Undergraduate study - 2021 entry

Degree Programme Specification 2020/2021

MA (Hons) Scottish Studies

To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. This information is created when new programmes are established and is only updated periodically as programmes are formally reviewed. It is therefore only accurate on the date of last revision.
Awarding institution: The University of Edinburgh
Teaching institution: The University of Edinburgh
Programme accredited by: The University of Edinburgh
Final award: MA (Hons)
Programme title: Scottish Studies
UCAS code: Q501
Relevant QAA subject benchmarking group(s): Area Studies
Postholder with overall responsibility for QA: Head of School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures
Date of production/revision: May 2012

External summary

The University of Edinburgh has a worldwide reputation for the quality of its teaching and research. This honours degree in Scottish Studies provides the chance to approach the study of the nation from a multi-disciplinary point of view.

Specific areas which may appeal to graduates of this degree include broadcasting and other media, heritage organisations, publishing, arts development, tourism, local or national government, research, management or education.

The resources in Edinburgh for the study of Scotland are second to none. Students have access to the University’s libraries and computing facilities, to the internationally-renowned School of Scottish Studies Archives, and to a range of audio and visual recording and editing technologies.

Having a knowledge of Scottish culture is likely to be relevant to employers both in a national context and overseas, given Scotland’s links to many countries across the world. The ability to undertake fieldwork, emphasised in some of our courses, is often seen by employers as a desirable skill.

Some of the themes covered on our programme link strongly with the school curriculum in Scotland, e.g. traditional music and song. These and other traditional arts such as storytelling have many applications, e.g. working with the elderly, in community education and outreach activities such as festivals, and in healthcare.

The main programme aims of the programme are

  • to enable students to build a strong empirical knowledge base of Scottish cultural expression, past and present.
  • to equip students with substantive knowledge of a range of social and cultural  contexts, institutions, processes and ideas relating to Scotland within an international context.
  • to enable students to understand, evaluate and compare a range of theoretical and methodological frameworks.
  • to enable students to develop and apply their knowledge and skills to the understanding and evaluation of issues and problems in the contemporary world.
  • to enable students to develop and apply key generic skills in critical thinking, research, oral and written articulation of information and argument.
  • to equip students for progression to a wide variety of careers or to further academic study.

Educational aims of programme

This programme provides in-depth study of the culture of Scotland, principally from an arts and humanities perspective, but drawing where appropriate on social science approaches and methodologies. The central theme of the degree is the study of Scottish cultural expression as manifested through such products as language, literature, visual art, film, television, music, song, custom, belief, oral narrative, architecture, material culture, social organisation and cultural constructions of the past (especially the concepts of ‘tradition’ and ‘heritage’).  Initially, the focus is upon the contemporary cultural landscape, leading to a diachronic investigation of the factors which came together to create this, thus providing historical depth. A series of core courses taken in the first two years of the programme introduce students to a range of methodologies and theoretical positions drawn from the contributing disciplines including the key concepts of cultural, historical, ethnographic, linguistic and literary analysis.

  • to enable students to build a strong empirical knowledge base of Scottish cultural expression, past and present.
  • to deliver a broad based curriculum incorporating major fields of study within the arts, humanities and social sciences.
  • to equip students with substantive knowledge of a range of social and cultural  contexts, institutions, processes and ideas relating to Scotland within an international context.
  • to provide a curriculum supported and informed by a rich and active research culture.
  • to enable students to understand, evaluate and compare a range of theoretical and methodological frameworks.
  • to enable students to develop and apply their knowledge and skills to the understanding and evaluation of issues and problems in the contemporary world.
  • to enable students to develop and apply key generic skills in critical thinking, research, oral and written articulation of information and argument.
  • to equip students for progression to a wide variety of careers or to further academic study.

Programme outcomes: Knowledge and understanding

The programme seeks to foster a detailed knowlege and underrstanding of:

  • the use and critical interrogation of a range of primary and secondary written, oral and visual sources relating to the study of Scotland’s culture, past and present.
  • the key methods and concepts of at least one contributory discipline.
  • the practical and theoretical issues arising from an interdisciplinary approach to the study of a nation’s cultural expression.
  • recognition of the multifaceted nature of the field and the validity of varying and at times competing methodological and theoretical approaches.
  • the contemporary cultural landscape of Scotland and the key historical developments which have helped to create it.
  • cultural policy, past and present, as it relates to Scotland in an international context
  • relevant international parallels and contrasts.

 

Teaching and Learning Methods and Strategies

Students’ knowledge and understanding of the above is facilitated through regular illustrated lectures, small-group tutorials and seminars, practical workshops (e.g. for fieldwork recording and oral presentation training), structured reading programmes and use of electronic resources (delivered through WebCT).  Understanding of issues relating to inter-disciplinarity is fostered through ‘theory and methodology’ strands within the level 8 core courses and the compulsory level 10 courses Scottish Studies Research Methods and Seminars in Scottish Studies.  Minor discipline-specific variations in teaching and learning methods exist within some of the contributing subject areas, although all are clearly set out in the corresponding Programme Specification Documents and the course-specific descriptions.

Assessment

Knowledge and understanding is assessed through a combination of written submissions (e.g. essays and literature reviews), oral presentations and degree examinations. Assessment in the level 8 core courses tests understanding of issues relating to interdisciplinarity, while the examination assessment for the level 10 course Seminars in Scottish Studies takes the form of a ‘general paper’ requiring students to consider ‘bigger picture’ issues emerging from the whole programme. All students are required to complete a dissertation in which ability to undertake a supervised individual research project is assessed. All assessment adheres to the University’s Extended Common Marking Scheme.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in research and enquiry

By the end of the programme students should be able to demonstrate:

  • a strong empirical knowledge base of Scottish cultural expression, past and present, and in an international context.
  • the ability to contribute positively and authoritatively to ongoing debates relating to the social and political context of cultural representation in Scotland and beyond.
  • well-developed skills in the analysis and interpretation of a range of cultural materials.
  • a sound familiarity with the principal national and international platforms for the dissemination of area studies research and thought.
  • experience of completing an original interdisciplinary investigation resulting in the production of a dissertation.
  • an enhanced ability to plan, organise and produce extended subject-specific scholarly texts.

Teaching and Learning

Illustrated lectures, small group discussions, library and online learning materials and fieldtrips/site visits all combine to nurture a strong empirical knowledge of a variety of forms of Scottish cultural expression and of dissemination platforms for area studies’ research and thought. Care is taken in the design and delivery of all contributing courses to ensure students are exposed to wider international contexts and materials. Detailed individual feedback on all formative course work submissions enhances students’ ability to produce scholarly texts, while research and study skills in the core level 10 courses provide support for dissertation work.

Assessment

Formative and summative assessment is provided for all levels of the Programme in relation to the ongoing development of the subject-specific and practical skills outlined above. The precise nature of this assessment may vary across different contributing disciplines but includes essays, oral (or audio-visual) presentations,  short reports or exercises and degree exams and all students must complete a dissertation. Bullet points 1 and 2 above are assessed in individual courses, but also ‘holistically’ in the General Paper taken in the final year (attached to the level 10 course ‘Seminars in Scottish Studies’).

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal and intellectual autonomy

The programme is designed to facilitate the development of a range of skills which will prepare students for a wide variety of professions and employment. Chief among these are:

  • written and oral communication and presentation skills.
  • listening skills.
  • interview skills.
  • time management and the importance of adhering to deadlines.
  • A reflexive approach to learning and personal development.
  • self reliance and personal responsibility.
  • A range of investigative techniques.
  • computing skills, including use of email, word processors, search and retrieval facilities, the internet and presentational packages such as Powerpoint.
  • the synthesis of evidence gathered from a variety of source types.
  • formulation and logical and critical presentation of points and arguments.

Teaching and Learning

Regular submission of written work allows for the development of written communication skills, while the presentation of the Honours dissertation represents the culmination of this development process. Study skills taught in the compulsory level 8 courses include emphasis on time management, self reliance and personal responsibility. Oral communication skills are honed in tutorial discussions and presentations, while many of the level 10 courses (including all the compulsory elements) require students to undertake a formal oral presentation. Presentation skills workshops are held for students in Year 3 (in both compulsory courses) and detailed advice and guidance documents are provided for each student. Listening skills are practised in second year level 8 courses. The group subject nature of the programme introduces students to a range of discipline-specific investigative techniques and a wide range of source types.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in communication

  1. to structure and communicate ideas effectively in both oral and written form
  2. to be a constructive and efficient member of a team
  3. to work independently
  4. to find information on and use information technology
  5. to be self-reliant
  6. to assess and respond to the ideas of others
  7. to manage time and work to deadlines
  8. to exercise leadership skills

Teaching/learning methods and strategies

All courses require written work, usually in the form of essays, and regular feedback is given to the learners in order to develop their understanding and power of expression.  Teamwork and leadership skills are acquired through active contributions to tutorials and seminars, both as group members and discussion leaders.  Time management is learned through the expectation to submit coursework by prescribed deadlines notified at the outset of each course.  Teamwork and assessment and response to the ideas of others are developed in classes, seminars and tutorials, which rely on discussion and interaction, as well as presentations by individuals and groups of students.  Independent work and self-reliance are developed during the year abroad.  IT skills are developed through University-wide training courses and individual learning.

Assessment

Effective communication of ideas is an important criterion in assessing all areas of a learner’s work, and the regular feedback and the final mark both reflect this.  Additionally, penalties are levied for late submission of essays and coursework assignments.  Structuring and communication of ideas, independent work, self-reliance, IT skills and assessment and response to the ideas of others are all assessed through regular coursework, essays and dissertations.  Although these are supervised they are nevertheless a manifestation of the independent thought and research by the learner.  IT skills are assessed through the assembly of necessary information for essays, etc. and their production on PCs.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal effectiveness

  • the confidence to rely on one’s own intellectual capacities
  • the ability to motivate oneself, to plan one’s own work, and to set one’s own goals and deadlines
  • ability to work autonomously
  • time and priority management skills
  • distinguish relevant from irrelevant considerations in argument
  • construct clearly organised arguments
  • be sensitive to ambiguity and multiplicity of meanings
  • plan, undertake and (in a scholarly and literate fashion) report on a piece of
  • self-initiated research

Programme outcomes: Technical/practical skills

Students should acquire skills that can be used in a wide variety of intellectual contexts and forms of employment. These include:

  • computing skills – the ability to use computers for word-processing, information
  • storage and for retrieving information from the world wide web
  • use of libraries – the ability to use libraries for the recovery of information, and related research skills, including the ability to discriminate between different sources of information, suggested readings, and so on.

Programme structure and features

Full details of the degree programme and structure can be found at: -

http://www.drps.ed.ac.uk/10-11/ipp/utscots.htm

Courses are taught through a combination of lectures and tutorials.  Optional courses in Years 3 and 4 are taught through seminars.

Details of Scottish Studies courses can be found at: -

http://www.drps.ed.ac.uk/10-11/ipp/cx_s_su795.htm

Entrance requirements – see

http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/undergraduate/degrees?id=3,55&cw_xml=subject.php

Progression Requirements: Students are normally expected to have gained 120 credits from each year of study. 

Students who do not progress into Honours may graduate after three years of full-time study, or a longer prescribed period of part-time study, with a B.A. in Humanities and Social Science.

Teaching and learning methods and strategies

Teaching and Learning strategies employed at the University of Edinburgh consist of a variety of different methods appropriate to the programme aims.  The graduate attributes listed above are met through a teaching and learning framework (detailed below) which is appropriate to the level and content of the course.

Teaching and Learning Activities

In Year 1

Lectures

Tutorials

In Year 2

Lectures

Tutorials

In Year 3

Lectures

Seminars

Dissertation

Oral Presentation

In Year 4

Seminars

Lectures

Dissertation

Oral Presentation

Teaching and learning workload

You will learn through a mixture of scheduled teaching and independent study. Some programmes also offer work placements.

At Edinburgh we use a range of teaching and learning methods including lectures, tutorials, practical laboratory sessions, technical workshops and studio critiques.

The typical workload for a student on this programme is outlined in the table below, however the actual time you spend on each type of activity will depend on what courses you choose to study.

The typical workload for a student on this programme for each year of study
Start yearTime in scheduled teaching (%)Time in independant study (%)Time on placement (%)
Year 125750
Year 221790
Year 312880
Year 412880

Assessment methods and strategies

Assessment

Courses can be assessed by a diverse range of methods and often takes the form of formative work which provided the student with on-going feedback as well as summative assessment which is submitted for assessment.

In Year 1

Written Examinations

Coursework Essays

In Year 2

Written Examinations

Coursework Essays

In Year 3

Written Examinations

Coursework Essays

Dissertation

In Year 4

Written Examinations

Coursework Essays

Dissertation

Assessment method balance

You will be assessed through a variety of methods. These might include written or practical exams or coursework such as essays, projects, group work or presentations.

The typical assessment methods for a student on this programme are outlined below, however the balance between written exams, practical exams and coursework will vary depending on what courses you choose to study.

The typical assessment methods for a student on this programme for each year of study
Start yearAssessment by written exams (%)Assessment by practical exams (%)Assessment by coursework (%)
Year 143750
Year 243057
Year 3351352
Year 439853

Career opportunities

A Scottish Studies degree prepares you for a career in arts development, tourism, the media, broadcasting or publishing. The skills and knowledge you gain from the course can also be used to work within government departments, heritage organisations, research or education. You can also choose to go on to postgraduate study.

Other items

  • all students are assigned a Personal Tutor on admission to the degree programme, who oversees the course of the student’s degree programme, offers advice on academic matters (including degree-progression) and should be the student’s first port of call for course-related worries or concerns
  • student opinion is actively sought through participation in Staff-Student Liaison Committees, through the election of class- and tutorial-representatives, and by the wide circulation and review of detailed student questionnaires each semester. 
  • LLC have a student support office, where students can go for advice on degree transfers, course changes, authorised interruption of studies, confirmation letters and general support. Information can be found at:

    http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/literatures-languages-cultures/current-students/undergraduate-support

  • further information about Celtic and Scottish Studies can be found at http://www.celtscot.ed.ac.uk/