Undergraduate study - 2023 entry
Open to the world

MA History and History of Art

UCAS code: VV13

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: History, Classics and Archaeology

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA History and History of Art

The University is in the heart of Edinburgh and is an extraordinary place to study art in all its forms.

Our Talbot Rice Gallery and the presence of the Edinburgh College of Art within the University ensure that you will have access to unrivalled resources in this area.

History of Art will introduce you to art from different periods and world cultures. You will learn:

  • how, and for whom, works of art were made
  • to situate artworks within visual and material culture more broadly

Our expertise in the history of art is complemented by the wide range of courses taught in history. These cover:

  • historical periods from the early Middle Ages to the most recent past
  • geographical regions including Britain and Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas

Our history courses also cover a wide variety of approaches to the past, including:

  • political history
  • cultural history
  • social history
  • economic history
  • intellectual history
  • gender history
  • global and transnational history

Year 1

You will study history of art from the fall of the Roman Empire until the end of the Counter-Reformation across both semesters.

History courses in Year 1 are broad survey courses that will emphasise processes and patterns within broad chronological and geographical frameworks.

These are 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:

  • choose one history course
  • take a compulsory course in historical skills - this course engages with broader questions about 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

Year 2

You will study history of art from the 18th century to the present day, across both semesters.

Year 2 history courses will cover a wider geographical range and time period. Courses currently cover various periods and themes in American, European, British, Scottish and 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:

  • choose one Year 2 history course
  • take a compulsory course on historiography
  • choose from a wide range of option courses outside your primary subjects

Year 3

You will study courses from a wide range of specialised elective courses in both history and history of art.

You may have the option to study a course from a subject outside of these areas, depending on the courses you choose to study in Years 1 and 2.

If you intend to do a dissertation in history, we recommend taking a course where you will engage with historical skills and methods.

Year 4

In Year 4, you will:

  • Study a year-long history special subject course and further specialist courses in history of art.
  • Carry out independent research to produce an honours dissertation in either history or history of art on a topic substantially of your own choosing.

Programme structure

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.

Programme structure (2022/23)

Our facilities

Most of your teaching will take place in the University's Central Area or within Edinburgh College of Art (ECA).

History courses are taught at the School of History, Classics and Archaeology. The School is located in the heart of the city, within the University's Central Area. In the School, 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.

Take a virtual tour

You can take a closer look at the ECA or the School of History, Classics and Archaeology and explore our facilities and campus on the University's Virtual Visit site.

Take a virtual tour of the School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Take a virtual tour of the ECA

External resources

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

Study abroad

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:

  • Europe
  • North and South America
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Asia

These are unique opportunities to immerse yourself in different university systems and cultures.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

You will be taught through a range of teaching and learning methods, including:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • seminars
  • independent study

For option courses, teaching and learning methods may vary.

Pre-honours

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.

Honours

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:

  • essays
  • primary source analyses
  • oral presentations
  • podcasts
  • 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. You will learn to:

  • Develop intellectually rigorous arguments, based on sound independent research and analysis.
  • 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:

  • journalism
  • museum and heritage work
  • public relations
  • the diplomatic service
  • teaching

Previous graduates have gone on to pursue a wide variety of careers, including in:

  • the media
  • politics
  • the civil service
  • heritage
  • law
  • business
  • finance

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAB-ABBB by end of S5 or AAAA-AABB/ABBBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAA - AAB
  • IB: 37 points with 666 at HL - 36 points with 665 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.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

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.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

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.

International Foundation Programme

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant 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.

English language requirements

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.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA History and History of Art

Additional costs

You will bear the costs of printing some of your work. For example, your final year dissertation must be submitted on paper.

There may also be small costs associated with travel to visit exhibitions, but these are usually limited to £10-£20 per visit.

Funding

For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding