MA Chinese and Spanish
UCAS code: BR34
Duration: 4 years
School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures
College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
Introducing MA Chinese and Spanish
This programme enables you to study two major world languages in the context of the histories, literatures and societies of the many countries, globally, in which they're spoken.
Between them, Chinese and Spanish have over two billion native speakers and are your gateway to a vast range of cultures in Europe, Latin America and East Asia.
Edinburgh is the only university in Scotland to offer both single and joint honours undergraduate honours programmes in Chinese, enabling you to learn modern standard Chinese in the context of Chinese history, literature, culture, politics and international relations, past and present*.
Likewise, you'll learn the Spanish language while exploring Spanish and Latin American literature and cinema, fascinating political history and social movements.
Both subjects will develop your skills in translation, reading, writing and oral communication, including through a year abroad in either China or Taiwan and a Spanish-speaking country.
Employers recognise the importance of both languages and the benefits of a broad intercultural education. Our graduates are prized for their capability to act as bridges of understanding between Chinese, Spanish and Latin American and British cultures.
*(Revised 17 November 2020 to update the Edinburgh honours programme offer.)
You will study Chinese 1, an introduction to modern spoken and written Chinese. If you already have some knowledge of the Chinese language, you may qualify to enrol in Chinese 2A, an intermediate-level Chinese course.
You will study Modern East Asian History B, an introduction to the modern history of China, and the skills development course, Academic Skills for Asian Studies.
You will study either Spanish 1A or 1B, depending on your language skills, and a selection of literary texts and films from the Spanish-speaking world.
In the Year 2 Chinese language classes, you will continue to learn Chinese and explore Chinese culture.
You will begin to learn classical Chinese and modern Chinese translation skills.
In addition to developing your language skills, you will be taught a range of research skills and complete an independent project in Chinese studies.
You will continue to develop your spoken and written language skills in Spanish and to study Spanish and Latin American culture.
You'll spend Year 3 abroad, dividing your 30 weeks between either China or Taiwan and a country in which Spanish is spoken. You will spend at least eight weeks in each country.
In China or Taiwan, you will study at a university. In Spain, or other Spanish-speaking country, you will either study or complete 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 East Asian 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 an e-learning course in Spanish, which will count as part of your third year mark and prepare you for your Year 4 Spanish courses.
You will continue to study Chinese language, focusing on advanced skills in speaking, reading and writing, and building on your existing translation skills.
Alongside the Chinese language, you will be able to choose from courses on film, politics, modern and pre-modern history, literature, contemporary Chinese society and economic history.
You will also develop advanced language skills in spoken and written Spanish, including through the submission of a long essay in Spanish, and choose a course from a wide range of specialist options on Spanish and Latin American history, literature, film and culture.
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.
Teaching takes place in and around the University of Edinburgh's central area in a world-leading festival city bursting with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections.
These include outstanding Spanish holdings in the National Library of Scotland and the University’s EUL Chinese and East Asian Studies Collection of some 50,000 print and digital resources.
Edinburgh's world cinema scene is particularly strong, with an annual Spanish Film Festival and plenty to see and do throughout the year, including events supported by the Confucius Institute for Scotland and Spanish Consulate in Edinburgh.
The University has excellent computing and audiovisual resources, support services and social spaces, including many in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures.
Our Chinese Studies Peer Support Group is a valuable social learning resource, and the Students’ Association provides further scope to get involved in social learning, including through its Tandem Language Exchange Programme.
We stage an annual Spanish Play, and publish student work in Spanish in Babble, our online creative writing magazine for European languages.
You will spend Year 3 abroad, dividing your time between a country when Spanish is spoken and either China or Taiwan. You will spend at least eight weeks in each country.
This is your chance to immerse yourself in East Asian and Hispanic culture, and to develop your broader life experience and skills towards life after university.
How will I learn?
The Chinese and Spanish languages are taught by qualified and experienced native and non-native speakers. Class size varies depending on the skills being taught.
Cultural courses (for example on history, film and literature) are taught through lectures, seminars and tutorials by experts in their respective fields.
How will I be assessed?
Over the course of your programme, you will be assessed through a combination of written exams, in-class exercises and coursework, including essays, reports, presentations, podcasts, posters and other projects.
Find out more about this programme's aims, what you will learn, how you will be assessed and what skills and knowledge you will develop.
To give you an idea of what to expect from 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.
Studying languages to degree level, especially when you spend a year abroad as part of your studies, gives you a set of skills and life experiences highly prized by employers.
Graduates are in high demand in a wide variety of sectors, from the finance and banking industries, businesses and non-profit organisations at a range of scales, to the media, tourism, culture, government and the civil service.
Many Chinese-speaking graduates are currently recruited by companies based in East Asia, an increasingly powerful player in the global economy.
With Scotland's strategy to enhance engagement with China, opportunities for employment are increasing closer to home, too. These include opportunities in translation, interpreting and education.
With a qualification in Spanish, you’ll know a major language of international communication, one of the most widely spoken in the world. You’ll be well-placed to seek opportunities in the 20 countries where Spanish is an official language, and the numerous multinational companies and institutions for which it is a working language.
There are also opportunities to continue studying at postgraduate level. Throughout the degree programme, you will learn a range of research skills which are necessary for further study but which are also highly-transferable in a wide range of contexts.
Standard entry requirement
The standard entry requirement is:
- SQA Highers: AAAA-AABB by the end of S5 or AAAA-AAAB by the end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.(Revised 08/04/2020 from AAAA-AAAB and to include alternate grades to be achieved by end of S6.)
- A Levels: AAB - ABB.
- IB: 43 points with 776 at HL - 37 points with 666 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.
The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:
- SQA: Highers: Chinese or Spanish at B. National 5s: English at C.
- A Levels: Chinese or Spanish at B. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
- IB: HL: Chinese or Spanish at 5. SL: English at 5.
Please note that the Chinese degrees involve beginners language study and are not suitable for native or near-native speakers.
We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of 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.
SQA, GCSE and IB
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.
*(Revised 27 April 2020 to include TOEFL-iBT Special Home Edition.)
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.
You will spend Year 3 at a university in Taiwan or China and in a Spanish-speaking country. You will spend a total of 30 weeks abroad and are required to spend a minimum of eight consecutive weeks in each country. This is a compulsory part of your programme.
Costs will vary according to the location. Some scholarship money may be available from external sources, on a competitive basis, for students studying in China.
For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.
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