2022 entry

MA Italian and Spanish

UCAS code: RR34

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Italian and Spanish

This programme allows you to study two complementary European languages in the context of the diverse cultures and societies of the countries in which they're spoken. Beyond Italy and Spain, the programme is your gateway to the history and literature of Latin America.

Intensive language tuition, including a year spent studying or working abroad, will develop your ability to read, write and speak both languages to a high standard, including in translation.

Our language programmes are also extremely flexible. In Years 1 and 2, you will choose from a broad list of courses in addition to your core subjects. You can, for example, opt to study Basque or Catalan.

Why Edinburgh

Both Italian and Spanish have been taught here since 1919, and have been part of our tradition for many years, as far back as the 18th century.

We are unique in Scotland in offering students a full academic year abroad within the four-year honours programme, regardless of whether you spend the year studying or working.

One of the most attractive characteristics of this programme is its flexibility.

In Years 1 and 2, you will choose option courses from a wide range of disciplines in addition to your core subjects of Italian and Spanish. This may enable you to change the focus of your programme in Years 3 and 4.

Year 1

In Year 1 you will develop spoken and written skills in both Italian and Spanish, and study aspects of literature and culture.


You will study the foundations of the Italian language, both written and spoken.

You will also take courses in Italian:

  • history
  • literature
  • cinema


Depending on your language skills, you will study either:

  • Spanish 1A
  • Spanish 1B

You will also study a selection of literary texts and films from the Spanish-speaking world.

Option courses

You will also choose from a wide range of option courses.

These include, but are not limited to, courses in:

  • business
  • politics
  • social policy
  • informatics
  • economics
  • history (including art and architectural history)
  • classics
  • archaeology
  • philosophy
  • linguistics
  • divinity

Year 2

You will build on the language skills that you developed in Year 1.

You will also learn more about Italian and Hispanic literature and culture.

Option courses

As in Year 1, you will choose from a range of option courses.

These include a great selection in European languages and cultures, allowing you to study literature, film and theatre in themed and comparative contexts, or to learn Basque or Catalan.

Year 3

If international travel restrictions allow, you'll spend Year 3 abroad, dividing your 30 weeks between Italy and a country in which Spanish is spoken.

You will spend at least eight weeks in each country, either studying or completing a work/teaching placement.

Whether studying or working, our graduates have told us how much the year abroad has benefited their broader life experience and skills, as well as their understanding of Italian and Hispanic cultures.

During your year abroad, we'll aim to ensure your experience is as beneficial as possible to your final year, as well as to your wider language learning, cultural awareness and skills development.

For example, you'll take e-learning courses which will count as part of your Year 3 mark and prepare you for your Year 4 language courses.

If international travel is not possible, you will be offered an alternative means of engaging with your subjects, enabling you to meet your learning outcomes and preparing you for your final year.

Year 4

You will combine advanced language courses with your choice of specialist option courses in Italian and Spanish.

These include courses in Italian and Hispanic:

  • film
  • literature
  • history
  • politics
  • language


You will also complete your dissertation or long essay.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2021/22)

Our facilities

Teaching takes place in and around the University of Edinburgh's Central Area, where we have excellent:

  • computing and audiovisual resources
  • support services
  • social spaces

Events and activities

There is plenty to see and do throughout the year, including at the nearby Italian Cultural Institute and through the Spanish Consulate in Edinburgh.

You can join student societies for Italian and Spanish, and contribute creative writing in both languages to our online magazine, Babble. We also stage annual Italian and Spanish plays.

The city

Edinburgh is a world-leading festival city filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections. These include outstanding Italian and Spanish holdings in the National Library of Scotland and National Galleries of Scotland.

Edinburgh's European cinema scene is also particularly strong, with annual festivals for both Italian and Spanish film.

Study abroad

If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad, dividing your 30 weeks between Italy and a country in which Spanish is spoken.

You will spend at least eight weeks in each country.

This is your chance to immerse yourself in Italian and Hispanic culture. It will allow you to develop broader life experience and skills that you can use after university.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

Experienced lecturers and language instructors will teach through a combination of:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • computer-assisted learning

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed by a combination of exams and coursework, including:

  • presentations
  • podcasts
  • posters
  • oral exams

Studying languages and cultures to degree level, especially when you spend a year abroad, gives you a set of skills and life experiences highly prized by employers.

Our employment statistics for language graduates are impressive. Our graduates can be found in every sector, especially those that require disciplined and imaginative thinking.

These include:

  • publishing
  • banking
  • journalism
  • teaching
  • IT

With a qualification in Italian and Spanish, you will understand two languages of international communication, including one of the most widely spoken in the world.

Many of our former students are working in roles where language skills are of special value, such as:

  • outreach
  • education
  • translating
  • interpreting

This includes for multinational companies, political institutions, and other organisations in the European Union and beyond.

Further study

There are also opportunities to continue studying at postgraduate level. Year 4 will help you to develop the research skills needed if you choose this path.

There are many graduate-level programmes available, particularly in the UK, US, Italy, Spain and the Hispanic world.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAA-AABB by end of S5 or AAAA-AAAB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAA - ABB.
  • IB: 37 points with 666 at HL - 34 points with 655 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: Italian or Spanish at B. National 5s: English at C.
  • A Levels: Italian or Spanish at B. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: Italian or Spanish at 5. SL: English at 5.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

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


For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • SQA Standard Grade at 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 at A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 at C
  • GCSE/IGSCE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate Grade C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

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

  • IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition) 92 or above with 20 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components.

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

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

English language requirements

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA Italian and Spanish

Additional costs

If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad. Your costs will depend on where you decide to go, and how you spend your time.

Universities may charge you a fee for courses, but we will reimburse you for this, as long as the course has been approved. You will be informed about costs as you plan your year abroad, during Year 2.


For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding