This comprehensive programme provides the platform to pursue studies in everything from medieval Scotland to revolutionary America, the Cold War, Renaissance Italy, modern China, Japan, India or postcolonial Africa. We’ll help you to develop a specialised knowledge and understanding of history and its central issues, examine historical sources, evaluate existing research, and work towards a specialised research project of your own.
Taught by one of the largest groups of historians in any British university,you will encounter a stimulating environment in which to further your interest in practically any era of history and many regions of the world.By joining this programme you’ll also take part in a rich programme of events featuring our renowned academic staff and distinguished visitors from all over the world.
This programme is taught through a combination of small-group seminars and tutorials, one-to-one supervision and private study. You will be examined through coursework and a 15,000-word dissertation.
Historical Research: Skills and Sources
You will choose four specialist courses from a range of options, such as:
Approaches to Gender History
The British at War, 1939–1945
Cinema and Society in South Asia
Intellectual History of the American Revolution
Medieval Men and Masculinity
The Fall of Rome
The Lordship of the Isles: A Political History
The Northern Ireland Troubles and their Origins
The Science of Man in the Enlightenment
Scotland and Ireland, 1800–1922
The United States and the Cold War
Our students view the programme and a graduate degree from Edinburgh as an advanced qualification valued and respected by many employers. Those students interested in long-term academic careers consider the MSc as preparation for a PhD.
The combination of specialised skills training courses and seminars, and the opportunity for independent research provides you with transferable skills that will be beneficial whatever path you choose. Graduates pursue work in related areas such as museums, policy think-tanks, national and international civil services, non-governmental organisations, galleries, libraries and historic trusts whilst others build on the transferable skills gained and enter areas as diverse as business, media, public administration and marketing.
The MSc by Research in Economic & Social History is aimed at students who have a specific topic of interest into which they wish to conduct their own research.
The programme provides structured research training while at the same time enabling you to pursue a research project that you design yourself, in consultation with supervisors. It serves as both a self-contained research degree and a preparation for further study for the PhD degree.
Economic and social history addresses the historical processes underlying the evolution of modern society by employing a range of insights and approaches from the social sciences, including economics, sociology and social anthropology.
Edinburgh has a large and distinguished group of academics in this research area. Their specialist fields provide students with an outstanding range of options, both in terms of historical period and areas of the world.
Our home is the William Robertson Wing, an A-listed building on the southern edge of Edinburgh’s Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Designed by the distinguished 19th-century architect Sir Robert Rowand Anderson, the building – part of the University’s Old Medical School – has recently been refurbished to an exceptional standard, providing state-of-the-art facilities for research, teaching and study.
Graduate students are able to use two further large School study and resource rooms, which are open to all staff and students. There is access to lockers equipped with laptop charging facilities as well as standard lockers.
The building is wireless enabled and includes state of the art teaching rooms, meeting rooms, a common room, a refreshment area, and open social/breakout areas.
The programme combines lectures, seminars, tutorials, and computer-lab sessions. The skills and theory imparted in the research-training courses, along with many of the assignments, are designed to feed directly into the final dissertation work.
You will be examined through coursework and a dissertation totalling approximately 30,000 words.
The programme focuses on civil society, material culture, youth, gender, crime, cinema, economic growth and energy policy in a variety of historical contexts.
You take four compulsory courses and complete a dissertation. Each course is assessed by essays, usually of around 2,500 words.
Historical Research: Skills and Sources
Historical Methodology and Historiography
Economic and Social Theory for Historical Analysis
Supervised Reading Course
Option courses may include:
Culture and Society in Early Modern Britain
Material Culture of Gender in Eighteenth-Century Britain
Cinema and Society in Britain
Slavery in the Atlantic World
British at War: 1939–45
Cinema and Society in South Asia
Clothing and Culture in Comparative Historical Contexts
This programme is specifically designed for students who anticipate progressing to a doctoral programme, but it can also function as excellent preparation for a wide variety of careers.
Has the end of the Cold War created a new world order? Has the fall of the Berlin Wall inaugurated a new Europe? Has 9/11 changed our world and the character of our democracies forever? Are we facing a ‘clash of cultures’ in the Middle East? Is American power declining and being replaced by new players on the world stage?
This MSc allows you to explore such questions critically and analytically whilst discovering how the recent past shaped the modern world. A specialised methodological and historiographical course will help you appreciate the distinctiveness of contemporary history, its use of radio, television, film, and internet-based sources such as Wikileaks and its methodology. This rigorous skills training will be supplemented by a variety of topical, spacialised options, covering virtually every distinctive approach to history (e.g. political, social, and economic) and every region on the globe, underlining the increasing globalisation of our recent past. You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the increasingly global experience of humankind in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
The MSc makes use of Edinburgh’s unique archival and bibliographical resources – The National Archives of Scotland, The National Library of Scotland, the University’s library and archives – and is enriched by the city’s key role in current British politics.
The compulsory courses are Historical Methodology; Historical Research: Skills and Sources; Introduction to Contemporary History.
Option courses previously available include: Contemporary Scotland; Gender, Crime and Deviancy: Britain, c1860–1960; History as Romance, Profession, Critique: Theory and Scholarship in the West, 1835–1985; The British at War, 1939–1945; The Politics of Historiography in Post-Colonial South Asia; Cinema and Society in South Asia, 1947 to the Present; Thinking the Twentieth Century: Hannah Arendt and the Breakdown of European Civilisation; Revolutions in Twentieth Century Europe; Civil Wars in Twentieth Century Europe; Genocide in the Contemporary World; The Closest of Enemies: Cuban-US Relations, 1895-2014; The United States and the Vietnam War; The United States and the Cold War.
Our students view the MSc and a graduate degree from Edinburgh as an advanced qualification valued and respected by employers. Those students interested in long-term academic careers consider the programme as preparation for a PhD.
The combination of skills training, specialised seminars, and independent research provides you with transferable skills that will be beneficial whatever path you choose. Graduates work in related areas such as museums, policy think-tanks, national and international civil services, non-governmental organisations, galleries, libraries and historic trusts. Others enter business, media, public administration or marketing.