Language, Culture and History: Scandinavian Studies MA

London, Bloomsbury

Develop your understanding of Scandinavian culture in a global context while learning a Nordic language through this degree. The Language, Culture and History: Scandinavian Studies MA is taught at UCL, home to the UK’s largest centre in Scandinavian studies with one of the best libraries on Scandinavia outside of the region. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn or improve your knowledge of Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian or Swedish.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
Applicants who require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 05 Apr 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Applicants who do not require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 30 Aug 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard in a relevant discipline.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 4

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

This degree allows students to examine the Nordic world in depth from a variety of different angles, including acquiring advanced translation skills, or studying Nordic cinema, Nordic literature in a global perspective, the transnational politics of the region, and material cultures as well as modules on Viking and medieval Scandinavia. Assessed modules are supplemented with workshops providing opportunities for networking and career development in publishing, translation, film-making, and the heritage and creative sectors.

Students with no or limited prior knowledge of a Scandinavian language (Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic, or Old Norse) may be able, subject to approval by the programme and module convenors, to audit an undergraduate Scandinavian language module at the appropriate level. This module cannot be taken for credit counting towards the MA degree.

Who this course is for

This MA can serve as a stepping-stone between undergraduate studies and PhD research for students specialising in Nordic Studies. It is also ideal as a one-year professional development opportunity for those working in a field in which knowledge of Scandinavian culture is important: for example, design, publishing, politics or commerce.

What this course will give you

UCL Scandinavian Studies is the largest independent centre in the UK. Our research and teaching encompasses the languages, literatures, cultures, histories and politics of the entire Nordic region, ranging from the Viking Middle Ages to the present day.

UCL boasts excellent subject specific facilities and one of the best Scandinavian Studies libraries outside Scandinavia. Close links with universities in mainland Scandinavia, Iceland and Finland provide further benefits. With 83% of SELCS-CMII research activity being graded 4* ‘world leading’ and 3* ‘internationally excellent’ in the REF 2021.

We are home to Norvik Press, the UK's only press specialising in Nordic literature and culture, and to the Viking Society for Northern Research, the world's foremost learned society in the field of medieval Scandinavian studies.

The foundation of your career

In the UK and abroad, the Nordic countries are increasingly recognised for the success of their political and social model, and for their film, literature, food and design. Our MA graduates bring their deep understanding of Scandinavian culture to careers in which knowledge of the region is key: publishing, the arts, commerce and information management.

Expertise in Nordic languages is rare in the UK, and employer demand is accordingly high. Our MA allows students to hone their Nordic language skills or to try a new language. Many of our graduates launch careers with translation companies and as freelancers.


An MA in Scandinavian Studies offers prospects for employment in the private as well as in the public sector, whether in Scandinavia or in the English-speaking world.

Modern Languages graduates are highly valued by employers for their linguistic and cultural knowledge, and for their set of transferable skills. Such as the ability to speak, understand and write in a foreign language, intercultural understanding, translation and communication skills.

Our graduate students are to be found in a range of challenging careers, which include work in IT and management, museums and university teaching.


Our location offers students access to special collections in modern languages and culture at UCL and other world-class libraries nearby such as Senate House and the British Library. 

These resources, besides their collections of books, articles, videos, sound recordings and non-public online resources, offer a wide range of seminars, lecture series and other opportunities to exchange ideas. Other libraries and research centres within walking distance of campus include the British Museum, Institute of Languages, Cultures and Societies, Institute of Historical Research and The Warburg Institute.

UCL Careers also offers a range of services, providing access to skills development, recruitment and networking events.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and private study. The third term is devoted to revision sessions and the dissertation project. 

A 15-credit module is equivalent to 150 hours of study and a 30-credit module is equivalent to 300 hours. This includes contact time, private study and the undertaking of coursework assignments.

Students are assessed by a variety of methods, which may include coursework, presentations, written essays, unseen examinations and the research dissertation. Teaching sessions are interactive, with a limited amount of lecturer presentation and an emphasis on student participation and critical discussion.

For a full-time postgraduate course, we recommend around 20-25 hours of independent study per week. Contact hours may vary depending on module choices, but full-time students will have approximately 8-10 contact hours each week during term time, spent in lectures and seminars.

For a part-time postgraduate course, contact hours would usually be 4-6 hours per week across 2-3 days and we recommend around 10-12 hours of independent study per week.

Those undertaking language modules may have additional contact hours. There is minimal teaching during Term 3, as students focus on the dissertation and assessments.

A Postgraduate Diploma, one core module (30 credits), three optional modules (90 credits) full-time nine months or part-time two years, is offered. A Postgraduate Certificate, one core module (30 credits), one optional module (30 credits) full-time three months, part-time six months, is offered.


The MA Language, Culture and History can be studied full-time for 1 year and students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

There are seven language routes on the MA programmes:

  • Dutch Studies pathway
  • French and Francophone Studies pathway
  • German Studies pathway
  • German History pathway
  • Italian Studies pathway
  • Scandinavian Studies pathway
  • Hispanic Studies pathway

You will take core modules, which comprise of four seminars of five weeks each. The core module course is designed to work as a postgraduate-level foundation module and will provide you with specific skills to research and write essays. You will then choose two modules from your language specific pathway and one optional or elective module.

These modules set the foundation of the whole MA, preparing you for further learning and for your dissertation. During Term 2, you will start formulating your dissertation proposal. In Term 3, you will be developing your dissertation outline and structure, with support from your supervisor. You will give a presentation to your peers and tutors on your dissertation proposal to help cement your argument and subject area to cover. This is a non-assessed compulsory element of your MA. You will then spend the summer researching and writing your dissertation on a topic of your choice.

The MA Language, Culture and History can be taken part-time, across two years. Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

In Year 1, you will take compulsory modules, which are designed to work as a postgraduate-level foundation module and to provide you with the specific skills to research, write essays and the dissertation. You will also choose modules from your language specific pathway. These modules set the foundation of the whole MA, preparing you for further learning and for your dissertation.

In Year 2, you will take optional modules and continue to formulate and develop your dissertation with support from your supervisor. You will give a presentation to your peers and tutors on your dissertation proposal, this is a non-assessed compulsory element of your MA. You will then spend the summer of year two researching and writing your 12,000 word dissertation on a topic to be determined in discussion with your supervisor.

Compulsory modules

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MA in Language, Culture and History: Scandinavian Studies. Upon successful completion of 120 credits, you will be awarded a PG Dip in Language, Culture and History: Scandinavian Studies. Upon successful completion of 60 credits, you will be awarded a PG Cert in Language, Culture and History: Scandinavian Studies.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £15,100 £7,550
Tuition fees (2024/25) £31,100 £15,550

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website:

Additional costs

All full time students are required to pay a fee deposit of £1,000 for this programme. All part-time students are required to pay a fee deposit of £500.

Additional costs may include expenses such as books, stationery, printing or photocopying, or conference registration fees.

The department strives to keep additional costs low. Books and journal articles are usually available via the UCL library (hard copies or via e-journal subscriptions).

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

For more details about departmental funding available to MA students in the department, including the UCL Anglo Norse Society Postgraduate Scholarship, please refer to our MA Scholarships webpage.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Next steps

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Scandinavian Studies at graduate level
  • why you want to study Scandinavian Studies at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of a challenging programme
  • what you expect to get out of the programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.