Undergraduate study - 2019 entry

Subject area: Scandinavian Studies

Why choose Scandinavian Studies at the University of Edinburgh?

  • We're ranked in the UK's top 5 universities and in the world's top 20 universities for modern languages in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018.

  • Edinburgh is the only university in Scotland, and one of only two in the UK, that offer undergraduate honours programmes in Scandinavian languages and culture.

  • Our teaching staff are also highly active researchers, passing on to you the same passion and world-class expertise that gained us excellent results in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, when 70 per cent of our European languages and cultures research was rated world-leading or internationally excellent, in a joint submission with Celtic and Scottish Studies.

  • Edinburgh offers 16 languages for study and 140 joint language degree programmes. This creates a wide and uniquely exciting and stimulating environment for language study.

  • Scandinavian studies can be taken on its own or as part of a joint honours programme. Many of our joint honours combinations, such as Celtic and Scandinavian studies or Scottish ethnology and Scandinavian studies, are unique to Edinburgh.

  • You do not need a previous knowledge of any of the languages as all our classes are taught from beginners' level.

Study abroad

I am pushing myself to my limits each and every day. I have not had a day in Edinburgh yet, after which I haven't felt like I have learned something new and fascinating.

Gabriela Lis 2nd year MA (Hons) Scandinavian Studies & Politics
Gabriela Lis 2nd year MA (Hons) Scandinavian Studies & Politics

At Edinburgh, you will specialise in the modern language of either Denmark, Norway or Sweden, within the context of Scandinavian culture, past and present. Over the course of your programme, you will also gain an understanding of the other two languages.

You do not need a previous knowledge of any of the languages as all classes are taught from beginners' level. Our inductive approach to language learning and relatively small class sizes provide a very supportive learning environment.

Year 1

You will choose one of the three intensive beginners' language courses: Danish 1, Norwegian 1 or Swedish 1. These courses also provide an introduction to the culture and literature of the country in question.

Students in Years 1 and 2 are also encouraged to take one or both of the following free-standing but complementary courses:

Scandinavian Civilisation A: Vikings, Sagas and the Road to Enlightenment; Scandinavian Civilisation B: From National Romanticism to the Nordic Model.

Between them, these courses 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 day.

Year 2

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

You will also take one or both of:

Scandinavian Literature 2, which focuses on Danish, Norwegian and Swedish literature from 1835 to the present day, and covers a wide variety of literary forms, ranging from the fairytale to crime writing, from drawing-room drama to new urban narratives.

Scandinavian Languages 2, which investigates the similarities and differences between the Scandinavian languages past and present, discusses the perspectives and problems of inter-Scandinavian communication and the challenges involved in translating from Scandinavian into English.

Year 3

You will spend Year 3 (or part of it if you are also taking another language) studying or working in Denmark, Norway or Sweden.

Year 4

You will take advanced language classes in essay, commentary and summary writing, in translation from the Scandinavian languages into English, and in spoken Danish, Norwegian or Swedish.

You will also choose from a range of specialist honours option courses, focusing on Scandinavian cultural topics from the medieval to the modern, including Old Norse Studies, Viking Studies, History of the Scandinavian Novel, History of the Scandinavian Languages, Nynorsk, and Ibsen and Brandes.

Are there additional costs?

The costs of studying abroad vary according to the destination: capital cities are more expensive than provincial towns. A number of Erasmus+/Socrates places are available, which include a small grant from European Union funds.

Some limited government funding may also be available from the University to assist with the cost of study abroad during the summer vacation.

Our facilities

Teaching takes place in and around the School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures, in the University's Central Area. We are based in a state-of-the-art building, at 50 George Square, which houses computer microlabs, a language resource centre, and social facilities as well as tutors' offices and lecture theatres.

Study abroad

You will spend Year 3 abroad, studying or working in Denmark, Norway or Sweden. We have Erasmus+ exchange programmes with the universities of Bergen, Copenhagen, Oslo and Uppsala.

At the University of Edinburgh, all students on programmes in modern European languages are required to spend at least 30 weeks of Year 3 in the country or countries where their chosen language(s) are spoken.

Students studying more than one language must complete a minimum of eight weeks in each country.

How will I learn?

Courses are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and computer-assisted learning. The emphasis throughout is on a blend of activities designed to appeal to different learning styles.

How will I be assessed?

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

As there are relatively few graduates specialising in Scandinavian languages, you have excellent opportunities in areas such as translation, journalism, tourism, the cultural sector, the European Union, international relations, industry, marketing, and research.

However, our graduates are to be found in every kind of career, especially those that place a premium on thinking that is both disciplined and imaginative.