The MA (Hons) in Modern History will teach you to analyse historical events from the past five-hundred years from a present-day context. You will choose from a range of optional classes with very broad chronological, geographical and thematic coverage.
The modern era comprises the period from around 1450 to the 21st century, and classes are offered on the histories of many nations and regions, including Britain, Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia and parts of Africa and the Americas. Intellectual, political, cultural, military, religious, gender, social and economic history are among the options on offer.
More information for 2020 entry will be available in September 2019. For information on the current year of entry for this course see the 2019 page.
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.
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.
Students must have studied History at SQA Higher, GCE A-Level or equivalent.
Faculty entry requirements
You must also meet the Faculty of Arts minimum qualifications. These vary depending on which qualifications you hold.
SQA National 5 (B) or equivalent in English and one SQA National 5 (B) from the following:
Computing Science or equivalent
Lifeskills Mathematics (A grade)
GCSE (B or 5) in English, English Language or English Literature, and one GCSE (B or 5) from the following:
Computing Science or equivalent
Passes in other examinations at equivalent levels and subjects may be accepted by the Dean of the Faculty. 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.
St Andrews students 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.
The School of History at St Andrews has an international reputation for the diversity of teaching programmes offered. The School has expertise in mediaeval and modern history, from Scotland to Byzantium, and the Americas to the Middle East and South Asia.
The University of St Andrews as a whole was voted top in the UK for student academic experience in The National Student Survey 2018 as 94% of St Andrews final year students gave the University top marks for the quality of the learning and teaching experience.
The University has secured a TEF Gold Award for the quality of teaching and the undergraduate experience.
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:
the financial sector
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.
Modern 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.
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 Modern History may be interested in joining the following student societies:
Archaeological Society is for those interested in anything from ancient weaponry to Indiana Jones. The society organises bi-weekly meetings (featuring guest speakers), social events, movie nights, and day trips to archaeological sites.
History Society 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 the campus is located around 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.
"The unique part about History at St Andrews is that in many cases you are surrounded by the history you are studying. When we learned about the Scottish Reformation it was easier to understand when many of the principal locations were literally right outside the door of the lecture theatre."
Philip (New Jersey, USA)
School of History University of St Andrews St Katharine's Lodge The Scores St Andrews KY16 9BA
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).