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History & Archaeology×

Full Time Masters Degrees in History & Archaeology, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

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This programme is taught by experts and specialists in fields such as European, Mediterranean, science-based, and theoretical archaeology. Read more

Programme description

This programme is taught by experts and specialists in fields such as European, Mediterranean, science-based, and theoretical archaeology. It offers a range of courses from human origins to ancient civilisations and allows you to tailor your studies to suit your interests and take advantage of the experience of our staff, and those in related programmes in history, classics and geography.

You will develop an in-depth understanding of archaeology and its links with the historical, social and natural sciences, as well as the practice of archaeology within and outside an academic setting, incorporating skills and training. The programme prepares you for a professional role in archaeology or further study at doctoral level. We have excellent facilities: dedicated study space, archaeological and computing laboratories, and teaching and reference collections.

Edinburgh is ideal for archaeological study and research, allowing you to benefit from the presence of national and local institutions and heritage agencies, such as the excellent archaeological collections of the National Museum, the archival and bibliographic resources of Historic Environment Scotland, and the expertise and practical advice of staff in several commercial archaeology companies.

Programme structure

Our wide-ranging programme encompasses theory, methodology and practice. You will undertake a varied schedule of learning, including lectures, seminars, practicals, and individual supervisions. We help you to develop your research interests and choose a suitable dissertation topic.

The compulsory courses are:

Frontiers in Archaeology
Research Sources and Strategies in Archaeology
Theoretical Archaeology
You’ll complete three additional courses, chosen from a list of subjects ranging from late hunter-gatherers and early farmers, later European prehistory and the archaeology of Scotland to Byzantine and Roman archaeology, osteoarchaeology, and archaeological illustration and GIS.

Learning outcomes

You will acquire:

a good understanding of the distinctive nature of archaeology and its contribution to a critical and informed understanding of the past
a good understanding of theoretical and methodological debates within archaeology
familiarity with a number of important fieldwork studies
a broad knowledge of archaeological methods, techniques and practices in current use
The programme will help you to develop potential research interests and to explore these with a view to progressing to further research. You will also acquire a range of transferable intellectual and practical skills.

Career opportunities

Archaeology graduates can follow a variety of career options. The programme equips you to go on to advanced study, and also provides a solid foundation for a career. You will gain practical as well as academic experience, teamworking and analytical skills, and will be able to work in a variety of contexts.

Examples of career paths available to archaeology graduates (although some may require additional training) include: higher education, heritage management and agencies, commercial archaeology, environmental assessment, schools, tourist/travel industry, broadcasting and the police.

An archaeology degree does not, of course, restrict you to a career in archaeology. You may develop your own career pathway in unusual ways or branch into related fields, while maintaining a lifelong interest and involvement in archaeological work and research.

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Research profile. The MSc by Research in History is aimed at students who have a specific topic of interest into which they wish to conduct their own research. Read more

Research profile

The MSc by Research in 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.

History at Edinburgh is one of the largest and most distinguished departments of its kind.

Research interests within History are extremely wide-ranging and include medieval culture, religion, gender, and law; historical theory; early modern witchcraft and the occult; the Italian Renaissance; North America from the colonial era; intellectual history from Machiavelli to Marx; genocide; Nazi and post-war Germany; Russia and the Soviet Union; the Cold War; and political, social, and cultural aspects of the history of China, Japan, and India in the modern era.

In particular, we host expertise in:

-Pre-modern and early-modern history: our research interests lie in the social, political, religious and cultural history of Europe – from the fall of Rome to the Renaissance, with particular emphasis on England, France and Italy.

-Modern British and Irish history: we have particular interests in early modern religion, belief and intellectual history (including the Scottish Enlightenment); social and political history; relations between Britain and Ireland; Irish migration; and international relations and warfare.

-Modern European history: specialisms include astrology and belief; Renaissance Venice; 18th-century political and intellectual history; genocide; France; Germany; Russia and the Soviet Union; and Spain.

