Our MLitt in Scandinavian Studies is a specialist, interdisciplinary programme investigating the history, language, literature, religion, culture and society of Viking and Medieval Scandinavia.

This programme is studied on campus.

This MLitt will appeal to you if you are interested in the literature, history, language and culture of the Scandinavian-speaking peoples and particularly if you wish to gain an interdisciplinary insight into early Scandinavian Studies.

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month

What You'll Study

If students do not wish to undertake the full Master’s Degree, other exit points include the Postgraduate Certificate (based on undertaking 60 credit points, 40 of which much be at level 5), or the Postgraduate Diploma (based on 120 credit points, 90 of which must be at level 5).

Semester 1

Semester 1

In the first semester students will take:

HI 502J Old Norse Language, Literature and Culture

Note: Students with appropriate proficiency in Old Norse should take alternative non-Norse courses from the list of electives, in consultation with the programme coordinator.

Plus either TWO of the following 15 credit electives:
HI 501D Palaeography I (15 credit points)
SN 1003 Scandinavian Language (Swedish) 1 (15 credit points)
LT 1009 Latin 1 (15 credit points)
BU 5068 Business for Arts (15 credit points)

or ONE of the following 30 credit electives:
HI 502K Special Subject (30 credit points)
AY 5005 Viking Archaeology (30 credit points)

Note: Other relevant elective modules chosen from the course catalogue may be taken with the permission of the programme co-ordinator and course co-ordinator.

Compulsory Courses

Old Norse 1: Language, Literature and Culture (HI502J) - 30 Credit Points

Old Norse was also the primary literary language of the Scandinavian Middle Ages, notably the Icelandic sagas and skaldic and eddic poems. This course will provide the basic linguistic tools needed to read Old Norse texts, and some background about the history of the language and its links with other languages. No prior knowledge of Old Norse is assumed. This course uses Old Norse literature, in particular the sagas and Eddas, to introduce aspects of early Scandinavian culture, including literature and pre-Christian religion. Download Course Guide

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Optional Courses

Palaeography i (HI501D) - 15 Credit Points

A postgraduate student of medieval and early modern history or literature often needs to be able to use unedited literary and archival sources, or to check the completeness and accuracy of existing editions. Medievalists often need to consult material available only in later copies, extracts and antiquarian notes. To do so, you must be able to read pre-modern scripts. This course is designed to give students the necessary skills to use manuscript sources for themselves, whatever their date, describe manuscripts, and transcribe texts. Assessment is by exercises and a final essay. Download Course Guide

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Swedish 1 (SN1003) - 15 Credit Points

Sweden is the largest Scandinavian country and is known for e.g. technology (from dynamite to Skype), culture (from Vikings to Abba and Stieg Larsson), tourism (from snowy mountains to red cottages) and politics and society (from UN to corporate social responsibility).

By learning Swedish you acquire a new language, but maybe also a new way of thinking, and an interesting twist to your CV.

Teaching in this course is interactive and you will learn to communicate in a friendly environment by practising to listen, speak, read and write (and why not sing?) and also get some cultural insight.

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Latin 1 (LT1009) - 15 Credit Points

LT1009 is an introductory, intensive course for those with little or no previous exposure to Latin. Students completing this course should have a Latin vocabulary of about 400 words and a basic understanding of Latin grammar and syntax. Students successfully completing this course will be adequately prepared to attend LT1507. Students will very likely discover that their knowledge of English vocabulary and grammar/syntax is improved by their study of Latin. The etymological roots of many English words can be traced to the Latin language. Download Course Guide

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Business for Arts (BU5068)
Special Subject (HI502K) - 30 Credit Points

This course allows you to do in-depth study in a specific area in History or a related subject agreed upon with your programme coordinator. It may be offered in conjunction with you sitting in on level 3 or 4 lectures relating to the subject material, with additional individual tuition. Download Course Guide

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Viking Archaeology (AY5005) - 30 Credit Points

In their brief 300-year heyday, the peoples of Viking-Age Scandinavia transformed the northern world, and themselves. This course explores the Vikings at home, abroad, and in their new homes overseas in the developing colonies of the diaspora that stretched from the coasts of North America to the Asian steppe. In lectures and seminars, with hands-on classes looking at the finds, students will consider themes such as settlement and social structure, urbanism and commerce, pagan and Christian religion, and the political process that created the modern nation states of Norway, Sweden and Denmark

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Featured Project

Centre Research Projects

Semester 2

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses

Old Norse 2: Language, Runes and Place Names (HI552J) - 30 Credit Points

This course develops your Old Norse skills by reading more complex texts such as skaldic and eddic poetry, runes and unnormalised Old Norse texts. Poetry and runes give a fascinating insight into the Old Norse world before the introduction to Christianity and during the Conversion period which is not represented by unbiased prose works. In addition, students will gain a basic insight into runology and toponymy, and will be presented with the latest positions in research in these fields. Download Course Guide

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Research Preparation in Historical Studies (HI5594) - 15 Credit Points

This course consists of a mixture of two-hour group seminars and shorter one-to-one supervision with the member of staff best equipped to advise you on your dissertation topic. It will involve detailed discussion of your research ideas and planning with the aim of providing the fullest preparation for researching and writing the dissertation in the summer and research beyond. Fundamental to the success of the course are mutual feedback and support within the student group. Download Course Guide

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Semester 3

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

Dissertation in Historical Studies (HI5915) - 75 Credit Points

An individually supervised project with a 18,000-word dissertation for students to complete their MLitt qualification

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Course Availability

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

MLitt students are part of our lively, collegial and rigorous research community at the Centre for Scandinavian Studies. You are encouraged to participate in the Centre’s stimulating programme of weekly research seminars, including papers from external speakers and postgraduate workshops. Other activities of the Centre include field trips to Scandinavian sites and archives, and student symposia to exchange ideas and practice conference presentation skills. We also have regular social events to foster discussion in a more informal environment.

The taught component of the programme takes place in the autumn and spring, and you will write your dissertation, with one-on-one guidance from your supervisor, during the summer. Teaching is delivered in small-group classes where discussion and active participation is encouraged. You will have regular contact with experts in the field. In addition, students normally have access to a shared study space at the Centre, and a subject library.

Learning Methods

  • Group Projects
  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops

Assessment Methods

The programme is assessed by a variety of means but focuses on research-led essays in the relevant subject areas, with some courses including presentations; language courses are assessed by a mixture of in-class assessment and exam.

Why Study Scandinavian Studies (Viking and Medieval Studies)?

  • Aberdeen has experts with a wide range of specialisms within early Scandinavian Studies including: Dr Hannah Burrows, Professor Ralph O'Connor, Professor David Dumville, Dr Charlotta Hillerdal, and Dr Frederik Pedersen.

  • MLitt students are an important part of the Centre for Scandinavian Studies' lively research culture. The Centre's programme of research seminars allows interaction with external and internal speakers and offers you further training opportunities.

  • The programme offers a broad and interdisciplinary overview of the field of early Scandinavian Studies, while allowing students to specialise in themes and topics of particular interest.

  • There is a focus on using primary sources and helping students to read texts in their original language(s) from the beginning.

What Our Students Say

Benjamin Harrison

Benjamin Harrison

Benjamin Harrison

The teaching has been excellent and the staff are always happy to help or discuss a question. The atmosphere of the Centre is incredible as well, where the MLitts are welcomed and encouraged just as much as the PhDs are.

Jess Trumbull

Jess Trumbull

Jess Trumbull

I chose to pursue my degree at the University of Aberdeen because of the location and the great reputation of the staff and program. The program is turning out even better than I had expected, and I look forward to the continued work with everyone.

Entry Requirements

For more information about the application process, including details about which supporting documents you will be asked to provide, please click here.


The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

Candidates must normally have an Honours degree to at least 2.1 standard in an appropriate discipline or equivalent qualifications and experience.

Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

English Language Requirements

To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 6.0; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0


OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 21; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 51; Reading - 54; Speaking - 51; Writing - 54

Cambridge English Advanced & Proficiency:

OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 169; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme. If you have not yet completed your current programme of study, then you can still apply and you can provide your Degree Certificate at a later date.

Degree Certificate
a degree certificate showing your qualifications
Degree Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
Personal Statement
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU / RUK Students £6,700
Tuition Fees for 2019/20 Academic Year
International Students £15,900
Tuition Fees for 2019/20 Academic Year

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Funding Opportunities

You can also find funding opportunities advertised on the University’s funding database.

The James Carnegie maintenance scholarship for postgraduate students is available with this degree.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.


The MLitt in Scandinavian Studies is robust preparation for a variety of careers. You will develop your skills in critical thinking, independent and team work, oral and written communication, problem solving, and project management, among others. A high proportion of our MLitt students have gone on to study for a PhD, at Aberdeen and elsewhere. Others work in teaching and in various roles in the Higher Education sector.

Interdisciplinary study of early Scandinavia

Aberdeen is one of very few places in the UK to have a dedicated Centre focusing on Viking Age and medieval Scandinavian studies in interdisciplinary perspectives

What our Alumni Say

Tiffany White

Tiffany White

Tiffany White

Graduated 2015

I enjoyed the close-knit community at the Centre, as well as the many Scandinavian events put on by the university's Nordic Society. The MLitt adequately prepared me for a future academic career and entrance to the PhD program at UC Berkeley.

Sam Thompson

Sam Thompson

Sam Thompson

Graduated 2016

The centre for Scandinavian Studies has an incredibly welcoming atmosphere and I feel like I made some lifelong friendships during my time there. I have been well prepared for an academic future and I hope to start working on a PhD soon.

Our Experts

Other Experts
Professor Ralph O'Connor
Professor Jane Geddes
Professor David N. Dumville
Dr Frederik Pedersen
Dr Charlotta Hillerdal
Programme Coordinator
Dr Hannah Burrows

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.


Students on the MLitt in Scandinavian Studies will study on the on the university’s beautiful Old Aberdeen campus. The Centre has a growing specialist library in early Scandinavian Studies in addition to the holdings in the main University library, and MLitt students have access to a shared study space.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

School of Divinity, History and Philosophy
University of Aberdeen
50-52 College Bounds
AB24 3DS