Literatures, Languages & Cultures

MSc by Research programmes

Develop your subject expertise and research skills at masters level. Choose from 14 programmes across literatures, languages and cultures.

A Masters (MScR) by Research programme is ideal if you have a clear idea for a piece of independent, postgraduate research.

It is typically completed over one year of full-time study, although a two-year, part-time option is available on most programmes (eligibility criteria apply).

On our regular pathway, you’ll attend taught classes and complete two pieces of coursework, as well as receiving training in research methods and writing a 15,000 word dissertation under expert supervision. In Scandinavian Studies, there is the option to take a different pathway in which you complete a single dissertation of 30,000 words, as well as training in research methods.

We’re here to help you shape your research to suit your interests, skills and intended career path. While many of our students go on to take a PhD, others move into careers in sectors where they can apply project management and research skills in different ways.

What can I study?

All links in our table take you to the University of Edinburgh's online Degree Finder, where you can find out more about what's involved in each MScR. 

Applications for 2024 entry are now open.

Celtic Studies Chinese
English Literature French and Francophone Studies
German Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (IMES)


Korean Studies Medieval Studies
Russian  Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies (Hispanic Studies)

Scandinavian Studies

Scottish Ethnology

Find out more

You can find out about entrance requirements, start dates, fees and scholarship opportunities for all our Masters by Research programmes on the University of Edinburgh’s Degree Finder. Degree Finder links straight through to EUCLID, the online system for applying to postgraduate programmes at the University.

Applications to start a masters programme in September 2024 are now open.

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Get in touch

Many of us work on a hybrid basis - a mixture of on-campus and digitally.

Our working hours are Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm (UK time).

Please email us in the first instance, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Email us about MSc by Research programmes

If you are holding an offer to study with us, your enquiry is best answered by the College Postgraduate Admissions team.

Email the College Postgraduate Admissions team 

Are you currently studying with us?

There’s lots more information on our LLC Student Information Hub. You will need your student log in to access the site.

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Information for current Masters by Research students

QS World Rankings by Subject 2023

Graphic with the text #3 in the UK, World Top 10

The University of Edinburgh is ranked 3rd in the UK for Modern Languages and for English Language and Literature.

We are also 3rd in the UK in the broad subject area of Arts & Humanities.

Globally, we’re in the World Top 10 for Modern Languages (7), English Language and Literature (9) and Arts & Humanities (10).

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.

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Graphic saying Top 5 in the UK for the quality and breadth of our research

The University of Edinburgh is ranked Top 5 in the UK for research in Modern Languages and in English Literature.

As reported in Times Higher Education, the rankings are based on the quality and breadth of our research in Modern Languages and the overall quality of our research in English Literature.

They come from the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) – the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

Read more about our performance in REF 2021

Where to next?

Take me to all postgraduate study options in Literatures, Languages and Cultures