Nordic Research


Scotland’s first point of call for Nordic expertise, and the country’s premier gateway for Nordic-related academic and cultural exchange.

Our history

Scandinavian Studies at the University of Edinburgh was established in 1987. Since then, we have been working passionately through our teaching and research to spread knowledge and understanding of the Nordic countries, languages and cultures. We study the Nordic societies and their contributions to the world, present and past, and seek to promote communication, mobility and intercultural relations in both directions between Scotland and the Nordic region.

Edinburgh is the only place in Scotland where courses in modern Scandinavian languages may be taken at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. In addition to tuition to degree level and beyond in modern Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, we also offer a wide spectrum of courses covering Nordic history, literature, linguistics, society and visual culture, as well as courses in translation and Old Norse.

We have a strong track record in Nordic research and are active in fields such as:

  • Language and linguistics (including language history, language policy, historical and critical onomastics, dialectology and linguistic landscapes);
  • Literature and culture (including nations, transnationalism, postnationalism, diasporas and migration, geocriticism, travel writing, children’s literature and literary translation);
  • Broader cultural, social, historical and geographical topics including the Viking, medieval, modern and contemporary eras.

Research environment

50 George Square from Business School steps

We are based in new facilities at 50 George Square, as part of the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures. We run a rich programme of activities, including lectures, conferences, cultural events and practical workshops. Our research community includes our academic staff, honorary fellows, a dynamic core of a dozen postgraduate researchers, and well over a hundred undergraduate students. Together we enjoy the support of a dedicated team of research administrators and technical specialists.

Our aim is to conduct world-leading research and support our students in a friendly, inclusive and supportive atmosphere. We have developed a network of collaboration with colleagues across the University’s uniquely diverse research milieu.

Our future

In Scotland, there is a growing public interest in the Nordic countries and their cultures. With the ever closer alignment of Scottish social and political debate towards our northern neighbours, there is now critical demand for a central hub to coordinate research, knowledge exchange and cultural relations in the field of Nordic area studies.

As an established and vibrant interdisciplinary research unit at the heart of a world-leading centre of academic excellence in Scotland’s capital city, Scandinavian Studies at the University of Edinburgh is ideally suited to develop a national Centre for Nordic Research.