MSc Programme

The Nationalism in Global Perspective MSc/Diploma is an interdisciplinary programme. It is designed to give students a theoretically informed and empirically grounded understanding of nationalism as a global phenomenon, while also being tailored to their specific interests within the field.

At the University of Edinburgh, we have a unique perspective on this subject. While we are deeply engaged with the debates on the national question and identity in Scotland and the UK, we nurture a global outlook on the study of nationalism.

Our programme is a recognised pioneer in the field of nationalism studies, with a rich legacy that includes over 200 graduates who have become prominent nationalism scholars and have contributed to the establishment of the University of Edinburgh as the major centre for the study of nationalism. Examples include Dr Nino Kemoklidze at the University of Chichester, (an expert on nationalism in the Caucasus); Dr Ben Wellings at Monash University (expert on Brexit and the politics of nationalism and Euroscepticism in contemporary Europe); Dr Vincent Keating at the University of Southern Denmark (expert on foreign policy and conflict); Dr Christian Wicke at Utrecht University (expert on memory and identity politics); and Dr Daniel Cetra at the University of Barcelona and Pompeu Fabra (contributing to the understanding of majority nationalism).

Nationalism in Global Perspective is co-hosted by the Department of Sociology and the Department of Politics and International Relations.

Students of the programme benefit from the proximity to high-profile centres specialising in issues relevant to the study of nationalism in the UK and around the world and with close links with the policy and media world.

Our programme is also closely linked with the Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism (ASEN). Indeed, the University of Edinburgh has hosted the first ‘regional’ branch of the Association and one of our faculty, Professor Jonathan Hearn, is the current President of ASEN.

This stimulating research environment provides a range of seminars of interest to students of nationalism, showcasing the expertise of prominent international scholars and practitioners. You will have the opportunity to meet and engage with leading academics in the field. Recent speakers have included Liah Greenfeld, Tariq Modood, Mark Beissinger, John Breuilly, Jon Fox, Montserrat Guibernau, John A. Hall, Michael Hechter, John Hutchinson, Michael Mann, Michael Ignatieff, Will Kymlicka, Siniša Malešević, Marco Antonsich and Umut Özkirimli.

The programme is a well-respected pioneer in the field with a rich legacy, which includes over 200 graduates, many of whom have become prominent scholars in the field, and have contributed to establishment of the University of Edinburgh as the major centre for the study of nationalism. It was founded in 1995 by the late Tom Nairn and David McCrone.


‘Multidisciplinary’ is the relevant term for all this. Nothing else makes sense in the study of nationalism. No-one is quite sure what the ‘-ism’ is, but practically everything else appears to be woven into it. Partly because it falls across so many academic boundary-lines, it was rarely studied systematically or as a whole. As a distinguishable academic area it dates only from the 1940s, but the zone became much better defined through the work of the late Ernest Gellner in the 1960s (a highly personal mixture of sociology, anthropology and philosophy). Since 1989 it has manifestly grown in importance, above all politically. The number of nation-states is mounting, and the number of nationalist claims is increasing even more quickly. Not before time, universities and publishers are investing more heavily in the study of the phenomenon. (Tom Nairn, UoE Magazine EDIT, Winter 1996/7, p. 19).

Nationalism MSc Edinburgh


We aim to provide students with a stimulating and intensive experience of intellectual inquiry into the phenomenon of nationalism from a global perspective. Along the way, we seek to help you further develop your skills involved in:

  • posing meaningful questions
  • articulating viewpoints
  • exchanging ideas
  • conducting research
  • communicating effectively through various media

Specifically, our programme aims to:

  • give a sense of the inter- and multi-disciplinary nature of nationalism studies
  • provide a thorough grounding in the central concepts and major theories of nationalism
  • help develop a comprehensive view of the ideas and 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 from a global perspective, helping students to think concretely about the phenomenon
  • enable students to carry out substantial independent research and write a dissertation on a topic of your interest within the field

Who this programme is for

This programme will be primarily suitable for those with some background in politics, social sciences, international relations and history.

However, the MSc is intended for anyone who wants to understand, learn, study, analyse, and critique nationalism and the complex ways in which it shapes society, social institutions, and culture worldwide.

For more, please see the programme website: MSc Nationalism in Global Perspective

Application Deadline: 30 June 2023