Modern History (MLitt) 2023 entry

The MLitt in Modern History offers students an opportunity to deepen their understanding of key issues in the discipline by pursuing their studies at a conceptually advanced level. Postgraduate historians work intensively in a variety of subject areas while achieving a steady progression in core fields such as historiography and methodology.

Start date
September 2023
End date
September 2024
One year full time
School of History

Application deadline

Thursday 10 August 2023

Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

Entry requirements

  • A good 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree in History or a related subject. If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Application requirements

  • CV or résumé. This should include your personal details with a history of your education and employment to date. 
  • a personal statement 
  • a sample of your own, single-authored academic written work (2,000 words) 
  • two original signed academic references 
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates 

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.

English language proficiency

If English is not your first language, you may need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability. See approved English language tests and scores for this course.

Course details

The MLitt in Modern History is a taught postgraduate programme run by the School of History. 


  • The course provides an introduction to history and historiography for students interested in all branches of historical study. 
  • Students can both specialise in a particular area (for example, British history, German history, American history) and gain a broader introduction to the study of history at postgraduate level. 
  • Students will explore the literature on a topic of individual interest under the guidance of an expert. 


Each module typically comprises: 

  • 1.5 to 2-hour weekly seminars 
  • fortnightly tutorials for the 'Directed Reading in Modern History' module 
  • 100% coursework assessment. 

For more details about each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue, which is for the 2022-2023 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2023 entry. 

  • Directed Reading in Modern History: designed to encourage the development of skills of historical analysis through concentrated study of a topic chosen by the student prior to the dissertation. 
  • History in the Making: Theories, Approaches and Practice 1: examines the development of modern history writing and historical research, and the emergence of fields, trends and new approaches in current historiography. 
  • History in the Making: Theories, Approaches and Practice 2: places emphasis on particular types of historical sources, such as travel accounts, maps, music, media, and interviews, and the ways in which historians may approach and work with these sources. 

Students choose one optional module. Here is a sample of optional modules that may be offered. 

  • Building Britain: The Construction and Deconstruction of Britishness since 1707: explores the concept of ‘Britishness’ and its construction and deconstruction, from 1707 to 2000. 
  • Central and Eastern Europe since 1945: examines nations' common and individual responses to Soviet domination from the end of the Second World War to 1989 and after.  
  • History of Modern Science: introduces core themes in the history of science from the Scientific Revolution onwards.  
  • Key Issues in German Historiography: engages with some of the most hotly disputed issues in German history. 
  • Perceptions of Central and Eastern Europe: examines perceptions of Central and Eastern Europe which have undergone significant transformation since the emergence of modern nationalism in the mid-19th century.  
  • Themes and Debates in Modern French History: explores key themes in French history and introduces students to some important historiographical and methodological issues.  
  • Themes in American History: examines a selection of the most important issues in the history of North America, from its foundations as European colonies onwards. 

Optional modules are subject to change each year and require a minimum number of participants to be offered; some may only allow limited numbers of students (see the University’s position on curriculum development). 

Student dissertations will be supervised by members of the teaching staff who will advise on the choice of subject and provide guidance throughout the research process. The completed dissertation of not more than 15,000 words must be submitted by a date specified in August. 

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MLitt, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MLitt. 

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2023 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.


Teaching methods include seminars and fortnightly tutorials. Class sizes range from individual supervision up to 12 students.

Students will spend the final three months of the course focusing on researching and writing the final assessment piece for the MLitt, a dissertation of not more than 15,000 words. 

The modules are assessed by coursework only; there is no final exam.


The School of History hosts a modern history research seminar programme covering a wide variety of topics from home and guest lecturers in a welcoming environment. 

The School also runs the Postgraduate (Early Modern and Modern History) Forum which runs once a fortnight during term-time and is intended to provide a space for postgraduates at all stages to present ideas, discuss research issues and find out what their fellow historians are up to.  




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

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews is committed to attracting the very best students, regardless of financial circumstances. Find out more about the scholarships and postgraduate loans available.

The School of History is pleased to be able to offer a number of competitive scholarships which contribute to the fees and maintenance for postgraduate study.  

Language Bursaries

Enables students to undertake intensive language courses abroad during the summer before their programme begins. 

School of History MLitt Awards

Offers the cash equivalent of one year's home fees and cannot be held in conjunction with other awards offering full fees and maintenance. 

All taught postgraduate scholarships

After your degree


History postgraduates go on to pursue careers in a range of sectors including: 

  • journalism 
  • publishing 
  • think tanks 
  • government 
  • law 
  • teaching. 

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

Further study

Many graduates continue their education by enrolling in PhD programmes at St Andrews.

Postgraduate research

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.

Postgraduate virtual days

We encourage all students who are thinking of applying to the University to attend one of our online 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