Postgraduate study
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Nationalism in Global Perspective MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

The Nationalism in Global Perspective MSc/Diploma is an interdisciplinary programme. It is designed to give students a theoretically informed and empirically grounded understanding of nationalism as a global phenomenon, while also being tailored to their specific interests within the field.

Nationalism is one of the most powerful social forces of the modern era. It:

  • influences political, economic, and environmental crises
  • amplifies religious and ethnic conflicts
  • contributes to the development of democracies and dictatorships
  • inspires cultural achievements and demands for recognition

The logic of nationalism is also infused in the pressing issues of:

  • populism
  • political polarisation
  • identity politics
  • border and sovereignty disputes

A unique learning environment

At the University of Edinburgh, we have a unique perspective on this subject. While we are deeply engaged with the debates on the national question and identity in Scotland and the UK, we nurture a global outlook on the study of nationalism.

Our programme is a recognised pioneer in the field of nationalism studies, with a rich legacy that includes graduates who have become prominent nationalism scholars and have contributed to the establishment of the University of Edinburgh as the major centre for the study of nationalism.

Nationalism in Global Perspective is co-hosted by the Department of Sociology and the Department of Politics and International Relations.

Students of the programme benefit from the proximity to high-profile centres specialising in issues relevant to the study of nationalism in the UK and around the world and with close links with the policy and media world.

Our programme is also closely linked with the Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism (ASEN). Indeed, the University of Edinburgh has hosted the first ‘regional’ branch of the Association and one of our faculty, Professor Jonathan Hearn, is the current President of ASEN.

This stimulating research environment offers students of nationalism a range of opportunities to engage with leading international scholars and practitioners in the field through a range of seminars, conferences, and workshops.

Programme aims

We aim to provide students with a stimulating and intensive experience of intellectual inquiry into the phenomenon of nationalism from a global perspective. Along the way, we seek to help you further develop your skills involved in:

  • posing meaningful questions
  • articulating viewpoints
  • exchanging ideas
  • conducting research
  • communicating effectively through various media

Specifically, our programme aims to:

  • give a sense of the inter- and multi-disciplinary nature of nationalism studies
  • provide a thorough grounding in the central concepts and major theories of nationalism
  • help develop a comprehensive view of the ideas and key figures in the field
  • convey the need to understand nationalism in the context of long-term, historical social change
  • identify key issues and problems in comparative and case study approaches to the study of nationalism
  • provide explorations of a variety of substantive cases of nationalism from a global perspective, helping students to think concretely about the phenomenon
  • enable students to carry out substantial independent research and write a dissertation on a topic of your interest within the field

Who this programme is for

This programme will be primarily suitable for those with some background in politics, social sciences, international relations and history.

However, the MSc is intended for anyone who wants to understand, learn, study, analyse, and critique nationalism and the complex ways in which it shapes society, social institutions, and culture worldwide.

The MSc Nationalism in Global Perspective is offered as a one-year full-time or two-year part-time programme.

The Programme consists of 180 credits, comprised of:

  • two 20-credit required core courses
  • four 20-credit optional courses
  • a 60-credit dissertation course

You will complete six courses over two semesters and a dissertation.

Core courses

Students must take these core courses:

  • Theorising Nationalism (PGSP11579) - 20 credits
  • Comparing Nationalisms (PGSP11580) – 20 credits
  • Dissertation (MSc/Dip Nationalism in Global Perspective) (PGSP11054) - 60 credits

This first course provides a comprehensive introduction to major theories of nationalism. The second course focuses on how nationalism is studied and draws upon a wide range of global cases. The two core courses provide a coherent shared foundation for dissertations.

The dissertation offers you the chance to choose and explore a topic in-depth, working with the guidance of an academic supervisor. It is an ideal chance to get to grips with an issue that fascinates you, and excellent preparation for further graduate level study.

Course options

Group A recommended electives

Students should select at least 40 credits of the following courses:

  • Nations and Nationalism (PGSP11146) - 20 credits
  • Ethnopolitical Conflict (SCIL11036) – 20 credits
  • Identity and Conflict in Multinational States (PGSP11599) – 20 credits
  • Nationalism, Populism and Democracy (PGSP11608) – 20 credits

These courses are recommended by the Programme Director and you will have priority enrolment.

Group B additional electives

Students should select between 0 and 40 credits of the Level 11 courses in Schedules A to Q, T and W. You can browse these options in our course catalogue.

These courses offer a broader range of electives. Students on this programme will not have priority enrolment for these courses and spaces may be limited.

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
MScNationalism in Global Perspective1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2024/25
MScNationalism in Global Perspective2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2024/25

When you complete the degree, you will be able to:

  • understand the central concepts, major theories, and key debates in nationalism studies
  • recognise the interdisciplinary character of nationalism
  • utilise an array of ways of categorising and comparing different forms of nationalism globally, and to critically assess their utility
  • make informed judgements about the applicability of theories to particular substantive cases of nationalism globally
  • identify major contemporary themes in the study of nationalism
  • appreciate the diversity of forms of nationalism, and of ways of studying it
  • write a dissertation demonstrating an ability to compare theories and relate them to substantive case material

Important destinations for previous Nationalism graduates included:

  • education and research (MRes or PhD)
  • government and international organisations
  • policy and advocacy
  • media and journalism

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

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

English language tests

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

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.0 in each component. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 59 in each component.

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, Trinity ISE or PTE, 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 (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScNationalism in Global Perspective1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScNationalism in Global Perspective2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD
Programme start date Application deadline
9 September 2024 1 July 2024

We strongly recommend you submit your completed application as early as possible, particularly if you are also applying for funding or will require a visa. We may consider late applications if we have places available.

You must submit one reference with your application.

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

Further information

  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD