Postgraduate study

Scottish Ethnology MScR

Awards: MScR

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Scottish Ethnology

A Masters by Research (MScR) programme is ideal if you have a clear idea of the independent research you wish to undertake at masters level.

Join our community and undertake a 20,000-word dissertation under the guidance of an experienced and well-published supervisor.

Based in Scotland’s capital and festival city, at the heart of a lively contemporary cultural scene, we are the longest established Celtic department in Scotland.

Over the past 70 years, our School of Scottish Studies Archives has grown into an unrivalled collection of sound, video, film and photographic resources which continue to inspire new research and creative work.

We are the home of the European Ethnological Research Centre which promotes research into everyday life and society in Scotland through long-term projects such as the Regional Ethnology of Scotland and publications including Scottish Life and Society: a compendium of Scottish ethnology.

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.

We specialise in research and field collection in the following areas:

  • oral narrative
  • song and instrumental music
  • material culture
  • social organisation
  • custom and belief
  • place-names

This programme includes 40 credits of training on research skills, methods and problems using a combination of traditional and innovative methods.

You will be encouraged and supported to make direct contact with original sources and to gain hands-on experience, whether in reading medieval manuscripts or in handling electronically-stored data.

Over the course of the year, you will complete a further 40 credits of research-related assignments up to 10,000 words, building the necessary skills to complete your 100-credit supervised dissertation of 20,000 words.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScR1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2021/22
MScR2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2021/22

Between the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC), the Careers Service and the Institute for Academic Development (IAD), you’ll find a range of programmes and resources to help you develop your postgraduate skillst.

You will also have access to the University’s fantastic libraries, collections and worldwide strategic partnerships.

As part of our research community, you will be immersed in a world of scholarship, with lots of opportunities to share ideas, learning and creative work.

Activities range from a regular seminar series (with talks by staff, research students and visiting speakers), performances and traditional music sessions, and a range of conferences.

Our graduates tell us that they value LLC’s friendliness, the connections they make here and the in-depth guidance they receive from our staff, who are published experts in their field and active tradition-bearers.

Our research resources and facilities are outstanding. We are particularly well placed to explore the theory and practice of working with archives.

In addition to our Scottish Studies Library, and the University’s Main Library and many collections, our School of Scottish Studies Archives include over 12,000 hours of sound recordings, an extensive photographic and video collection, manuscripts, Linguistic and Place-Name Surveys, and donated collections such as:

  • the John Levy Archive of religious music
  • the Burton-Manning Collection of Appalachian oral tradition
  • the Will Forret and Gus MacDonald Collections of Scottish music
  • the Edgar Ashton Folk Revival Collection

Passionate about music, literature, song and storytelling, we have strong links with the National Library of Scotland, the Scottish Storytelling Centre, National Archives and National Museum of Scotland, all of which are located close to our buildings in Edinburgh’s historic city centre.

We also work closely with Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the national Gaelic development agency, and are founding members of Soillse, the National Research Network for the Maintenance and Revitalisation of Gaelic Language and Culture.

These entry requirements are for the 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 3 October 2022.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a related subject.

We may also consider your application if you have other qualifications or experience; please contact us to check before you apply.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScR1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScR2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH
Programme start date Application deadline
12 September 2022 31 July 2022

If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit two references with your application.

The online application process involves the completion of a web form and the submission of supporting documents.

For a Masters by Research programme, you should include:

  • a sample of written work of about 3,000 words (this can be a previous piece of work from an undergraduate degree).
  • a research proposal - an outline of your proposed area of study, helping us gain a clearer picture of what you hope to achieve.

See our guidance:

Before you apply, you should look at the interests and expertise of our research community on the programme website. This will help you decide if this programme is right for you and your supervision needs.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH