Undergraduate study - 2022 entry
Open to the world

MA Scandinavian Studies and English Literature

UCAS code: RQ63

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Scandinavian Studies and English Literature

For centuries, English-speaking and Scandinavian cultures have had a profound international influence on literature and drama.

This programme aims to develop your critical, analytic, linguistic and creative skills by engaging with a broad range of texts in both English and either Norwegian, Swedish or Danish, as well as a variety of approaches to reading.

It also includes a year abroad in a Scandinavian country.

Scandinavian Studies

On this joint programme, you'll learn modern Danish, Swedish or Norwegian in the context of Scandinavian culture, past and present.

Home of the Northern Scholars programme, the University has an excellent reputation for research and teaching in this area.

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

English Literature

We are the oldest department of English Literature in the UK, one of the longest established in the world, and proud to be based in the heart of the first UNESCO World City of Literature.

Our English Literature curriculum explores the cultural contexts of writing in English from the late middle-ages to the present.

By enhancing your unique literary and critical faculties, the programme prepares you to contribute to a society in which an understanding of texts of all kinds is crucially important.

Year 1

Scandinavian Studies

You will take an intensive beginners' language course in either Danish, Norwegian or Swedish. Each course also involves studying literature and culture.

Over the course of Years 1 and 2, you'll be also 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.

English Literature

In English Literature, you will take two Literary Studies courses which will introduce you to the essential skills needed for the critical close reading of the core literary genres of:

  • poetry

  • drama

  • prose

You will read works of literature written in English from around the world, and encounter a range of ideas about the nature and purpose of literary study.

Option courses

You'll complete your Year 1 studies with option courses chosen from a wide range offered by the University of Edinburgh.

As well as Scandinavian Civilisation, these include - but are not limited to - courses in:

  • business

  • politics

  • social policy

  • informatics

  • economics

  • art and architectural history

  • history

  • classics

  • archaeology

  • philosophy

  • linguistics

  • divinity

You can also opt to study another language, with classes suitable for complete beginners.

Year 2

Scandinavian Studies

You will continue with Danish Language 2, Norwegian Language 2 or Swedish Language 2, building on 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.

English Literature

You will be introduced to the study of English literature in its cultural and historical contexts, focusing on a selection of major periods.

The courses will explore the relationship between literary texts and the construction of national, international and imperial cultures.

Option courses

As in Year 1, you'll also choose option courses from a wide range offered by the University of Edinburgh.

These include a great selection in European languages and cultures, allowing you to study literature, film and theatre in themed and comparative contexts.

Year 3

If international travel restrictions allow, you'll spend your third year in either Denmark, Norway or Sweden, either studying or completing a work/teaching placement.

Whether studying or working, our graduates have told us how much the year abroad has benefited their broader life experience and skills, as well as their understanding of Scandinavian culture.

During your year abroad, we'll aim to ensure your experience is as beneficial as possible to your final year, as well as to your wider language learning, cultural awareness and skills development.

You'll complete prescribed work in both English Literature and Scandinavian Studies. For example, you will take an e-learning language course which will count as part of your Year 3 mark and prepare you for your final year courses in either 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

You will develop advanced spoken and written skills in your chosen Scandinavian language and can choose from a wide range of specialist courses in both Scandinavian Studies and English Literature.

This will enable you to explore different periods, topics and approaches according to your area of interest.

You will also complete your dissertation or long essay.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on 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 structure (2021/22)

Our facilities

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

The University has excellent computing and audiovisual resources, support services and social spaces, including many in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures.

Events and activities

There's lots going on in our subject areas, including:

  • multiple student societies for literature and drama enthusiasts

  • the Scandinavian Society

  • reading and writers' groups

  • poetry slams

  • guest seminars

English Literature's Peer-Assisted Learning Scheme - LitPALS - is one of the University's largest.

We have a fantastic Writer-in-Residence and our online magazine for European languages, Babble, is the place to publish your creative writing in Swedish, Danish or Norwegian.

Scotland has excellent links with the Nordic nations. Edinburgh hosts 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

We also have strong links with the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which annually welcomes around 1,000 authors to our literary city.

Scandinavian studies and English literature in Edinburgh city

Edinburgh is a world-leading festival city filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries, collections, and literary venues.

Highlights include the:

  • Scottish Poetry Library

  • Writers' Museum

  • Scottish Storytelling Centre

  • outstanding holdings in the National Library of Scotland

Study abroad

If international travel restrictions allow, you'll spend Year 3 abroad (a minimum of 30 weeks), in either Denmark, Sweden or Norway.

This is your chance to immerse yourself in Scandinavian culture, 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

  • tutorials

  • computer-assisted learning

You will also be required to undertake substantial reading each week in preparation for classes, particularly in English Literature.

How will I be assessed?

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

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.

This is particularly true 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 you will develop during your year aboard

There are excellent opportunities in areas such as:

  • translation

  • journalism

  • tourism

  • the cultural sector

  • international relations

  • industry

  • marketing

These include opportunities within the institutions of the European Union (both Swedish and Danish are official working languages of the EU).

There are also opportunities to continue studying at postgraduate level, with Year 4 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: 36 points with 665 at HL - 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: English at B. National 5s: a language other than English at B.
  • A Levels: English Literature or combined English at B. GCSEs: a language other than English at B or 6.
  • IB: HL: English at 5. SL: a language other than English at 5.

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 Scandinavian Studies and English Literature

Additional costs

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