Undergraduate study - 2023 entry
Open to the world

MA Arabic and Spanish

UCAS code: TR64

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Arabic and Spanish

Two of the world's most widely spoken languages, Arabic and Spanish make an excellent joint honours programme combination. Interaction between the two languages and cultures has taken place over many centuries, most obviously in Islamic Spain between 711 and 1492, and continues to the present day.

Arabic is the main language of more than 350 million people living in a huge swathe of land extending from the Atlantic to the Persian Gulf. Apart from opening the door to a fascinating and varied region, knowledge of Arabic provides access to the rich intellectual heritage of Islam.

Studying Spanish at the University of Edinburgh, you will be immersed in an extraordinary range of literature, film, poetry and theatre from around the world, explored in a historical context. You will learn how to discern different varieties and registers of Spanish, and gain crucial intercultural competencies.

Over the course of your time with us, you will benefit from our resources and our excellent record in teaching and research. You will also spend a year studying both languages abroad.

By the end of the programme, you will be able to demonstrate a range of advanced language skills in both Arabic and Spanish together with the critical skills and cultural awareness valued by employers.

Year 1

You will study elementary Arabic to learn basic grammar and develop your vocabulary.

You will also take courses in Islamic history and modern Middle Eastern history.

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.

Year 2

You will continue with your language studies in Arabic and in Spanish.

You will also take courses in the religion of Islam or Islamic and Middle Eastern cultures, and continue to study the literatures and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world.

Finally, you will choose a further course from a range of options. These enable you to study linguistics, literature, film and theatre in themed and comparative contexts. You can also opt to study Catalan.

Year 3

If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad, dividing your 30 weeks between Arabic and Spanish, and spending at least eight weeks in a country relevant to each language.

For your study abroad in Arabic, you can choose between at least two different countries in the Arabic-speaking world. For Spanish, we have study placements in several universities in Spain and Latin America, and you may also be eligible to work as a language assistant with an organisation such as the British Council.

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, cultural awareness and skills development. For example, you will take an e-learning course in Spanish, which will count as part of your third year mark and prepare you for your fourth year Spanish language courses.

If international travel is not possible, you will be offered alternative ways of engaging with your subjects. This will allow you to meet your learning outcomes and prepare for your final year.

Year 4

You will continue to develop your language and translation skills and will write your honours dissertation.

You will also choose from a range of option courses dealing with different aspects of Islam and the Middle East as well as from a range of specialist courses on Spanish and Latin American history, literature, film, linguistics, and cultures.

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 (2022/23)

Our facilities

On campus

When you are on campus, you can expect to spend most of your time in the University of Edinburgh's Central Area - in class, in the library, or in one of the University’s many social spaces.

A number of our Spanish courses have developed online resources to complement the core materials. These resources are designed to be accessible from home, or from the campus' excellent computing facilities.

The Central Area is located on the edge of Edinburgh's historic Old Town, surrounded by lots of green space.

Take a virtual tour of the Central Area

Libraries, collections and centres

The University holds over 23,000 resources in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (IMES). These include the Serjeant & Watt Collections and some of the world’s most precious Islamic manuscripts, such as Rashid al-Din’s History of the World and al-Biruni’s Chronology of Ancient Nations.

Spanish and Latin American treasures in the University's collections include a 1629 edition of Cervantes, early translations of The Lusiads, paintings by Murillo and Picasso, and Jan Fairley’s rich collection of Latin American music recordings and interviews.

As well as looking across a beautiful garden to the Main University Library, IMES has its own library in 19 George Square. This building also neighbours the Alwaleed Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World.

The Centre for Contemporary Latin American Studies brings together staff and students from a number of different subject areas, including languages, geography, politics, history and social anthropology.

Events and activities

The Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA) supports more than 300 student-led societies and clubs, including the Spanish Society, and promotes opportunities with local charities through its volunteering centre.

From acting to dancing, making friends in language cafes to campaigning on global issues, these student-led groups offer lots of ways to engage with Arabic and Hispanic cultures.

