Masters degrees in Intellectual History examine the rise of intellectual ideas, the historical movements related to their development, and the thinkers responsible for them.
Related subjects include Religious History, Social History and Modern History. Entry requirements usually include an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject such as History or Philosophy.
Courses in the History of Ideas encourage you to think about ideas not as developing solely from the individuals that created them, but as a product of their cultural and historical contexts.
For example, you may examine how the French Revolution in the 18th century was influential in the development of the Enlightenment Period in Europe. Or, you may access theories on a global scale, assessing the parallels and interrelations of human thought across all societies.
Intellectual History may also encompass the ways in which ideas are expressed, such as through texts or art. As such, theories and methodologies from disciplines such as Philosophy and Art may also be incorporated.
Careers in this field may include roles in academia such as teaching and publishing, as well as journalism, marketing and public relations.
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:
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.
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.
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.
The programme will enable you to:
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.
You will take two core courses and 6 option courses.You will be assessed through coursework and a 15,000-word dissertation.
The compulsory courses are:
Option courses previously available include:
Students are expected to achieve several aims, which will be assessed primarily by essays and a dissertation, such as:
A wide variety of intellectual skills are promoted through seminars, discussions and advanced study, encouraging the development of the:
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.