Postgraduate study
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Translation Studies PhD

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Translation Studies

Doctorate-level study is an opportunity to expand upon your interests and expertise in a community that really values research; and to make an original, positive contribution to learning in translation studies.

One of the most flexible doctoral programmes of its kind in the UK, our PhD enables you to enhance your translation practice while gaining an intellectual and philosophical perspective on the activity of translation, developing you as a self-reflective and theoretically-minded researcher or​ translator.

Join our community and undertake a specialised research project under the guidance of experienced and well-published supervisors - you can opt to produce an independent thesis, or an extended scholarly translation with commentary.

Research excellence

In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), our research in Translation Studies was submitted in Modern Languages and Linguistics (Panel D - Arts and Humanities; Unit of Assessment 26).

The results reaffirm Edinburgh’s position as one of the UK’s leading research universities - third in the UK.

As published in Times Higher Education's REF power ratings, this result is based on the quality and breadth of our research in the unit of assessment.

Research areas

Our expertise covers a wide range of interdisciplinary and international research areas and many languages. We encourage PhD scholars to investigate translation’s intersections with intellectual, material and political perspectives in global contexts.

We have particular strengths in:

  • audiovisual translation
  • literary translation
  • translation and music
  • translation and art / intermediality
  • performance and translation
  • translation and religion
  • translation and history
  • trauma and translation
  • gender and translation
  • translation and health
  • translation and the environment

Explore our range of research centres, networks and projects in Translation Studies

Languages offered

  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • Danish
  • French
  • German
  • Hindi
  • Japanese
  • Norwegian
  • Persian
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
  • Tamil
  • Turkish

We typically offer the languages above, but not necessarily on a year-on-year basis due to staff commitment and leave.

Go beyond the books

Beyond the Books is a podcast from the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC) that gives you a behind-the-scenes look at research and the people who make it happen.

Listen to a mix of PhD, early career and established researchers talk about their journey to and through academia and about their current and recent research. Guests include Dr Charlotte Bosseaux (Series 2 - Episode 6) talking about her AHRC-funded research on the ethical demands of translating accounts of trauma.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhDTranslation Studies3 YearsFull-timeProgramme structure 2024/25
PhDTranslation Studies6 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2024/25

This programme includes optional training on research skills, methods and problems.

Between the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC), the Careers Service, and the Institute for Academic Development (IAD), you will find a further range of programmes and resources to help you develop your postgraduate skills.

You will also have access to the University’s fantastic libraries, collections and worldwide strategic partnerships.

Our graduates tell us that they value LLC’s friendliness, the connections they make here and the in-depth guidance they receive from our staff, who are published experts in their field.

As one of our PhD candidates, you will be part of a friendly international community which partners the International Postgraduate Conference in Translation and Interpreting (IPCITI) and has its own seminar series for postgraduate students, staff and visiting speakers, as well as hosting regular symposia and conferences such as 'Whose Voice is it Anyway?'.

We are an official Higher Education Language Partner of the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) and a member of the RWS Campus - Trados Academic Partner Program.

We have great links with the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and with many industry and cultural partners in the city of Edinburgh.

On campus

As a student here, you will have borrowing rights to over two million volumes in the University's Main Library, which subscribes to the 'Bibliography of Translation Studies' database.

The Library is also the home of the University's Centre for Research Collections which brings together:

  • more than 400,000 rare books
  • six kilometres of archives and manuscripts
  • thousands of works of art, historical musical instruments and other objects

Many of our Special Collections are digitised and available online from our excellent Resource Centre, Computing Labs, and dedicated PhD study space in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC).

In the city

Our world-leading capital city is a treasure trove of cinemas, theatres, galleries, and museums, consulates and cultural institutes, and established communities of non-English speakers.

Highlights include the National Museums and Galleries of Scotland, the National Library of Scotland, the Scottish Poetry Library and the Scottish Storytelling Centre.

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

A UK 2:1 honours degree and a masters degree with distinction (first class or excellent), or their international equivalents, in a relevant subject.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 62 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhDTranslation Studies3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhDTranslation Studies6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

There are a number of scholarship schemes available to eligible candidates on this PhD programme, including awards from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Please be advised that many scholarships have more than one application stage, and early deadlines.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH
Programme start date Application deadline
6 January 2025 31 October 2024

If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit two references with your application.

Pre-application guidance

Before you formally apply for this PhD, you should look at the pre-application information and guidance on the programme website.

This will help you decide if this programme is right for you, and help us gain a clearer picture of what you hope to achieve.

The guidance will also give you practical advice for writing your research proposal – one of the most important parts of your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH