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History & Archaeology×

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

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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

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.

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Our Masters in Archaeology takes your interest in this fascinating field to the professional level. You’ll develop an in-depth understanding of the subject, particularly its history and development, and its links with historical, social and natural sciences. Read more

Programme description

Our Masters in Archaeology takes your interest in this fascinating field to the professional level.

You’ll develop an in-depth understanding of the subject, particularly its history and development, and its links with historical, social and natural sciences.

The flexibility of our course structure allows you to tailor your studies to take full advantage of the exhaustive range of specialist fields and periods of study that our staff, as well as those in the History and Classics areas, can offer.

You’ll explore contemporary theoretical approaches and hone your skills in current methodologies and practice to prepare for a professional role in archaeology or further studies at doctoral level.

Programme structure

Our comprehensive programme encompasses theory, methodology and practice. You will undertake a varied schedule of learning, from lectures, seminars and practicals, to essays, research projects, field trips and individual tutorials.

You will take the following compulsory courses:

Frontiers in Archaeology
Research Seminars
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 experimental archaeology.

You’ll conclude with original research for a dissertation in a subject of your own choosing.

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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Structured to provide you with the opportunity to study archaeology at an advanced level, this programme allows you to gain an in-depth understanding of the subject in a comparatively short time. Read more

Programme description

Structured to provide you with the opportunity to study archaeology at an advanced level, this programme allows you to gain an in-depth understanding of the subject in a comparatively short time.

You’ll learn about the subject’s history and development, and explore its links with the historical, social and natural sciences. We’ll introduce you to contemporary theoretical approaches and allow you to gain experience in current methodologies and practice.

Importantly, your future in the field of archaeology will also be considered, by giving you the opportunity to draw on the diversity of our academic staff’s expertise in order to explore specific regions or themes that may be of interest to you at a doctoral level.

Programme structure

Your studies will combine lectures, seminars, practicals, essays, research projects and one-to-one meetings covering all areas of archaeology. You will complete six courses and conduct original research for a dissertation on a subject of your choice.

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

You will choose five option courses from a list that includes:

Archaeological Illustration
Archaeology of Gender
Byzantine Archaeology
Conceptualising the Neolithic
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
Human Evolution
Island Worlds: Prehistoric Societies in the Mediterranean Sea
Ritual and Monumentality in North-West Europe, 5500–2500 BC
The Scottish Lowlands: Archaeology and Landscape before the Normans

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, 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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The area surrounding the Mediterranean presents innumerable opportunities for archaeological research. This programme allows you to explore the rich history of this region at an advanced level through examination of a wide range of periods, geographical areas and themes. Read more

Programme description

The area surrounding the Mediterranean presents innumerable opportunities for archaeological research. This programme allows you to explore the rich history of this region at an advanced level through examination of a wide range of periods, geographical areas and themes.

Through a series of tailored and flexible courses you’ll develop an understanding of specific regions and periods, current theories, methodologies and major research issues, all of which will provide the basis of PhD study, or a solid foundation for future participation in excavation, survey and/or lab work.

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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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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This programme gives you the opportunity to study ancient history at an advanced level, developing your interest in the ancient world and receiving excellent preparation for further graduate research on various topics relating to Greek and Roman history. 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 receiving excellent preparation for further graduate research on various topics relating to Greek and Roman history.

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 its staff. 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.

The flexible structure of the course allows you to build up a combination of courses in any of these fields or to focus on one specific topic or period. You will also be part of the lively academic community of the Classics department, which hosts regular seminars, lectures and conferences.

Programme structure

The programme is modular, designed to allow both breadth of coverage and specialisation. The compulsory course will provide you with the key methodological and practical skills required of researchers in all classical subjects, while the option courses offer a level of flexibility, allowing you to both develop or cement your language skills and explore a diverse range of in-depth historical topics.

Independent research, in the form of a 15,000 word dissertation, forms a substantial component of the course, challenging you to build on the material and approaches covered in the taught courses and to develop your research skills. Most teaching takes place in small-group seminars.

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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This programme studies the ancient Greek and Roman worlds from the Iron Age to the late Roman/early Christian period through their material remains. Read more

Programme description

This programme studies the ancient Greek and Roman worlds from the Iron Age to the late Roman/early Christian period through their material remains.

The programme focuses on the ancient Mediterranean world broadly defined: not just the archaeology of Greece and Rome but also areas of the Near East and north-western Europe.

Should your interests lie in a field that overlaps a related subject area, you’ll appreciate our interdisciplinary approach, which allows you to draw on the experience of staff throughout the School.

By choosing this degree, you’ll have access to the expertise of our academics who are all passionate about the classical period and its art, social history and archaeology.

By choosing courses of interest to them, each student’s programme will be different, and a further element of personalisation is provided in the choice of dissertation topic.

Classical Archaeology students also attend the weekly Classics Research Seminars, and form their own subsection of a lively graduate community in Classics.

Programme structure

We offer a modular 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.

There is one required training course in classical research methods and skills that runs across the two teaching semester (20 credits). This course is specially designed for classicists and aims to introduce you to areas of the discipline beyond your own specialities and to help you with the practical skills of finding and presenting information; it also equips you with the independent skills you need to complete your dissertation.

In addition, you will choose five courses from a list of options (each 20 credits). These enable you to work with increasing independence on advanced scholarship and prepare you for the final stage of the Masters, the dissertation (60 credits). At least three of your five options courses should be selected from the core Classical Archaeology modules but Greek or Latin or Ancient History courses can also be taken.

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

After graduating, you will have the knowledge and skills in research methodologies that will put you in a good position to pursue doctoral research in classics or a related field, and ultimately an academic career.

Museum work, cultural heritage and education also present a range of professional options that require a degree such as this.

The learning, organisational and leadership skills you gain from your studies will give you a vital edge in impressing any potential employer.

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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 and become familiar with some key theoretical areas, such as Begriffsgeschichte and the Cambridge School.

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’ll 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

Many students are attracted to the MSc Intellectual History as an advanced qualification that will be valued by a range of employers.

Others are interested in pursuing long-term academic careers and see the MSc as preparation for a PhD, while some are considering an academic career as a possibility, and use the MSc to establish whether it is the right career choice.

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

Possible fields for employment after graduation include academia, policy think-tanks, national and international civil services, non-governmental organisations and museum/curatorial organisations.

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This programme allows you to explore the links between history and current affairs, and discover how the recent past has shaped today’s world. Read more

Programme description

This programme allows you to explore the links between history and current affairs, and discover how the recent past has shaped today’s world. It aims to provide excellent preparation for graduate research on most recent history in a global context.

It is designed to serve as a springboard for more graduate work at the PhD level or as a stand alone graduate degree that also benefits the individual graduate in a non-academic career.

The programme makes use of the city of Edinburgh’s unique archival and bibliographical resources (The National Archives of Scotland, The National Library of Scotland, the University’s library and archives), as well as of its role in current British politics. Contact with Scottish politicians and with foreign representatives in Scotland is envisioned as a supplementary part of the programme.

Programme structure

The programme combines methodological and substantive courses with intensive participation by the students. The analysis of diverse primary source material is essential, as is situating any research findings within an established historiographical tradition. You will also complete a substantial dissertation under expert supervision.

Compulsory courses:
Historical Methodology
Historical Research: Skills and Sources
Introduction to Contemporary History

Optional courses:
Anglo-Spanish Relations, 1936–1950
A Political Economy of Britain since 1945
Cinema and Society in Britain
Conservatism in the United States, c1930–c1990
Contemporary Scotland
Ethnicity, Class and Power in 20th Century Africa
Gender, Crime and Deviancy: Britain c1860–1960
History as Romance, Profession, Critique: Theory and Scholarship in the West, 1835–1985
Home Rule in Ireland and Britain, 1800–2000
Making War, Making Peace: European International History, 1914–1945
The British at War, 1939–1945
Themes in African Social History
Themes in Modern British and Irish Historiography
Unionism in Ireland and Britain, c1800–2000
The Civil Rights Movement
Armed Struggle: The Northern Ireland Troubles and their Origins
The Politics of Historiography in Post-Colonial South Asia
The United States and the Cold War
The United States and the Vietnam War: Origins and Repercussions
Thinking the 20th Century
Hannah Arendt and the Breakdown of European Civilization
Topics in Post-1945 European History

Career opportunities

This programme provides a suitable foundation for advanced study, or a number of careers, for example politics or journalism.

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This innovative online programme allows you to study for a graduate degree with one of the world’s most prestigious universities, at a pace that suits you and fits around your ongoing work or personal commitments. Read more

Programme description

This innovative online programme allows you to study for a graduate degree with one of the world’s most prestigious universities, at a pace that suits you and fits around your ongoing work or personal commitments.

Our state-of-the-art e-learning software and extensive digital resources enables you to develop your own specialised interests under the expert guidance of distinguished academics, and to gain a world-class postgraduate qualification without the expense of relocating.

The thematic breadth of this programme means you can choose from a diverse range of topics from American politics to modern Japanese history, from post Second World War 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

The Certificate, Diploma or MSc could lead you towards a number of career directions depending on your individual interests and experience. Some students of History pursue work in related areas such as museums, galleries, libraries and historic trusts, whilst others build on the transferable skills gained and pursue areas as diverse as business and media, to public administration and marketing.

The programme could be of interest to those considering pursuing a teaching career, however, we recommend that you contact the regulatory authority for teaching in your country and teacher training institutions to discuss the statutory requirements for entering the profession before making a decision.

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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.

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This comprehensive programme places you among one of the largest group of historians in any British university, providing a stimulating environment in which to further your interest in practically any era of history. Read more

Programme description

This comprehensive programme places you among one of the largest group of historians in any British university, providing a stimulating environment in which to further your interest in practically any era of history.

Our breadth of expertise allows you to pursue studies in everything from Medieval Scotland or revolutionary America to the Cold War or Renaissance Italy, from modern China and Japan to India or postcolonial Africa, all in the inspirational setting of Scotland’s historic capital.

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.

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

Many students see the programme as an advanced qualification valued by a range of employers. Others are interested in pursuing long-term academic careers and therefore consider the MSc as preparation for a PhD.

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

The programme provides excellent academic experience for those who require the training and confidence to pursue further postgraduate study or as a foundation for careers in archival or museum work, the cultural heritage industry or education.

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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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This MSc provides an introduction to advanced study in American history both to students who plan to embark on doctoral work and to students who simply want to spend a year pursuing intellectual interests developed as undergraduates. Read more

Programme description

This MSc provides an introduction to advanced study in American history both to students who plan to embark on doctoral work and to students who simply want to spend a year pursuing intellectual interests developed as undergraduates.

The programme is distinctive in its breadth and diversity, both chronological and thematic. It draws on the wide range of American historical expertise available in the School.

You'll enrich your skills in independent research and gain an in-depth understanding of the key topics and historiographical debates of this young nation’s dynamic past, from the American Revolution to the Cold War.

The programme offers a challenging academic experience, particularly for those who wish to combine a small-scale research project with specialist methodological, theoretical, historical and historiographical training. You will attain a level of expertise and knowledge that will enable you to embark upon independent research at an advanced level in American history.

You'll be part of a vibrant research culture, one that encourages collaboration and includes regular lectures, seminars, and other events involving leading American historians.

The impressive resources of the University’s Main Library and the National Library of Scotland, home to one of the UK’s largest collections of Americana, will be on hand.

Programme structure

You’ll take two semesters of seminar-style courses in small groups. You will then apply your independent research skills in developing your own dissertation, under the supervision of our academic staff. This is your chance to be creative; our breadth of historical expertise means we’re open to almost any feasible area of interest.

Compulsory courses:
Historical Methodology
Historical Research: Skills and Sources
Themes in American Historiography

Option courses:
British Emigration, 1603–1914
Calvinist Theology and Piety in Britain and America, c1590–1660
Intellectual History of the American Revolution
American Foreign Policy
Slavery in the British Atlantic World, 1650–1834
The Civil Rights Movement
The United States and the Cold War
Conservatism in the United States, c1930–c1990

Career opportunities

The programme equips you to go on to 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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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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