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Combined Studies MA (General) January 2021 entry

The MA Combined Studies degree is designed specifically for those returning to education after a significant break. Delivered on a part-time basis in the evening, this course is ideal for those who may have other commitments which prevent them from undertaking full-time study.

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Course type

Master of Arts (General degree)

Course duration

Due to the flexible nature of this degree, students can take between three and nine years to complete.

There are two different entry points available for this course:

  • September start date: 14 September 2020
  • January start date: 25 January 2021

Entry requirements

You do not need to have taken any formal qualifications since leaving school, or you may have undertaken some form of recent study.

We will also consider work experience, professional qualifications and other forms of evidence of ability to study in lieu of a recent formal qualification.

We would normally expect you to have a basic level of education. This will be discussed at interview and does not have to be evidenced through formal qualifications.

How to apply

You must apply directly to the University. For questions about applying please contact

Course information

MA Combined Studies allows you to study in the evenings to work towards a degree. During the course, you will be able to choose from a wide range of subjects based on your interests.

You will take either one or two modules over a 12-week semester. Each class takes place once per week and is delivered between 6.30pm and 9.30pm. 

Over the course of your programme, you will take modules at levels equivalent to first, second and third years of full-time study. You will complete a total of 360 credits over the course of your degree (each module is typically worth 20 to 30 credits). 

First and second-year level modules provide a firm foundation within each subject which allow you to progress to modules at a third-year level. Third-year modules are more in-depth and cover a specific area of the subject.

Within your first 120 credits, you must complete the following subjects at level one:

  • English
  • Information Technology
  • Introduction to Psychology. 

These are the core subjects which will equip you with skills you need to successfully complete your degree. The rest of your degree programme can be tailored to suit your personal interests.

MA Combined Studies also offers a range of flexible study options, including classroom-based teaching, blended digital learning and collaborative opportunities with the University of Dundee and the Open University in Scotland.

Not only will you finish your studies with a reputable qualification and a wealth of knowledge on the topics you have studied, you will also develop and improve a variety of transferable skills:

  • verbal and written communication
  • team working
  • organisational and time management skills
  • research, interpretation and analytical skills
  • computer literacy
  • interpersonal skills
  • dedication and personal motivation
  • listening skills
  • presentation skills
  • critical thinking and evaluation
  • confidence.

If you need support getting started back into study, you can take the pre-sessional induction programme which covers study skills, good academic practice and introduction to student life.


Typically, you will take one or two modules per semester. Each module takes place once per week from 6.30pm to 9.30pm. 

You must take the following modules as part of your first 120 credits:

  • Information Technology 1: provides students with a range of transferable skills for producing degree level essays, documents and presentations, as well as introducing the theoretical concepts around the place of computers in society.

  • Reading English: introduces a variety of texts in both prose and verse from the 19th and 20th centuries. You learn literary analysis skills, gain an introduction to academic writing, and develop essay writing skills.

  • Introduction to Psychology 1: introduces you to some of the key areas of modern psychology. This module will help you develop your scientific analysis and critical thinking skills.           

Alongside your initial compulsory modules in English, Information Technology and Psychology, you will be able to build your own degree by choosing from a wide range of optional modules. Each semester there are a number of modules on offer across different subjects and at different levels.

A full list of the current modules can be found in the Part-time prospectus 2020-2021 (PDF)

Optional St Andrews-based modules are currently available in the following subjects:

  • Art History
  • Biology
  • Earth Sciences
  • Geography
  • History
  • Management
  • Philosophy
  • Physics and Astronomy
  • Social Anthropology

Subjects provisionally available from the University of Dundee are:

  • English
  • Management
  • History
  • Languages
  • European Studies
  • Philosophy.

Subjects available through the Open University in Scotland:

  • Business
  • Maths
  • Statistics
  • Music
  • Economics.


Teaching format

Each module runs over a 12-week semester, with one class per week, delivered in the evenings between 6.30pm and 9.30pm. Students may study either one or two modules per semester. 

Teaching in each module varies slightly depending on the content, but most take the form of a combined lecture and tutorial. Modules in Science subjects may also include lab work.

Most classes will involve a combination of group work and discussion, but will also involve individual study outside of the class times in order to prepare for future classes and enhance your subject knowledge. 

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team with expertise and knowledge in their subject. 

In addition to your studies, optional academic support is available through practical study skills courses and workshops hosted within the University.

The University’s student services team can help students with additional needs resulting from disabilities, long term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities webpage.


Almost all of the modules in the MA Combined Studies are assessed by a balanced combination of coursework and class tests.

The exact breakdown of the assessment method will vary between subjects and modules.


Tuition fees for September 2020 and January 2021 entry

Your tuition fees will be calculated on a pro-rata basis dependent on your fee status, and the number of credits taken. For example, in the academic year 2020-2021 a Home Fee student would pay £303 per 20 credits studied.

For details of current full-time study fees and fee statuses, see the undergraduate fees and funding page.

Funding and scholarships

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

Students on the MA Combined Studies programme are eligible to apply for a part-time study scholarship to help with the costs associated with being a student, including travel, books and childcare. 

Part-time fee grants are also available from SAAS


As a part-time student, you will have full access to the range of facilities available through the Careers Centre to help you develop your skills at graduate level and explore employment options. 


Lifelong and Flexible Learning
University of St Andrews
16 The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9AX

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2132


Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online (PDF, 84 KB).