History, MA

History, MA

Introduction

History at Aberdeen offers the opportunity to immerse yourself in rich study of all aspects of human adventure in the past, exploring the medieval, early modern and modern periods in Scotland, Europe, America, Asia and Africa. You will study at a university steeped in 500 years of history.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MA
Duration
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
V100
Pathway Programme Available
Undergraduate Foundation Programme
Degree marketing image

You will learn in buildings centuries old, yet with the most modern teaching and technology, enthused and inspired by teachers who are leaders in their fields, with expertise as diverse as medieval Scandinavia, early-modern Poland and modern East Asia.

You will have the opportunity of courses in historical chronological order, ranging from the ancient world to the present day and gain a deeper understanding of the relationships between cultures and national traditions.

You will benefit from access to our historic treasures including manuscripts, books, and museum exhibits collected by distinguished alumni, thinkers and explorers over 500 years, in collections accredited as nationally significant, and of international importance.

Our History graduates are highly attractive to employers for their skills in research, critical analysis, and communication, as well as the understanding of different aspects of human society and culture. Your career options will cover almost every field including politics, education, law, business, ministry, nursing, social work, the armed forces, journalism, NGOs and the heritage sectors.

You will enjoy all the benefits of learning and living in our friendly and vibrant international community, on our beautiful campus with great facilities for learning, sports and leisure and many opportunities to develop the extra skills to boost your employability and to broaden your horizons through studying abroad.

What You'll Study

History at Aberdeen is diverse and takes a holistic approach to the subject. Courses are studied in chronological order so you will benefit from studying the subject within a solid context. You will gain an in-depth knowledge of past events, human activity and the relationships between cultures over a range of historical periods. Some topics that you will explore, include Scottish and European History, The Vikings, Medieval Europe, History and Philosophy of Science and The British Experience.

History Courses - Course Catalogue

Year 1

Compulsory Courses

Academic Writing for Divinity, History & Philosophy (AW1007)

This compulsory evaluation is designed to find out if your academic writing is of a sufficient standard to enable you to succeed at university and, if you need it, to provide support to improve. It is completed on-line via MyAberdeen with clear instructions to guide you through it. If you pass the evaluation at the first assessment it will not take much of your time. If you do not, you will be provided with resources to help you improve. This evaluation does not carry credits but if you do not complete it this will be recorded on your degree transcript.

Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen (PD1002)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 undergraduate students (and articulating students who are in their first year at the University), is studied entirely online, takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks.

Topics include orientation overview, equality and diversity, health, safety and cyber security and how to make the most of your time at university in relation to careers and employability.

Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’.

Making History (HI1027)

15 Credit Points

This course will introduce students to the subject of university level history. Team taught lectures will introduce students to approaches, sources, and the dilemmas facing academic historians.

Optional Courses

Select 30 credit points from Level 1 courses in History and/or Art History, plus a further 75 credit points from courses of choice.

Year 2

Optional Courses

Select 60 credit points from available level 2 courses in History, plus a further 60 credit points from courses of choice.

Year 3

Compulsory Courses

Thinking History (HI356J)

30 Credit Points

This course looks at how history is written. It considers the problems involved in studying and explaining the past, and the many dilemmas faced by historians in reconstructing it. By examining the ways in which history has been written from the Ancient Greeks to Postmodernism, it considers the limits of historical study, asks whether history can ever be a science, and reveals the assumptions behind the various approaches to history that inform its writing. It is designed to provide honours history students with an essential understanding of what they are doing when they study history.

Optional Courses

Plus select 90 credit points of which 60 must be from level 3 courses in History, which may include ONE of the following approved courses.

Scottish Revivals (DR355D)

30 Credit Points

This course will examine the manifestations of religious revivals in Scotland from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries within their economic, political, religious and social historical contexts. Firstly, it will explore the various traditions of revival that have emerged during the course of the previous 300 years. Secondly, it will review the historiography of revival studies and will consider the theories that surround religious movements. Thirdly, it will consider the timing and manner of these demonstrations of religious enthusiasm. Fourthly, it will analyse the people who were affected by revivals. Fifthly, it will investigate the effects of religious movements within the lives of the communities where they have been experienced. Finally, the course will appraise the significance of revival within the wider tradition of the Christian church in Scotland in modern times.

Christianity in Scotland: History & Theology of the Church in Scotland (DR302F)

30 Credit Points

What was the situation of the Church in medieval Scotland? What changes did the Reformation of 1560 bring? Who were the main players in the Scottish Reformation and beyond? Who were the covenanters and which policies and theologies did they represent? What changes did the 19th and 20th centuries have in store for the Kirk? This course introduces students to the landmarks of Scottish Church history with reference to relevant primary sources. Assessment is based on two essays.

Painting in Tudor and Early Stuart England (HA3082)

30 Credit Points

This module develops students' knowledge and understanding of early modern European painting, providing a chronological overview of elite portraiture and diplomatic commissions in England between 1530 and 1650. Artists studied in their English contexts include Hans Holbein, Nicholas Hilliard, Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony Van Dyck. Furthermore, this module asks important questions about the persuasive and diplomatic possibilities of the visual arts, the relationship between painter and patron, and the impact and legacy of foreign artists on British painting and visual culture through the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and beyond.

History of Medicine (ME33HM)

30 Credit Points

The course will involve each student working individually on a historical project of his or her own choice, under the supervision of the course co-ordinator.

Students will be required to produce a research proposal and progress reports, to prepare an essay and make a presentation of their findings to the class. The aim of the option is to give students the opportunity to research and present, individually, in spoken and written forms, a history of medicine topic of their own choice, using both primary and secondary sources.

Climates of Classicism: Scottish Travellers in Greece, 1770 - 1880 (AH3507)

30 Credit Points

Throughout the 19th century, countless artists travelled to Greece in search for the splendours of antiquity. Many were disappointed by the rugged and mountainous country -

but for many Scottish travellers Greece proved surprisingly similar to their homeland. We will focus on these Scottish artists and antiquaries travelling to Greece, and their experiences.

The course is based on the study of material in Aberdeen collections, serving also as hands-on training in work with primary sources.

The Heroic Age in Gaelic Sagas (GH3527)

30 Credit Points

Are heroes always a good thing? Medieval Gaelic legendary narrative offers no simple answers. Its rich and hugely entertaining body of heroic sagas dramatizes the feuds, loves and fatal flaws of great men and women of medieval Ireland and Scotland, to reflect on urgent questions about royal and aristocratic conduct. Storylines studied will include cattle-raids, fights with saints, beheading competitions, family breakdowns, love-triangles, and people uprooting trees for no apparent reason.

Year 4

Compulsory Courses

History in Practice (HI4518)

30 Credit Points

History is not simply a dry, academic study of the past; it shapes a host of contemporary political, economic and cultural attitudes and is a central underpinning to the tourist and heritage industries - now one of the largest sectors of employment among mature western economies. This course is designed to give a critical understanding of the theoretical and practical links (as well as clear distinctions) between the practice of 'academic' History and 'public' History. This is done by having students assess how heritage and tourist businesses project a particular version of the past.

Undergraduate Dissertation in History (HI4516)

30 Credit Points

The undergraduate dissertation is the final-year major research undertaking, based on primary and secondary material and providing a critical analysis of a specific subject chosen by the student. It is obligatory for Single Honours students, whereas Joint Honours students choose to write their dissertation in either of the two subjects. After initial sessions about the nature of the dissertation and research approaches, students develop a topic with the help of a member of staff, who will also supervise their project throughout.

Optional Courses

Select ONE Special Subject course (listed below), plus a further 30 credits from level 4 courses in History or ONE of the approved courses listed below.

  • Special Subject: Peacemaking and Bloodfeud (HI401A)
  • Special Subject: Modern European History (HI401B)
History in Practice (HI4518)

30 Credit Points

History is not simply a dry, academic study of the past; it shapes a host of contemporary political, economic and cultural attitudes and is a central underpinning to the tourist and heritage industries - now one of the largest sectors of employment among mature western economies. This course is designed to give a critical understanding of the theoretical and practical links (as well as clear distinctions) between the practice of 'academic' History and 'public' History. This is done by having students assess how heritage and tourist businesses project a particular version of the past.

