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Course Content

Course content

Research profile

This programme is aimed at students who have a specific topic of interest into which they wish to conduct their own research. It 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 programme and as preparation for further study for a PhD.

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. The programme focuses on civil society, material culture, youth, gender, crime, cinema, economic growth and energy policy in a variety of historical contexts.

Edinburgh has a large and distinguished group of academics in this research area. Their specialist fields provide you with an outstanding range of options, both in terms of historical period and areas of the world.


Our building offers you exceptional, modern facilities, resources and study spaces, in a stunning location.

Our postgraduate students have access to:

  • A dedicated study and computing lab with printing, copying and scanning facilities, overlooking the Meadows, one of the city’s best-loved green spaces.
  • Two research rooms, shared with undergraduates, housing some of our impressive book collections and a small selection of computing facilities.
  • A large common room overlooking the Meadows, shared by students and staff.
  • Our PhD study room. Subject to available desk space, you may apply after semester one of your first year.
  • A number of small-scale teaching rooms, well-equipped with facilities such as data projection and smart boards.
  • Exhibition areas, filled with artefacts and artwork from our collections.

All of our facilities are in addition to the multiple libraries and computer labs provided across the University’s estate. Many of our rooms overlook the Meadows.

Our location, right in the heart of Edinburgh, means you will be based close to the city’s cultural attractions and facilities, including a wealth of libraries, archives, museums and galleries, which provide uniquely rich support for the disciplines we teach.

Programme structure

The programme combines lectures, seminars, tutorials, and computer-lab sessions. It also includes Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) recognised research courses in research design and methodology skills.

The skills and theory imparted in the research-training courses, along with many of the assignments, are designed to feed directly into your final dissertation work.

You will be examined through coursework and will work towards an independently researched dissertation.

You will take the following three core courses:

  • Economic and Social Theory for Historical Analysis
  • Supervised Reading Course (E&SH)
  • Core quantitative Data Analysis 1 and 2

In addition you will choose a pair of skills courses (ERSC funded students must take the first pair).


  • Research Skills in the Social Sciences: Data Collection
  • Research Design


  • Historical Research: Skills and Sources
  • Historical Methodology

You will then take one further option course of your choice. Option courses change from year to year and those available when you start your studies may be different from those shown.

  • Macroeconomics 1 OR Microeconomics 1
  • Economic and Social History Courses
  • Online History Courses

Career opportunities

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.

Visit the Economic and Social History (MScR) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!




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