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    School of History, Classics & Archaeology Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time & Part time available

  • Subject Areas

    History & Archaeology

  • Start Date

    September

  • Course Duration

    1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

  • Course Type

    MSc

  • Course Fees

    Tuition fees vary between degree programmes. Find the specific fees for your chosen programme on our website

  • Last Updated

    26 November 2018

Course content

Programme Description

This programme allows students to explore American History in the hemispheric sense, taking ‘America’ to mean the whole hemisphere of the Americas. You will have the opportunity to take a comparative or transnational approach to the history of the Americas, as well as to study some countries and regions in more depth.

The University has an exceptional range of historians of the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean, which allows us to provide courses and research supervision in a wide array of topics and time periods, ranging from the American Revolution, to comparative slavery, from the Latin American dictatorships to the Cold War foreign policy of the United States.

You will take a variety of seminar-style courses in small groups while developing your own research project in consultation with a member of an internationally-respected team of historians. The programme provides advanced knowledge and understanding of selected topics in American history, and will enhance your skills in independent research, critical analysis, and both oral and written presentation.

You are also encouraged to participate in a vibrant research culture that includes regular lectures, seminars, and other events on American topics involving leading historians from the United Kingdom and internationally. Our staff strengths are complemented by the impressive combined resources of the University’s Main Library and the nearby National Library of Scotland, which boasts one of the UK's largest collections of Americana, encompassing excellent collections for Caribbean and Latin American history as well as for US history.

Programme structure

You’ll take two semesters of seminar-style courses in small groups, then apply your independent research skills developing your dissertation, with the supervision of academic staff. This is your chance to be creative; our breadth of expertise means we’re open to almost any area of interest. You will complete three compulsory courses and select a further three options from a wide range on offer.

Compulsory courses previously offered include:

  • Historical Methodology
  • Historical Research: Skills and Sources
  • Themes in American Historiography. (Please note that the Themes in American Historiography course will likely be replaced with the proposed Themes in the History of the Americas course for those students entering the programme in 2019/20).

Option courses previously offered include those listed below. Option courses change from year to year and those available when you start your studies may be different from those shown in the list:

  • Slavery in the British Atlantic World, 1650-1834
  • Conservatism in the United States, c.1930-c.1990
  • The Civil Rights Movement
  • The United States and the Cold War
  • The American Civil War and Reconstruction

Career opportunities

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 programme 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.


Visit the American History (MSc) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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