Department of European Languages and Cultures

About us

Welcome to the Department of European Languages and Cultures (DELC) at the University of Edinburgh.

We teach degree programmes in French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish, and offer courses in Basque, Catalan, Icelandic, Nynorsk and Old Norse.

Our undergraduate MA (Hons) programmes take four years to complete, including a full year studying or working abroad in Year 3. All programmes can be taken on a single honours basis, or as a joint honours programme combining a language with one of a range of other subjects in the arts, humanities and social sciences. Most can be taken with no prior knowledge of the language. 

Our interdisciplinary postgraduate environment brings together our expertise in European languages with teaching and research in film, literature, theatre, the other arts, and translation. Programmes span a range of eras and themes, from medieval literatures to gender.

Contact us

Open Language courses in French, German, Icelandic, Italian and Spanish are free to all University of Edinburgh students. You can take one at any stage of your undergraduate or postgraduate programme. Each course lasts one semester and can be taken for 20 credits or for extra credit, depending on your other study commitments. Foundation 1 classes are suitable for complete beginners.

Find out more about Open Language courses


Over the course of 2022, we were saddened to hear of the deaths of two former colleagues in European Languages and Cultures: Derek Wagg (Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, formerly Hispanic Studies) in April; and Sheila Wagg (née Millar; German Studies) in September. Former student Susan Harrison pays tribute. 

Read Susan's tribute to Derek and Sheila

QS graphic on orange background, text reads #3 in the UK, World Top 10

QS World Rankings by Subject 2024

The University of Edinburgh is ranked 3rd in the UK for Modern Languages.

Globally, we’re in the World Top 10 for Modern Languages.

The Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings are based on research citations and the results of major global surveys of employers and academics.

They are International Ranking Expert Group (IREG) approved.

Browse the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2024 on Top Universities

DELC Creative is a space for everyone in European Languages and Cultures to come together, practise our languages, and do something creative.

Read Babble Issue 10 - colours

Prospective undergraduates

We offer a range of undergraduate courses in the study of European languages as a stand alone course, or in conjunction with another area of study.

Choose from a wide range of taught interdisciplinary and research-led programmes, from one-year masters degrees to PhDs.