Undergraduate study - 2022 entry
Open to the world

MA History of Art and Scottish Literature

UCAS code: VQ35

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Edinburgh College of Art

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA History of Art and Scottish Literature

Study the History of Art and Scottish Literature in equal depth with this joint honours programme.

History of Art

History of Art will introduce you to art from different periods and world cultures.

You will:

  • learn how, and for whom, works of art were made
  • situate artworks within visual and material culture more broadly
  • explore the meanings of works of art and visual culture and the ways they continue to be interpreted

In Years 3 and 4 you will have the opportunity to specialise in particular aspects of the field, and develop independent research projects and a dissertation. In Year 3 you will have the opportunity to study abroad.

Scottish Literature

Studying Scottish Literature will develop your:

  • critical skills
  • analytic skills
  • linguistic skills
  • creative skills

You will study a broad range of texts and different approaches to reading. You will gain an understanding of the cultural contexts of all major periods of Scottish literature, from the late middle-ages to the present.

Why Edinburgh

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

From Arthur Conan Doyle to Muriel Spark, many of Scotland's greatest writers have called the city home.

History of Art and Scottish Literature complement each other well. Many ideas and movements are shared across the visual arts and literature, in particular historical periods.

Both subjects also benefit from shared methodologies and historical contexts.

Year 1

You will study History of Art 1. This covers the period from the fall of the Roman Empire until the end of the Counter-Reformation and will include non-Western material.

In Scottish Literature, you will take two Literary Studies courses. These will introduce you to the essential skills needed for the critical close reading of poetry, drama and 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.

You will also choose from a wide range of option courses offered by the University of Edinburgh.

Year 2

You will study History of Art 2, which covers the 18th century to the present day.

You will be introduced to the study of Scottish 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.

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

Year 3

You will:

  • choose from a selection of history of art and Scottish literature courses
  • complete a History of Art independent project

Study abroad opportunities are also available in Year 3.

Year 4

You will select courses that build on your subject choices in Year 3.

You will also write a dissertation in either History of Art or Scottish literature.

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

Most teaching takes place in the University's Central Area or within Edinburgh College of Art (ECA).

You will have access to the University's libraries and computing facilities and can take advantage of Edinburgh's galleries and museums, many of which are located near the University.

Creative arts community

We have multiple student societies for art, literature and drama enthusiasts.

Our large creative arts community has lots to offer, including:

  • reading and writers' groups
  • poetry slams
  • publishing opportunities
  • peer-assisted learning
  • a fantastic Writer-in-Residence

Annual student writing prizes include awards for prose and verse in Lowland Scots vernacular.

Study abroad

You can apply to study in Europe and North America through international exchange schemes.

See the Student Exchanges section of the Edinburgh Global website for details.

Student Exchanges

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

You will be taught through a mix of:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • individual supervisions
  • museum and gallery visits

We will expect you to undertake substantial reading each week in preparation for Scottish Literature classes.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed by coursework and exams.

In Years 3 and 4, you will complete at least one independent project and a longer dissertation.

This programme prepares you for a range of careers, including:

  • curatorships in galleries and museums
  • art journalism
  • art dealing
  • tourism
  • graphics
  • advertising
  • heritage management
  • auctioneering
  • publishing and media

Some graduates use their skills and experience for:

  • careers in management or teaching
  • further study

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAA-AABB by end of S5 or AAAA-AAAB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAB - 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.
  • A Levels: English Literature or combined English at B.
  • IB: HL: English at 5.

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.


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 History of Art and Scottish Literature

Additional costs

You will cover the costs of printing. There may be other costs associated with travel to visit exhibitions. These are usually limited to £10 to £20 per visit.


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