Michael Scott was born and brought up in the fishing towns of Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, and Hull. He went on to study Political Science at Liverpool University, where he met his lifelong partner, Gill. After moving to Glasgow in 1969, he undertook full-time research at Glasgow University's Politics Department before turning to teaching at Glasgow Caledonian University. While a full-time lecturer he attended evening classes at the Glasgow School of art under the tutelage of John Boyd.
Scott first exhibited his work at the Royal Glasgow Institute in 1978, where he would continue to show at their annual exhibition until 1992. During the 1980s and 1990s, his paintings were frequently accepted for exhibition in the summer shows at the Royal Academy, in London, and at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh. In 1990, he was elected a professional member of the Society of Artists and Artist Craftsmen. By 1997 demand for his had become so great that he decided to resign from his teaching post and turn to painting full-time.
Throughout the last two decades of his life he exhibited annually at the Portland Gallery in London, at Roger Billcliffe Fine Art in Glasgow and at The ContemporaryFine Art Gallery in Eton. His paintings are now held in private collections throughout the world.