Undergraduate study - 2023 entry
Open to the world

MA Spanish and Linguistics

UCAS code: RQ41

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Spanish and Linguistics

Spanish is the official language in 20 countries and widely spoken in four more territories, including the United States.

This joint honours programme offers you the opportunity to study Spanish in its global cultural context while exploring how language works.

Spanish and Linguistics make an excellent joint honours choice by combining the study of:

  • a modern language in its cultural context
  • the expression and creation of meaning

Linguistics courses of particular relevance to language students cover:

  • the speech sounds of the world's languages
  • variation in the languages of the world
  • the structure and history of world languages

Spanish

Studying Spanish at the University of Edinburgh, you will be immersed in an extraordinary range of global literature, film, poetry and theatre, explored in its historical context.

Intensive language training gives you the opportunity to develop advanced spoken and written skills in Spanish, including how to discern different varieties and registers of the language.

On our courses, you will gain the crucial intercultural competencies valued by employers around the world.

Spanish at Edinburgh celebrated its centenary in 2019, and our wide-ranging courses are taught by leading experts in their field, inviting you to explore the diverse and rich cultures of Spain and Latin America.

Linguistics

Linguistics examines how language works, describing how sounds, words, sentences and conversations combine to express and create meaning.

You will study:

  • the uses of language in everyday life
  • the ways in which it varies across society and evolves over time
  • how it is mastered by children

As you progress through the programme, you will have the opportunity to formulate and test scientific hypotheses about linguistic phenomena using specialist linguistics and phonetics equipment.

Why Edinburgh

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.

Our programmes are extremely flexible. In Years 1 and 2, you will choose option courses from a broad list of disciplines, and specialise as you progress through your honours years.

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

In Years 1 and 2, your pre-honours years, you will choose option courses from a wide range of disciplines in addition to your core subjects of Spanish and Linguistics.

As well as broadening your education and skill set, this may enable you to change the focus of your programme in Years 3 and 4, your honours years.

Year 1

Spanish

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.

Linguistics

You will take two semester-long introductory courses in linguistics:

  • Linguistics and English Language 1A offers a brief introduction to the study of language in general and of English in particular.
  • Linguistics and English Language 1B will help you develop the tools and knowledge needed to investigate the different subsystems of language in a systematic way.

Option courses

You will complete your Year 1 studies with option courses chosen from a wide range offered by the University of Edinburgh.

You can, for example, opt to study another language, such as Portuguese, which you can start as a complete beginner.

Other options include, but are not limited to, courses in:

  • business, economics and informatics
  • politics, social policy and social anthropology
  • art and architectural history
  • history, classics and archaeology
  • Celtic and Scottish ethnology
  • linguistics and language sciences
  • philosophy, divinity and law

Year 2

Spanish

You will continue to develop your spoken and written language skills and to study Spanish and Latin American culture.

Linguistics

You will also take a course looking at linguistic theory, and choose between a course on:

  • the variation observed in the languages of the world
  • the structure and history of world languages

Option courses

As in Year 1, you will also choose other courses from a wide range offered by the University.

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

You can also opt to study Catalan, or different aspects of linguistics.

Year 3

International travel restrictions permitting, you will spend Year 3 in a Spanish-speaking country, immersing yourself in the language.

The University has exchange places in a wide variety of universities in Spain and Latin America. Alternatively, you may be eligible to do a teaching assistant placement with an organisation such as the British Council, or other work placement.

Our graduates report how much the year abroad has benefited their general life experience and skills, as well as their understanding of cultures in context and the Spanish language.

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

You will complete prescribed work in both linguistics and Spanish, for example taking an e-learning language course which will count as part of your Year 3 mark and prepare you for your final year 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 study advanced language courses.

You will also choose from a range of specialist, honours-level courses in both Spanish and linguistics.

You will complete your dissertation or long essay.

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, in the lab, 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

Based in the Main University Library, the Centre for Research Collections is unique in the UK. The centre brings together a collection of more than 400,000 rare books and six kilometres of archives and manuscripts. It also houses the University’s collections of art, historical musical instruments and other objects.

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 Library also holds academic books, journals and databases, including around 27,000 books and 5,000 journals in Spanish.

The Centre for Contemporary Latin American Studies brings together staff and students from a number of different subject areas, including:

  • languages
  • geography
  • politics
  • history
  • social anthropology

The University's specialist linguistics and phonetics equipment ranks among the best in the world. It includes:

  • recording studios
  • a perception experiment laboratory
  • an eye tracking laboratory

Events and activities

The Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA) supports more than 300 student-led societies and clubs. It also 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. You may be particularly interested in the Spanish Society and LingSoc - the Linguistics and English Language Society.

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. Spain has a consulate here, and there is a large community of Spanish speakers.

Edinburgh’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.

Study abroad

If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 (a minimum of 30 weeks) in a Spanish-speaking country.

This is your chance to immerse yourself in 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
  • e-learning

How will I be assessed?

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

  • research bibliographies
  • close-reading commentaries
  • essays
  • presentations, podcasts and posters
  • oral exams

Skills and experience

Combining the study of a language with linguistics 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 and linguistic 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

One of the five most widely spoken languages in the world, Spanish is your gateway to a great many countries and cultures, including a large number of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean and a growing community of speakers in the United States.

In addition to having over 400 million native speakers, Spanish is spoken as a second language by around nine million people, globally. Wherever you are based in the world, your skills in this popular language will make you stand out.

Our graduates can be found in every kind of career, especially those that place a premium on thinking that is both disciplined and imaginative.

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, we typically offer Masters by Research degrees in both Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies and in Linguistics. Our taught MSc programmes typically include:

  • Comparative Literature
  • Intermediality
  • Translation Studies
  • Linguistics
  • Applied Linguistics
  • Developmental Linguistics

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: AAAAA-AAAA (achievement by end of S5 preferred). 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: a language other than English at B. National 5s: English at C.
  • A Levels: a language other than English at B. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: a language other than English 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

International Foundation Programme

If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.

International Foundation Programme

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 Spanish and Linguistics

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