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Course content

This programme is distinctive in its breadth and diversity, both chronologically and thematically. It draws on the wide range of American historical expertise available in the School. You will enrich your skills in independent research, critical analysis and presentations, and gain an in-depth understanding of the key topics and historiographical debates of this young nation’s dynamic past, spanning the American Revolution, the Cold War and the War on Terror.

You will attain a level of expertise and knowledge that will enable you to embark upon independent research at an advanced level in American history. The University of Edinburgh is home to one of the largest teams of American historians outside the United States, allowing us to provide courses and research supervision in a wide array of topics and time periods with world class expertise. The impressive combined resources of the University’s Main Library and the National Library of Scotland, home to one of the UK’s largest collections of Americana, will be on hand.

Programme structure

The compulsory courses are Historical Methodology; Historical Research: Skills and Sources; Themes in American Historiography.

Option courses previously available include: The Intellectual History of the American Revolution; Slavery in the British Atlantic World, 1650-1834; The American Civil War and Reconstruction; The Civil Rights Movement; Conservatism in the United States, c1930–c1990; The United States and the Vietnam War; The United States and the Cold War.

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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