MSc Historical Research

Become a research-oriented historian, equipped to undertake research at a Doctoral level. Our MSc teaches skills necessary to be a social and economic historian, and involves the completion of research projects.

Historical Research

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
  • Start date September 2021
  • Duration MSc full-time: 12 months, MSc part-time: 24 months
  • Mode of study Part-time, Full-time, Campus based, Stand-alone modules

The Master of Science in Historical Research is a one-year research preparation course intended to prepare postgraduates for a research-based career and enable specialisation in social and/or economic history.

The MSc is designed to:

  • train historians in social research methods
  • demonstrate your ability to undertake interdisciplinary research to doctoral level at Stirling; or other universities in Britain and overseas
  • provide a foundation for applications to research councils (AHRC, ESRC) and doctoral training partnerships (including SGSAH) that fund PhD research
  • specifically prepare graduates to apply to the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science for PhD studentship funding in social and economic history (see below under professional accreditation)
  • enhance career prospects and career development

These aims are achieved through the completion of independent study modules, taught modules in applied social research, optional study modules appropriate to your field of study, and skills training conducted under supervision. You’ll be allocated an individual supervisor to direct your dissertation and plan your programme.

Our course prepares you for further research by:

  • compulsory taught modules in project design, qualitative and quantitative data analysis
  • directed independent study in the historiography of a research topic
  • skills development in statistical and database packages
  • self-directed skills training
  • practical experience in applying research methods to interrogate primary sources and datasets in the dissertation
  • developing written and verbal critical analysis

Top reasons to study with us

The course is recognised by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and is designed to meet the requirements of the Economic and Social Research Council. It trains students in social research methods necessary for applicants seeking SGSSS PhD studentships and can be taken as a funded research training Masters linked to a three-year PhD programme in social or economic history. (Please note that recognition of the MSc as a suitable Masters programme for 1+3 funding via the SGSSS is pending.)

If you’re interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email Graduate Admissions to discuss your course of study.

In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), 100% of our research impact in History was rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. The REF 2014 panel also stated that our work in postgraduate research supervision in combination with the nurturing and career development of postgraduate research students was outstanding. All our staff are research active, and, with postgraduates, sustain a vibrant and inclusive research environment.

History staff offer particular strengths in the social history of Africa, North America, Great Britain, modern Europe, and Scotland from the medieval to modern periods, along with strengths in environmental history.

History staff publish widely in their fields, writing books, essays, articles in leading academic journals, historical documentary editions, and online resources. Several have won awards for their work. Current and recent research projects have been funded by:

  • Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • Economic and Social Research Council
  • The Carnegie Trust
  • The Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  • The Colonial Society of Massachusetts
  • The British Academy
  • The Royal Society of Edinburgh
  • The Leverhulme Trust

Changes at Stirling

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