Scottish Literature MA

Scottish Literature student

Scottish literature is the study of the poetry, drama, fiction and prose of Scotland from the 14th century to the most contemporary work.

The University hosts the only academic unit in the UK exclusively dedicated to the teaching of, and research into, Scottish literature. We are home to the Centre for Robert Burns Studies, which is engaged in the production of a new, multi-volume, scholarly edition of the works of Scotland’s national poet. 

  • September start
  • Session dates
  • Scottish Literature MA (Hons): Q201 4 year degree

What our students say

“A broadness of eras and topics give a huge amount of insight into not only Scotland’s literary history, but also help students learn about the nation’s political and social history. I also think that the teaching staff that are part of the Scottish Literature department are some of the most friendly and helpful that I have encountered throughout my time at uni and this improves my learning exponentially.”

“I have loved every moment of my studies so far! I have found a passion for Scottish Literature that I didn’t realise I had and would more than happily recommend the course to younger students!”

Programme structure

Year 1

In your first year, you will study a wide range of texts from the past 250 years of Scottish literary history, showcasing Scotland’s contribution to world literature and the rich diversity of its literary tradition. The texts will range from eerie ballads, through historical epics, Gothic thrillers and radical contemporary works.

You will survey the work of many of the nation’s best-known writers within the context of key historical and cultural themes, while also delving into key genres in literary study, including novels and plays, poems and songs.


In Year 1, you will study two courses from Scottish Literature with courses from two other subjects. See flexible degrees.

Scottish Literature Single Honours

If you intend to study Scottish Literature as a Single Honours degree, you will need to study Level 1 English Language and Linguistics in either Year 1 or Year 2.

Year 2

You will explore the rich variety of Scottish literature from the medieval period until the end of the 18th century, including:

  • Scotland’s earliest play by David Lyndsay (c1550)
  • the great medieval “Makars” (poets) Dunbar and Henryson
  • Allan Ramsay and Robert Burns from the 18th century “Vernacular Revival”
  • the early novel
  • the ballad throughout the centuries


In Year 2, you will study two courses from Scottish Literature with courses from two other subjects. See flexible degrees

Scottish Literature Single Honours

If you intend to study Scottish Literature as a Single Honours degree, you will need to study Level 1 English Language and Linguistics in either Year 1 or Year 2.

Years 3 and 4

If you choose to study Honours (years 3 and 4) you will explore in-depth fresh approaches to Scottish literature.

You will have the opportunity to take innovative courses which include online delivery in our award-winning Robert Burns course, or special student placements in libraries, museums and other institutions as part of our Memorialising Scottish culture course. You can choose to specialise in different genres and periods from medieval literature to the contemporary scene. You will also complete a dissertation in a topic of your choice.

You will take courses making up 120 credits each year in years 3 and 4 in Single Honours Scottish Literature. For Joint Honours, you will take 60 credits in Scottish Literature each year, alongside 60 credits from your other degree subject. See flexible degrees.

Example courses

These are examples of courses you may study in Years 3 and 4. Courses may not run every academic year due to staff research interests, student interest, timetabling etc.

Programme alteration or discontinuation
The University of Glasgow endeavours to run all programmes as advertised. In exceptional circumstances, however, the University may withdraw or alter a programme. For more information, please see: Student contract.

Our international links

You can spend up to a year of your degree studying abroad, normally in your third year. Glasgow is partnered with many universities in Europe; Scottish Literature students have recently studied in Canada, Australia and Lausanne (Switzerland), and we have exchange links with Mainz (Germany) and Verona (Italy). See Study abroad.

Entry requirements

for entry in 2021

Applicants to subject-combinations with Psychology must meet the Psychology degree programme entry requirements.

Summary of entry requirements for Scottish Literature

SQA Higher Entry Requirements (by end of S6)

  • AAAAA Higher or AAAA Higher + B Advanced Higher (BBBB S5 minimum for consideration)
  • Additional requirements: Higher English and a Higher Humanities subject.

SQA Higher Adjusted Entry Requirements* (by end of S6)

  • Additional requirements: Higher English and a Higher Humanities subject. Successful completion of Top-Up or one of our Summer Schools.

* See Access Glasgow for eligibility.

A-level Standard Entry Requirements

  • AAB – BBB
  • Additional requirements: one A-level Humanities subject.

IB Standard Entry Requirements

  • 36 (6,6,5 HL) – 32 (6,5,5 HL)
  • Additional requirements: HL English and HL Humanities subject.

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

English language requirements

Important information for entry in Autumn 2020 and January 2021

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training):

  • overall score 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)

Common equivalent English language qualifications:

  • ibTOEFL*: 90; no sub-test less than: Reading: 20; Listening: 19; Speaking: 19; Writing: 23
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall: no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 176 overall: no sub-test less than 169
  • PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59
  • IGCSE: English as a First Language (0500/0522): C in Reading and Writing, plus 1 in Listening, 2 in Speaking, where applicable. All four components (listening, writing, speaking, reading) must be examined and detailed on results slip
  • IGCSE: English as a Second Language (0510/0511): A in Reading and Writing, plus A in Listening, 2/B in Speaking, where applicable. All four components (listening, writing, speaking, reading) must be examined and detailed on results slip
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII at Distinction with Distinction in all sub-tests

* Please note that TOEFL is still acceptable for admission to this programme for both home/EU and international students.

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use TOEFL to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level courses. We therefore still accept TOEFL tests taken in the last two years for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses
The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's School of Modern Languages and Cultures offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact External Relations

If you require a Tier 4 student visa, your qualification must be one of the secure English language tests accepted by UK Border Agency:

Visa requirements and proof of English language level

It is a visa requirement to provide information on your level of English based on an internationally recognised and secure English language test. All test reports must be no more than 2 years old. A list of these can be found on the UK Border Agency website. If you have never taken one of these tests before, you can get an initial idea of your level by using the Common European Framework self-assessment grid which gives you a level for each skill (e.g. listening B1/writing B2 etc.) However, please note that this is not a secure English language test and it is not sufficient evidence of your level of English for visa requirements.

For further information about English language, please see School of Modern Languages and Cultures: English for Academic Study.

Career prospects

This degree equips you with skills valuable to many employers, including skills of critical and creative thinking that set arts and humanities graduates apart. Our graduates have gone into careers in media, journalism, teaching, research, education and the heritage sector, taking jobs with the BBC, the Herald newspaper, the National Library of Scotland, national publishers and television production companies. 

Degrees and UCAS codes

When applying you will need to know the UCAS code for the subject or subject-combination that you wish to apply to:

MA (Hons)

Scottish Literature: Q201 (4 years)
Scottish Literature/Celtic Civilisation: QQF5 (4 years)
Scottish Literature/Celtic Studies: QQ25 (4 years)
Scottish Literature/Central & East European Studies: RQR2 (4 years)
Scottish Literature/Comparative Literature: Q291 (4 years)
Scottish Literature/English Language & Linguistics: QQ2J (4 years)
Scottish Literature/English Literature: QQ2H (4 years)
Scottish Literature/Film & Television Studies: QW26 (4 years)
Scottish Literature/Geography: LQ72 (4 years)
Scottish Literature/History: QV21 (4 years)
Scottish Literature/History of Art: QV23 (4 years)
Scottish Literature/Latin: QQ26 (4 years)
Scottish Literature/Mathematics: GQ12 (4 years)
Scottish Literature/Music: QW23 (4 years)
Scottish Literature/Politics: LQ22 (4 years)
Scottish Literature/Portuguese: R642 (5 years)
Scottish Literature/Psychology: CQ82 (4 years)
Apply via UCAS
Applicants must meet the Psychology requirements
Scottish Literature/Russian: QR27 (5 years)
Scottish Literature/Scottish History: QVF2 (4 years)
Scottish Literature/Sociology: LQ32 (4 years)
Scottish Literature/Spanish: RQ4M (5 years)
Scottish Literature/Theatre Studies: QW24 (4 years)
Scottish Literature/Theology & Religious Studies: QV26 (4 years)

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

How and when you pay tuition fees depends on where you’re from: see Tuition fees for details.


The University is committed to supporting students and rewarding academic excellence. That's why we've invested more than £1m in additional scholarship funding in recent years.

RUK Access Bursary 2020 Entry

The bursary supports talented students who might not be able to take a place at University for reasons of financial hardship. It is available to new entrant full-time, undergraduate students of the University of Glasgow who are fully registered for Session 2020/21, as being domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and paying annual tuition fees of £9,250 per annum.

RUK Excellence Scholarship 2020

The RUK Excellence Scholarship of £1,000 for each year of study will be awarded to first degree entrants who have attained AAA or better in one sitting at A Level (or equivalent). 

Beaconhouse Schools

The University of Glasgow offer a 15% discount on the first year of tuition fee to students from Beaconhouse Schools and who enrol on an undergraduate programme at the University of Glasgow. The discount does not apply to Veterinary Medicine, Medicine and Dentistry programmes.

The scholarships above are specific to this programme. For more funding opportunities search the scholarships database

How to apply


Full-time students must apply through the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). 

International students can also apply using The Common Application: however, if applying to more than one UK university, we recommend using UCAS.

Application deadlines

  • 15 October: if including Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine or also applying to Oxford or Cambridge
  • 15 January: all other UK/EU applicants (unless otherwise stated on the UCAS website)
  • 30 June: international (non-EU) students

We do not usually accept any applications after these deadlines.

It's your responsibility to ensure the accuracy of your application before submission. Requests to correct application content, change degree programme or change college of entry, will not be accepted after these deadlines. This policy is in place to ensure fairness and consistency to all applicants, and no exceptions will be made.

How to apply for Advanced Entry

Apply for year 2 (Y2) on your UCAS application. If the specific subject is unavailable for Advanced Entry or your application for year 2 entry is unsuccessful, you will be automatically considered for year 1 entry. You do not have to submit a separate UCAS application.

Apply via UCAS

More information about this programme


Students satisfied

Discover Uni, January 2020
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