The taught MSc in American History offers you the chance to study American History in the hemispheric sense, taking ‘America’ to mean the whole hemisphere of the Americas. You will study at an advanced level through taught courses and independent research.
You will have the opportunity to take a comparative or transnational approach to the history of the Americas, as well as to study some countries and regions in more depth. The programme provides advanced knowledge and understanding of selected topics in American history and will enhance your skills in independent research, critical analysis, and both oral and written presentation.
Breadth of expertise
The University has an exceptional range of historians of the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean, which allows us to provide courses and research supervision in a wide array of topics and time periods, ranging from the American Revolution to comparative slavery, from the Latin American dictatorships to the Cold War foreign policy of the United States.
Students are also encouraged to participate in a vibrant research culture that includes regular lectures, seminars, and other events on American topics involving leading historians from the United Kingdom and internationally.
Studying in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology you will benefit from small-group seminars and individual supervision from nationally- and internationally-renowned historians.
The programme involves two semesters of teaching followed by an individual research project. Within one of the biggest scholarly communities of American historians in the UK, you will have a range of courses to choose from, enabling you to tailor your degree to your interests and ambitions
The MSc lasts for 12 months from September to the end of August in the following year. To be awarded an MSc you must complete the coursework and a dissertation.
The taught courses are worth a total of 120 credit points and are assessed mainly by essays and written work. Provided you achieve the required standard, you will proceed to a period of individual research from May to August, resulting in a final dissertation worth a further 60 credits.
You will take several courses across two semesters of teaching, including three compulsory courses and a range of optional courses.
You will undertake a research project and produce a dissertation in the summer months which is submitted on an assigned date in mid-August.
Find out about the admission criteria and required qualifications for the MSc in American History.
You will need a UK 2:1 honours degree, US GPA 3.4 or another international equivalent, in a subject related to this programme.
Relevant experience or professional or other qualifications will also be considered.
Equivalency of international qualifications
Guidance on the equivalency of international qualifications is provided by the International Office (see link below). If you are unsure of the equivalency of your degree, the International Office provides information by country.
English language requirements
If you do not come from a majority English-speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English.
- IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)
- TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)
- PTE(A): total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)
- CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)
- Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components
Your English language qualification must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.
Alternatively, we may also be able to accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country for entry (as defined by UK Visas & Immigration), provided the degree is no more three years old at the beginning of your degree programme. In such cases, we may additionally require you to take the University’s Test of English at Matriculation (TEAM). This test is designed to highlight any weaknesses you may have with your English and tuition will be provided for you free of charge.
Our students have a variety of career paths in mind.
Many students are attracted to the MSc in American History as an advanced qualification that is valued by a range of employers; a more specialised supplement to their undergraduate degrees that could set them apart in a crowded job market. 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.
While some of our students go on to study for their PhDs, either at Edinburgh or at other universities, the majority go on to pursue careers in different fields. The MSc could lead into careers in the cultural sector, but 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 students with transferable skills that will be beneficial whatever they end up doing.
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Last updated November 1, 2018