Undergraduate study - 2023 entry
Open to the world

MA Russian Studies and Scandinavian Studies

UCAS code: RR76

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Russian Studies and Scandinavian Studies

This joint honours programme allows you to study the languages and cultures of two neighbouring and influential parts of modern Europe.

Around 150 million people in the world speak Russian, while the languages of Denmark, Norway and Sweden have long had a considerable impact beyond the Nordic region.

Through intensive language study, including a year abroad, you will have the opportunity to acquire advanced spoken and written skills in both Russian and a Scandinavian language - either Danish, Norwegian or Swedish.

In addition to your language classes, you will explore aspects of Russophone and Scandinavian culture. Courses cover literature, history, politics, and languages in themed and comparative contexts.

Why Edinburgh

Edinburgh is the only university in Scotland, and one of only two in the UK, to offer undergraduate programmes with joint honours in Scandinavian Studies. You do not currently need to know any of the languages, as courses are available for beginners.

As well as being distinctive in our subject offering, we are also unique in Scotland in integrating a full academic year abroad into the four-year honours programme, regardless of whether you spend the year studying or working. You will therefore spend Year 3 in either Norway, Denmark or Sweden and in a Russian-speaking country.

The four-year degree gives you choice and flexibility. In Years 1 and 2, you will choose option courses from a broad list of disciplines in addition to Russian Studies and Scandinavian Studies. You will then specialise in the topics that interest you most as you move through your honours years.

By the end of the programme, you will be able to demonstrate the range of skills and intercultural competencies valued by graduate employers around the globe.

One of the most attractive characteristics of this four-year programme is its flexibility.

In Years 1 and 2, your pre-honours years, you will choose option courses from a wide range of disciplines in addition to your core subjects of Russian Studies and Scandinavian Studies.

As well as broadening your education and skill set, this may enable you to change the focus of your programme in Years 3 and 4, your honours years.

Year 1

Russian

If you have no previous knowledge of Russian you will take Russian Studies 1A, an intensive beginners Russian course.

If you have studied the language before, you will take the Russian Studies 1B course which provides advanced Russian language study.

Both of these courses include a unit on Russian culture.

Scandinavian Studies

You will take an intensive beginners' language course in either Danish, Norwegian or Swedish. This will allow you to develop spoken and written language skills, and will introduce you to Scandinavian culture.

Option courses

To broaden the scope of your study, you will also choose option courses from a wide range offered by the University of Edinburgh.

These include two courses in Scandinavian Civilisation which provide an overview of important trends in the history, society, culture and politics of the Scandinavian and wider Nordic world, from the earliest times to the present.

We would encourage you to take one, or both of these Scandinavian Civilisation options over the course of Years 1 and 2.

Other options include - but are not limited to - courses in:

  • linguistics and language sciences

  • Celtic and Scottish ethnology

  • business, economics and informatics

  • politics, social policy and social anthropology

  • art and architectural history

  • history, classics and archaeology

  • philosophy, divinity and law

Summer language course

After completing Year 1 you have the opportunity to take a summer language course in St Petersburg, Moscow or Riga.

Year 2

Russian

You will continue to study Russian language, and will choose one of the following three courses:

  • Transnational Russian Culture

  • 19th century Russian literature

  • 20th century Russian literature

Scandinavian Studies

You will continue with Danish Language 2, Norwegian Language 2 or Swedish Language 2, building on your linguistic knowledge from Year 1.

You will also take further courses in Scandinavian literature and languages. You can, for example, choose to develop your skills in understanding the similarities and differences between Danish, Norwegian and Swedish.

Option courses

As in Year 1, you will choose option courses from a wide range offered by the University of Edinburgh.

These include a great selection in European languages and cultures, allowing you to study literature, film and theatre in themed and comparative contexts.

Year 3

If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad, dividing your 30 weeks between a country in which Russian is spoken and either Sweden, Norway or Denmark.

You will spend at least eight weeks in each country.

For Russian, you will study at a university or language centre.

Our current placement destinations include:

  • St Petersburg University

  • Herzen State University in St Petersburg

  • Higher School of Economics in Moscow

  • Liden and Denz Language Schools in Moscow, St Petersburg, and Riga

  • Derzhavin Institute in St Petersburg

  • Nova Mova Language School in Kiev

For Scandinavian, you will either study or complete a work/teaching placement.

Whether studying, or combining study with a work placement, our graduates have told us how much the year abroad has benefited their broader life experience and skills, as well as their understanding of Scandinavian and Russophone languages and cultures.

During your year abroad, we will aim to ensure your experience is as beneficial as possible to your final year, as well as to your wider language learning, cultural awareness and skills development.

For example, you will take e-learning courses which will count as part of your Year 3 mark and prepare you for your Year 4 language courses.

If international travel is not possible, you will be offered an alternative means of engaging with your subjects, enabling you to meet your learning outcomes and preparing you for your final year.

Year 4

You will develop advanced language skills in Russian and in either Danish, Norwegian or Swedish.

You will also choose from a wide range of specialist, honours-level courses taught by research-active experts.

These courses cover topics such as Russophone and Scandinavian:

  • literature

  • history

  • politics

  • language

  • culture

You will also complete a dissertation or long essay in either Russian or a Scandinavian language.

Our facilities

On campus

When you are on campus, you can expect to spend most of your time in the University of Edinburgh's Central Area - in class, in the library, or in one of the University’s many social spaces.

The Central Area is located on the edge of Edinburgh's historic Old Town, surrounded by lots of green space.

Take a virtual tour of the Central Area

Libraries, collections and centres

Based in the Main University Library, the Centre for Research Collections is unique in the UK. The centre brings together a collection of more than 400,000 rare books and six kilometres of archives and manuscripts. It also houses the University’s collections of art, historical musical instruments and other objects.

The Library also holds academic books, journals and databases, films, newspapers and other media. Resources include around 14,400 titles in the Russian language, 7,500 in Swedish, 5,400 in Danish, and 3,600 in Norwegian.

Events and activities

The Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA) supports more than 300 student-led societies and clubs. These include the Russian Society and Scandinavian Society.

From making friends in language cafes to campaigning on global issues, these student-led groups offer lots of ways to engage. EUSA also promotes opportunities with local charities through its volunteering centre.

Staff and student editors publish creative writing in nine European languages – including Russian, Norwegian, Swedish and Danish – in the online magazine, Babble. Launch nights typically include readings and performances.

As hosts of the Northern Scholars programme, we involve visiting guests from the Nordic and Baltic countries in our teaching and learning activities and in public lectures and workshops.

Our Princess Dashkova Russian Centre runs many academic and public events, including the Honorary Dashkova and Honorary John Erickson lectures.

In the city

Edinburgh is a world-leading festival city filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections, including significant Russian holdings in the National Library of Scotland.

The National Museum of Scotland has the Lewis Chess Pieces (probably made in the late 12th or early 13th century in Norway) on permanent display. Among the city's hidden treasures is the Swedish Viking Age runestone situated outside our building at 50 George Square.

Edinburgh's European cinema scene is particularly strong. Its venues often screen films and hold events as part of the annual UK-wide Russian Film Week.

The city has excellent links with the Nordic nations, and many Scandinavian shops and cafes.

Study abroad

If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad, dividing your time between a country where Russian is spoken and either Norway, Sweden or Denmark.

You will spend at least eight weeks in each country. This is your chance to immerse yourself in Scandinavian and Russophone culture, and to develop your broader life experience and skills towards life after university.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

You will be taught by experienced tutors including world-leading research academics.

We teach languages in small groups, with most of our materials tailor-made for student requirements.

You will receive timely feedback on your work and will be offered individual as well as group consultations.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through a combination of coursework and exams.

Skills and experience

Studying languages to degree level demonstrates that you are a good communicator, a resilient problem solver, and someone open to other cultures and new ideas – what employers value as intercultural competence.

Beyond the language skills you will develop on this programme, and the nuanced understanding you will gain of other cultures and societies, graduating with a four-year Master of Arts degree from the University of Edinburgh shows high-level intellectual strength and flexibility.

The skills you will be able to demonstrate to employers when you graduate include the ability to understand, analyse and articulate key concepts, and to work to varied briefs to deadline, both independently and in groups.

Opportunities at home and away

Combining Russian with a Scandinavian language, you will be one of very few graduates from UK universities specialising in Danish, Norwegian or Swedish while speaking a major world language in addition to English.

Since speakers of one Scandinavian language are widely understood across the Nordic region, and Russian extends your reach to Eastern Europe, Asia and growing numbers of speakers across the US, you will be well-placed to work in a wide range of countries.

Increasing migration in response to changing global dynamics means that, wherever you are based in the world, the ability to understand and communicate in your chosen languages will make you stand out.

Within the private, public, not-for-profit, and for-benefit sectors, previous graduates have gone on to career pathways in:

  • business, finance and commerce

  • communications, marketing, advertising and public relations

  • education, outreach, advocacy and training

  • journalism, broadcasting and media

  • leisure, tourism and travel

  • politics, policy work, diplomacy, civil service and law

  • publishing, culture, heritage and the arts

  • research, development and venture acceleration

  • translating and interpreting

Further study

The enhanced research skills you will develop on a four-year programme, particularly in your honours years, are a valuable asset if you wish to continue studying at postgraduate level.

At the University of Edinburgh, we typically offer Masters by Research degrees in both Russian and Scandinavian Studies. Our interdisciplinary taught MSc programmes typically include:

  • Comparative Literature

  • Intermediality

  • Translation Studies

Careers advice

We have an excellent Careers Service. Throughout your time with us, we will encourage you to identify and hone your employability skills, including through peer initiatives such as Life After LLC (Literatures, Languages and Cultures) where you can draw inspiration from our graduates.

Be inspired by our alumni

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAA-AABB by end of S5 or AAAA-AAAB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAA - ABB.
  • IB: 37 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.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: a Modern European Language other than English at B. National 5s: English at C.
  • A Levels: Russian at B. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: Russian or one of the Scandinavian languages at 5. 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

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.

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
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at 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: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 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 176 with at least 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 54 in each component.

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, PTE Academic, 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 Russian Studies and Scandinavian Studies

Additional costs

As long as international restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad. The costs incurred will depend on where you decide to go, and how you spend your time.

Some study placements at language schools may charge a fee, but we will normally reimburse you for tuition costs as long as your activity has been approved. You will be responsible for associated travel costs such as flights and visas.

Funding

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