Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Approaches To History (For Postgraduates) HIST5029

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

The focus of this course is to be on key historians whose work represents different approaches to history developed from the nineteenth century. The course is designed to be flexible, to suit students' particular interests, but also to widen their knowledge of methodologies or techniques. The choice of representative historians may be conditioned by whether the participants' interests are primarily medieval, early modern, or modern, for example J.Burckhardt, cultural history, "medieval" and "modern"; the Annales School, or Schools, and their key protagonists; British Marxist historians; post-colonial historiography; feminist history; the impact of post-modernist critiques of history.


10 x 2 hours

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level.

Excluded Courses





One essay of c. 3500 words (70%); one 15 minute oral seminar presentation (10%); one paper of 1000 words based on this presentation (10%); oral seminar contribution (10%)

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Develop an awareness of the different methodological approaches and techniques of professional historians

■ Make students more aware of different approaches and methods relevant to their own fields of interest

■ Help students prepare for work on their Masters dissertation by acquainting them with a range of potentially appropriate methods 

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

■ Engage critically with the different methodological approaches and techniques of professional historians

■ Select those different approaches and methods most relevant to their own fields of interest

■ Bring an understanding of historical methodology to bear in their own practice as they prepare for their Masters dissertation

■ Formulate an appreciation of the strengths and weakness of different methods and approaches to topics of their own particular concern

■ Show a confidence in delivering a clear, concise and intellectually tenable argument, and in responding to similar presentations by others in the group

■ Recognise the distinction between a clear and stimulating verbal presentation, and a summary of that same argument in clearly formulated written English

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.