:
- For a dissertation in history, a course where you will engage with historical skills and methods.
- For a dissertation in politics, a course on research design in politics.
In Year 4, you will:
- study one year-long special subject course in history
- take further specialist courses in politics
- engage in independent research to produce an honours dissertation in either history or politics on a topic of your own choosing
Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.
To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.
The School of History, Classics and Archaeology is located in the heart of the city, in the University's Central Area. Here you will have access to:
- a range of study spaces
- our Student Research Room
- research collections
- an undergraduate common room
You will also have access to the University's libraries and computing facilities, located in George Square.
You will be taught in a range of lecture theatres and seminar rooms in the School and across the University's Central Area.
Take a virtual tour
You can take a closer look at the School of History, Classics and Archaeology and explore our facilities and campus on the University's Virtual Visit site.
As well as using our own resources and those of the University Library, you can apply for access to the outstanding collections of the:
- National Library of Scotland
- National Museum of Scotland
There are plenty of opportunities to study abroad in Year 3 by applying for one of the University’s many international exchanges.
These cover many parts of the world, including:
- North and South America
- New Zealand
These are unique opportunities to immerse yourself in different university systems and cultures.
How will I learn?
You will be taught through a range of teaching and learning methods, including:
- independent study
For option courses, teaching and learning methods may vary.
In Years 1 and 2, formal teaching involves lectures and tutorials.
Lectures are delivered by experts in the field and provide an overview of key themes, concepts and questions relating to the week's topic.
In tutorials, the emphasis is on student discussion in small groups. Some courses also incorporate small student study groups, which help you learn from each other in preparation for tutorials.
You will also study independently, with a focus on reading in preparation for lectures and tutorials.
Years 3 and 4 involve more seminars and independent study, with individual supervision of your final-year dissertation.
How will I be assessed?
Our courses use a variety of assessment methods to help you develop transferable skills and improve your performance.
You will be assessed by exams and coursework. Your coursework may include:
- primary source analyses
- oral presentations
- online discussion forums
- participation in tutorials and seminars
You will gain key transferable skills that employers are looking for. In particular, you will learn to develop intellectually rigorous arguments, based on sound independent research and analysis.
You will also learn to:
- compile and critically evaluate large amounts of complex and conflicting evidence
- formulate and present your views coherently and convincingly, both orally and in writing
The research and analytical skills history students develop can be used in any research-based career. These skills can also be applied to careers such as:
- museum and heritage work
- public relations
- the diplomatic service
Where our graduates work
Previous graduates have gone on to pursue a wide variety of careers, including in:
- the media
- the civil service
Standard entry requirement
The standard entry requirement is:
- SQA Highers: AAAAA (achievement by end of S5 preferred). BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S5.
- A Levels: A*AA.
- IB: 39 points with 666 at HL.
Minimum entry requirement
The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:
- SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S5.
- A Levels: ABB.
- IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.
The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:
- SQA: Highers: no specific Higher subjects required. National 5s: English at C.
- A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
- IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: English at 5.
We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
International Foundation Programme
If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.
We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.
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.
SQA, GCSE and IB
For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:
- SQA National 5 at C
- GCSE at C or 4
- Level 2 Certificate at C
- IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)
English language tests
We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:
- IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.
- TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 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 176 with at least 162 in each component.
- Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
- PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 54 in each component.
(Revised 29 August 2023 to remove PTE Academic Online)
We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.
English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the degree you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.
This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.
It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.
Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.
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