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, History and Politics provides the opportunity to link two key disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.
Whether you are interested in adding theoretical understanding to your interests in political history, providing historical context to your studies in political science or merely interested in combining two important subjects this programme will give you the chance to acquire a detailed understanding of history and political science.
Edinburgh is an ideal location for this programme. As well as 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 Archives of Scotland contains a major collection of material relating to the government of Scotland since the medieval period.
You will study three compulsory courses in politics: Politics and International Relations 1A: Concepts and Debates and Politics, International Relations 1B: The Global Dimension, and Political Thinkers (an introduction to political theory).
History courses in Year 1 are broad survey courses that will emphasise processes and patterns within broad chronological and geographical frameworks, designed to prepare you for more specialised study in Years 3 and 4. Current courses cover historical periods from the early Middle Ages to the present.
You will take one of these courses and also a compulsory course in historical skills that engages with broader questions about the nature of history as an academic discipline and the methods and skills required for historical research.
You will also choose from a wide range of option courses outside your primary subjects.
You will study at least one politics course. Year 2 history courses will extend your range geographically and chronologically and currently cover various periods and themes in American, European, British, Scottish and global history.
As in Year 1, history courses offer broad surveys that are designed to prepare you for more specialised study in Years 3 and 4. You will choose one of these courses and also take a compulsory historiography course.
You will also choose from a wide range of option courses outside your primary subjects.
You will study courses from a wide range of specialised elective courses in both history and politics including a course on global justice and citizenship, or approaches to politics and international relations.
Depending on the courses you choose to study in Years 1 and 2, you may have the option to choose one from a subject outside of these areas. If you intend to do a dissertation in history, we recommend taking a course where you will engage with historical skills and methods.
If you intend to take a dissertation in politics, a course on research design in politics is strongly recommended.
You will study a year-long history special subject course, further specialist courses in politics and engage in independent research to produce an honours dissertation in either history or politics on a topic substantially of your own devising.
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 & Archaeology is located in the heart of the city, within the University's Central Area.
Here you will have access to a range of study spaces, our Student Research Room, research collections and an undergraduate common room.
You will also have access to the University’s libraries and computing facilities.
You will be taught in a range of lecture theatres and seminar rooms within the School and across the University’s Central Area.
There are plenty of opportunities to study abroad in Year 3 by applying for one of the University’s many international exchanges. These cover practically every continent on the globe, from Europe, North and South America to Australia, New Zealand and all of Asia.
These are unique opportunities to immerse yourself in different university systems and cultures.
How will I learn?
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 the 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, coursework (which may include essays, primary source analyses, oral presentations, podcasts and online discussion forums) and, in some courses, your participation in tutorials and seminars.
Find out more about this programme's aims, what you will learn, how you will be assessed and what skills and knowledge you will develop.
To give you an idea of what to expect from 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.
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, and to formulate and present your views coherently and cogently, both orally and in writing.
The research and analytical skills history students develop can be used in any research-based career. They can also be applied to careers including journalism, museum and heritage work, public relations, the diplomatic service or teaching.
Previous graduates have gone on to pursue a wide variety of careers, in the media, politics, civil service, heritage, law, business, and finance, to name just a few.
Standard entry requirement
The standard entry requirement is:
- SQA Highers: AAAAA-AAAA (achievement by end of S5 preferred). BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S5.
- A Levels: A*AA - ABB.
- IB: 43 points with 776 at HL - 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.
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.
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
- SQA Standard Grade at 3
- SQA Intermediate 1 at A
- SQA Intermediate 2 at C
- GCSE/IGSCE at C or 4
- Level 2 Certificate Grade 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 module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component.
- TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition) 92 or above with 20 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
- Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component.
- Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components.
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, TOEFL, or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.
*(Revised 27 April 2020 to include TOEFL-iBT Special Home Edition.)
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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