University of Edinburgh

School of History, Classics and Archaeology

MSc American History


Old College

South Bridge

Edinburgh, Scotland EH8 9YL

United Kingdom

Program Information

Degrees Offered:

MSc American History

Format: Campus

Program Description:

This programme is distinctive in its breadth and diversity, both chronologically and thematically. It draws on the wide range of American historical expertise available in the University’s School of History, Classics & Archaeology. You will enrich your skills in independent research, critical analysis and presentations, and gain an in-depth understanding of the key topics and historiographical debates of this young nation’s dynamic past, spanning the American Revolution, the Cold War and the War on Terror.

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. The University of Edinburgh is home to one of the largest teams of American historians outside the United States, allowing us to provide courses and research supervision in a wide array of topics and time periods with world-class expertise.

The impressive combined 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.


You’ll take two semesters of seminar-style courses in small groups.

There are three required core courses for this programme: two generic skills training courses, one in each semester; and a core course in American historiography. The course on American historiography is team-taught by Edinburgh’s U.S. historians and provides an introduction to the historiography of a range of topics and periods.

Students choose a further three courses from a diverse list of options.

The capstone of the programme is a 12,000 word dissertation which you will complete during the summer months. This is an independent, primary source-based research project supervised by one or more members of the academic staff.


Our students view the programme and a graduate degree from Edinburgh as an advanced  qualification valued and respected by many 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. 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.


  • Our reputation for excellence - 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. We’re a world top 25 university (QS World University Ranking 2018) and rank third in the UK for the combined quality and size of our History research (REF 2014).

  • Our diverse and welcoming community - In the School of History, Classics & Archaeology, our graduate community of over 300 students is international, making the School the ideal environment in which to share ideas, collaborate on research, gain new perspectives and meet like-minded individuals. We have an active academic and social life involving regular workshops, seminars, conferences and symposia across all three subject areas, as well as many informal gatherings and events.

  • Our historic city - Edinburgh offers a historical heart with a thriving, modern culture and is consistently voted the most desirable place to live in Britain. Based in the Old Town in a splendid historical building, our School is a thriving, vibrant hub of intellectual and cultural life.


The University of Edinburgh

Facts & Figures

Classification: Higher Education Institution (Not Carnegie Classified)

Locale: Midsize City

Find Schools