Undergraduate study - 2023 entry
Open to the world

MA Spanish and Portuguese

UCAS code: RR45

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Spanish and Portuguese

Two of the most widely spoken languages in the world, Spanish and Portuguese are your gateway to a great many countries and cultures in Europe, Africa and the Americas.

Our joint honours programme will give you the opportunity to develop advanced spoken and written skills in both languages.

In addition to intensive language training, you will be immersed in an extraordinary range of literature, film, poetry and theatre from around the world, explored in its historical context.

Many of our graduates started as complete beginners in Portuguese. By the end of the programme, you will be able to demonstrate a range of linguistic skills and crucial intercultural competencies.

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.

The four-year degree also gives you more choice and flexibility:

  • In Years 1 and 2, you will choose option courses from a wide range of disciplines. You can opt to take electives in other schools, or broaden your linguistic portfolio with Catalan.

  • You will then specialise as you move through your honours years. You will gain an immersive experience of both Spanish and Portuguese in Year 3 and the knowledge and skills to write a dissertation or long essay in Year 4.

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 Portuguese.

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.

Portuguese

You will study Portuguese 1, which caters for both beginners and more advanced students.

As well as language learning, this course will introduce you to Portuguese-speaking literature through a selection of short stories from Mozambique, Angola, Brazil and Portugal.

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

You will continue to develop your spoken and written language skills in both Spanish and Portuguese.

You will also study the cultures and the societies of the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking worlds through literature, film and the arts.

Option courses

As in Year 1, you will 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 abroad, dividing your 30 weeks between Spanish and Portuguese.

You will spend at least eight weeks in a country relevant to each language, either studying or working. For example, you may be eligible to work as a Language Assistant with an organisation such as the British Council.

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 of the Spanish and Portuguese languages.

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, alongside your cultural and linguistic immersion, 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 Spanish and Portuguese, enabling you to meet your learning outcomes and preparing you for your final year.

Year 4

You will study advanced language courses in both Spanish and Portuguese.

You will also choose from a range of specialist, honours-level courses on Spain, Latin America, Portugal, Brazil or Lusophone Africa.

These courses will typically cover history, literature, film and culture.

You will also complete your 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 (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, including around 27,000 books and 5,000 journals in Spanish and 5,000 books and 2,680 journals in Portuguese.

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

Our Portuguese Language Centre is supported by the Instituto Camões and we have very close links with local schools.

Events and activities

The Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA) supports more than 300 student-led societies and clubs, including the Spanish Society. 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.

Staff and student editors publish creative writing in nine European languages – including Spanish and Portuguese – 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 (Portugal an honorary consulate), and there are large communities of Spanish and Portuguese speakers.

Edinburgh’s world cinema scene is particularly strong, and we are proud to contribute to its success through collaborations with festivals such as Africa in Motion and IberoDocs.

The annual Edinburgh Spanish Film 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 Spanish and Portuguese, and spending at least eight weeks in a country relevant to each language.

This is your chance to immerse yourself in Spanish and Portuguese, and deepen your understanding of the diverse cultures where these languages are spoken. It will also allow you to develop 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 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

With both languages in the top ten of the world’s most widely-spoken, Spanish and Portuguese are your gateway to a great many countries and cultures in Europe, Africa and the Americas. Between them, they are spoken by around 700 million people.

Wherever you are based in the world, the ability to understand and communicate in these two global languages 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 a Masters by Research degree in 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: 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: Spanish at B. National 5s: English at C.
  • A Levels: Spanish or Portuguese at B. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: Spanish or Portuguese at 5. SL: 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 Spanish and Portuguese

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