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Economic and Social History (MScR)

Course Description

Research profile

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.

Programme structure

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.

Compulsory courses:

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

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!

Entry Requirements

A UK 2:1 degree, or its international equivalent, in a relevant discipline is normally required. Many applicants have history degrees, but others have backgrounds across the humanities and social sciences. You will also need to submit a strong and viable research proposal. All applicants must also meet our English language requirements.

Last Updated

03 March 2017

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