Undergraduate study - 2023 entry
Open to the world

MA Chinese and Spanish

UCAS code: BR34

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

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 are spoken.

Together, Chinese and Spanish have over two billion native speakers. They provide a 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 programmes in Chinese. While we specialise in teaching students with little or no prior knowledge of the language, we can also accommodate students who already have some experience of studying Chinese.

Study with us and you will develop advanced competency in the Chinese language. You will also gain specialist knowledge on mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and associated diasporas in pre-modern, modern and contemporary contexts. Courses explore history, literature, culture, politics and international relations.

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.

Both subjects will develop your skills in translation, reading, writing and oral communication, including through a year abroad in either China or Taiwan and in a Spanish-speaking country.

Employers recognise the importance of both languages and the benefits of a broad intercultural education. Our graduates are valued for their capability to act as bridges of understanding between Chinese, Spanish and Latin American and British cultures.

Year 1

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 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.

Year 2

In your 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.

Year 3

If international travel restrictions allow, you will 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 another 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 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 Year 3 mark and prepare you for your Year 4 Spanish 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 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 continue to develop your advanced Spanish language and translation skills, including through the submission of a Long Essay in Spanish.

You will also choose from a wide range of specialist options 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.

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 first Chinese book acquired by the University was a copy of Chengtze's Essay on Yi Jing (or Book of Changes), printed in China from blocks in 1440. Today, our Chinese and East Asian Studies Collection runs to over 50,000 resources, both print and digital, including upwards of 600 Chinese films.

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
  • Jan Fairley’s rich collection of Latin American music recordings and interviews

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.

Our Chinese Studies Peer Support Group is a valuable social learning resource. There are also opportunities to pair up with native speakers for language exchange and practice.

We have great links to the Confucius Institute for Scotland, and a regular Asian Studies seminar series featuring visiting speakers from around the world.

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.

In the city

Edinburgh is a world-leading festival city filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections.

The city's world cinema scene is particularly strong, and 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 Spanish outside the classroom.

Edinburgh has a thriving East Asian cultural scene and excellent links with China. Spain has a consulate here, as well as a large community of Spanish speakers.

Study abroad

If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad, dividing your time between a country where 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 Chinese 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?

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, such as history, film or literature, are taught by experts in their respective fields.

Across your courses, you can expect to learn through:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • e-learning

How will I be assessed?

Over the course of your programme, you will be assessed though a combination of written and oral exams, in-class exercises and coursework, including:

  • essays
  • reports
  • presentations
  • podcasts
  • posters
  • projects

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 independently and in groups.

Opportunities at home and away

With both languages in the top ten of the world’s most widely spoken, Chinese and Spanish are your gateway to a great many countries and cultures in Europe, Latin America and East Asia, the latter being an increasingly powerful player in the global economy.

With increasing migration in response to changing global dynamics, there is demand for our graduates wherever you are based in the world. For example, Scotland has a strategy to enhance engagement with China. With your language and intercultural skills, you will always 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 both Chinese and Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, and taught MSc programmes in:

  • Comparative Literature
  • 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: 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: 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: Cantonese, Mandarin 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.

Additional requirements

Native speakers

Please note that the Chinese 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 Chinese 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.

Some scholarship money may be available from external sources, on a competitive basis, for students studying in China.

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