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Free online course

Robert Burns: Poems, Songs and Legacy

Dig deeper into the life and works of Robert Burns, with this free University of Glasgow course.

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, starting from when you join
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course for as long as it exists on FutureLearn
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Robert Burns: Poems, Songs and Legacy

Why join the course?

If you’ve ever welcomed in the New Year with a rendition of “Auld Lang Syne” or enjoyed a whisky and haggis on Burns Night, you’re likely to be one of the thousands, nay millions, of fans of Robert Burns around the world.

Now you can celebrate the poems, songs, and legacy of the great Scottish poet in a new way - with this free online course from the University of Glasgow, which begins in January, the month in which we commemorate the poet’s life.

Learn how an 18th-century Scottish poet became a global icon

Over three weeks, we’ll introduce you to the life and works of Robert (“Rabbie” or “Robbie”) Burns, exploring three core questions:

  • Who was Robert Burns?
  • What made Robert Burns a poetic genius?
  • And what made Robert Burns a global icon?

In the process, you’ll examine archive material, original publications and manuscripts by Burns himself, recordings of Burns songs and examples of objects used to commemorate the poet. You’ll also look at and learn to interpret a selection of Robert Burns’s works in the context of Scottish history and culture. Poems and songs covered in the course include:

  • Auld Lang Syne
  • To a Mouse
  • To a Haggis
  • Ae Fond Kiss
  • A Red Red Rose
  • Scots Wha Hae
  • A Man’s a Man for a’ That
  • The Vision

Setting things in a wider context, you’ll also develop your understanding of Robert Burns’s reputation - from the rise of Burns Clubs and Burns Suppers following his death, to the continuing celebration of the poet today through Burns Night, Hogmanay (New Year) and beyond.

Learn with Scotland’s leading experts on Robert Burns

You’ll learn with experts from the Centre for Robert Burns Studies at the University of Glasgow, which leads the world in the academic study of the poet, his life and works, the history and culture of the period in which he lived, and his ongoing legacy.

So join us on 23 January 2017 for a new look at a world-famous poet.

If you want to find out a bit more about Robert Burns now, have a look at this post on the FutureLearn blog from Gerard Carruthers about the conspiracy theories that surround the poet.

Download video: standard or HD

What topics will you cover?

This course explored:

  • The cultural reputation of Robert Burns as patriot, lover, and man of the people
  • Robert Burns as poet and songwriter
  • Major works such as ‘Scots Wha Hae’, ‘Ae Fond Kiss’, ‘A Man’s a Man’, ‘The Vision’, and ‘Auld Lang Syne’
  • The commemoration of Burns in material culture
  • The international celebrity and legacy of Burns

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

  • Explore the poems, songs and legacy of Robert Burns
  • Discuss the reputation of Burns as a national and international poet
  • Collaborate with other learners in researching and mapping examples of Burns's global reach
  • Develop an understanding of Burns's place in Scottish literary tradition
  • Engage with diverse media related to the study of Burns, including poems, song recordings, videos, images, maps, and manuscripts

Who is the course for?

No previous experience or qualifications are required for this course - just an interest in Robert Burns, Scottish history and culture, or poetry and song in general.

Who will you learn with?

Gerard Carruthers

Professor Gerard Carruthers FRSE is Francis Hutcheson Chair of Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow.

Catriona Macdonald

I'm Reader in Late Modern Scottish History at the University of Glasgow. I'm also leading a research project on political poetry in the 19th and 20th centuries... hence the interest in Burns.

Pauline Mackay

Lecturer in Robert Burns Studies at the University of Glasgow's Centre for Robert Burns Studies

Ronnie Young

I am a University Teacher in Scottish Literature and educator on/co-ordinator of the 'Robert Burns: Poems, Songs and Legacy' course with Futurelearn.

Who developed the course?

Founded in 1451, the University of Glasgow is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world. It is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of leading UK research universities.

Buy a personalised, digital and printed certificate and transcript

You can buy a Certificate of Achievement for this course — a personalised certificate and transcript in both digital and printed formats, to prove what you’ve learnt. A Statement of Participation is also available for this course.

Certificate of Achievement + transcript £49.00

Statement of Participation £34.00

Estimate prices in preferred currency

Charges to your account will be made in GBP. Prices in local currency are provided as a convenience and are only an estimate based on current exchange rates.