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Course content

This programme offers a unrivalled range of courses that explore Scotland’s past across a broad chronological period – from the early medieval period to post-Union through to Scottish diaspora and contemporary developments – and Scotland’s place in a comparative and global context.

The examination of Scotland’s past has been at the centre of history teaching at the University of Edinburgh since the prestigious Sir William Fraser Chair of Scottish History and Palaeography was established in 1901. You’ll have access to some of the most impressive archival collections in the UK, both within the university and nearby. Taught by one of the largest groups of specialist Scottish historians found at any UK university, Edinburgh’s Scottish History programme is world-leading.

Programme structure

You take two compulsory courses that are common to all history students,and then choose four option courses from a wide range of subjects. You will also complete an independently researched dissertation.

The compulsory courses are:

  • Historical Methodology
  • Historical Research: Skills and Sources

Option courses previously available include:

  • The Material Culture of Gender in Eighteenth Century Britain
  • Slavery in the British Atlantic World, 1650-1834
  • War and Identities in Twentieth Century Britain and Ireland
  • Propaganda in Renaissance Scotland
  • Literature and History in Early Medieval Britain and Ireland
  • The British Empire in Political Thought
  • Directed Reading & Research (PGT-Sem 1)
  • Directed Reading & Research (PGT-Sem 2)
  • Gender, Crime and Deviancy: Britain c. 1860-1960
  • Currents of Radicalism, 1776-1848
  • Scotland and Ireland, 1800 to 1945
  • Athens of the North: the Origins and Ideas of the Scottish Enlightenment
  • British Empires, 1601-1948 (ODL)
  • Maps and Mappery in Historical Research: The Case of Scotland (ODL)
  • British Politics and Policy in the Second World War (ODL)

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this programme, you will have gained:

  • a specialised knowledge and understanding of Scottish history
  • a detailed knowledge and understanding of the central historiographical issues of this area
  • an understanding of the interaction between historical sources and explanation
  • an appreciation of the historical and historiographical context of the student's individual area of research

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 MSc 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 Scottish History - MSc page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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