History MA (Honours) 2024 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.

UCAS code
Start date
September 2024
End date
September 2028
Four years full time
School of History
“This is a small and welcoming community. You can take a wide range of courses and combine History classes with modules from other Schools and Departments in your first two years. There is also the ability to combine studying here with exchange programmes in Europe or beyond, which provides a fantastic undergraduate experience.”
- Somerset, England

Entry requirements

The University offers different entry requirements, depending on your background. 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:
    Applicants who have narrowly missed the minimum entry grades, but meet the University's contextual criteria, may be interested in one of the University’s Gateway programmes.
  • 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.

General entry requirements

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

  • SQA National 5 (B) in English and one SQA National 5 (B) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing science
    • Geography
    • Lifeskills Mathematics (A grade)
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.
  • GCSE (5) in English language or English literature, and one GCSE (5) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing Science
    • Geography
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.

Other qualifications

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

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.

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

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

Alternative study options

Students interested in this course may also be interested in the following:

Study abroad

History students can apply to 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.

International applicants

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability. Find out more about approved English language tests and scores for this course.

Course details

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 web page.


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).  

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

  • The Early Modern Western World (c. 1450 - c. 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  Byzantium, British and ‘barbarian’ worlds in response to major upheavals. 
  • Ancient Empires: explores how imperial states built and maintained their power; the experiences of other populations and cultures that were conquered or incorporated into ancient empires; and the contested legacies of imperial states, both in antiquity and today.
  • Cities and communities in the ancient Mediterranean: explores urbanisation by examining changing physical as well as social relations between people, as well as between people and their environments. We will study the rise and fall of the ancient city, including its ecology and domestic politics, and modern debates over ancient urbanism.
  • The Kingdom of the Scots, c.900-1707: explores Scotland's long history as an independent kingdom between the tenth and the early eighteenth century. It places particular emphasis on the use of museum collections and built heritage as historical evidence. 
  • 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 medieval times. 
  • 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 (11th - 15th c.): 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. 
  • Ancient Societies: Gender, ethnicity, and inequality in the ancient world: surveys the fundamental divisions that gave shape to ancient social life, examining issues like gender, inequality, and ethnic identity through a broad range of sources and methodologies.
  • Narratives of antiquity:examines influential narratives from the ancient world and their reinterpretations in later periods, from the nineteenth century to the present day, and how they continue to shape the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves for better or for worse.
  • 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 from 1834-1941: Enlightenment, Nationalism 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. 

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 appropriate to the programme for the current academic year can be found in the programme requirements.


Teaching at sub-honours level is delivered primarily through lectures (usually 100 to 300 students) and small group tutorials (6 to 9 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 16 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. 

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

  • research essays 
  • class presentations 
  • source analyses. 

Classroom examinations often incorporate essays and source exercises. In addition, many modules include an 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 two 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. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please see the common reporting scale.

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. 

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 web page.



England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland

Channel Islands, Isle of Man

EU and overseas

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.


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.

What to do next

Online information events

Join us for one of our information events where you can find out about different levels of study and specific courses we run. There are also sessions available for parents and college counsellors.

Undergraduate visiting days

We encourage all students who are thinking of applying to the University to attend one of our online or in-person visiting days.

Contact us

+44 (0)1334 46 2900
School of History
St Katharine's Lodge
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9BA

School of History website

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