-American history: our expertise includes revolutionary and early national America; the Civil War; US diplomatic history in the 19th and 20th centuries; politics in the 20th century; African-American history and the civil rights movement.

-Asian and African history: we research African history; the history of the British Empire and Commonwealth; modern India, Pakistan, and China and Japan since the early modern period.

Training and support

You will be assigned two supervisors who will provide expert academic guidance on your chosen research topic. You will meet regularly to discuss your progress and research plans, as well as drafts of your thesis/dissertation chapters, conference papers and potential articles.

In addition to individual supervision, you will also have access to research training and postgraduate seminars.

Facilities

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 consists of two compulsory training courses common to all History MSc degrees, two directed reading and research courses and a dissertation on a topic chosen by the student.

Two supervisors are assigned at the outset of the course for each student's dissertation.

This programme requires completion of a long dissertation of 30,000 words. Students will additionally audit two training courses Historical Research: Skills and Sources and Historical Methodology.

Learning outcomes

The programme will enable you to:

  • develop a specific body of advanced knowledge
  • become competent in advanced historical methodology and in the evaluation of evidence through the close study of relevant primary and secondary sources
  • become familiar with historiographical debates and modes of historical explanation
  • develop rigorous historical argument
  • conceive and execute a coherent project in historical research and writing

Career opportunities

The concentration on research under supervision makes this degree suitable for those contemplating doctoral study, whether in our own School or elsewhere, and many who take this degree follow that route.

But undertaking substantial and independent research and a writing project is equally excellent preparation for a wide variety of careers.



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Programme description. This programme lets you explore the richness of European archaeology, a region that presents innumerable opportunities for archaeological research, through examination of a wide range of periods, geographical areas and themes. Read more

Programme description

This programme lets you explore the richness of European archaeology, a region that presents innumerable opportunities for archaeological research, through examination of a wide range of periods, geographical areas and themes.

The flexible programme lets you tailor your individual studies to suit your interests and take advantage of the experience of our staff, as well as those in related programmes in history, classics and geography. You will develop an understanding of European archaeology, with an emphasis on European prehistory, and a knowledge of topics including contemporary theoretical perspectives, methodologies and practice.

This programme incorporates transferable skills and training,while preparing you for a professional role in archaeology or further study at doctoral level.

The School has excellent facilities: dedicated study space, archaeological and computing laboratories, teaching and reference collections. The city of Edinburgh is ideal for archaeological study and research, allowing you to benefit from national and local institutions and heritage agencies, such as the excellent archaeological collections of the National Museum, the archival and bibliographic resources of Historic Environment Scotland, and the expertise and practical advice of staff in several commercial archaeology companies.

Programme structure

Your will combine lectures, seminars, practicals, essays, research projects and one-to-one meetings in all areas of archaeology. You will complete six courses and a dissertation on an approved subject of your choice.

The compulsory course is:

  • Research Sources and Strategies in Archaeology

You may choose option courses from a list in the general fields of human evolution, late hunter-gatherers and early farmers, later European and Mediterranean prehistory, the archaeology of Scotland, Byzantine and Roman archaeology, and osteoarchaeology. You may also choose a related option from another masters at the University.

Learning outcomes

You will acquire:

a good understanding of the distinctive nature of archaeology and its contribution to a critical and informed understanding of the past

a good understanding of theoretical and methodological debates within archaeology

a familiarity with a number of important fieldwork studies

a broad knowledge of archaeological methods, techniques and practices in current use

Career opportunities

Archaeology graduates can follow a variety of career options. The programme equips you to go on to advanced study, and also provides a solid foundation for a career.

You will gain practical as well as academic experience, teamworking and analytical skills, and will be able to work in a variety of contexts.

Examples of career paths available to archaeology graduates (although some may require additional training) include: higher education, heritage management and agencies, commercial archaeology, environmental assessment, teaching, tourism industry, broadcasting and the police. An archaeology degree does not restrict you to a career in archaeology.



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Programme description. The area around the Mediterranean presents many opportunities for archaeological research. This MSc allows you to explore the region through the examination of periods, geographical areas and themes. Read more

Programme description

The area around the Mediterranean presents many opportunities for archaeological research. This MSc allows you to explore the region through the examination of periods, geographical areas and themes. You’ll analyse contemporary theoretical approaches, hone your skills in current methodologies and take advantage of the specialist fields and periods of study that our staff, and those in history and classics, can offer.

You’ll develop an understanding of specific regions and periods, current theories, methodologies and major research issues, all of which provide the basis for a PhD or future participation in excavation, survey and/or lab work.

Edinburgh is ideal for archaeological study and research, allowing you to benefit from national and local institutions and heritage agencies, such as the excellent collections of the National Museum, the archival and bibliographic resources of Historic Environment Scotland, and expertise and practical advice from staff in commercial companies.

Programme structure

You will complete six courses over the course of the programme, which culminates in the production of your independently researched dissertation.

You will take a compulsory course in Research Sources and Strategies in Archaeology.

You will choose five option courses from a list that may include:

Archaeological Illustration

Archaeology of Gender

Bronze Age Civilisations of the Near East and Greece

Byzantine Archaeology: The Archaeology of the Byzantine Empire and its Neighbours AD 500–850

Constantinople and the Cities of Asia Minor

Early Farmers of Cyprus and the Near East

Etruscan Italy, 1000–300 BC

From Foraging to Farming: the Beginnings of Agriculture in the Mediterranean and Europe

Gallia from the Third Century BC to Augustus

Greek Vase Painting

Hellenistic Art and Archaeology

Human Evolution

The Hittites: the Archaeology of an Ancient Near Eastern Civilisation

Island Worlds: Prehistoric Societies in the Mediterranean Sea

Late Antique Visual Culture

Roman Archaeology

Roman Funerary Art

Roman Imperial Monuments

The Hellenistic City

You may also be given permission to choose an added course from any of the non-archaeology taught masters programmes that relate to your study

Learning outcomes

The programme will help you develop potential research interests and explore these with a view to progressing to research. You will also acquire a range of transferable intellectual and practical skills, including:

a good understanding of the distinctive nature of archaeology and its contribution to a critical and informed understanding of the past

a good understanding of theoretical and methodological debates within archaeology

familiarity with a number of important fieldwork studies

a broad knowledge of archaeological methods, techniques and practices in current use

Career opportunities

The programme equips you to go on to advanced study, and also provides a solid foundation for a career. You will acquire practical as well as academic experience in your training and will be able to work in a variety of contexts.

Examples of career options for archaeology graduates (although some may require additional training) include working within universities, heritage management and agencies, commercial archaeology, environmental assessment work, schools, the tourist/travel industry, broadcasting, and the police force.



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This programme gives you the opportunity to study ancient history at an advanced level, developing your interest in the ancient world and providing an excellent preparation for further graduate research. Read more

Programme description

This programme gives you the opportunity to study ancient history at an advanced level, developing your interest in the ancient world and providing an excellent preparation for further graduate research.

Edinburgh is one of the leading centres in the UK for the study of ancient history, in the chronological, geographical and methodological scope of the research interests of our staff. The range and content of our courses reflect staff research strengths in Greek, Hellenistic, Roman and Late Antique topics. Greek and Latin language courses are always offered. Our particular strengths lie in the legal, institutional, social and economic history of the Greek and Roman worlds, as well as in political theory and practice, Hellenistic history, and late antique history.

As a student on this programme, you will develop your skills in critical thinking, clear writing and research, verbal presentation and critical analysis. You will be part of a Classics department ranked 5th in the UK, for the combined size and quality of research, in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014.

