UCAS code: V100
Duration: 4 years
School: History, Classics and Archaeology
College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
Introducing MA History
At Edinburgh, our history department is one of the largest and most diverse in the UK.
Our academics are internationally recognised experts in the field, whose teaching is directly informed by their research. This programme reflects these strengths.
Our range of courses
We offer an exceptionally wide range of courses, covering:
- historical periods from the early Middle Ages to the most recent past
- geographical regions including Britain and Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas
- a rich variety of approaches to the past, including political history, cultural history, social history, economic history, intellectual history, gender history, and global and transnational history
Study in a historic city
Edinburgh provides an ideal environment in which to study history. We are situated in the heart of the historic city centre, a short walk away from the castle and the winding streets of the medieval Old Town.
The University has excellent resources for the study of history, including access to unique archival sources within the Library's Special Collections.
Historians also benefit from the research materials afforded by the great collections based in the city, including the:
- National Library
- National Records
- National Galleries
- National Museum of Scotland
In Year 1 of history, you will take broad survey 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:
- Study two compulsory courses, which cover the Middle Ages and early modern periods.
- Have the option of studying modern history.
- Take a skills course, which examines 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 subject.
Year 2 history courses currently cover various periods and themes in American, European, British, Scottish and global history.
In Year 2, you will:
- Continue to study a range of histories, deepening your knowledge of particular geographical regions, chronological periods, and themes.
- Choose two courses from the covered periods and themes.
- Take a compulsory course on historiography.
- Choose from a wide range of option courses outside your primary subject.
In Year 3, a compulsory element of study will allow you to reflect on history as a discipline and introduce you to the practice of historical research.
You will also study courses from a range of specialised elective courses.
Depending on the courses you choose to study in Years 1 and 2, you may have the option to choose one from another subject outside history.
In Year 4, you will take two year-long special subject courses in history.
You will also engage in independent research to produce an honours dissertation 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 and 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
- 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 within 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
In some courses, your participation in tutorials and seminars may be part of how you are assessed.
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 cogently, 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
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: AAAA-AABB by end of S5 or AAAA-AAAB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S5.
- A Levels: AAA - ABB.
- IB: 37 points with 666 at HL - 34 points with 655 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
- 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.
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.
Your choice of dissertation topic may require fieldwork. Some additional costs may be associated with this fieldwork such as:
The overall cost to you will depend on the topic you choose and where your fieldwork takes place.
If you study abroad in Year 3, your costs will vary by country.
For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.
Search the degree finder
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- History and History of Art (MA) VV13
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- History and Scottish History (MA) VV12
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