MScR in Scottish History


Program Description

The MSc by Research in Scottish History offers you the opportunity to undertake a substantial piece of supervised independent research in Scottish History.

The programme is aimed at students who have a specific topic of interest into which they wish to conduct their own research.

We provide 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.

Breadth of expertise

History at Edinburgh is one of the largest and most distinguished departments of its kind and is home to the oldest established Chair in Scottish History.

Our research expertise in Scottish History ranges from the early medieval period to the present day. Topics in which we specialise include the Scottish Highlands; medieval kingship; medieval sainthood; government and politics in Scotland in most periods; religious history; intellectual, educational and cultural history; history of witchcraft and popular beliefs; the rural economy; Scotland’s evolving place within the Union; and Scotland’s overseas links with Europe, America and the British Empire.

The School of History, Classics and Archaeology 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.

Programme structure

The programme aims to introduce you to independent research. You will be assigned two supervisors with expertise in your chosen area to help you to complete your thesis.

You will also audit two History Skills Courses, ‘Historical Research: Skills and Sources' (Semester One) and 'Historical Methodology' (Semester Two).

Students have the opportunity to acquire specific research skills. Training in Latin and Palaeography are especially relevant for those wishing to pursue research in the medieval or early modern periods. Training in other languages is also available.

Training in transferable skills is also available, both within the School of History, Classics and Archaeology and through the Institute for Academic Development (IAD).


You will undertake a piece of independent research which results in a 30,000-word dissertation which is submitted on an assigned date in August.

Entry requirements

Find out about the admission criteria and required qualifications for the MSc (by Research) in Scottish History.

Degree Requirements

You will need a UK 2:1 honours degree, US GPA 3.4 or another international equivalent, in a subject related to your programme.

Relevant experience or professional or other qualifications will also be considered.

Guidance on the equivalency of international qualifications is provided by Edinburgh Global (see link below). If you are unsure of the equivalency of your degree, Edinburgh Global 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 than 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.


This degree can form the stepping stone to many career options.

Many recent graduates of the MScR degree have gone on to pursue a PhD degree in Scottish History or related areas. The MScR can also serve as a terminal master’s degree, enhancing students’ writing and research skills, and preparing them for careers in fields where these skills are especially valued.

Last updated Nov 2018

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