Programme structure

Most teaching takes place in small-group seminars and the programme is designed to allow both breadth of coverage and specialisation. The specialised compulsory course will provide you with the key methodological and practical skills required of researchers in all classical subjects, while the options offer a large degree of flexibility, allowing you to develop or consolidate your language skills and explore a diverse range of historical topics in depth. Independent research, in the form of a 15,000-word dissertation, forms a substantial component of the programme, challenging you to build on the material and approaches covered in the taught courses and develop your research skills.

The compulsory course is:

Skills and Methods in Classics
Option courses previously available include:

Agricultural Slavery in the Graeco-Roman World
Archaeology of the Roman Economy
A Period of Ancient History 1
A Period of Ancient History 2
Byzantium and its Neighbours in the Age of Constantine VII
Porphyrogennetos
Elementary Greek PG1
Elementary Greek PG2
Elementary Latin PG1
Elementary Latin PG2
Epicurus and Epicureanism
Intermediate Greek PG1
Intermediate Greek PG2
Intermediate Latin PG1
Intermediate Latin PG2
Late Antique Visual Culture
Martyrdom and Voluntary Death in the Ancient World
The Fall of Rome
The Hellenistic City;
Women in the Classical World

Learning outcomes

considerable familiarity with many aspects of ancient history and the principal challenges, approaches and issues involved in their study
specialist understanding of the intellectual background of ancient history as a distinct discipline
development of existing reading/writing skills, through critical assessment of written work
advanced appreciation of a wide range of methodologies involved in evaluating and employing sources of ancient historical evidence, through participation in core course and assessed work
the option to further develop language skills (normally Greek and Latin), which can be acquired by instruction and assessed exercises
specialist understanding of at least one significant field of research in associated cultural history, developed and assessed through a 15,000-word dissertation.

Career opportunities

The MSc will provide you with the knowledge and skills essential to pursue doctoral research in ancient history or a related field (whether at Edinburgh or elsewhere), and ultimately an academic career. Moreover, the transferable skills you will acquire with this programme will be invaluable for careers in museum work, cultural heritage and conservation, secondary education, library or archive work.

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The MSc by Research in Archaeology is aimed at students who have a specific topic of interest into which they wish to conduct their own research. Read more

Research profile

The MSc by Research in Archaeology 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.

Archaeology at Edinburgh has a tradition going back to the 19th century. Many aspects of that tradition are still visible in the School today: our archaeological collections were named to commemorate the great prehistorian and first holder of the Abercromby Chair Vere Gordon Childe; the annual series of Munro lectures in archaeology and anthropology were endowed in 1910 by Dr Robert Munro, a distinguished medical practitioner who, in his later life, became a keen archaeologist; and the Abercromby Chair of Prehistoric Archaeology commemorates Lord Abercromby, author of distinguished research on Bronze Age pottery.

Edinburgh’s great tradition in prehistory continues to this day, with expertise in Britain, the Mediterranean and the Near East, but we also have strengths in Classical and Byzantine archaeology, in archaeological theory, environmental archaeology, osteoarchaeology and forensic anthropology.

We are happy to supervise across the wide range of our research interests: we have particular strengths in prehistory of Europe, the Mediterranean and Near East, in classical and early medieval archaeology, as well as in archaeological theory, environmental archaeology, osteoarchaeology and forensic anthropology.

Facilities

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 enjoy access to:

a large and attractive study and computing lab, equipped with printing, copying and scanning facilities, plus two further study rooms that provide shared desk space
student research rooms, housing some of the School’s impressive book collections and additional IT facilities
teaching rooms fitted out with the latest technology
exhibition areas, filled with artefacts, artwork, statues, busts and casts from the School’s many collections
a stunning common room, used by staff as well as graduate students

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, one of the city’s best-loved green spaces.

Archaeology students benefit from our laboratories for artefact analysis, environmental archaeology, osteoarchaeology, bone chemistry and computing (with a wide range of software applications).

There is an extensive reference collection of archaeological materials, such as pottery, metal, stone and glass artefacts, in the V Gordon Childe teaching collection.

