With debate continuing over Scotland’s political status, this Masters degree in Scottish Literature examines the role of literature in shaping the image and reality of the nation. You’ll learn to view Scottish writing, from a perspective shaped by critical theory, as well as traditional literary history.

Ranging across four centuries of the Scottish literary imagination, this course explores key figures, texts and debates from the period of Regal Union (1603) to the present – often placing literary writing at the heart of cultural and political debate.

You’ll look at a full range of writers, texts and debates from the early modern period to the present – including the works of Robert Burns, Walter Scott and James Hogg, right through to contemporary authors such as James Kelman, Janice Galloway and Kathleen Jamie. We’ll also explore the work of Robert Louis Stevenson, Nan Shepherd, Muriel Spark and too many others to mention.

Class discussion examines the complex means by which national literary identity is sustained, renewed and reconsidered – as well as the role of novelists and poets in integrating Scottish identity into the ever-evolving project of ‘Britishness’. There’s an emphasis on critical debate, and we’ll question some of the assumptions that go along with studying a national literary tradition.

No previous experience in studying Scottish Literature is required. Leading Scottish writers and critics feature prominently in assigned reading, alongside key insights from book history, literary criticism and political theory.

Top reasons to study with us

#1 You’ll study across four centuries of Scottish literature

#2 We cover a wide range of writers, texts and debates

#3 No previous experience in studying Scottish Literature is required

Course details

The core modules of this course provide a thematic and historical overview, along with exploring Scottish Romantic and Modernist writing in relation to specific themes of authenticity, representation and democracy.

Option modules allow you to pursue deeper knowledge of specific texts and issues. Full-time students take one optional module each semester, and part-time students take options in Year 2 of their course.

It’s also now possible to study Scottish Literature jointly with Creative Writing. If you choose this pathway, you’ll take ‘critical’ modules in Scottish Literature alongside creative writing workshops.


During the semester, we run a number of lively literary seminars for students and staff alike, in which writers, staff members, postgraduate students and distinguished visiting scholars give papers on their work and special interests.


The most significant piece of work on the course will be a dissertation of 15,000 words. This is written during the summer, on a subject of your choosing in consultation with a member of teaching staff. You can also develop work initiated on one of the modules you’ve studied.

Course director

Dr Scott Hames

+44 (0) 1786 466205


Fees - 2018/2019

  • Overseas £15,250
  • Home/EU £4,700
Program taught in:
  • English

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Last updated November 14, 2018
This course is Campus based
Start Date
12 - 27 months
4,700 GBP
Home/EU: £4,700 - Overseas: £15,250
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