Italian MA (Hons)
2017 entry

As an MA (Hons) student of Italian, you will develop language and communications skills to a high level of proficiency. You will have the opportunity to engage with a number of specialist topics including Italian language, literature, culture, history, politics and film.

Alongside learning the grammar and pronunciation of Italian, you will be introduced to a wide spectrum of texts and artistic genres, from mediaeval texts and poetry to 20th-century Italian novels, films and more.

During your third year, you have the opportunity to study abroad in Italy at one of the University’s Erasmus+ partners. Students who spend a year abroad not only gain valuable work experience as teachers and tutors, but also develop their linguistic skills, intercultural competence, and self-confidence.  

The MA in Italian is also available as a five-year course with an integrated year abroad. The integrated year abroad is an opportunity for students to spend a year working in a Italian-speaking country between second year and third year. Find out more about integrated year abroad options.

Applications for 2017 entry for this course have now closed, see which courses are available for the upcoming academic year.

UCAS code


Course type

Master of Arts (single Honours degree)

Course duration

Four years full time

Entry requirements

SQA Highers AAAB
GCE A-Levels AAB
IB points 36

For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject specific entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.

Find out more about international entry requirements.

Applications for 2017 entry for this course have now closed, see which courses are available for the upcoming academic year.

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

No prior knowledge of Italian is necessary, and modules are not designed for native speakers.    

Faculty entry requirements

You must also meet the Faculty of Arts minimum qualifications. These vary depending on which qualifications you hold.  

Other qualifications

Passes in other examinations at equivalent levels and subjects may be accepted by the Dean of the Faculty.

Find out more about Faculty of Arts entry requirements.

Course information

The MA (Hons) in Italian is a four-year course run by the School of Modern Languages. The course is available to both students who are beginners in Italian and to more advanced students who have studied Italian to A Level or SQA Higher.

In the first two years, you will learn and refine Italian grammar and language through reading, writing, listening and speaking. Those with prior knowledge in Italian will further develop their language and writing, and both groups will be introduced to different aspects of Italian culture and history.

During your third year, you have the opportunity to study at one of the University’s Erasmus+  partner institutions in Italy. In this case, study undertaken in Italy replaces equivalent study in St Andrews. Studying abroad is optional.

If you choose to stay in the UK for third and fourth year, you will take modules focused on communication skills and can choose to specialise in a number of areas. Areas of study include:

  • Italian literature
  • Italian film
  • female Italian writers
  • Italian poetry
  • Italian history.

Graduates in Modern Languages from St Andrews can expect to have not only a high level of competency in language skills, but a highly developed appreciation for other cultures and peoples. Other transferable skills, including analysis, synthesis and communication skills will prepare you for a career in almost any industry.

Students may choose to spend an additional year working or studying in Italy. Find out more about the integrated year abroad for this course.

Find out more about studying Italian at St Andrews.


In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours) you will take the required modules in Italian along with modules in at least one additional subject.

Typically, you will take one to two Italian modules per semester during your first two years, and at least two modules per semester during your third and fourth years (known as Honours). Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.

Two different types of modules are offered in first year: introductory Italian modules for beginners in Italian, and more advanced language and literature courses for those with more experience speaking Italian.

Students who are beginners in Italian are required to take the following compulsory modules in their first year:

Students who have an SQA Higher or a GCE A-level in Italian are required to take the following compulsory modules in first year:

  • Italian Language Intermediate 1: provides a thorough and structured revision of grammar and a consolidation of speaking, reading, and writing skills through formal grammar classes and practical oral language classes.
  • Italian Language Intermediate 2: builds on Italian Language Intermediate 1 through revision of grammar and a consolidation of speaking, reading and writing skills through grammar classes and practical oral language classes.
  • Italian Geographies: gives students some sense of the complexity of modern Italy through the study of particular cultural phenomena which have played an important role in national identity formation.
  • Italian Histories: gives students a sense of the complexity of Italy's past through the study of literary texts from different historical periods considered in their different contexts.

Second year modules are the same for all students regardless of any prior knowledge of Italian. Students are required to take the following compulsory modules in their second year:

  • Second Level Italian: develops the language skills acquired in first year Italian modules and enables students to achieve an intermediate level in reading, writing, listening and speaking in Italian. Students are introduced to the writings of Dante and Primo Levi.
  • Second Level Italian (Advanced): offers an intermediate language course for students who have passed the first semester module. It is designed to further consolidate students’ knowledge of Italian grammar and vocabulary, refine language skills and develop communication skills through an oral programme related to Italian history and culture. Students will study Boccaccio and 20th-century Italian film.

If you take Italian in your third and fourth years, in addition to the compulsory language modules you will choose from a variety of advanced options which incorporate literary, historical and cultural studies into language learning. Modules at Honours level include (but are not limited to):

  • Early Italian Lyric Poetry
  • Dante Alighieri
  • Nineteenth-century Literature
  • Black Italians
  • Fascism and Film
  • Contemporary Italian Women Writers.

In fourth year, students have the option of undertaking a dissertation of up to etiher 5,000 words or 10,000 words in length, written in English, on a topic of their choice. This independent project enables you to develop key research skills which are desired by both prospective employers and by graduate schools offering postgraduate degrees.

The modules listed here are the compulsory modules that students must take in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. A full list of all modules currently available can be found in the module catalogue.


Teaching format

All Modern Language modules involve a combination of lectures, tutorials and practical language classes. Lectures provide information, stimulate thought, and suggest directions for further reading and personal study. Small language tutorials allow you to actively work together with your tutors to practice language skills, present papers, and discuss texts and issues relevant to the course.

Sub-honours Italian modules are delivered through lectures (up to 100 students in first year, up to 40 in second year), language tutorials and practical classes (typically 10 to 15 students).

At Honours level, you will attend language tutorials and practical classes in groups of 10 to 12 students and seminars of 10 to 15 students.


A variety of methods of assessment to test language skills and cultural analysis are used by the department. These methods include formal examinations, oral presentations, writing projects and assessed coursework.

Examinations are held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand. Examinations are either entirely in written format or comprise both written and oral components.

Tutors advise you closely on the preparation of written work and give individual assessments of your performance.


Tuition fees for 2017 entry

Scotland and EU £1,820
Rest of the UK £9,250
Overseas £20,570

For overseas students, tuition fees will be fixed at this level for the duration of your programme.

More information on tuition fees can be found on the undergraduate fees and funding page.

Accommodation fees

Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation in 2017.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year.

Erasmus+ Mobility Grant

Erasmus+ students may be eligible to receive an Erasmus+ grant provided by the European Commission which contributes towards the extra costs arising from studying or working abroad for credit.

Faculty of Arts scholarships

The Dr Lawrence M Wodehouse Scholarship provides financial assistance for students studying in the Faculty of Arts who are academically gifted but would otherwise struggle with the cost of studying at St Andrews.

Find out more about undergraduate scholarships.

Joint Honours degrees

You can take Italian as part of a joint Honours degree alongside one of the following subjects.

  • Ancient History
  • Arabic
  • Art History
  • Classics
  • Comparative Literature
  • Economics
  • English
  • Film Studies
  • French
  • Geography
  • German
  • International Relations
  • Latin
  • Management
  • Mathematics
  • Mediaeval History
  • Modern History
  • Persian
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Russian
  • Scottish History
  • Social Anthropology
  • Spanish
  • Ancient History

Modern Language degrees

It is possible to combine a degree in Italian with two modern languages. Any combination of Arabic, French, German, Persian, Russian, and Spanish is possible.

You can also take Italian as part of a Modern Languages joint Honours degree with two modern languages and one additional subject.

If you are taking:

  • Italian

You can also take one modern language:

  • Arabic
  • French
  • German
  • Russian
  • Spanish

And one other subject:

  • Comparative Literature

If you are taking:

  • Italian

You can also take one modern language:

  • Arabic
  • French
  • German
  • Persian
  • Russian
  • Spanish

And one other subject:

  • Ancient History
  • English
  • International Relations
  • Latin 
  • Management

If you are taking:

  • Italian

You can also take one modern language:

  • Arabic
  • French
  • Persian
  • Russian
  • Spanish

And one other subject:

  • Classical Studies

If you are taking:

  • Italian

You can also take one modern language:

  • French
  • German
  • Spanish

And one other subject:

  • Greek

Your future


In a job market that is becoming increasingly global, competency in global languages is valued by employers across all sectors, including industry and business. They recognise that a modern languages degree shows wide cultural experience as well as other personal transferable skills needed in employment.

A work placement abroad fosters your capacity for effective teamwork in a new cultural environment, and among the personal attributes you will develop on the year abroad are self-confidence, independence, initiative and resourcefulness.

Recent Italian graduates have gone to work for companies in the UK and Italy. Some are working as teachers of modern languages in the UK, or are teaching English abroad. Others have taken further training or conversion courses to prepare for careers in translating and interpreting. Some examples of companies where Italian graduates have proceeded to work for include:

  • the British Council
  • HSBC’s executive training programme
  • Citibank
  • Christian Salvesen
  • Harper Collins
  • Glasgow City Council.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills. 

Study abroad

The University is delighted to offer undergraduates a number of exciting opportunities to apply to spend a semester or year abroad as part of a St Andrews degree programme. St Andrews is partnered with large and small institutions, ancient and young, across the globe. What unites all of our programmes is the quality of the academic provision, ensuring that participation in a St Andrews Study abroad programme opens the door to a new and valuable academic experience at another world-class institution. Study Abroad for credit is permitted on existing University-approved programmes only.

Working abroad

Completing a work placement abroad is a good opportunity to gain work experience in another culture or language and to enhance valuable skill sets. As part of specific degree programmes in Modern Languages, you may apply to undertake a work placement abroad for credit.

Student life

From the outset, the University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensures a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.

Students of Italian may be interested in joining the following student societies:

  • At Home and Abroad Society (AHAsoc) promotes study and work abroad programmes along with all forms of international cultural exchange.
  • Italian Society promotes and shares the languages, arts, literature, theatre, cuisine, history and politics of Italy alongside frequent social events.

The School of Modern Languages is situated at the very centre of St Andrews in the Buchanan Building on Union Street. Within the Buchanan Building is the Multimedia Centre, a digital language lab which students will use as both a component of their module classwork and as part of individual study.

The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As the campus is located around town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings and areas of greenery and seaside which provide a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. If you want a change of scenery, St Andrews' position near surrounding towns and cities such as Anstruther, Dundee and Edinburgh make it ideal for getting to know more about Scotland. Find out more about student life at the University of St Andrews.


Department of Italian
University of St Andrews
Buchanan Building
Union Street
St Andrews
KY16 9PH

Phone:+44 (0)1334 46 3662

Italian website