Undergraduate study - 2019 entry

Subject area: Scottish Studies

Why choose Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh?

  • This programme explores contemporary Scotland and its culture, tradition and representation.

  • The highly flexible approach allows you to study a wide range of disciplines such as literature, history, art, music, politics, sociology and language.

  • Being based in the Scottish capital city you will have direct access to the key political, cultural and historical institutions and resources required for the detailed study of contemporary Scotland.

Study abroad

I like the interdisciplinary nature of the programme and it caters for a lot of my interests. I find it interesting, challenging and rewarding.

Euan Lownie 2nd year MA (Hons) Scottish Studies
Euan Lownie 2nd year MA (Hons) Scottish Studies

Scotland is a vibrant, modern European nation, with a rich, varied and fascinating heritage. How can we best study such a nation, and how can we make sense of its past and its present, and help to shape its future?

Our Scottish studies programme is interdisciplinary, drawing on arts, humanities and social science approaches to the study of the nation from a variety of perspectives.

Based within the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures, and therefore emphasising these particular topics of study, you are encouraged to engage with a range of subject areas across the University that share a common interest in the study of Scotland.

You may wish to draw on courses from Celtic, history, politics, sociology and archaeology, and combine these with a focus on ethnology, heritage, the creative arts and cultural expression.

You will study Scottish cultural history and tradition and discover how literature, music and visual arts helped to shape Scottish identity. The complex relationship between culture and politics is considered, and parallels with other countries are made throughout the programme to place Scotland in its wider international context.

Our internationally renowned archives are available for study and research. You can also access important collections in the National Library of Scotland, National Museum of Scotland and National Archives of Scotland.

These traditional sources, brought together with modern multimedia and digital data, offer you an unparalleled collection of materials with which to work, and upon which you can build a portfolio of interests and research topics, culminating in your own choice of dissertation in your honours years.

Year 1

You will be introduced to Scottish cultural history, tradition, heritage, politics and cultural expression. You will choose a range of courses that relate to historical or contemporary Scotland. You can also choose courses from other academic areas.

Year 2

You will continue to study Scottish culture. Courses cover topics such as Scottish film, photography and television, intellectual history and philosophy. You can continue to choose courses from other academic areas.

Year 3

You will start to develop your research skills and study your chosen subjects in more detail. Subjects offered at honours level include history, literature, ethnology, Celtic, sociology, politics, art history and architectural history.

Year 4

You will continue to study the subjects that interest you and will complete your honours dissertation. You will also take part in a series of seminars on a range of themes you have covered in the Scottish Studies programme.

Are there additional costs?


Our facilities

Most 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, including specialist collections within Celtic and Scottish Studies in George Square. These include the School of Scottish Studies Archives, a unique and extensive collection of audio and visual material relating to the culture and tradition of Scotland.

Study abroad

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

How will I learn?

Courses are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and small-group tutorials.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through exams, coursework and new forms of assessment including audio and video presentations.

Upon graduation you will have the ability to engage with the workings of a modern nation, and will demonstrate a close understanding of the complex set of strands which have come together over time to create it.

As such, 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. These are highly positive skills to possess in a rapidly changing world and your qualification will serve you very well wherever the future takes you.

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 arm you for a career in many different sectors and professions. These include areas such as teaching, museums and heritage, arts and cultural management, tourism, broadcasting, the media and policy development.