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Culture and Society in the Scottish Enlightenment

Explore 18th Century Edinburgh and its world-leading ideas


Subject area








Credit level




Credits available






03 August - 14 August 2020




2 weeks


Contact hours




Course pre-requisites


Aged 18 or above


Language requirements


IELTS 5.5 (with a minimum of 5.0 in each component) or equivalent






Accommodation inc.








Application deadline


31 May 2020




This course will let you explore the culture and society of 18th century Edinburgh and how this context led to the major developments in the Scottish Enlightenment.
You will be introduced to the social, political, and religious thought of the period and investigate key areas of development in the Scottish Enlightenment, including philosophy, aesthetics, medicine, and literature. Special consideration will also be given to the influence of Scottish thinking on America, and the circumstances which led to the eclipse of Enlightenment thinking.

Course Description    

The course is interdisciplinary: thinkers such as David Hume and Adam Smith studied and wrote on a wide range of academic disciplines, on the basis that each discipline is helpful to shed explanatory light on the others. This is a traditional Scottish approach to study, which predates the Scottish Enlightenment – and it is the approach which this course will adopt. As philosophy was the central discipline of the Scottish Enlightenment, a philosophical approach will be used to consider each of the other key themes and developments.  
You will consider the enduring relevance of the Enlightenment, including current approaches to its study, and areas of contemporary debate among scholars. This approach will let you enhance your critical, discursive and analytical skills.
There will be the opportunity for guided tours of museums and galleries, as well as locations in Edinburgh which relate to the period of the Scottish Enlightenment. You will also take part in a philosophical walking tour of Edinburgh, visiting key sites and locations across the city, and helping you understand the context of the ground-breaking developments of this period.

For more detailed information on course content please see the Culture and Society in the Scottish Enlightenment Syllabus.

Non-Credit Courses

Culture and Society in the Scottish Enlightenment is a non-credit course. Our non-credit courses have no academic eligibility criteria, and have a lower English language requirement. Anyone can study our non-credit courses, they are particularly suitable if you:

  • have a minimum level of English at 5.5 IELTS or equivalent
  • wish to pursue an interest with guidance and feedback from an experienced tutor
  • do not require a course that offers academic credit.


Before applying for Introduction to Sociology please ensure you meet the following criteria:

Academic requirements


  • n/a


Language requirements


  • Evidence of language ability equivalent to IELTS 5.5


Age requirements


  • Applicants must be aged 18 or over


The fee for this course is £1,529. 

This fee includes:

  • Tuition fees for the two-week course
  • Course materials and equipment
  • Academic trips and excursions
  • Social programme 

Additional fees may apply for visa applications. These are not included in your course fee.

The course fee does not include accommodation. To find out more about available accommodation options on our Accommodation page.

As part of your application process, you will be required to pay a £500 deposit. The deposit payment will be redeemable against your course fee. After a 14 day cooling off period, the deposit is non-refundable. You will receive information on how to pay your deposit during your application process.



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