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Course content


In literature as in politics, Scotland’s national status ‘is both dangled before us and tantalisingly withheld’ (Don Paterson)

The Stirling Masters course views Scottish Literature in the light of this ambiguity, and embraces the many questions it invites us to explore. We explore 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. Class discussion examines the complex means by which national literary identity is sustained, renewed and re-considered – not forgetting the role of novelists and poets in integrating Scottish identity into the project of Britishness.

This is the only Masters course of its kind. As debate intensifies over Scotland’s cultural and political identity, the time is ripe to examine the role of writing in shaping the image and reality of the nation.

Key information

- Degree type: MLitt, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma

- Study methods: Full-time, Part-time

- Duration: Full-time: MLitt-12 months, PG Diploma-9 months, PG Certificate 4 months Part-time: MLitt 27 months, PG Diploma-21 months, PG Certificate-9 months

- Start date: September

- Course Director: Dr Scott Hames and Dr Suzanne Gilbert

Course objectives

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.

We examine 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 (and not forgetting Robert Louis Stevenson, Nan Shepherd, Muriel Spark, and too many others to mention). The programme has an emphasis on critical debate, and questions 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.

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 minimum in each skill

- Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C

- Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade C

- Pearson Test of English (Academic): 54 with 51 in each component

- IBT TOEFL: 80 with no subtest less than 17

For more information go to English language requirements https://www.stir.ac.uk/study-in-the-uk/entry-requirements/english/

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard. View the range of pre-sessional courses http://www.intohigher.com/uk/en-gb/our-centres/into-university-of-stirling/studying/our-courses/course-list/pre-sessional-english.aspx .

Delivery and assessment


The most significant piece of work on the course will be a dissertation of 15,000 words, written during the summer on a subject of your choosing in consultation with a member of teaching staff. You may choose to develop work initiated on one of the modules you have studied. Those who do not embark on the dissertation may be awarded a Diploma. The work of the best students completing the course may be deemed worthy of an MLitt with Distinction.


In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.


Over half of our submissions in the latest Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) were found to be ‘Internationally Excellent’ or ‘World-leading’.

Visit the MLitt in Scottish Literature page on the University of Stirling website for more details!






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