Within our School, staff and student editors publish creative writing in nine European languages – including Spanish – in our online magazine, Babble. Launch nights typically include readings and performances.

A number of our Arabic-speaking students have volunteered for a tutoring and educational programme for teenage Syrian refugees in Edinburgh. This programme has won an Outstanding Global Citizenship Impact Award and a Sir William Darling Memorial Prize.

In the city

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

Edinburgh’s world cinema scene is particularly strong. We are proud to contribute to its success through collaborations with IberoDocs and with the annual Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival. This Festival was started and developed by our very own colleagues, and offers students the chance to get involved in events planning and delivery and to use their languages outside the classroom.

Study abroad

If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad, dividing your 30 weeks between Arabic and Spanish. You will spend at least eight weeks in a country relevant to each language.

This is your chance to immerse yourself in Arabic and Spanish. The experience allows you to deepen your understanding of the diverse cultures where these global languages are spoken and to develop your broader life experience and skills towards life after university.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

Experienced lecturers and language instructors will teach a combination of:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • language classes

How will I be assessed?

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

  • presentations
  • podcasts
  • posters
  • essays
  • oral language examinations

You will also complete a dissertation in your final year.

Skills and experience

Studying languages to degree level demonstrates that you are a good communicator, a resourceful problem solver, and someone open to other cultures and new ideas – what employers value as Intercultural Competence.

Beyond the language skills you will develop on this joint honours programme, and the nuanced understanding you will gain of diverse cultures and societies, graduating with a four-year Master of Arts degree from the University of Edinburgh shows intellectual maturity and flexibility.

The skills you will be able to demonstrate to employers when you graduate include the ability to understand, analyse and articulate key concepts, and to manage your time to meet project deadlines, both individually and in groups.

Opportunities at home and away

With both languages in the top ten of the world’s most widely spoken, Arabic and Spanish are your gateway to a great many countries and cultures in Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

Increasing migration in response to changing global dynamics means that there is demand for our graduates both at home and abroad. Wherever you are based in the world, the ability to communicate in these global languages, and to understand the cultures to which they open doors, will make you stand out.

Within the private, public, not-for-profit, and for-benefit sectors, previous graduates have gone on to career pathways in:

  • business, finance and commerce
  • communications, marketing, advertising and public relations
  • education, outreach, advocacy and training
  • journalism, broadcasting and media
  • leisure, tourism and travel
  • politics, policy work, diplomacy, civil service and law
  • publishing, culture, heritage and the arts
  • research, development and venture acceleration
  • translating and interpreting

Further study

The enhanced research skills you will develop on a four-year programme, particularly in your honours years, are a valuable asset if you wish to continue studying at postgraduate level.

At the University of Edinburgh, for example, we typically offer Masters by Research degrees in Spanish, Portuguese & Latin American Studies and in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. Our interdisciplinary taught MSc programmes typically include:

  • Comparative Literature
  • The Globalised Muslim World
  • Intermediality
  • Translation Studies

Careers advice

We have an excellent Careers Service. Throughout your time with us, we will encourage you to identify and hone your employability skills, including through peer initiatives such as Life After LLC (Literatures, Languages and Cultures) where you can draw inspiration from our graduates.

Be inspired by our alumni

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAB-ABBB by end of S5 or AAAA-AABB/ABBBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAB - ABB.
  • IB: 36 points with 665 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: Spanish at B. National 5s: English at C.
  • A Levels: Spanish or Arabic at B. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: Spanish or Arabic at 5. SL: English at 5.

Additional requirements

Native speakers

Please note that the Arabic degrees involve beginners language study and are not suitable for native or near-native speakers.

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.

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
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at 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: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 54 in each component.

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, PTE Academic, 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 Arabic and Spanish

Additional costs

As long as international restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad. The costs incurred will depend on where you decide to go, and how you spend your time.

Some study placements at language schools may charge a fee, but we will normally reimburse you for tuition costs as long as your activity has been approved. You will be responsible for associated travel costs such as flights and visas.

Funding

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