Undergraduate study - 2021 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 enables you to study two complementary European languages in the context of the histories, literatures, cultures and societies of the countries in which they're spoken. Beyond Italy and Spain, the programme is your gateway to the rich literature and culture of Latin America.

Intensive language tuition, and a year spent studying or working in Italy and a Spanish-speaking country, will teach you how to read, write and speak both languages to a high standard, including in translation*.

Another attractive characteristic of this programme is its flexibility. This means that in Years 1 and 2, you will choose option courses drawn from a broad list of disciplines in addition to your core subjects. You can, for example, opt to study Basque or Catalan in Year 2.

From student societies to cultural institutes, you will find many places in Edinburgh to indulge your interest in two of Europe's most influential cultures, while enjoying the cinemas, theatres, libraries and galleries of one of its favourite festival cities.

*(Revised 28 August 2020 to remove, "You do not need to have studied Italian or Spanish previously to take our programme." as this conflicted with required subjects info.)

Year 1

In Year 1 you will study Italian, Spanish and a third course from a wide range offered by the University of Edinburgh.

You will develop your spoken and written language skills and will study aspects of literature and culture.

Year 2

You will build on the language skills you developed in Year 1 and learn more about Italian and Hispanic literature and culture.

As in Year 1, you will also choose option courses from a wide range offered by the University of Edinburgh. 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 explore Basque or Catalan.

Year 3

You will spend Year 3 abroad, dividing your 30 weeks between Italian and Spanish, and spending at least eight weeks in a country relevant to each language, either studying or completing a work/teaching placement.

Whether studying or working, our graduates have told us how much the year abroad has benefitted their broader life experience and skills.

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

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

Year 4

In Year 4 you will choose courses on topics such as film and literature, history, politics or language. You will also complete a 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 (2020/21)

Our facilities

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, including outstanding Italian and Spanish holdings in the National Library of Scotland and National Galleries of Scotland.

Edinburgh's European cinema scene is particularly strong, with annual festivals for both Italian and Spanish film - the latter started by our staff. There's plenty to see and do throughout the year, including at the nearby Italian Cultural Institute and through the 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. Both Italian and Spanish have been taught here since 1919.

We stage annual plays in Italian and Spanish and our online magazine for European languages, Babble, is the place to publish your creative writing in both languages.

Study abroad

You will spend Year 3 abroad, dividing your 30 weeks between Italian and Spanish, and spending at least eight weeks in a country relevant to each language. This is your chance to immerse yourself in Italian and Hispanic culture, and to develop your broader life experience and skills towards life after university.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

Courses are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and computer-assisted learning.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed by a combination of coursework - including presentations, podcasts and posters - as well as exams, including oral exams.

Programme details

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.

Programme details (2020/21)

Studying languages and cultures 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.

With a qualification in Italian and Spanish, you will know two languages of international communication, including one of the most widely spoken in the world (Spanish is spoken in 20 countries).

The employment statistics for language graduates from the University of Edinburgh are impressive. Our graduates can be found in every kind of career, especially those that place a premium on thinking that is both disciplined and imaginative, from publishing and banking, to journalism, teaching, and IT.

Naturally, many of our former students are working in areas where language skills are of special value, such as education, translating and interpreting, including for multinational companies, political institutions, and other organisations in the European Union and beyond.

There are also opportunities to continue studying, with Year 4 in particular developing the research skills you will need 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 the end of S5 or AAAA-AAAB by the end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.(Revised 09/04/2020 from AAAA-AAAB and to include alternate grades to be achieved by end of S6.)
  • A Levels: AAA - 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.

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.

Additional requirements

Language requirement

For degrees that have a subject requirement of a language other than English, students may not use their own native language to meet this requirement. In these instances, English or an alternative language other than native will be acceptable.

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

*(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.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA Italian and Spanish

Additional costs

For your compulsory residence abroad in Year 3, we give you a wide range of options. Your costs will depend on where you decide to go, and how you spend your time.

Universities outside the EU may charge you a fee for courses but we will reimburse you for this, provided the course has been approved. You will be informed about the cost implications 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