Undergraduate study - 2023 entry
Open to the world

MA Russian Studies and Spanish

UCAS code: RR74

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Russian Studies and Spanish

This joint honours programme is your opportunity to learn two of the world's most widely spoken languages in their global cultural contexts.

Between them, Russian and Spanish are spoken by over 500 million people. Beyond Europe, Spanish is spoken in many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, while both languages have growing numbers of speakers in the United States and China.

No previous knowledge of either language is needed. Through intensive language study, including a year abroad, you will have the opportunity to acquire advanced spoken and written skills in both Russian and Spanish.

In addition to your language classes, you will explore aspects of Russophone and Hispanic cultures. Courses cover literature, film and theatre from around the world, studied in a historical, political and social context.

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.

As a world-leading festival city, Edinburgh is a fantastic place to study European languages in their 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 Russian Studies 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

Russian

If you have no previous knowledge of Russian you will take Russian Studies 1A, an intensive beginners Russian course.

If you have studied the language before, you will take the Russian Studies 1B course, which provides advanced Russian language study.

Both of these courses include a unit on Russian culture.

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.

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:

  • 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

Russian

You will continue to study Russian language, and will choose one of the following three courses:

  • Transnational Russian Culture

  • 19th century Russian literature

  • 20th century Russian literature

Spanish

You will continue to develop your Spanish language skills and deepen your knowledge of the literatures and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world.

Option courses

As in Year 1, you will also choose from a wide range of other option courses 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

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

You will spend at least eight weeks in each country.

For Russian, you will study at a university or language centre.

Our current placement destinations include:

  • St Petersburg University

  • Herzen State University in St Petersburg

  • Higher School of Economics in Moscow

  • Liden and Denz Language Schools in Moscow, St Petersburg, and Riga

  • Derzhavin Institute in St Petersburg

  • Nova Mova Language School in Kiev

For Spanish, the University has exchange places across Europe 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 – instead.

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 Russophone 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 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 your advanced language skills in Russian 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:

  • film

  • literature

  • history

  • language

  • politics

  • culture

You will also complete a dissertation or long essay in either Russian or Spanish.

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

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 around 27,000 books and 5,000 journals in Spanish, and around 14,400 titles in the Russian language.

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. these include the Russian Society and Spanish Society.

From acting to dancing, making friends in language cafes to campaigning on global issues, these student-led groups offer lots of ways to engage. EUSA also promotes opportunities with local charities through its volunteering centre.

Staff and student editors publish creative writing in nine European languages – including Russian and Spanish – in the online magazine, Babble. Launch nights typically include readings and performances.

Our Princess Dashkova Russian Centre runs many academic and public events, including the Honorary Dashkova and Honorary John Erickson lectures.

In the city

Edinburgh is a world-leading festival city filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections. The National Library of Scotland has outstanding holdings in both Russian and Spanish.

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

Edinburgh’s European cinema scene is particularly strong, with film programming relevant to both Russian and Spanish. For example, the city's venues often partner in the UK-wide Russian Film Week.

We are proud to contribute to this scene with the annual Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival. It 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 time between a country where Russian is spoken and one in which Spanish is spoken.

You will spend at least eight weeks in each country, either studying in both places or (for Spanish) completing a work/teaching placement.

This is your chance to immerse yourself in the language and cultures of Russian- and Spanish-speaking communities, and to develop your broader life experience and skills towards life after university.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

You will be taught by experienced tutors, including world-leading research academics.

Courses are taught through a combination of:

  • lectures

  • seminars

  • tutorials

  • e-learning

We teach languages in small groups, with most of our Russian materials tailor-made for student requirements.

You will receive timely feedback on your work and will be offered individual as well as group consultations.

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 complex concepts, and to manage your time to meet project deadlines, both independently and in groups.

Opportunities at home and away

Around 150 million people in the world speak Russian, which plays an important role in global cultural and political contexts.

It is the official language of four countries, is widely understood throughout Eastern Europe, and in the last thirty years has seen transnational mobility on an unprecedented scale. There are, for example, large communities of Russian-speakers in China, the United States, France, Germany, Spain, Norway and the UK.

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, it is spoken as a second language by around nine million people, globally.

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, we typically offer Masters by Research degrees in both Russian Studies and 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: Spanish at B. National 5s: English at C.
  • A Levels: Russian or Spanish at B. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: Russian or Spanish 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 Russian Studies 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