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MLitt Scottish Literature

Examine the role of writing in shaping the image and reality of Scotland as a nation. Study across four centuries of Scottish literature on this Masters degree.

Scottish Literature
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Key facts

  • Award Masters / MLitt, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
  • Start date September
  • Duration MLitt full-time: 12 months, MLitt part-time: 27 months
  • Mode of study Part-time, Full-time, Campus based, Stand-alone modules

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
  • Flexible learning

    If you’re interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email Graduate Admissions to discuss your course of study.

  • Research

    Research in the Division of Literature and Languages scored impressively in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, with 81 percent of our research viewed as world leading or internationally excellent. In the 'Research Impact' category of the assessment, almost 90% of our work was considered internationally excellent.

  • Academic requirements

    A minimum of a second class Honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

  • English language requirements

    If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

    • IELTS 6.0 with 5.5 in each skill
    • Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) 169 overall with a minimum of 162 in each sub-skill
    • Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE) 180 overall with a minimum of 162 in each sub-skill
    • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 54 overall with a minimum of 51 in each sub-skill
    • IBT TOEFL 78 overall with a minimum of 17 in listening, 18 in reading, 20 in speaking and 17 in writing
    • Trinity ISE II Pass overall with a Pass in each sub-skill, ISE III Pass overall and in all sub-skills, ISE IV Pass overall and in all sub-skills

    Last updated: 5 December 2019

    For more information on ways that you can meet our English language requirements, including options to waive the requirement, please read our information on English language requirements.

  • Pre-sessional English language courses

    If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

    Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses.

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.



The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery in the next academic intake of this course. These may be subject to change as the University regularly revises and refreshes the curriculum of our taught programmes.

Course Details

  • Teaching

    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.

  • Assessment

    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.

  • Classroom hours
    Example timetable

    The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.


    Regal Union to Empire (MSWPP01)

    Thur: 13.00-15.00 (weeks 1-6)

    Renaissance to Present (MSWPP10)

    Thur: 13.00-15.00 (weeks 8-12)

    Option module – days / timings will vary depending on choice.


    Romantic/Modernist Engagements (MSWPPO2)

    Thur: 14.00-16.00 (fortnightly)

    Training for Masters in the Arts and Humanities2 ARTPP02 

    Mon:15.00-17.00 (fortnightly)

    Option module - days / timings will vary depending on choice.

    Please note this is an illustrative timetable, and not the timetable for 2017/18.

  • Course director
  • Fees and costs

    Fees shown are per year (fees are different for each course)


    Home/EU Students

    Fees shown are for full-time, one-year Masters course*

    If you’re domiciled in Scotland, you may be eligible to apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for a loan of up to £10,000 to cover your tuition fees and associated living costs. Students domiciled in the EU can also apply for tuition fee support, although may not be eligible to receive funding to support living costs.

    If you're domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, you should be eligible to apply for a loan from your regional body.

    English students apply for a loan of up to £10,609 per year as part of the UK Postgraduate Loan Scheme, Welsh students can apply for a non-means tested loan of up to £13,000 from the Welsh Government and Northern Irish students are eligible to apply for support of up to £5,500.

    *Fees for students who apply for a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate will be paid on a pro-rata basis.

    If the course is taken over two years then the fee will be split evenly over the two years. Fees are not pro-rated for students who enrol on a Masters course and decide to exit with a Postgraduate Diploma - the full fee is charged.


    Overseas (Non-EU) Students

    Fees shown are for full-time, one-year Masters course. Fees for students who apply for a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate will be paid on a pro-rata basis.

    If the course is taken over two years then the fee will be split evenly over the two years. Fees are not pro-rated for students who enrol on a Masters course and decide to exit with a Postgraduate Diploma - the full fee is charged.


    Please note: You will be liable to pay tuition fees for every year you’re in attendance, and your fees will be held level upon entry. If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

  • Scholarships and funding
    Postgraduate Merit Scholarship

    The University of Stirling is offering any UK or European Union student with a First Class Honours degree (or equivalent) a £2,000 scholarship to study full-time on any taught Masters course, or £1,000 for part-time study

    If you have the talent, ability and drive to study with us, we want to make sure you make the most of the opportunity – regardless of your financial circumstances.

    Learn more about available funding opportunities or use our scholarship finder to explore our range of scholarships.

  • Additional costs

    There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

  • Cost of living

    If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

    EU and overseas students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

    Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

  • Payment options

    We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay

Advanced education in the Arts, and the practical experience of researching and producing a dissertation, will give you significant transferable skills that can be applied across a wide range of careers. Our graduates have gone on to a variety of roles in recent years, including research, teaching, journalism, photography and editing. Many others have progressed on to study a PhD.

  • Employability skills

    We offer a comprehensive employability and skills programme to help you maximise your time at university and develop the attributes that employers look for. In the Faculty of Arts and Humanities we have a dedicated Employability and Skills Officer. The University of Stirling’s Careers and Employability Service also works in partnership with academic staff to ensure you get the most out of your University experience, and are ready for the employment market.

    A literature degree is acknowledged by potential employers as offering important skills, such as motivation, intelligence and the ability to meet deadlines. Although literature is not a specifically vocational degree, it offers a number of important transferable skills, such as the ability to write clearly, effectively, accurately and persuasively.

    Seminar discussion and oral presentations are required by many of our modules, and help to develop your spoken communication skills. The critical and reflexive study of a variety of texts – both literary and non-literary – teaches you how to analyse and interpret complex information, and how to apply abstract concepts and theories. Our criteria for assessment also teaches you how to synthesise conclusions, assimilate existing research and construct and defend an argument clearly and cogently.

    Throughout the course you’re also trained to use library and bibliographic resources effectively and appropriately to reference accurately – as well as how to present your work professionally. All of these skills are essential to many kinds of work.

Niamh Mackenzie
The course almost chronologically takes you through some of the most important figures and movements in Scottish Literature, spanning a long time period, but I specifically enjoyed the optional modules, for example, the importance of landscape and place within Scottish literature.
Niamh Mackenzie
MLitt Scottish Literature
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I relished the opportunity to study Scottish Literature in-depth after doing a more general undergraduate in English Literature and dive head first into an array of Scottish texts canonical, under-researched and extremely contemporary.
Lilith Johnstone
MLitt Scottish Literature
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