Undergraduate Dissertation in History (HI4516)

30 Credit Points

The undergraduate dissertation is the final-year major research undertaking, based on primary and secondary material and providing a critical analysis of a specific subject chosen by the student. It is obligatory for Single Honours students, whereas Joint Honours students choose to write their dissertation in either of the two subjects. After initial sessions about the nature of the dissertation and research approaches, students develop a topic with the help of a member of staff, who will also supervise their project throughout.

Christianity in Scotland: History & Theology of the Church in Scotland (DR302F)

30 Credit Points

What was the situation of the Church in medieval Scotland? What changes did the Reformation of 1560 bring? Who were the main players in the Scottish Reformation and beyond? Who were the covenanters and which policies and theologies did they represent? What changes did the 19th and 20th centuries have in store for the Kirk? This course introduces students to the landmarks of Scottish Church history with reference to relevant primary sources. Assessment is based on two essays.

Painting in Tudor and Early Stuart England (HA3082)

30 Credit Points

This module develops students' knowledge and understanding of early modern European painting, providing a chronological overview of elite portraiture and diplomatic commissions in England between 1530 and 1650. Artists studied in their English contexts include Hans Holbein, Nicholas Hilliard, Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony Van Dyck. Furthermore, this module asks important questions about the persuasive and diplomatic possibilities of the visual arts, the relationship between painter and patron, and the impact and legacy of foreign artists on British painting and visual culture through the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and beyond.

History of Medicine (ME33HM)

30 Credit Points

The course will involve each student working individually on a historical project of his or her own choice, under the supervision of the course co-ordinator.

Students will be required to produce a research proposal and progress reports, to prepare an essay and make a presentation of their findings to the class. The aim of the option is to give students the opportunity to research and present, individually, in spoken and written forms, a history of medicine topic of their own choice, using both primary and secondary sources.

Special Sub: Enlightenment Compared: Ireland, Scotland, Central Europe (HI4003)

30 Credit Points

This course examines the emergence and the variations of Enlightenment thinking in Scotland and Central Europe (with particular emphasis on the German and East Central European Enlightenment, to which the Scottish Enlightenment had strong historical links). It emphasises the varieties of the European Enlightenment, against the traditional assumption that the Enlightenment was exclusively 'located' in France.

Special Sub.: the Scottish Wars of Independence, 1286 - 1328 (HI4009)

30 Credit Points

In 1286 Alexander III of Scotland was found dead at the foot of a cliff and Scotland was engulfed in a period of political instability and eventually war that was to have a profound impact on the future development of the British Isles. The course considers key stages of the ‘wars of independence’ period in chronological sequence until the final triumph of Robert I in 1328. Due consideration will be given to international perspectives in trying to understand the Anglo-Scottish struggle, notably in relation to Ireland, France, Flanders and the Papacy.

Special Sub.: Britain and Revolutionary Russia 1917 - 1924 (HI4012)

30 Credit Points

This course explores British relations with Russia during the early years of the Soviet regime. It highlights a series of key developments in the relationship, especially major changes in British government policy that charted a course from military intervention to diplomatic recognition. Most of the seminars trace an aspect of the relationship within a fairly short time-frame, but some seminars investigate a particular issue through the whole period 1917–24. Several sessions will be used specifically for analysing gobbets. Knowledge of the Russian language is not required.

Special Subject: History of the Israeli Palestinian Conflict (HI4025)

30 Credit Points

The course examines the origins of the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict and its developments from multiple angles in order to provide a comprehensive understanding of the complex dynamic that constitutes ‘the conflict’. The course will investigate the causes of the Palestinian refugee crisis and of the Arab-Israeli wars. It will introduce students to the Arab-Israeli peace process and familiarise students with the polarised historiography surrounding the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Special Subject: Atlantic Encounters: Western Africa and Portugal (HI405W)

30 Credit Points

This course explores the relations between Portugal and Western Africa in the early modern period. It focuses on the period from 1415 to 1670 in which Portugal became the first European maritime power to establish contacts with societies in West and West Central Africa. Key themes include maritime navigation, Afro-European trade, and cultural contact. Particular focus will be placed on African responses and indigenous perspectives on European cultural contact.

Special Subject: the Black Radical Tradition (HI406C)

30 Credit Points

'The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.’ So declared African American intellectual WEB Du Bois at the dawn of that era.

In the period since this prophetic claim was made – and indeed in our own time – Black-led movements have challenged multiple structures of domination (racism, colonialism, patriarchy, capitalism) in the Americas, Africa, and Europe. This module focuses on the history of these transformative movements through an exploration of political thought in the Black Radical Tradition.

Concentrating on the US and the Anglophone world, but encompassing contributions from the Francophone Caribbean and Lusophone Africa, the module will encourage students to critically engage with the global history of Black thought and protest.

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

In first and second year, teaching involves two one-hour lectures per week and eight hour-long tutorials. At Honours level, students are assessed on a variety of skills, including teamwork, presentational and analytic skills and engagement with historical debate. All courses are supported by extensive online materials delivered through Aberdeen's Virtual Learning Environment, MyAberdeen.

Learning Methods

  • Group Projects
  • Lectures
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:

  • Coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course.
  • Practical assessments of the skills and competencies they learn on the course.
  • Written examinations at the end of each course.

The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, years of study and individual courses.

Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.

Why Study History?

  • Teaching rated ‘Highly Satisfactory’ in the last national quality assessment and student satisfaction of 95% – way above the national average of 86%.
  • Particular strengths in Irish and Scottish studies, Scandinavian studies, late medieval and early modern period and research centres studying the history of global empires, history and philosophy of science, technology and medicine, Russian and Eastern European history.
  • Spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library, combining top-class study facilities with state-of-the-art technology and an online catalogue giving you access to thousands of books and millions of journal articles on the web.
  • Major international treasures including 7,000 early printed books, the magnificent 12th century Aberdeen Bestiary, a large Jacobite collections, works of the Scottish Enlightenment, and fascinating local records dating from the middle ages.
  • A packed campus programme of student and public events, exhibitions, seminars, invited speakers and the annual May Festival which welcomes world-famous authors, broadcasters and personalities including historians to campus every spring.
  • The inspiration of our beautiful historic campus in Old Aberdeen, centred around the ancient building of King’s College Chapel, begun in 1490s5 by University founder Bishop Elphinstone, is a treasure-house of history and religious turbulence.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.


General Entry Requirements

2022 Entry

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB

Minimum: BBC

Adjusted: CCC

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3.

Entry from College

Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.

2023 Entry

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB

Minimum: BBC

Adjusted: CCC

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3.

Entry from College

Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.

The information displayed in this section shows a shortened summary of our entry requirements. For more information, or for full entry requirements for Arts and Social Sciences degrees, see our detailed entry requirements section.


English Language Requirements

To study for an Undergraduate degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.0 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 78 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 59 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 169 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

International Applicants who do not meet the Entry Requirements

The University of Aberdeen International Study Centre offers preparation programmes for international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements for undergraduate study. Discover your foundation pathway here.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
RUK £9,250
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year
EU / International students £19,800
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year
Home Students £1,820
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year

Scholarships and Funding

Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who pay tuition fees may be eligible for specific scholarships allowing them to receive additional funding. These are designed to provide assistance to help students support themselves during their time at Aberdeen.

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Careers

History graduates from Aberdeen acquire skills that are highly praised by employers, including critical analysis, research, clarity of expression and the ability to work independently. You will also gain an unrivalled understanding of the different aspects of human society and culture throughout history. Our previous graduates have gone on to work in a variety of different fields, including politics, law, business, journalism, the media, education, NGOs and the heritage sectors.

Aberdeen is Famous for Boece

Hector Boece wrote his History of the Scottish People here in the 1520s. He was the first Principal of King's College, writing the Chronicles of Scotland

What our Alumni Say

Christina Mackenzie

Christina Mackenzie

Christina Mackenzie

Job Details
Assistant Curator
Graduated 2016

What attracted me most was the vast amount of choices for modules at Aberdeen and the local history. I do think it helped me find a job, not just from having the degree, but from gaining practical experience in what it is like to work in the sector. I had my eyes opened to different opportunities available to me and was introduced to so many professionals and opportunities that I continue to benefit from in my career.

Our Experts

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Facilities

As a History student at Aberdeen, you will have the opportunity to study in one of the oldest history departments in the UK. You will have access to a range of resources unique to the department, including texts from the University Library and research centres.

Discover Uni

Discover Uni draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. You can compare these and other data for different degree programmes in which you are interested.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX