Scottish History MA (Honours) 2024 entry

The MA (Hons) in Scottish History is an ideal introduction to understanding Scotland’s unique historical development and place in the wider world. By studying Scottish history, you will get a grounding in the history of the country, adding breadth and depth to your experience living, studying and working in Scotland. 

In your studies, you will cover a wide chronological range of periods from the Dark Ages to modern Scotland. You will be exposed to issues of nation building, loss of sovereignty, the tensions between core and periphery, and the reclamation of nationhood.  

UCAS code
Start date
September 2024
End date
September 2028
Four years full time
School of History
“Being taught by some of the leading historians in the field has enriched my enjoyment of a subject that I already found fascinating. The level of support provided for students is very high. There is always someone to contact when a problem occurs, whether academic or of a personal nature.”
- Fife, Scotland

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.

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.

  • 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

Scottish 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 Scottish History is a four-year course run by the School of History. During your studies, you will learn to approach Scottish history from a number of different angles, exploring issues such as invasions, rivalries, lordship, tyranny, Enlightenment, social problems and culture, past and present. 

In the first two years, you will have the opportunity to study from a broad chronological span, from antiquity to the present day. You will study how economic, social and political issues and events have fundamentally shaped modern Scottish society, and gain valuable insight into ongoing tensions within the Union and the nature of modern Scottish identity.  

Alongside Scottish history, in the first year of your studies, you will be required to study an additional 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.  

The skills you gain in analysing original and secondary source materials will prepare you to dive deeper into specialist topics during your third and fourth years.  

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 Scottish history from St Andrews can expect to have developed an appreciation for this country’s history and to 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 Scottish history alongside modules in at least one other subject. 

Typically, you will take one Scottish history module per semester during your first two years, and two modules per semester during your third and fourth year (known as Honours). 

Students will take the following compulsory first-year module: 

  • 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. 

Students will also choose one module from the following: 

  • The Fall of Rome and the Origins of Europe (400 - 1000): examines how political, cultural and social life changed in the Byzantine, British and ‘barbarian’ worlds in response to major upheavals. 
  • The Early Modern Western World (c. 1450 - c. 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 module: 

  • Scotland, Britain and Empire (c. 1700 - 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. 

Students will also choose one module from the following: 

  • 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. 
  • 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. 

If you decide to take Scottish history in your third and fourth years, you choose from a wide variety of advanced options, including modules ranging from the Picts and Vikings to modern Scottish politics and society. 

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

  • Class or Nation? Radical Politics in Twentieth Century Scotland
  • Medieval St Andrews 
  • Scotland and the Wider World 
  • Thatcherism, the 'new right', and the remaking of British politics, c. 1940 - 1997 
  • The Power of Persuasion: Propaganda in Renaissance and Reformation Scotland.

In fourth year, students 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 (120 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 5 to 15 students for longer classes in which they are expected to participate fully.  

When not attending lectures and tutorials, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. 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 modern history degree, you will be assessed by a combination of coursework and examinations. Coursework includes: 

  • research essays 
  • class presentations 
  • source analysis. 

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 every assessment 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 a small and friendly group of Scottish historians who publish extensively and continue to make a major contribution to the development of Scottish history. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of tutorials under the supervision of the module leader. 

You can find contact information for all Scottish 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.

Joint Honours degrees

You can also take Scottish History as part of a joint Honours degree in which you will take core modules of your chosen subjects.

Course name UCAS code
Master of Arts (Honours) Classical Studies and Scottish HistoryQVV2
Master of Arts (Honours) English and Scottish HistoryQVH2
Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies and Scottish HistoryPV32
Master of Arts (Honours) Geography and Scottish HistoryLVR2
Master of Arts (Honours) International Relations and Scottish HistoryLVF2
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and Scottish HistoryVR23
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and Scottish History (With Integrated Year Abroad)VRF3
Master of Arts (Honours) Mathematics and Scottish HistoryGV12
Master of Arts (Honours) Philosophy and Scottish HistoryVV52
Master of Arts (Honours) Russian and Scottish HistoryRV72
Master of Arts (Honours) Russian and Scottish History (With Integrated Year Abroad)VR27
Master of Arts (Honours) Scottish History and Social AnthropologyLVQ2
Master of Arts (Honours) Scottish History and SpanishRVD3
Master of Arts (Honours) Scottish History and Spanish (With Integrated Year Abroad)VR24

"With" degrees

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

  • Master of Arts (Honours) Scottish History with Bible and Culture - UCAS code SB01


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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