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Economic and Social History (MSc) 2022 entry

The MSc in Economic and Social History provides training for advanced research in social and economic history through a distinctive combination of interdisciplinary study and specialisation.

Unavailable for 2022 entry

The Economic and Social History programme will not be available for 2022 entry. It is expected that this programme will be available again for those starting their studies in September 2023. Please register your interest to be updated when information is available. 

Register your interest

Key information

Course type

Postgraduate, leading to a Master of Science (MSc)

Course dates

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Course duration

One year full time or two years part time

Entry requirements

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Tuition fees

Application deadline

Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

Application requirements

  • CV or résumé. This should include your personal details with a history of your education and employment to date.
  • a personal statement 
  • a sample of your own, single-authored academic written work (2,000 words)
  • two original signed academic references
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates
  • evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.

Course information

The MSc in Economic and Social History is a one-year taught programme run by the School of History.

The programme offers a distinctive combination of interdisciplinary study and specialisation. It provides the training required for advanced research in social and economic history. It also provides specialised historical study and training in knowledge transfer, where students communicate aspects of their research to academic and non-academic audiences.

The ultimate intention is to prepare students for either doctoral research or employment in related areas.


  • This interdisciplinary programme offers training in the research methods required for higher-level research in social and economic history.
  • You will develop an understanding of, and critical engagement with, the distinctive debates and controversies relating to social and economic history. You will enhance your ability to engage in such debates.
  • The programme will develop appropriate research, quantitative and other skills through training in social science methodologies as well as those commonly used in history. These include quantitative analysis and critical assessment of research methodologies.
  • You will receive training in the use of libraries, appropriate databases (electronic and otherwise), archives or other source-appropriate repositories.

Teaching format

The MSc degree requires that students take half their modules in social sciences and half in history over Semesters 1 and 2. The four social science modules offer essential training in quantitative and qualitative methods, and in the philosophy and methodology of the social sciences. The history modules examine the key historiographical issues relating to economic and social history in the modern period.

In each module, students engage with independent and group study in a supportive framework of teaching and learning. Teaching methods include:

  • seminars
  • one-to-one discussion
  • project work
  • small group discussion
  • workshops.

The range of assessments blend diagnostic work to determine student needs, formative work submitted for assessment and feedback (but not necessarily for academic credit), and summative work submitted for academic credit. The forms of assessment can include:

  • essays
  • oral presentations
  • dissertation.

Over the summer, students complete a 15,000-word dissertation on a topic of their choice under the supervision of a member of staff.

Further particulars regarding curriculum development.


The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2021-2022 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2022 entry.

You will take the following compulsory modules in Semester 1:

  • Key Issues in Economic and Social History 1: explores some of the most fundamental economic and social phenomena that have shaped the world, from medieval to modern times. 
  • Being a Social Scientist: focuses on how to design and produce a research dissertation and addresses issues of professional development (e.g. ethics, careers, grant writing).
  • Quantitative Research in Social Science: provides an introduction to the fundamental concepts of quantitative analysis - underlying principles, research design, sampling strategies, uncertainty and missing data, and some statistical approaches to data analysis.

You will take the following compulsory modules in Semester 2:

  • Key Issues in Economic and Social History 2: interrogates the meaning of 'globalisation' and considers economic and social issues that have characterised the making of the modern world. 
  • Philosophy and Methodology of the Social Sciences: introduces students to the basic theoretical approaches in the social sciences, covering the methodological and epistemological issues involved in conducting social scientific research.
  • Qualitative Methods in Social Research: offers both a theoretical and practical introduction to the collection, analysis and writing of qualitative social science research.

Directed reading module

Students who are not in receipt or planning to apply for ESRC funding may choose to take a 'Directed Reading' module in place of 'Qualitative Methods in Social Research' and 'Philosophy and Methodology of the Social Sciences'.

  • Directed Reading in History: designed to encourage the development of skills of historical analysis through concentrated study of a topic chosen by the student prior to the dissertation.

Students write a 15,000-word dissertation during the summer. The dissertation will be submitted in August. This date is fixed internally by the School of History each year.

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MSc, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MSc.

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2022 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

Meet us online

If you're interested in studying at St Andrews, join us on a virtual visiting day or daily information session to find out about our courses, how to apply, and to meet current students. 

Virtual events

Join our Admissions team for one of our upcoming virtual events. During these events, you can find out more about studying at St Andrews and what it will do for your future.

Online information events


The School of History is pleased to be able to offer a number of competitive scholarships which contribute to the fees and maintenance for postgraduate study. 

  • Language Bursaries: enables students to undertake intensive language courses abroad during the summer before their programme begins.
  • School of History MLitt and MSc Awards: offers the cash equivalent of one year's home fees and cannot be held in conjunction with other awards offering full fees and maintenance.
  • 1+3 funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS).

Find out more about postgraduate scholarships.

Recent Graduate Discount
The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews. 

After the MSc

Research degrees

This MSc is designed to equip students with the skills appropriate for doctoral study in Social and Economic History. UK students with this qualification will be eligible to apply for +3 PhD funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS).

PhD in History


The Economic and Social History MSc is suitable for UK and overseas graduates interested in pursuing PhDs in social and economic history, and for graduates interested in careers that include:

  • management and administration
  • civil service
  • financial services
  • journalism
  • education
  • library and museum services.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students in building their employability skills.


School of History
University of St Andrews 
St Katharine’s Lodge
The Scores
St Andrews 
KY16 9BA

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2900

School of History


Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online.

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online.

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