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The University of Edinburgh: Nationalism in Global Perspective

Institution The University of Edinburgh View institution profile
Department School of Social and Political Science
Study type Taught


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.

Nationalism is one of the most powerful social forces of the modern era. It:

  • influences political, economic, and environmental crises

  • amplifies religious and ethnic conflicts

  • contributes to the development of democracies and dictatorships

  • inspires cultural achievements and demands for recognition

The logic of nationalism is also infused in the pressing issues of:

  • populism

  • political polarisation

  • identity politics

  • border and sovereignty disputes

A unique learning environment

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 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.

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:


  • Centre on Constitutional Change

  • Centre of Canadian Studies

  • Centre for South Asian Studies

  • Centre for Constitutional Law

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 offers students of nationalism a range of opportunities to engage with leading international scholars and practitioners in the field through a range of seminars, conferences, and workshops.

Programme aims

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.


University of Edinburgh 


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