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Modern History MA (Hons)
2017 entry

The MA (Hons) in Modern History will teach you to analyse historical events from the past five-hundred years from a present day context. The course takes a broad view of political and social developments and allows get flexibility in your studies.

You can choose topics ranging from the 15th to the 21st century, studying British, European, Middle Eastern, South Asian, East Asian or American history. In addition, you will be able to pursue a variety of different approaches including political, military, cultural, religious, intellectual, scientific, general, social and economic history.

UCAS code

V140

Course type

Master of Arts (single Honours degree)

Course duration

Four years full time

Entry requirements

SQA Highers AAAB, normally including History.
GCE A-Levels AAA, normally including History.
IB points 38, including HL6 in History.

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.

Find out more about international entry requirements.

How to apply

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

No prior knowledge of Modern History is necessary, but experience in studying general History to advanced secondary school level is normally expected.  

Faculty entry requirements

You must also meet the Faculty of Arts minimum qualifications. These vary depending on which qualifications you hold.  

Other qualifications

Passes in other examinations at equivalent levels and subjects may be accepted by the Dean of the Faculty.

Find out more about Faculty of Arts entry requirements.

Course information

The MA (Hons) in Modern History is a four-year course run by the School of History. During your studies, you will learn to critically examine primary sources, conduct analytical surveys and develop study skills.

The skills you gain in analysing original and secondary source materials will prepare you to continue exploring a wide range historical subjects at a more advanced level in your third and fourth years. During these years, you will be able to branch out and study the modern history of countries and societies from around the globe. You will also be encouraged to dive deeper into a specialist topic of your choice during your fourth year.

Breadth of knowledge and perspective are highly encouraged, and all students are expected to take some modules in other subject areas, for example English, Art History or Geography.  

Graduates in Modern 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.

Find out more about studying History at St Andrews.

Modules

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

Typically, you will take one Modern History module 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.

Students will take the following compulsory first-year modules:

Students will take the following compulsory second-year modules:

If you decide to take Modern History in your third and fourth years, you choose from a wide variety of advanced options, including modules ranging from Elizabethan England to East Asia in the 20th-century.

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

  • The Life of the Mind: Key Tests in European Thought (1512-1697)
  • From Cradle to Grave: Living and Dying in Early Modern England (c. 1500-1800)
  • Pirates and Privateers in Early Modern Scottish History
  • South Asia and the European Encounter (c. 1700-1857)
  • Imperial Russia 1815-1917
  • Making Italians: Region, Nation and Empire in Italy from Unification to Fascism.

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

In fourth year, students also undertake a 10,0000-word dissertation on a topic of their choice. This independent project enables you to develop key research skills which are desired by both prospective employers and by graduate schools offering postgraduate degrees.

The modules listed here are the compulsory modules that students must take 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. A full list of all modules currently available can be found in the module catalogue.

Visit St Andrews

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

 Undergraduates

Booking for our autumn visiting days will open in early September 2017.

  • Wednesday 27 September 2017
  • Wednesday 4 October 2017
  • Wednesday 18 October 2017
  • Wednesday 25 October 2017
  • Wednesday 1 November 2017

Teaching

Teaching format

Teaching at sub-honours level is delivered primarily through lectures (100 to 300 students) and small group tutorials (6 to 7 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 5 to 14 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. 

Assessment

Almost all of the modules in History are assessed by a balanced combination of coursework and examination. 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 provides feedback on every assessment, with a view to improving your performance in future.

Fees

Tuition fees for 2017 entry

Scotland and EU £1,820
Rest of the UK £9,250
Overseas £20,570

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 in 2017.

Funding and scholarships

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

Faculty of Arts scholarships

The Dr Lawrence M Wodehouse Scholarship provides financial assistance for students studying in the Faculty of Arts who are academically gifted but would otherwise struggle with the cost of studying at St Andrews.

Find out more about undergraduate scholarships.

Joint Honours degrees

You can take Modern History as part of a joint Honours degree alongside one of the following subjects:

"With" degrees

You can take Modern History as part of a "with" Honours degree in which the majority of the course deals with the first named subject. St Andrews offers the following "with" degree in Modern History:

Your future

Careers

History students at St Andrews have traditionally moved into a very wide range of careers on graduating. Some continue their academic careers via a postgraduate training degree to doctoral study either in St Andrews or at another university. Other students have often progressed to postgraduate qualifications in teaching, law or accountancy.

Recent Modern History graduates have gone to work for the following employers:

  • Justice Department of the Scottish Executive
  • Telegraph Publishing Ltd
  • Radio Lynx
  • International Council for Educational Exchange in New York
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Zenith Media. 

A degree in History will provide you with transferable skills that will equip you for a future career in many sectors. These skills include:

  • time management
  • project planning
  • group work
  • oral and written expression
  • focused research and presentation.

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

The University is delighted to offer undergraduates a number of exciting opportunities to apply to spend a semester or year abroad as part of a St Andrews degree programme. St Andrews is partnered with large and small institutions, ancient and young, across the globe. What unites all of our programmes is the quality of the academic provision, ensuring that participation in a St Andrews Study abroad programme opens the door to a new and valuable academic experience at another world-class institution. Study Abroad for credit is permitted on existing University-approved programmes only. 

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 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. Find out more about student life at the University of St Andrews.

Contact

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

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2938
Email: modhist@st-andrews.ac.uk 

History website