Ethnology and Folklore, MLitt

Ethnology and Folklore, MLitt


MLitt Ethnology and Folklore is unique in the UK. It develops a broad understanding of Ethnology, Folklore and Ethnomusicology, and offers introduction to material culture, custom, belief, song, music, narrative, childlore, games, sports and pastimes. The programme has an emphasis on Scottish Culture.

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
Subject marketing image

The course will develop a broad-based understanding of how Ethnology and Folklore evolved and their approaches to the major genres of study: material culture, custom and belief, oral narrative, song, childlore and games, sports and pastimes.

Through case-studies of Scottish material, the course will show how the concepts of ethnology and folklore can be used to investigate important issues in contemporary society. Graduates from a variety of backgrounds will gain a sound knowledge of the concepts, skills and methodologies of ethnology and folklore, whether in preparation for doctoral research, or as an end in itself.

It is the only course in the United Kingdom designed to prepare appropriate candidates from any discipline for doctoral research in Ethnology and Folklore in a Scottish context with a North-East and North focus.

What You'll Study

Stage 1

Compulsory Courses

History, Genres & Methodologies of Ethnology & Folklore (EF5003)

30 Credit Points

This course introduces students to key elements in the study of Ethnology and Folklore.

Perspectives on Tradition, Identity, and Fieldwork (EF5004)

30 Credit Points

This course is divided into three strands: ‘Perspectives on Tradition’, ‘Perspectives on Identity’, and ‘Perspectives on Fieldwork’. These three strands come together to show how concepts from the disciplines of Ethnology and Folklore may be theoretically and practically applied to contemporary society.

Stage 2

Compulsory Courses

Oral Traditions (EF5503)

30 Credit Points

This course examines many of the principal oral genres historically studied in the disciplines of Ethnology and Folklore through seminars and guest-artist performances.

Intellectual & Practical Approaches to Scottish Contexts (EF5504)

30 Credit Points

This course explores contemporary issues in Ethnology, Folklore, and Ethnomusicology from a Scottish perspective.

Stage 3

Compulsory Courses

Dissertation in Ethnology & Folklore (EF5901)

60 Credit Points

This is a substantial, fieldwork based, analytical research dissertation of 20,000 words, excluding endnotes, bibliography, and appendices. Students will consult with the appropriate course tutor(s) in choosing the subject area for a dissertation before the beginning of the study period.

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 £22,400
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year
Home / RUK £10,600
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 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

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

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

By course work, by written examinations, or by a combination of these, as prescribed for each course, and by submission of a dissertation (MLitt candidates only). The degree of MLitt shall not be awarded to a candidate who fails to achieve a CGS Grade of D3 or above in EF 5901, irrespective of their performance in other courses.

Why Study Ethnology and Folklore?

  • The programme is taught by the Elphinstone Institute, a centre for the study of Ethnology, Folklore, and Ethnomusicology at the University of Aberdeen. Established in 1995 in celebration of the quincentenary of the university's founding, the Institute researches and promotes the culture of the North and North-East of Scotland in context.
  • The Institute is a centre for research and graduate study, with a Taught MLitt (Master’s) degree in Ethnology and Folklore recognized by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and supervision for the research degrees MLitt Res, MPhil, and PhD.
  • Staff and students use ethnographic methodologies to explore ideas of identity and belonging, meaning and function, drawing on an exceptional heritage of traditional music, ballad and song, story, lore and language, alongside the dynamic creativity of those who live and work here today.
  • We are interested in how traditions and cultures are created, adapted, reinterpreted and renewed, to meet new and challenging circumstances, whether here or abroad.

Entry Requirements


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

Normally a good undergraduate degree in a humanities or social science subject.

References are not required in order for applicants to submit an application. They are not usually required in order for a decision to be made but in certain cases applicants may be asked to provide a single academic reference at the request of the academic selector.

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 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


There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success. The Careers and Employability Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.

Our Experts

Programme Coordinator
Dr Thomas McKean

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.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

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