Undergraduate study - 2023 entry
Open to the world

MA French and Spanish

UCAS code: RR14

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA French and Spanish

This joint honours programme allows you to study two major world languages in their diverse cultural contexts. Both languages are among the ten most widely spoken in the world, and have had a profound cultural influence beyond Europe.

Through intensive language study, including a year abroad, you will have the opportunity to acquire advanced spoken and written skills in both French and Spanish.

In addition to your language classes, you will explore aspects of Francophone and Spanish-language cultures from the Middle Ages to the 21st Century. Courses cover literature, film and theatre, political history, social movements and philosophical ideas.

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 programme is also extremely flexible. In Years 1 and 2, you will choose option courses from a wide range of disciplines, and specialise as you progress through your honours years. You can, for example, opt to take electives in other schools, or broaden your linguistic portfolio with Portuguese or Catalan.

As a world-leading festival city, Edinburgh is a fantastic place to study European languages in their global cultural context.

When you graduate, you will have the combination of broad cultural education and specialist knowledge valued by employers worldwide.

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 French and Spanish.

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

You will study French and Spanish, developing your spoken and written skills in both languages.

You will also study aspects of literature and culture.

French

If you have a limited knowledge of French, you will take French 1A, an intensive language course that also introduces you to French culture.

If you have studied French beyond National 5 (SQA) or GCSE level, you will typically take French 1B. As well as developing your written and spoken language skills, this course focuses on modern French literature, culture and civilisation covering the period from the Second World War to the 21st century.

Spanish

You will study either Spanish 1A or 1B, depending on your language skills. You will also explore a selection of literary texts and films from the Spanish-speaking world.

Option courses

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

Options include, but are not limited to, courses in:

  • linguistics and language sciences

  • business, economics and informatics

  • politics, social policy and social anthropology

  • art and architectural history

  • history, classics and archaeology

  • Celtic and Scottish ethnology

  • philosophy, divinity and law

Year 2

French

You will develop your written and spoken language skills in readiness for your year abroad in Year 3.

You will also build on your knowledge of French and Francophone culture. In these courses, the focus now shifts to exploring the 16th to 19th centuries.

You will study work by authors such as Molière, Montaigne and Baudelaire alongside texts that have been considered marginal to French culture for reasons of gender or colonial politics.

Spanish

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

Option courses

As in Year 1, you will choose from a range of option courses.

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

You will have the chance to study French politics.

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

Year 3

If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad, dividing your 30 weeks between a country in which French is spoken and one in which Spanish is spoken.

You will spend at least eight weeks in each country. We typically have exchange places in many universities across Europe and Latin America. Alternatively, you may be eligible to work, for example as a Language Assistant with an organisation such as the British Council.

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 languages in their cultural context.

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 e-learning courses which will count as part of your Year 3 mark and prepare you for your Year 4 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 develop advanced language skills in both French and Spanish.

You will also choose from a wide range of specialist, honours-level courses, many taught by research-active experts.

These courses cover topics such as Francophone, Spanish and Latin American:

  • film

  • literature

  • history

  • linguistics

  • politics

You will complete your dissertation or long essay in your choice of French or Spanish.

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 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, films, newspapers and other media. Resources include over 118,500 books and 25,500 journals in French, and 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

Events and activities

The Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA) supports more than 300 student-led societies, clubs and social enterprises. It also promotes opportunities with local charities through its volunteering centre.

From making friends in language cafes to campaigning on global issues, these student-led groups offer lots of ways to engage.

The French theatre society - Les Escogriffes - typically stages a play in French each year, with opportunities to direct, act, produce and promote. There is also a Spanish Society.

Staff and student editors publish creative writing in nine European languages – including French and Spanish – in the 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 National Library of Scotland has one of the best French collections in the UK and outstanding holdings in Spanish.

Edinburgh's world cinema scene is particularly strong, with annual festivals for both French and Spanish film. The latter was started by our staff, and offers students the chance to get involved in events planning and delivery and to use their languages outside the classroom.

We have great links with both the Institut français d’Écosse and the Spanish Consulate.

Study abroad

If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad, dividing your 30 weeks between a country in which French is spoken and one in which Spanish is spoken. You will spend at least eight weeks in each country, either studying or completing a work/teaching placement.

This is your chance to immerse yourself in Francophone and Hispanophone cultures. 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 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 language exams

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

French and Spanish are two of the most widely spoken languages in the world. Graduating with an honours degree in both, you will be well placed to seek opportunities in almost 50 countries where either French or Spanish is an official language, including parts of Europe, Africa, and Latin America.

With increasing migration in response to changing global dynamics, there is demand for our graduates both at home and abroad. Wherever you are based in the world, the ability to communicate in these two 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, we typically offer Masters by Research degrees in French and in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies. Our interdisciplinary taught MSc programmes typically include:

  • 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: 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: French or Spanish at B. National 5s: French at B (if not at Higher) and English at C.
  • A Levels: French or Spanish at B. GCSEs: French at B or 6 (if not at A Level) and English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: French or Spanish at 5. SL: French at 5 (if not at HL) and English at 5.

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 French 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