Undergraduate study - 2022 entry
Open to the world

Subject area: Scottish Ethnology

Why choose Scottish Ethnology at the University of Edinburgh?

  • Based in a city with two UNESCO World Heritage Sites – home to the National Library, Museum, Archives, and Galleries of Scotland – we are the only institution in the world to offer undergraduate programmes in Scottish Ethnology.

  • You’ll be taught by experts who are immersed in Scottish culture beyond the classroom, meeting active tradition-bearers, visiting museums, and taking part in events involving present-day customs in various parts of Scotland.

  • You’ll have access to an unrivalled range of resources in the School of Scottish Studies Archives. Our collections include some 33,000 audio recordings, a large photographic archive, films, videos, and manuscripts.

Study abroad

Studying Scottish Ethnology has been a real joy, exploring Scotland's culture and traditions. We've learned about everything from changelings and fairy folk to alien abduction stories! The staff are lovely and some of the best, and here at Edinburgh we have access to lots of unique archive data. You'll get to talk to people about their experiences, which is a real privilege.

Natasha 4th year MA (Hons) Scottish Ethnology and Archaeology
Natasha 4th year MA (Hons) Scottish Ethnology and Archaeology

Introducing Scottish Ethnology

How do we use and make sense of the past and how can this understanding help us to shape our future?

The study of ethnology is common to universities across Europe but our undergraduate Scottish Ethnology programmes are unique. They provide a fascinating insight into the traditional and popular culture of Scotland, while giving you a set of skills that you can apply to any culture.

Our programmes draw on Scotland's diversity (urban and rural, Lowland and Highland, Scots and Gaelic), but also introduce comparative material from elsewhere.

They put folklore and folklife in a Scottish and international context, examining the various ways in which a modern European nation expresses itself through its customs, beliefs, social organisation, language, music and song.

Working with a range of rich materials, including an unrivalled range of resources in the School of Scottish Studies Archives, you will develop the practical and intellectual tools to help navigate and indeed influence contemporary culture and society in an increasingly globalised world.

As a student here, you will engage with a broad range of subjects in your first two years, and specialise thereafter, developing your expertise in the aspects of ethnology that interest you most.