Modern History MA (Hons) 2021 entry
The MA (Hons) in Modern History will teach you to analyse historical events from the past 500 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.
Master of Arts (single Honours degree)
Four years full time
- Start date: 6 September 2021
- End date: 30 June 2025
Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.
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
- 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 entry 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.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.
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.
The School of History at St Andrews has an international reputation for the diversity of teaching programmes offered. The School has expertise in medieval and modern history, from Scotland to Byzantium, and the Americas to the Middle East and South Asia.
The School was ranked best in Scotland in the most recent (2014) Research Excellence Framework (REF) for the quality and impact of its research.
The University of St Andrews as a whole was voted top in the UK for student academic experience in The National Student Survey 2020 as 92.7% 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.
Find out more about studying history at St Andrews.
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:
- The Early Modern Western World (c. 1450-1770): looks at continental European history in the early modern period, and the expansion of Europe.
- 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 the following compulsory 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.
- 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 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:
- British Cinema History, 1920-1960
- China's Revolutions, 1850-1989
- Curiosity, Empire, and Science in Eighteenth-century France
- From Cradle to Grave: Living and Dying in Early Modern England (c. 1500-1800)
- Imperial Russia 1815-1917
- Political Thought From Machiavelli to Tocqueville
- Stalinism, Nazism and Central Europe (1912-1941)
- The American Revolution
- The Decline and Fall of the French Old Regime (1715-1789)
- Twentieth-century Germany: A sense of place
- Women and Men in Europe (1500 – 1800)
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 other appropriate media.
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.
Joint Honours degrees
You can take Modern History as part of a joint Honours degree alongside one of the following subjects.
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.
- Modern History with Persian
"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)