MSc in Medieval History


Program Description

Our MSc in Medieval History aims to provide the skills to pursue advanced research on the fascinating history of Europe in the period between AD 400 and 1500 and offers in-depth explorations of a range of specific topics within that period.

This programme will provide you with what you need to pursue advanced research in medieval history, and it will help you to expand your own research interests through small, seminar-based classes. You will also have access to world-class resources, most notably the impressive combined collections of the National Library of Scotland and of the University of Edinburgh Main Library. In addition to that, you will belong to a thriving community of scholars by becoming a member of the highly cross-disciplinary Edinburgh Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CMRS), which organises regular research seminars as well as a range of other academic and social events.

Our programme includes a core course that offers knowledge of the principal categories of surviving primary evidence and the technical skills to use them. You will then be able to choose from two sets of optional courses, subject to availability. One set will allow you to further expand your research skills, including courses on Paleography, Latin and research methodology, for example. The other set contains courses reflecting the research specialism of our medieval historians. It may also be possible to enrol on relevant courses in other parts of the University, such as the School of Divinity, the Edinburgh College of Art, and the School of Languages, Literature and Cultures, which gives the opportunity to learn the value of an interdisciplinary approach to medieval research. On the whole, the optional courses that we offer range widely in terms of chronology (from Classical Antiquity to the Renaissance), geography (the western fringes of Dark Age Europe to the eastern Mediterranean) and methodology, and you will be able to select them in order to build your own path.

Programme structure

The programme involves two semesters of teaching followed by an individual research project. As one of the largest departments of History in the UK, you’ll have a range of courses to choose from, enabling you to tailor your degree to your interests and ambitions.

The MSc lasts 12 months from September to the end of August of the following year. To be awarded an MSc you must also complete a dissertation. A diploma option is also available, which includes only the taught courses.

Part I of the degree requires students to take a CORE course in Sources for Medieval History, together with optional courses in medieval languages. In addition, students take two optional courses from a range of offerings, subject to availability. The taught courses are worth a total of 120 credit points and are assessed by coursework. On successful completion of Part I of the programme, students will proceed to a period of individual research from May to August, resulting in a final dissertation worth a further 60 credits. The topic of the dissertation is chosen in consultation with a supervisor with relevant expertise.

The programme is also offered on a part-time basis.

Taught courses

You will take several courses across two semesters of teaching, including a compulsory course and a range of optional courses.


You will undertake a research project and produce a dissertation which is submitted on an assigned date in mid-August.

Entry requirements

Find out about the admission criteria and required qualifications for the MSc in Medieval 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.

You must demonstrate a background in Medieval History and/or relevant language skills in your transcript, or if you cannot do so, you must make clear in the personal statement why you are equipped to undertake 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. 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.

Postgraduate study in history develops critical abilities that are applicable in a wide range of careers, including, but certainly not limited to, careers relating to education and the heritage and creative industries. The School is constantly aiming to expand its links with those industries, and we work in concert with our Career Service.

Last updated Nov 2018

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About the School

The School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh is one of the great world centres for the study of the human past. The School comprises the three subject areas of Histor ... Read More

The School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh is one of the great world centres for the study of the human past. The School comprises the three subject areas of History, Classics and Archaeology, together with the Centre for the Study of Modern Conflict, the Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies and the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Read less