Undergraduate study - 2018 entry

Subject area: Scottish Ethnology

Why choose Scottish Ethnology at the University of Edinburgh?

  • Undertaking a programme in Scottish ethnology at Edinburgh offers an opportunity to study the rich and diverse culture and tradition of Scotland, past and present, within a department that was previously voted Best Subject Area in the Edinburgh University Students' Association Teaching Awards.

  • Dedicated staff will encourage you to explore a wide range of topics within an environment that boasts some of the best resources in the world for study in this field.

  • You will have direct access to some of the finest musicians and tradition-bearers in the country, and you will graduate with a deep understanding of how culture works, and with the skills to succeed in a wide range of professions.

Study abroad

Weekly seminars and the annual Alan Bruford Memorial Lecture allowed me to socialise with top scholars in the field of ethnology, while getting advice on my best options for the future.

Lewis Hurst MA (Hons) Scottish Ethnology & English Literature graduate
Lewis Hurst MA (Hons) Scottish Ethnology & English Literature graduate

Ethnology provides an insight into Scotland's traditional and popular culture. Attracting students from all over the world, we teach practical skills that can be applied to the study of any culture. Students of Scottish ethnology learn about Scottish folklore and folk life and explore Scotland's rich diversity in language, culture and heritage.

You will carry out your own ethnographic fieldwork and develop your analytical, creative, communication and critical skills, improving your research skills and confidence using archives and library resources.

Year 1

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.

Year 2

You will study oral and visual representations of Scotland through music, song, art, photography and film and you will receive practical training in ethnographic fieldwork techniques and ethics.

Year 3

You will choose from options such as Ethnological Fieldwork Methods, Traditional Narrative, Cultural Revivalism, Traditional Song, Scotland and Heritage, and Traditional Drama.

Year 4

You will undertake a dissertation and choose from options such as Custom, Belief and Community, Scottish Emigrant Traditions, The Supernatural World, Material Culture in Scotland, and Traditional Music.

Are there additional costs?

Depending on your programme of study and the courses chosen, you may spend time on fieldwork and excursions. Costs will vary according to the location.

Our facilities

Most of the teaching will take place at facilities located within the University's Central Area.

You will have access to the University's research, study and library facilities, specialist collections, including the School of Scottish Studies Archives, a unique and extensive collection of audio and visual material relating to the culture and tradition of Scotland, and the Archive’s extensive library holdings, including important Scottish ethnological, wider ethnological, and Celtic holdings.

Study abroad

There are opportunities to study abroad through the Erasmus or the University's international exchange programme.

How will I learn?

Courses are taught through a combination of lectures and small-group tutorials. Extensive use is also made of audio and visual resources, as well as readily accessible online materials.

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 and regular presentations, as well as a range of innovative assessment forms such as 'audio essays' in the manner of a radio broadcast.

Our graduates are highly valued as they bring to the workplace a wide range of key skills in research, analysis, communication and presentation as well as a strong understanding of culture and society.

Recent graduates have developed successful careers in areas such as teaching, museums and heritage, arts and cultural management, tourism, broadcasting, the media and policy development.