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Course content

This innovative online programme allows you to take advantage of Edinburgh’s remarkable range of historical expertise from the comfort of your own home. Thanks to our e-learning tools and extensive digital resources, you can gain a world-class postgraduate qualification without the expense of relocating.

Our flexible structure allows you to fit your studies around work or family commitments and to develop your own specialised interests under the expert guidance of experienced academics. The thematic breadth of this programme means you can choose from a diverse range of topics and you will be able to further your own specialised interests through the dissertation.

Online learning

The online MSc History is delivered entirely online. Both the core and option units are taught through a combination of live virtual seminars and discussion board forums. We aim to provide advanced knowledge and understanding of selected topics in history, as well as enhancing skills in independent research, critical analysis, and both oral and written presentation.

All of our teaching is divided into themed weeks. The method of teaching will vary from course to course and may include podcast lectures, group work and reflective diary posts. Each course has a dedicated lecturer responsible for running it and you can expect to receive regular feedback on your discussion posts and all written assignments from them.

Programme structure

This programme can be taken at your own pace and can be completed in a period of between one and six years. You can exit the programme at any stage with the qualification you have earned which is determined by the number of credits successfully achieved at the required level. You will be examined through a combination of coursework and discussion forum tasks, source reviews, article reviews or recordings of oral presentations. To complete the MSc you will complete two compulsory courses and select a further four options from a wide range on offer, followed by independent research in the form of a supervised dissertation.

Many students balance their studies alongside other commitments and the programme’s flexible structure supports this, allowing part-time students to take up to two fallow semesters, in which you remain on programme but do not register for courses.

Compulsory courses:

  • Historical Research: Approaches to History
  • Historical Research: Skills and Sources

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:

  • Empire or Continent?: British Foreign Policy in the Era of the Great War
  • Theories of Empire in the Early Modern Period
  • The Lords of the Isles: Clan Donald, c.1336 - c.1545
  • Ideology and Politics in the Soviet and Post-Soviet Space
  • The Rise of Modern US Conservatism
  • Questioning the 'Revolutions' in Economic and Social History
  • Modern Latin American History
  • The Holocaust
  • The Closest of Enemies: Cuban-American Relations, 1898-2014
  • The Trial of the Templars
  • Athens of the North - The Origins and Ideas of the Scottish Enlightenment
  • Willingly to War? The Origins of the First World War
  • The Crusades and the Euro-Mediterranean World
  • British Politics and Policy in the Second World War
  • Consensus to Thatcherism: Government and Politics in Post-War Britain
  • The American Civil War and Reconstruction
  • Myth and the History of Scholarship in Early Modern Europe
  • The Shadow of Versailles: Interwar Europe, 1918-1939
  • Seeking 'Japan' in a Westernizing World: Revolution, Romance and Imperialism 1868-1945
  • Scotland and Ireland, 1800 - 1945
  • British Empires, 1601-1948
  • Diaspora, Migration and Exile: The History of the Global Irish since 1600
  • Ancient Egyptian Religion and the Afterlife
  • Society and Culture in the Soviet and Post-Soviet Space

Career opportunities

Our students view the programme and a graduate degree from Edinburgh as an advanced qualification valued and respected by many employers. Others are interested in long-term academic careers and consider the MSc 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 while others build their transferable skills to enter business, media, public administration or marketing.

Visit the History (by online distance learning) (MSc) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!





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