Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

German MScR

Awards: MScR

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: German

A Masters by Research (MScR) programme is ideal if you have a clear idea of the independent research you wish to undertake at masters level. The programme is a good stepping stone to a PhD, but is equally of value as a stand-alone qualification.

As a Masters by Research student, you will be part of a wider masters community while specialising in what most interests you right from the beginning of the programme. This is how it is different to a taught Masters (MSc).

German was one of the first European languages to be offered at the University of Edinburgh. Since 1894, our subject area has grown into one of the University’s largest in Modern Languages and a significant centre for research.

We support a broad range of cultural and literary research themes, from the medieval period to the present.

Research excellence

In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), our research in German 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.

Join our interdisciplinary community and undertake a project comprising research assignments and a 15,000-word dissertation under the guidance of an experienced and well-published supervisor.

Our research expertise includes:

  • Bertolt Brecht
  • censorship studies
  • contemporary German literature
  • cultural and political studies and literary theory
  • Film Studies
  • Gender Studies
  • identity studies
  • LGBTQI+ representation
  • literature and culture of the Weimar Republic and the National Socialist era
  • transnational (incl. migration) writing in German
  • post-Holocaust literature
  • post-war West and East German literary and cultural studies
  • Theatre and Performance Studies
  • Translation Studies
  • travel writing
  • Turkish-German literature
  • working-class representation on film and television

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

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 Peter Davies (Series 2 - Episode 7), Professor of Modern German Studies, talking about his Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship on the role of translators and interpreters in a holocaust trial.

Browse Beyond the Books episodes and hear our research community talk about their work

This programme is delivered and assessed through:

  • two 20-credit courses on research skills, methods and problems
  • two 40-credit supervised research assignments
  • one 60-credit supervised 15,000 word dissertation

This programme includes 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.

Join in

As part of our research community, you will be immersed in a world of knowledge exchange, with lots of opportunities to share ideas, learning and creative work.

Activities range from a regular seminar series in European Languages and Cultures (with talks by staff, research students and visiting speakers), to film screenings and workshops.

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.

On campus

The Main University Library holds academic books, journals and databases. It has over 121,500 titles in German, including around 95,000 books (printed and e-books) and 5,425 journals.

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

The Centre's treasures include the Karin McPherson Collection, a unique research opportunity for postgraduate students interested in the literature and culture of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Running to some 1,000 volumes, the Collection presents a complete overview of the GDR’s literary (and sometimes broader) culture from 1949 to 1989, including internationally renowned and lesser-known writers.

Find out more about the Karin McPherson Collection

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

In the city

As a research student at Edinburgh, you will be based in a world-leading festival city with fantastic cinemas, theatres, galleries, museums, and collections.

Many of the city’s resources are located close to the University's Central Area, making them very easy to access when you are on campus. For example, the National Library of Scotland is less than one km from our School. It has outstanding German-language holdings and is a copyright library, meaning it has the right to receive a copy of every book published in the UK and Ireland.

We maintain close links with the Goethe-Institut in Glasgow, one of an international network of centres promoting German language and culture, and with the German Consulate here in Edinburgh.

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.

You should have near-native speaker competence in German.

MScR: A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a related 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:

Read our general information on tuition fees and studying costs:

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

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

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

The online application process involves the completion of a web form and the submission of supporting documents.

For a Masters by Research programme, you should include:

  • a sample of written work of about 3,000 words (this can be a previous piece of work from an undergraduate degree)
  • a research proposal - an outline of your proposed area of study, helping us gain a clearer picture of what you hope to achieve

See our guidance:

Before you apply, you should look at the interests and expertise of our research community on the programme website. This will help you decide if this programme is right for you and your supervision needs.

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