Combined Studies MA (General)

September 2022 or January 2023 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 four and nine years to complete it.

There are two different entry points available for this course, September and January.

  • January 2023 - application deadline of 15 December 2022
  • September 2023 - application deadline of 31 July 2023

Entry requirements

We would normally expect you to have a basic level of education at school level, which should include English and mathematics. This will be discussed at interview and does not have to be evidenced through formal qualifications.

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

How to apply

Applications for January 2023 entry are now open.

For questions about applying please contact

Course information

The 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. MA Combined Studies classes run using a hybrid format, which means that students have the option to either join online or attend in-person.

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 allows 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:

•    Reading 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.

The 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, but 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 an introduction to student life.


Aside from the compulsory three modules in English, Psychology, and Information Technology, you can choose modules to suit your interests from the range available each year.

Some subjects are offered at lower levels only, and others progress into more specialised Level 3 modules which can be taken toward the end of your degree programme.

The following subjects are offered as part of the MA Combined Studies. Not all subjects are offered every year. 

Other modules

To make your degree journey as flexible as possible, we have collaborative agreements with two leading institutions which allow you to tailor your degree to your needs. Modules from these institutions can be taken alongside your St Andrews modules and will be recognised on your final degree award.

University of Dundee

Subjects to be confirmed. Subjects offered in previous years include:

  • English literature
  • cinema and film
  • history
  • philosophy.

The Open University

Subjects available range from:

  • mathematics
  • business and management
  • economics
  • statistics
  • music.


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 involve a combination of group work and discussion, but also involve individual study outside of the class times 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. This includes an optional Study Skills course specifically for MA Combined Studies students that runs prior to the beginning of studies. 

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 web page.


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 2022 and January 2023 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 2021-2022, a Home Fee student would pay £303 per 20 credits studied. Please see the fees table for further information.

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. 

If your personal earned or pension income is under £25,000 and you are taking at least 30 credits each academic year, then you can apply for the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) part-time fee grant. The part-time fee grant provides financial support for your tuition fees.

Further information about this process is available on the SAAS webpage.


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. 

Student life

The University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. These events, and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from, ensure a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.

The Lifelong Learning team also aims to hold social events at the end of each semester for MA Combined Studies students, including a Christmas Party and Graduation Reception. These events will take place depending on Covid restrictions in the next academic year.

The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As University buildings are located throughout the town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings, parks and beaches, providing a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. Find out more about the town of St Andrews.

Find out more about student life at the University of St Andrews.


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

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

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.

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.