MA Scottish Studies
UCAS code: Q501
Duration: 4 years
School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures
College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
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, asking 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, for example by drawing on courses from Celtic, history, politics, sociology and archaeology, and combining these with a focus on ethnology, heritage, the creative arts and cultural expression.
You’ll apply arts, humanities and social sciences approaches in your learning, discovering how literature, music and visual arts have helped to shape Scottish identity, and considering the complex relationship between culture and politics, as you draw parallels with other countries and capitalise on 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, and excellent resources, including the internationally-acclaimed School of Scottish Studies Archives.
You will be introduced to Scottish cultural history, tradition, heritage, politics and cultural expression. You will choose a range of courses that relate to historical or contemporary Scotland. You can also choose courses from other academic areas.
You will continue to study Scottish culture. Courses cover topics such as Scottish film, photography and television, intellectual history and philosophy. You can continue to choose courses from other academic areas.
You will start to develop your research skills, embark on your dissertation, and study your chosen subjects in more detail. Subjects offered at honours level include history, literature, ethnology, Celtic, sociology, politics, art history and architectural history.
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.
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.
Teaching takes place in and around the University of Edinburgh's Central Area in a world-leading festival city bursting with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections, including the National Library, Museum, Archives, and Galleries of Scotland, the Scottish Poetry Library, and Scottish Storytelling Centre.
As well as the University's excellent computing and audiovisual resources, support services and social spaces, you'll also have access to specialist collections such as the School of Scottish Studies Archives, a unique and extensive collection of audio and visual material relating to the culture and tradition of Scotland (including some 33,000 audio recordings), and to the Archive’s extensive library holdings, including important Scottish ethnological, wider ethnological, and Celtic holdings.
Opportunities to study abroad are available in this subject area.
How will I learn?
Courses are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and 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.
Find out more about this programme's aims, what you will learn, how you will be assessed and what skills and knowledge you will develop.
To give you an idea of what to expect from 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.
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 and presentation, as well as a strong 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.
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, e.g. working with older people, in community education, healthcare and outreach activities.
Graduates have developed successful careers in areas such as broadcasting and the media, museums and heritage, publishing, arts and cultural management, tourism, and policy development, and 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: AAB - ABB.
- IB: 39 points with 666 at HL - 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.
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.
We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
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.
We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of 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.
SQA, GCSE and IB
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.
*(Revised 27 April 2020 to include TOEFL-iBT Special Home Edition.)
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.
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