Celtic & Scottish Studies

Undergraduate study | Scottish Ethnology

Develop practical and comparative skills at the only institution in the world to offer undergraduate degrees in Scottish Ethnology.

Why study Scottish Ethnology in Edinburgh?

Photo of a visit to the Music Museum
Inside the Music Museum at St Cecilia's Hall

How do we use and make sense of the past from within our present, and how can this understanding help us to shape our future? Scottish Ethnology provides a fascinating insight into the traditional and popular culture of Scotland, while giving you a set of ethnographical skills that you can apply to any culture. Sometimes described as the meeting point between history and anthropology, the discipline plays an important role in the humanities and social sciences throughout Europe and beyond.

Our programme draws on Scotland’s diversity (urban and rural, Lowland and Highland, Scots and Gaelic), but also introduces comparative material from elsewhere. It puts folklore and folklife in a Scottish and international context, examining the various ways in which a modern European nation expresses itself through its customs, beliefs, social organisation, language, music and song. 

Working with a range of rich materials, from traditional archives to modern media and digital data, you will develop the practical and intellectual tools to help navigate and influence contemporary culture and society in an increasingly globalised world. You’ll have access to an unrivalled range of resources in the School of Scottish Studies Archives, which offers tremendous opportunities for studying Scotland’s cultural heritage.

Our department is at the heart of a lively contemporary cultural scene, and you’ll meet active tradition-bearers, visit museums, and take part in events involving present-day customs in various parts of Scotland. We have strong links with Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the National Library of Scotland and National Museum of Scotland, and a great relationship with student societies.

Studying has been a real joy, exploring Scotland's culture and traditions. We've learned about everything from changelings and fairy folk to alien abduction stories! The staff are lovely, and we have access to lots of unique archive data. You'll get to talk to people about their experiences, which is a real privilege.

Natasha, Year 4, Scottish Ethnology and Archaeology MA (Hons)

Get to know us better


Thinking of joining us this year or next? Explore what it's like to study and live in Edinburgh. 

Talk to a current student

Chat with Freya, Year 3, Scottish Ethnology MA (Hons)

Related links

Find out more about class representatives and student representation (secured)