You can also benefit from the facilities, archives, collections and expertise of a range of heritage agencies and commercial archaeology units based in the city of Edinburgh.

Programme structure

A long dissertation of 30,000 words is the sole form of assessment, but you will also attend compulsory training courses and may take other relevant courses.

Career opportunities

The programme’s focus on research under supervision makes this degree suitable for those contemplating doctoral study, whether in our own School or elsewhere, and many who take this degree follow that route. But undertaking a substantial and independent research and writing project is equally an excellent preparation for a wide variety of careers.

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Programme description. Ideas and patterns of thought always have been, and continue to be, subject to historical change. The ways in which they change, and the reasons why they do so, make for fascinating study. Read more

Programme description

Ideas and patterns of thought always have been, and continue to be, subject to historical change. The ways in which they change, and the reasons why they do so, make for fascinating study. In this comprehensive programme, you’ll be introduced to the principal methodologies of intellectual history. You will also have the opportunity to explore particular themes in intellectual history, such as Epicureanism, mind-body dualism in early modern thought, the Scottish Enlightenment and the intellectual history of the American Revolution, developing a detailed understanding of their origins, historical circumstances and implications.

By the end of the programme you will have the tools you need to appreciate the interdependence of text and context and the importance of ideas in past and present, as well as the ability to research effectively and present your work with confidence.

Programme structure

You will be assessed through coursework and a 15,000-word dissertation.

You will take two compulsory courses:

Historical Methodology

Historical Research: Skills and Sources

You will select four option courses (or two courses and supervised reading) from choices that may include:

Epicurus and Epicureanism

Intellectual History of the American Revolution

Man and the Natural World in the Enlightenment

Religion and the Enlightenment: the Birth of the Modern

The Enlightenment: Questions of Geography

The Science of Man in the Scottish Enlightenment

Mind and Body in Early Modern Philosophy

Thinking the 20th Century

A Crucible for Change: Enlightenment in Britain 1688–1801

Learning outcomes

Students are expected to achieve several aims, which will be assessed primarily by essays and a dissertation, such as:

knowledge of the chief methods of practising intellectual history

a detailed understanding of certain major episodes in intellectual history

an appreciation of the interdependence of text and context, and of the importance of ideas in past and present

A wide variety of intellectual skills are promoted through seminars, discussions and advanced study, encouraging the development of the:

ability to develop tight and coherent arguments both orally and on the page

capacity to read texts critically and sensitively, evaluating their arguments as well as situating them in their practical and intellectual contexts

appreciation of a variety of approaches to intellectual history

ability to cross-disciplinary boundaries, for example, between philosophy, science and history

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.



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Programme description. This innovative online programme allows you to take advantage of Edinburgh’s remarkable range of historical expertise from the comfort of your own home. Read more

Programme description

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 from American politics to modern Japanese history, from interwar Europe to medieval Scottish history, 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. All of our teaching is divided into themed weeks.

The method of assessment will vary from course to course and may include essays, short reports on primary or secondary sources, discussion forum activity and presentations.

Each course has a dedicated lecturer responsible for running it and you can expect to receive regular feedback from them.

Programme structure

You can choose to apply for the MSc either full-time (in one year) or part-time (between two and four years).

You can study for a single course, a certificate, a diploma or the MSc, with a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 60 credits being undertaken in any given semester.

The certificate requires one core training course and two specialist options, while the diploma requires both training courses and four options. If you wish to earn the full MSc, you will complete the requirements for the diploma before going on to produce a dissertation based on independent research.

Compulsory courses:

Historical Research: Approaches to History

Historical Research: Skills and Sources

Option courses may include:

The Lords of the Isles: Clan Donald, c.1336–c.1545

From Consensus to Thatcherism: Government and Politics in Post-War Britain

Seeking 'Japan' in a Westernising World: Revolution, Romance and Imperialism 1868–1945

Scotland and Ireland, 1800–1945

The Rise of Modern American Conservatism

The American Civil War

The Shadow of Versailles: Interwar Europe, 1918–1939

Willingly to War: the Origins of the First World War

Photography and Irish Life, 1839–2000

Angels and Inverts: Sexuality, Gender and Power in Britain, 1837–1914

Athens of the North – The Origins and Ideas of the Scottish Enlightenment

The Crusades and the Euro-Mediterranean world

Diaspora, Migration and Exile: The History of the Global Irish since 1600

Mythology and the History of Scholarship

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 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 whilst others build their transferable skills to enter business, media, public administration or marketing.



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The MSc by Research in Scottish History is aimed at students who have a specific topic of interest into which they wish to conduct their own research. Read more

Research profile

The MSc by Research in Scottish 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.

History at Edinburgh is one of the largest and most distinguished departments of its kind. In fact, we hold the oldest established Chair in Scottish History.

Our teaching offers a rich diversity of topics, delivered by a diverse, multinational group of historians whose interests cross many periods, regions and specialisms.

From the Picts to the founding of the new Scottish Parliament, we can offer expertise in all periods of study, from early medieval times to the present day. Other members of staff have published extensively on topics including early medieval battles, late medieval kingship, saints’ cults, urban history, the Reformation, the witch hunt, government and finance, the Highlands in all periods, Scotland’s external relations (especially with America) and its place in the Union.

Scottish History is home to the Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies, the first such research unit in the field. The Centre was formally established in spring 2008 to advance historical enquiry into this vital subject.

Training and support

You will be assigned two supervisors who provide expert academic guidance on your chosen research topic. You will meet regularly to discuss your progress and research plans, as well as drafts of your thesis/dissertation chapters, conference papers and potential articles.

In addition to individual supervision, you will also have access to research training and postgraduate seminars.

Facilities

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

You can choose to complete the MSc by Research degree in one of two ways:

A long dissertation of 30,000 words, accompanied by two compulsory training courses (Historical Research: Skills and Sources and Historical Methodology) and further option courses.
A 15,000-word dissertation accompanied by the compulsory training courses and two directed reading and research courses (the total word count for all work submitted will be 30,000).
You will be assigned two dissertation supervisors at the outset of the programme.

Learning outcomes

The programme will enable you to:

develop a specific body of advanced knowledge
become competent in advanced historical methodology and in the evaluation of evidence through the close study of relevant primary and secondary sources
become familiar with historiographical debates and modes of historical explanation
develop rigorous historical argument
conceive and execute a coherent project in historical research and writing

Career opportunities

The concentration on research under supervision makes this degree suitable for those contemplating doctoral study, whether in our own School or elsewhere, and many who take this degree follow that route.

But undertaking substantial and independent research and a writing project is equally excellent preparation for a wide variety of careers.

Read less
Programme description. This comprehensive programme provides the platform to pursue studies in everything from medieval Scotland to revolutionary America, the Cold War, Renaissance Italy, modern China, Japan, India or postcolonial Africa. Read more

Programme description

This comprehensive programme provides the platform to pursue studies in everything from medieval Scotland to revolutionary America, the Cold War, Renaissance Italy, modern China, Japan, India or postcolonial Africa. We’ll help you to develop a specialised knowledge and understanding of history and its central issues, examine historical sources, evaluate existing research, and work towards a specialised research project of your own.

Taught by one of the largest groups of historians in any British university,you will encounter a stimulating environment in which to further your interest in practically any era of history and many regions of the world.By joining this programme you’ll also take part in a rich programme of events featuring our renowned academic staff and distinguished visitors from all over the world.

Programme structure

This programme is taught through a combination of small-group seminars and tutorials, one-to-one supervision and private study. You will be examined through coursework and a 15,000-word dissertation.

Compulsory courses:

Historical Methodology

Historical Research: Skills and Sources

Option courses:

You will choose four specialist courses from a range of options, such as:

Approaches to Gender History

Armed Struggle

The British at War, 1939–1945

Cinema and Society in South Asia

Intellectual History of the American Revolution

Medieval Men and Masculinity

The Fall of Rome

The Lordship of the Isles: A Political History

The Northern Ireland Troubles and their Origins

The Science of Man in the Enlightenment

Scotland and Ireland, 1800–1922

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 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.



Read less
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. Read more

Programme description

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.

This programme continues that tradition, drawing on the impressive expertise of our academics, who form the largest group of historians specialising in Scottish interest found at a UK university.

Thanks to our unique academic strength, you’ll be able to choose from an unrivalled range of courses that explore Scotland’s past across a very broad chronological period – from the Roman occupation of Scotland to post-Union through to Scottish diaspora and contemporary developments – and place its history in a comparative and global context.

Along the way, you’ll have access to some of the most impressive archival collections in the UK, all located either within the University or nearby.

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.

The compulsory courses are:

Historical Methodology
Historical Research: Skills and Sources
The option courses may include:

Contemporary Scotland
Ethnic and National Identities in Medieval Scotland
Governance in Scotland: 1424 to 1625
Kingship in Medieval Scotland
Saints Cults: Pilgrimage and Piety in Scotland
Scotland and Ireland: 1800 to 1922
War and Society in Dark-Age Scotland
A Crucible for Change - Enlightenment in Britain: 1688–1801
You will also complete an independently researched dissertation.

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

You will have a variety of career options open to you on completion of your degree. You may wish to continue with graduate study to PhD level or work towards qualifications in related professional disciplines such as museum or archive work.

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Programme description. This programme studies the ancient Greek and Roman worlds from the Iron Age to the late Roman and early Christian period through their material remains including sculpture, funerary art, topography and visual cultures. Read more

Programme description

This programme studies the ancient Greek and Roman worlds from the Iron Age to the late Roman and early Christian period through their material remains including sculpture, funerary art, topography and visual cultures.

Focusing on the ancient Mediterranean world, broadly defined, you’ll explore not simply the archaeology of Greece and Rome but also the near east and north-western Europe.

Through our interdisciplinary approach, you’ll also be able to work with staff from all areas of the School. Several members of classics have ongoing excavations in Italy, Georgia and Macedonia, which students are welcome to attend.

The programme aims to familiarise you with the various methods used in the study of classics, enabling you to work in a manner that is theoretically and methodologically engaged.

Programme structure

We offer a range of courses, which has been designed to reflect the research interests of our lecturers and help you develop a particular topic of interest for your dissertation.

You will complete a compulsory course, five option courses and a 15,000 word dissertation.

The compulsory course is:

  • Skills and Methods in Classics

Learning outcomes

The programme aims to:

provide students with the intellectual background, training and support necessary for the conduct and critical assessment of research in Classical Art and Archaeology

provide students with advanced knowledge of and competency in a specific area of Classics

familiarise students with various methods used in the study of Classical Art and Archaeology and enable them to work in a manner that is theoretically and methodologically engaged

equip students with knowledge of Greek and/or Roman artefacts and their interpretation through study of original objects and monuments and careful analysis of secondary literature

develop and test the ability of students to formulate and sustain a substantial piece of research in Classical Art and Archaeology

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 programme provides a toolkit of transferable skills in organisation, research and analysis that will be highly prized in any field of work. This programme can form the stepping stone to many career options, such as further academic research, museum and art curation, literary translation or analysis, education or public heritage. Recent Classics graduates are now putting their skills to use as tutors, archivists, writers and conference coordinators for a range of employers including the RSPB.



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Programme description. Read more

Programme description

Has the end of the Cold War created a new world order? Has the fall of the Berlin Wall inaugurated a new Europe? Has 9/11 changed our world and the character of our democracies forever? Are we facing a ‘clash of cultures’ in the Middle East? Is American power declining and being replaced by new players on the world stage?

This MSc allows you to explore such questions critically and analytically whilst discovering how the recent past shaped the modern world. A specialised methodological and historiographical course will help you appreciate the distinctiveness of contemporary history, its use of radio, television, film, and internet-based sources such as Wikileaks and its methodology. This rigorous skills training will be supplemented by a variety of topical, spacialised options, covering virtually every distinctive approach to history (e.g. political, social, and economic) and every region on the globe, underlining the increasing globalisation of our recent past. You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the increasingly global experience of humankind in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

The MSc makes use of Edinburgh’s unique archival and bibliographical resources – The National Archives of Scotland, The National Library of Scotland, the University’s library and archives – and is enriched by the city’s key role in current British politics.

Programme structure

The compulsory courses are Historical Methodology; Historical Research: Skills and Sources; Introduction to Contemporary History.

Option courses previously available include: Contemporary Scotland; Gender, Crime and Deviancy: Britain, c1860–1960; History as Romance, Profession, Critique: Theory and Scholarship in the West, 1835–1985; The British at War, 1939–1945; The Politics of Historiography in Post-Colonial South Asia; Cinema and Society in South Asia, 1947 to the Present; Thinking the Twentieth Century: Hannah Arendt and the Breakdown of European Civilisation; Revolutions in Twentieth Century Europe; Civil Wars in Twentieth Century Europe; Genocide in the Contemporary World; The Closest of Enemies: Cuban-US Relations, 1895-2014; The United States and the Vietnam War; The United States and the Cold War.

Career opportunities

Our students view the MSc and a graduate degree from Edinburgh as an advanced qualification valued and respected by employers. Those students interested in long-term academic careers consider the programme 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. Others enter business, media, public administration or marketing.



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In this programme, you’ll take an in-depth look at the fascinating history of Europe in the period between AD 400 and 1500 and form your own specialist interest, providing a foundation for doctoral study should you choose that route. Read more

Programme description

In this programme, you’ll take an in-depth look at the fascinating history of Europe in the period between AD 400 and 1500 and form your own specialist interest, providing a foundation for doctoral study should you choose that route.

With more than 70 members of academic staff attached to our cross-disciplinary Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CMRS), Edinburgh is a wonderful environment for medieval scholarship.

Through small, seminar-based classes, you’ll develop knowledge of the principal categories of surviving evidence and the technical skills needed to read them, namely palaeography, and linguistic knowledge (generally Latin), and learn the value of an interdisciplinary approach to medieval research.

World-class resources will be on hand to aid your studies, most notably the impressive collections of the National Library of Scotland and the University’s Main Library, one of the largest of its kind in Europe.

Programme structure

The programme is divided into three parts: a core course, at least two skills courses (most often Latin, but other language options or skills courses may be taken), and up to three option courses.

Core course:

The Sources of Medieval History

Option courses may include:

Contacts and Conflicts
Historical Research: Skills and Methods
Elementary Gaelic 1 and 2
Elementary Latin 1 and 2
Intermediate Latin 1 and 2
Medicine, Science and Society in Late Medieval and Renaissance Italy
Normandy and the Normans
Old English
Saints Cults, Pilgrimage and Piety in Scotland
The English Bible
The Life and Works of Adomnan of Iona
The Lordship of the Isles: a Political History
War and Society in Early Christian Scotland

You will then complete an independent research dissertation. You will be assigned dissertation supervisors at the outset of the programme.

Learning outcomes

This programme is designed to provide a grounding in the principal categories of surviving evidence and the technical skills needed to read them, namely palaeography and linguistic knowledge (generally Latin), and demonstrates the value of an interdisciplinary approach to medieval research.

You will also deepen your knowledge and understanding of selected themes and topics in a way that enables you to select and execute an independent piece of research.

Career opportunities

Successful completion of the programme equips you for advanced study. Equally, a graduate degree from Edinburgh will be respected by employers in many fields.

The combination of skills training courses, specialised seminars and independent research provides you with a broad range of transferable skills that will be beneficial whatever path you choose.

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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. Read more

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.

Facilities

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.



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