History MA (Hons) 2020 entry

The MA (Hons) in History will teach you to discover and analyse the full range of human activity over time. Through historical awareness, which enriches contemporary experience by linking the present with the past, you will be able to recognise the cultural and social values that have shaped cultures across the globe. From your studies, you will acquire intellectual skills in evaluating different kinds of evidence, and interpreting and communicating its significance to others.

History is a flexible course which allows you to study all historical eras without chronological or geographical constraint. At St Andrews, you will be able to combine elements from ancient, medieval, modern, Scottish and Middle Eastern history. 

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UCAS code

V100

Course type

Master of Arts (single Honours degree)

Course duration

Four years full time

  • Start date: 7 September 2020
  • End date: 30 June 2024

If you started this programme in 2019, you can find information about 2019 entry on the 2019 History MA page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Entry requirements

These grades are the overall standards required to consider you for entry. Find out more about Standard, Minimum and Gateway entry requirements using academic entry explained and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.

    • Standard entry grades: AAAAB, including A in History
    • Minimum entry grades: AABB, including B in History
    • Gateway entry grades: BBBB, including B in History
    • Standard entry grades: AAA, including A in History
    • Minimum entry grades: ABB, including B in History
    • Standard entry grades: 38 (HL 6,6,6), including HL6 in History
    • Minimum entry grades: 36 (HL 6,5,5), including HL5 in History

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes, please see our entry requirements for more information.

For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject specific entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.

International applicants

If English is not your first language you will need an overall IELTS score of 7.0, with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English Language qualification.

How to apply

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

Students must have studied History at SQA Higher, GCE A-Level or equivalent.

General entry requirements

All applicants must have attained the following qualifications, or equivalent, in addition to the specific entry requirements for individual programmes.

Other qualifications

More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements web page.

Timetables

St Andrews students must meet with their Adviser of Studies at the beginning of Semester 1 in September to complete advising – a compulsory part of the matriculation process. After module choices have been decided, a timetable will be allocated indicating the dates and times of classes.

Course information

The MA (Hons) in History is a four-year course run by the School of History.  In the first two years, you will have the opportunity to study from a broad chronological span, taking modules in at least two different historical periods.

Alongside History, in the first year of your studies, you will be required to study an additional one or two subjects. In the second year you will usually carry on at least one of these subjects, sometimes two. Find out more about how academic years are organised

Breadth of knowledge and perspective are highly encouraged, and all students are expected to take some modules in other subject areas in their first two years, for example, English, art history or anthropology.

The skills you gain in analysing original and secondary source materials will prepare you to continue exploring a wide range of historical subjects at a more advanced level in your third and fourth years. You will also be encouraged to dive deeper into a specialist topic of your choice during your fourth year.

Graduates in History from St Andrews can expect to have developed a wide knowledge in history and be able to make connections across different time periods and between different cultures.

The University of St Andrews operates on a flexible modular degree system by which degrees are obtained through the accumulation of credits. More information on the structure of the modules system can be found on the flexible degree structure webpage

Modules

In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours) you will take the required modules in History alongside modules in at least one other subject.

Typically, you will take three modules per semester during your first two years, and two modules per semester during your third and fourth year (known as Honours). Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.

In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours) you will take the required modules in History alongside modules in at least one other subject.

Students will take at least three from the following selection of first-year modules:

  • The Early Modern Western World (c. 1450-1770): looks at continental European history in the early modern period, and the expansion of Europe.
  • The Fall of Rome and the Origins of Europe (400-1000): examines how political, cultural and social life changed in the worlds of Byzantium, Islam and the ‘barbarian’ West in response to major upheavals.
  • The Greeks in a Wider World: provides a broad survey of ancient Greek history and looks at the political development of Athens and Sparta, the impact of the Athenian Empire, and Greek culture in its heyday.
  • Roman History from Foundation to Empire: considers the rise of Rome to world power from humble beginnings, examining the political, cultural and economic consequences of its imperialism.
  • Scotland and the English Empire 1070-1500: compares and relates the societies of the English crown and the kingdom of Scotland in the aftermath of the Norman Conquest of England.
  • Themes in Late Modern History (c. 1776-2001): provides thematic coverage of major political and social developments in the Western world during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Students will take at least three from the following selection of second-year modules:

  • History as a Discipline: Development and Key Concepts: provides an introduction to key theoretical and methodological approaches which have characterised the emergence of History as a discipline since the Middle Ages.
  • Introduction to Middle Eastern History: provides an introduction to Middle Eastern History from the dramatic reconfiguration of the Middle East in late Antiquity to its contested and contentious recent past.
  • Medieval Europe (1000-1400): examines key themes that helped to shape continental Western Europe from the aftermath of the Carolingian Empire and beginning of the Crusades to the Black Death and the Hundred Years War.
  • Mediterranean Communities: deals with the human settlement and material culture of the entire Mediterranean World throughout classical antiquity.
  • The Roman Empire: explores the complex history of the Roman Empire from Augustus to Late Antiquity, an empire which, for the first and last time, united the whole Mediterranean and its diverse hinterlands.
  • Scotland, Britain and Empire (c. 1500-2000): provides an introduction to how and why the British nation state evolved from the separate kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland and how and why it has survived over the last three centuries.

If you decide to take History in your third and fourth years, you choose modules from a wide variety of advanced options.

Here is a sample of Honours modules which have been offered in previous years:

  • Age of Conquest: Edward I - Scotland and Wales (1239-1307)
  • Death and the Afterlife in Later Medieval Europe
  • Modern Iran since 1834-1941: Nationalism, Reform and Revolution
  • Popular Music, Culture and Society: The United States and Britain, 1955-1980
  • The Decline and Fall of the French Old Regime (1715-1789)
  • The Eastern Roman Empire in the Reign of Justinian 527-565
  • The Medieval Castle
  • War and Welfare: Britain, 1939-1951.

Some modules at Honours level are intended to build your portfolio and provide you with career experience. For example, the Recording the Past module allows you to submit a multimedia historical project in the form of a radio programme, video documentary, website or another appropriate medium.

In fourth year, students may also undertake a dissertation of around 10,000 to 12,000 words on a topic of their choice or an Honours project. These modules based on independent research enable you to develop key research skills which are desired by both prospective employers and by graduate schools offering postgraduate degrees.


The compulsory modules listed here must be taken in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. For Honours-level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules available for the current academic year can be found in the module catalogue.

Teaching

Teaching format

Teaching at sub-honours level is delivered primarily through lectures (usually 100 to 300 students) and small group tutorials (6 to 8 students). Lectures are given by all members of the School, enabling students to hear active researchers in each field talk about their specialism. Tutorials are an opportunity for students to discuss and develop their thinking in a small and friendly atmosphere, guided by a professional expert. 

Teaching at Honours level moves away from large group lecturing. Students meet in groups of about 10 to 15 students for longer classes in which they are expected to participate fully. 

In addition to lectures and tutorials, students are expected to undertake substantial independent, but guided, work outside of the classroom. Typically, this will involve:

  • working on individual and group projects
  • undertaking research in the library
  • preparing coursework assignments and presentations
  • preparing for examinations.

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team with expertise and knowledge of History. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of classes and seminars under the supervision of the module leader.

You can find contact information for all History staff on the School of History website.

In addition to your studies in the School of History, optional academic support is available through practical study skills courses and workshops hosted within the University. 

The University’s student services team can help students with additional needs resulting from disabilities, long term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities webpage

Assessment

During your History degree, you will be assessed by a combination of coursework and examinations. Coursework includes:

  • research essays
  • class presentations
  • source analysis.

Classroom examinations often incorporate essays and source exercises. In addition, most modules include a written examination held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand.

The School aims to provide feedback on assessments and coursework within three weeks to help you improve on future assessments.

Undergraduates at the University of St Andrews must achieve at least 7.0 on the St Andrews 20-point grade scale to pass a module. To gain access to Honours-level modules, students must achieve the relevant requisites as specified in the policy on entry to Honours and in the relevant programme requirements. Please note that some Schools offer qualified entry to Honours, and this will be clearly specified in the programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please visit the common reporting scale webpage

Visit St Andrews

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at a visiting day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.

Undergraduates

Upcoming visiting days:

  • Wednesday 30 October 2019

Fees

Tuition fees for 2020 entry

Scotland and EU Tuition fees for Scottish and EU applicants have yet to be set for 2020 entry.
Rest of the UK Tuition fees for applicants from the rest of the UK have yet to be set for 2020 entry.
Overseas £23,910

For overseas students, tuition fees will be fixed at this level for the duration of your programme.

More information on tuition fees can be found on the undergraduate fees and funding page.

Accommodation fees

Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year. 

Find out more about undergraduate scholarships.

Your future

Careers

History graduates find employment in academia, museums and archives, or as History teachers.

Using the analytical and communication skills acquired through the study of History, many also proceed to careers including:

  • law
  • publishing
  • armed forces
  • service industries
  • the financial sector
  • the arts
  • the media.

The School also offers a course which gives students the opportunity to gain invaluable first-hand experience of teaching in local schools.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills. 

Study abroad

History students may participate in the University-wide St Andrews Abroad programme. You may also have the opportunity to participate in the School Abroad exchange programme. For information about study abroad options, please see the Study Abroad site.

Student life

From the outset, the University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensures a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.

Students of History may be interested in joining the History Society, which hosts talks with guest speakers on a variety of topics as well as social events including pub nights, garden parties and trips abroad. 

The School of History occupies three sites all within a few minutes’ walk of each other at the heart of the historic town of St Andrews. Students will attend tutorials, seminars and individual meetings with tutors in these buildings, while larger lectures are located in nearby buildings. The School of History sites are:

  • St Katharine’s Lodge, a 19th-century former school near the seafront
  • New Arts Building, a modern building with lecture classrooms and study spaces
  • St John’s House, located on South Street.

The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As University buildings are located throughout the town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings and areas of greenery and seaside which provide a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. If you want a change of scenery, St Andrews' position near surrounding towns and cities such as Anstruther, Dundee and Edinburgh make it ideal for getting to know more about Scotland.

Contact information

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

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2890
Email: modhist@st-andrews.ac.uk

School of History

Policies

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

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 (PDF, 72 KB).

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 (PDF, 84 KB).