Undergraduate study - 2022 entry
Open to the world

MA Scottish Ethnology and Scandinavian Studies

UCAS code: VR96

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Scottish Ethnology and Scandinavian Studies

There has long been a strong Scandinavian influence on the Celtic world, including Scotland.

This programme presents the opportunity to study the languages, literatures and cultures of neighbouring northern European nations which have taken differing routes to modernity, both socially and politically.

Scottish Ethnology

While Ethnology programmes are commonly offered in universities across Europe, this is the only full undergraduate programme of its kind available within the UK.

Through your Scottish Ethnology studies, you'll explore Scotland in a comparative context, looking at the varying ways in which a modern European nation expresses itself culturally, through such forms as its customs, beliefs, social organisation, language, music and song.

Working with a range of rich materials, from traditional archives to modern media and digital data, you will develop the practical and intellectual tools to help navigate and influence contemporary culture and society in an increasingly globalised world.

Scandinavian Studies

Through Scandinavian Studies, you'll learn a Scandinavian language while exploring Scandinavian culture, past and present.

Over four years, you'll specialise in the modern language of either Denmark, Norway or Sweden. Whichever you choose, you’ll also gain an understanding of the other two.

You do not need a previous knowledge of any of the languages, as courses are available for beginners.

You'll spend your third year abroad gaining lived experience of Scandinavian culture.

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

This means that in Years 1 and 2, you'll choose option courses drawn from a wide range of disciplines in addition to your core subjects of Scottish Ethnology and Scandinavian Studies.

This not only gives you a broader education, but may enable you to change the focus of your programme in your honours years (Years 3 and 4).

Year 1

Scottish Ethnology

In Scottish Ethnology, you will study Scottish cultural history, heritage, cultural expression and representation.

Courses also look at literature, music and visual arts and how these are linked to Scottish identity.

Scandinavian Studies

You will choose one of three intensive beginners' language courses in Scandinavian Studies:

  • Danish 1

  • Norwegian 1

  • Swedish 1

These courses also explore literature and culture.

Over the course of Years 1 and 2, you'll be encouraged to take one, or both, of two courses in Scandinavian Civilisation. These 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.

Option courses

The Scandinavian Civilisation courses are among a range of options offered by the University of Edinburgh, which include - but are not limited to - courses in:

  • business

  • politics

  • social policy

  • informatics

  • economics

  • history (including art and architectural history)

  • classics

  • archaeology

  • philosophy

  • linguistics

  • other languages

  • divinity

Year 2

Scottish Ethnology

You will study oral and visual representations of Scotland through music, song, art, photography and film.

You will also study the social, cultural and topographical features of Scotland and their influence upon each other over time.

Scandinavian Studies

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

You will also take further courses in Scandinavian literature and languages. You can choose, for example, to develop your skills in understanding all three Scandinavian languages.

Option courses

As in Year 1, you will have a choice from a wide range of option courses.

Year 3

If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend at least 15 weeks studying or working in Denmark, Norway or Sweden.

While away, you will undertake prescribed assessments in both Scandinavian Studies and Scottish Ethnology. For example, for Scandinavian Studies, you'll take an e-learning language course which will count as part of your third year mark and prepare you for your final year courses in Danish, Norwegian or Swedish.

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

In Year 4, you will choose specialist courses in both Scottish Ethnology and Scandinavian Studies and will complete your dissertation.

Our facilities

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

School of Scottish Studies Archives

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.

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.

Northern Scholars programme

We host the Northern Scholars programme which fosters co-operation between scholars of the Nordic countries, the Baltic countries and Scotland, largely through events such as:

  • public lectures

  • workshops

  • the involvement of visiting guests in teaching and learning activities

Scottish Ethnology in Edinburgh city

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

  • National Library

  • National Museum

  • National Archives

  • National Galleries of Scotland

  • Scottish Poetry Library

  • Scottish Storytelling Centre

Study abroad

If international travel restrictions allow, you’ll spend part of Year 3 (a minimum of 15 weeks) in a Scandinavian country.

This is your chance to immerse yourself in the culture of Norway, Sweden or Denmark, and to develop your broader life experience and skills towards life after university.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

Courses are taught through a combination of:

  • lectures

  • seminars

  • small group tutorials

Extensive use is also made of audio and visual resources, as well as readily accessible online materials.

In our language teaching, there is an emphasis on interaction and building the strong linguistic competencies required for a range of careers.

Great care is taken in providing a welcoming learning environment with regular face-to-face access to tutors, lecturers and support staff.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through coursework and exams. In Years 3 and 4 you will complete a dissertation.

Programme details

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.

Programme details (2021/22)

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

  • research

  • analysis

  • communication

  • presentation

  • understanding of culture and society

Your enhanced ability to think for yourself, to distil complex issues down to their central points, and to understand the reasons for societal change, will give you the edge in careers across different sectors.

Recent graduates have developed successful careers in areas such as:

  • teaching

  • museums and heritage

  • arts and cultural management

  • tourism

  • broadcasting

  • the media

  • policy development

As there are relatively few graduates from UK universities specialising in the Scandinavian languages, there are excellent opportunities for those who do learn Danish, Norwegian or Swedish, particularly since speakers of one language are widely understood in all Scandinavian countries.

Our graduates are to be found in every kind of career, especially those that place a premium on:

  • well-honed communication skills

  • thinking that is both disciplined and imaginative

  • the skills and experiences developed during your year abroad

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. Applicants with Gaelic, or a language other than English, at B, preferred. National 5s: English at C and a language other than English at B (if not at Higher).
  • A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. Applicants with a language other than English, at B, preferred. GCSEs: English at C or 4 and a language other than English at B or 6 (if not at A Level).
  • IB: HL: no specific subjects required. Applicants with a language other than English, at 5, preferred. SL: English at 5 and a language other than English at 5 (if not at HL).

Additional requirements

Language requirement

For degrees that have a subject requirement of a language other than English, students may not use their own native language to meet this requirement. In these instances, English or an alternative language other than native will be acceptable.

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.

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.

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 Ethnology and Scandinavian Studies

Additional costs

Fieldwork

Depending on your programme of study and the courses chosen, for example if you choose to do your dissertation in Scottish Ethnology, you may spend time on fieldwork and excursions.

Costs will vary according to the location.

However, if you prefer, you can select an archive- or library-based project that is unlikely to have any additional costs for this component of your programme.

Study Abroad

If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad.

Your costs will depend on where you decide to go and how you spend your time.

Universities may charge you a fee for courses, but we will reimburse you for this provided the course has been approved.

You will be informed about the cost implications as you plan your year abroad during Year 2.

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