Postgraduate taught 

English Language & Linguistics MSc

Introduction to Older Scots (PGT) ENGLANG5098

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This Masters course offers an introduction to the forms and functions of the Scots language in medieval and early modern times. We discuss the spelling, sound system and grammatical features of Older Scots on the basis of handwritten, printed and electronic versions of texts produced in Scotland between 1380 and 1700, and address its relationship with English dialects and the emerging standard.


10x2h integrated lecture-seminar sessions.

This course may be taught in conjunction with ENGLANG4038, as scheduled on MyCampus.


This is one of the MSc options in English Language and Linguistics and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Excluded Courses






Essay (4000 words) - 80%

Set exercise on Moodle, checking the students' grasp of the linguistic features of Older Scots - 20%

Course Aims

This course will provide students with the opportunity to:

■ become familiar with a range of linguistic features of Older Scots (1380-1700)

■ engage with a wide range of original texts and electronic databases and corpora

■ develop specialist analytical skills in recognising and interpreting linguistic variation

■ explore the relationship between Scots and English in the medieval and early modern context

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ provide a detailed outline of the main formal and functional characteristics of Older Scots (1380-1700)

■ analyse and critically assess samples of literary and non-literary texts in their original format to answer questions about developments in spelling, sound and grammar of the language

■ summarize, illustrate and critically evaluate approaches to the relationship between Scots and English in medieval and early modern times.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.