2022 entry

MA Scottish Studies

UCAS code: Q501

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Scottish Studies

Edinburgh - capital city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and seat of the Scottish Parliament - is the ideal place to study Scotland. You will explore what we can learn from its past and its present, and how we can help shape its future.

Based within the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures, you'll engage with a wide range of disciplines across the University of Edinburgh that share a common interest in the study of Scotland. You might draw on courses from Celtic, history, politics, sociology and archaeology, and combine these with a focus on:

  • ethnology

  • heritage

  • the creative arts

  • cultural expression

You'll apply arts, humanities and social sciences approaches in your learning. You will discover how literature, music and visual arts have helped to shape Scottish identity.

You will also consider the complex relationship between culture and politics, as you draw parallels with other countries and take advantage of the University's excellent links with Scotland's key political, cultural and historical institutions.

You'll benefit from a close community of:

  • learners

  • teachers who are immersed in Scottish culture beyond the classroom

  • excellent resources, including the internationally-acclaimed School of Scottish Studies Archives

Year 1

You will study Scottish cultural history, tradition, heritage, politics and cultural expression.

You will choose a range of courses that relate to historical or contemporary Scotland, and have the option to study the Scottish Gaelic language.

You also have the option to study different subjects, or other countries' political systems, histories, languages and cultures.

Year 2

You will continue to study Scottish culture. Courses cover topics such as Scottish:

  • film, photography and television

  • intellectual history

  • philosophy

You can continue to study different subjects, or other countries' political systems, histories, languages and cultures.

Year 3

You will:

  • start to develop your research skills

  • embark on your dissertation

  • study your chosen subjects in more detail

Subjects offered at honours level include:

  • history

  • literature

  • ethnology

  • Celtic

  • sociology

  • politics

  • art history

  • architectural history

Year 4

You will continue to study the subjects that interest you and will complete your honours dissertation.

You will also take part in a series of seminars on a range of themes you have covered in the Scottish Studies programme.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2021/22)

Our facilities

Teaching takes place in and around the University of Edinburgh's Central Area.

Edinburgh is a world-leading festival city filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections, including the:

  • National Library

  • National Museum

  • National Archives

  • Galleries of Scotland

  • Scottish Poetry Library

  • Scottish Storytelling Centre

You will have access to the University's excellent:

  • computing and audiovisual resources

  • support services

  • social spaces

You’ll also have access to specialist collections such as the School of Scottish Studies Archives.

The Archives have a unique and extensive collection of audio and visual material relating to the culture and tradition of Scotland (including some 33,000 audio recordings).

The Archive’s extensive library holdings include important Scottish ethnological, wider ethnological and Celtic holdings.

Study abroad

Opportunities to study abroad are available in this subject area.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

Courses are taught through a combination of:

  • lectures

  • seminars

  • small group tutorials

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through exams, coursework and new forms of assessment including audio and video presentations.

As a Scottish Studies graduate, you will have the ability to engage with the workings of a modern nation, and will demonstrate a close understanding of the complex set of strands which have come together over time to create it.

An in-depth knowledge of Scottish culture is increasingly relevant to employers both at home and overseas, given Scotland's links with countries across the world.


Scottish Studies graduates are highly valued in the workplace for the skills they have gained in:

  • research

  • analysis

  • communication

  • presentation

  • understanding of culture and society

The ability to undertake fieldwork, emphasised in some of our courses, is seen by many employers as a desirable skill.

Areas of work

A number of the themes covered in our programme, for example traditional music and song, align with Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence. These and other traditional arts, such as storytelling, have many applications, for example:

  • working with older people

  • in community education

  • in healthcare

  • in outreach activities

Graduates have developed successful careers in areas such as:

  • broadcasting and the media

  • museums and heritage

  • publishing

  • arts and cultural management

  • tourism

  • policy development

Further study

There are also opportunities to continue studying at postgraduate level, with the honours years in particular developing the research skills you'll need if you choose this path.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAB-ABBB by end of S5 or AAAA-AABB/ABBBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: no specific Higher subjects required. National 5s: English at C.
  • A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: English at 5.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

International Foundation Programme

If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.

International Foundation Programme

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

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.


For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • SQA Standard Grade at 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 at A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 at C
  • GCSE/IGSCE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate Grade C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

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

  • IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition) 92 or above with 20 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components.

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the degree 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.

English language requirements

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA Scottish Studies

Additional costs

There may be additional costs if you choose to study abroad in Year 3.


For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding