Viking and Medieval Nordic Studies, MLitt

Viking and Medieval Nordic Studies, MLitt


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

Study 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

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.

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).

Stage 1

Information for part-time students: This route will run over two years. Students will take a maximum of 180 credit points over the two years. Between 60 and 105 credit points must be taken in Year 1. The dissertation must be taken in Year 2 in addition to between 0 and 60 credit points depending on the choices made in Year 1. Courses taken in Year 1 cannot be taken again in Year 2. PD5006 must be taken in year 1. HI5915 (dissertation) must be taken in year 2. The following compulsory courses can be taken in years 1 or 2: HI502J and HI5594. A further 60 credits should be selected from the electives offered in the stage 1 and stage 2 tabs.

Compulsory Courses

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.

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.

Optional Courses

Select either TWO of the following 15 credit electives:

  • (HI501D) Palaeography I (15 credit points)
  • (SN1003) Swedish 1 (15 credit points)
  • (LT1009) Latin 1 (15 credit points)

or ONE of the following 30 credit electives:

  • (HI502K) Special Subject (30 credit points)
  • (HI502T) Engaging with Historiography (30 credit points)
  • (HI503A) Directed Reading in History (30 credit points)
  • (AY5005) Viking Archaeology (30 credit points)
  • (AY5001) Northern Worlds (30 credit points)

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

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.

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.

Latin 1 (LT1009)

15 Credit Points

Latin 1 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 Latin 2. 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.

Northern Worlds (AY5001)

30 Credit Points

In a series of research-led lectures and seminars, students investigate what characterises the Archaeology of the North from environmental, socio-cultural, and ideological aspects. We examine several inter-locking themes, from the first colonisations of the North tracing how these earlier populations established the cultural, ethnic and religious diversity that define later periods. Students will be introduced to the ecological characteristics of higher latitudes, and examine the diverse ways in which communities have made the Northern World their home. We also examine how human communities have responded to climate changes in the past, resilience and adaptation, technology, and spirituality amongst Northern peoples

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

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.

Engaging with Historiography (HI502T)

30 Credit Points

Students work closely with a member of staff to develop a detailed knowledge of and write a critical survey of the literature in their chosen field. This helps students develop research skills required for the literature review in the dissertation, but will be much broader in scope to ensure they have a secure grasp of the relevant research in their field. The course enhances students' ability to identify and engage critically with a body of literature and improve their skills in academic writing appropriate to postgraduate work.

Directed Reading in History (HI503A)

30 Credit Points

A directed reading course for taught postgraduate (PGT) students in History who wish to pursue a particular line of scholarly inquiry supportive of an existing taught postgraduate programme but not otherwise available on existing PGT courses.

Stage 2

Compulsory Courses

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.

Optional Courses

Select either ONE of the following 30 credit electives:

  • (HI552K) Special Subject (30 credit points)
  • (HI552R) Presenting Historical Research (30 credit points)
  • (HI553A) Directed Reading in History (30 credit points)
  • (HI552M) Old Norse 2: Language, Individuals and Society (30 credit points)
  • (AY5505) The World of Vikings (30 credit points) (subject to student numbers)
  • (AY5501) Northern Peoples and Cultures (30 credit points)

or TWO of the following 15 credit electives:

  • (HI552G) Independent Reading (15 credit points)
  • (HI552L) Approaching Archives (15 credit points)
  • (LT1507) Latin 2 (15 credit points)
  • (SN1503) Swedish 2 (15 credit points)

NB Only two of SN1003, LT1009, LT1507, SN1503 may be taken, in any appropriate combination.

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

Independent Reading In Historical Studies (HI552G)

15 Credit Points

This course allows a student to do in-depth study in a specific area in History agreed with the course coordinator. You will be allocated a supervisor and through a series of meetings pursue in-depth reading on a topic and write a 4000-word essay on that subject.

Approaching Archives (HI552L)

15 Credit Points

What is an archive and how can it be used? Students are introduced to some archives in Aberdeen and learn how to make best use of these important resources for research. Seminars investigate the history and philosophy of archival collections, and how they relate to museums, libraries and galleries; approaches to the evaluation of contents of archives and qualitative analyses of specific collections. Assessment is based on a 5000-word essay in which students are asked to identify and analyse material from a specific archive which may be in Aberdeen, or elsewhere in Scotland, the UK, or abroad.

Latin 2 (LT1507)

15 Credit Points

Latin 2 picks up where Latin 1 finished in first term. By the end of this course students should have a more or less comprehensive understanding of Latin syntax and grammar, a Latin vocabulary of 700-800 words, and should be capable of translating simple Latin texts into idiomatic English. Students will very likely discover that their knowledge of English vocabulary and grammar/syntax is improved by their study of Latin.

Swedish 2 (SN1503)

15 Credit Points

Building on Swedish I, you will continue to learn to speak, listen, read and write in Swedish. We will now use a more complex language - for instance we will use more adjectives to describe things, and start using subclauses. By extending your vocabulary as well as working with grammar, by the end of the course you should be able to communicate on European language level A2.

As before, teaching is interactive with a lot of speaking practice in class and in the end of the course you are invited to actively take part of our midsummer cultural tutorial.

Northern Peoples and Culture (AY5501)

30 Credit Points

In a series of text based student-led seminars we study past Northern Peoples and Cultures through key topical debates, characteristic for different cultural regions and time periods. In the seminars students examine a range of northern contexts, from prehistory to more recent times all over the Circumpolar North. Students encounter topics as versatile as animal domestication in Northern Eurasia, Scandinavian Vikings, and Colonial North America illustrating the diversity of life and thought in Northern communities. Each seminar will also explore how particular key issues have become central to the 'identity' of archaeological research in the respective areas

The World of Vikings (AY5505)

30 Credit Points

The last centuries of the Scandinavian Iron Age, c. 750-1050, is the dynamic era in which Norse peoples made a lasting impression on Northern European and indeed world history. We call it the Viking Age. It was characterised by a society in transition – between Pagan beliefs and Christianity, Iron Age Chiefdoms and Medieval States, Thing and Law. In this course we explore the impacts that the Vikings had on Northern European society through the ancient artefacts and places they left behind. In addition to biweekly seminars, this course lets you meet the Vikings in their World through a week-long field trip where we will explore how society, landscape, economy and worldview was radically changed by the Viking Age.

Special Subject (HI552K)

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.

Old Norse 2: Language, Individuals and Society (HI552M)

30 Credit Points

This course develops students' Old Norse skills, building on those gained in Old Norse 1, by studying more advanced language topics and introducing more complex texts such as poetry, runes and unnormalised Old Norse. Poetry and runes can offer a fascinating insight into the pre-Christian Old Norse world and present opportunities to consider the mediality and challenges of a variety of source types. In addition, students will read and discuss a variety of sources for thinking about early Scandinavian society will consider the latest positions in research in the field.

Presenting Historical Research (HI552R)

30 Credit Points

Students complete the course with an enhanced ability to present convincing academic arguments and research findings in writing and, particularly orally. They improve their critical engagement with the research and arguments of other historians.

Students attend research seminars and write a seminar comparison report, fostering engagement with the process of presenting arguments and research findings.

Following training in presentation skills, students present their dissertation proposals in a workshop, recording their presentation using Camtasia, and respond to questions from staff and students. Students then write a reflective analysis of their presentations.

Directed Reading in History (HI553A)

30 Credit Points

A directed reading course for taught postgraduate (PGT) students in History who wish to pursue a particular line of scholarly inquiry supportive of an existing taught postgraduate programme but not otherwise available on existing PGT courses.

Stage 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

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.

Fee Information

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £22,000
Tuition Fees for 2023/24 Academic Year
Home / RUK £9,964
Tuition Fees for 2023/24 Academic Year

Additional Fee Information

  • 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.


Eligible self-funded international Masters students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Visit our Funding Database to find out more and see our full range of scholarships.

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 Viking and Medieval Nordic 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.

Jessica Nutt

Jessica Nutt

Jessica Nutt

The lecturers and moderators were beyond helpful, and have made my experience at Aberdeen amazing. The course was eclectic, fascinating, and highly engaging, and I think I've learnt more in this past year than I ever thought possible.

Gerardo Sánchez

Gerardo Sánchez

Gerardo Sánchez

This interdisciplinary programme is perfect if you would like to specialise in any aspect of Medieval Scandinavia: language, literature, archaeology... There is a vast range of options with a vast range of experts willing to assist you.

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 - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 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


The MLitt in Viking and Medieval Nordic Studies is robust preparation for a variety of careers. You will develop your skills in critical thinking, independent and teamwork, 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
David Norman 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 Viking and Medieval Nordic Studies will study 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 shared study space.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Student Recruitment & Admissions
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
AB24 3FX