UCAS code: V100
Duration: 4 years
School: History, Classics and Archaeology
College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
Introducing MA History
The History programme at Edinburgh reflects the strengths of our History department, which 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.
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; and 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.
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 and National Museum of Scotland.
History courses you take 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.
You will be required to study two courses, which cover the Middle Ages and early modern periods and you will also have the option of studying modern history.
You will also take a skills course 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 subject.
You will continue to study a range of histories, deepening your knowledge of particular geographical regions, chronological periods, and themes. Year 2 history courses currently cover various periods and themes in American, European, British, Scottish and global history.
You will choose two of these courses and also take a compulsory course on historiography.
You will also choose from a wide range of option courses outside your primary subject.
There will be a compulsory element of study which 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.
You will take two year-long special subject courses in history and 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 & Archaeology is located in the heart of the city, within the University's Central Area.
Here you’ll 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 the School’s Erasmus exchange agreements with prestigious universities across Europe, or for one of the University’s many international exchanges beyond Europe. These cover practically every continent on the globe, from 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: AAAA-AABB by the end of S5 or AAAA-AAAB by the end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S5.(Revised 15/04/2020 from AAAA-AAAB and to include alternate grades to be achieved by end of S6 and to require BBB to be achieved by end of S5.)
- A Levels: AAA - ABB.
- IB: 43 points with 776 at HL - 37 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-S6.
- 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.
Your choice of dissertation topic may require fieldwork. Some additional costs may be associated with this fieldwork such as transport, accommodation and photocopying.
The overall cost to you will depend on the topic you chose 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.
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