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Course content

Programme description

This is an interdisciplinary programme designed to give you an understanding of nationalism that is broad in scope and theoretically informed, while also tailored to your specific interests within the field.

Here in Edinburgh we have a unique perspective on the study of nationalism. The recently established national-level democratic institutions, along with the independence debate, give you a first-hand view of the cultural, historical and political background of nationalism.

This programme also addresses the conflict and oppression that can be engendered through nationalism, and the global changes that can be brought about by national identities, ideologies and interests. You’ll gain a comprehensive knowledge of the central concepts and major theories of nationalism, and identify key issues and problems through comparative and case study approaches.

Along the way, you’ll be supported by expert staff and the resources of the University’s respected centres of study, such as the Centres of African Studies, Canadian Studies and South Asian Studies, and the subject areas of Politics and International Relations, Economic and Social History, and Social Anthropology.

Programme structure

The programme will be delivered through lectures, seminars, group work and guided independent study.

You will complete two compulsory courses and four option courses then work towards an independently researched dissertation.

Learning outcomes

The programme aims to:

  • impart an appreciation of the multidisciplinary nature of nationalism studies
  • provide a thorough grounding the central concepts and major theories of nationalism
  • give students a comprehensive view of the ideas of key figures in the field
  • convey the need to understand nationalism in the context of long-term, historical social change
  • identify key issues and problems in comparative and case study approaches to the study of nationalism
  • provide explorations of a variety of substantive cases of nationalism, helping students to think concretely about the phenomenon
  • enable students to carry out substantial independent research and write a dissertation on a topic of their interest within the field

Career opportunities

This programme is the ideal foundation for advanced study and a possible academic career. In addition, the transferable skills you gain in areas such as communication and research will give you an edge in the employment market, whatever your eventual career.


Visit the Nationalism Studies (MSc) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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