Italian MA (Honours) 2024 entry

The information on this page is for 2024 entry. If you are considering applying for 2025 entry or later, some of these details may differ and we advise you to check the page again before you apply. To receive a notification of when applications open for 2025 entry, please register your interest.

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

Italian is available to both beginners and non-beginners. All students are introduced to a wide spectrum of cultural and literary genres, from medieval texts and poetry to 21st-century Italian novels, films and more. 

Language is taught at all levels in small groups, allowing teaching staff to pay close attention to your progress. The Department’s innovative and distinctive teaching approach includes mixed skills and integrated classes, extensive use of contemporary audio-visual materials, and regular structured contact with native speakers. Students of Italian gain comprehensive transferable skills relevant to a wide range of careers.

UCAS code
Start date
September 2024
End date
September 2028
Four years full time
School of Modern Languages
“A year away being on the other side of the classroom was truly a gripping experience. I wanted to develop new professional skills and was lucky to be placed in a middle school in Verona. Throw yourself in and say yes to new opportunities as it will really build your confidence.”
Freya standing in front of Trevi Fountain
- Bridgend, Wales

Entry requirements

The University offers different entry requirements, depending on your background. Find out more about Standard, Minimum and Gateway entry requirements using academic entry explained and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.

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 entry requirements as outlined on their pages.

  • Standard entry grades:
    Minimum entry grades:
    Gateway entry grades:
    Applicants who have narrowly missed the minimum entry grades, but meet the University's contextual criteria, may be interested in one of the University’s Gateway programmes.
  • Standard entry grades:
    Minimum entry grades:
  • Standard entry grades:
    36 (HL 6,6,5)
    Minimum entry grades:
    36 (HL 6,5,5)

General entry requirements

All applicants must have attained the following qualifications, or equivalent, in addition to the specific entry requirements for individual programmes.

  • SQA National 5 (B) in English and one SQA National 5 (B) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing science
    • Geography
    • Lifeskills Mathematics (A grade)
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.
  • GCSE (5) in English language or English literature, and one GCSE (5) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing Science
    • Geography
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.

Other qualifications

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes. Please see our entry requirements for more information.

More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements web page.

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

No prior knowledge of Italian is necessary. Modules are not designed for native speakers.

Alternative study options

Students interested in this course may also be interested in the following:

Integrated year abroad

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

Study abroad

Students studying Italian can apply to participate in the University-wide St Andrews Abroad programme. You may also have the opportunity to participate in the School Abroad exchange programme. For information about study abroad options, please see the study abroad site.

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.

International applicants

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability. Find out more about approved English language tests and scores for this course.

Course details

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

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

Alongside Italian, in the first year of your studies you will be required to study an additional two subjects. In the second year, you will usually carry on at least one of these subjects, sometimes two. Find out more about how academic years are organised

During your third year, you have the opportunity to study at one of the University’s partner institutions in Italy (Padua, Turin, Venice or Verona). In this case, study undertaken in Italy replaces equivalent study in St Andrews. Study abroad is optional. 

If you choose to stay at St Andrews for both your third and fourth years, you will take language modules focused on communication skills, and can choose from a range of specialist cultural modules. Areas of study include: 

  • Italian cinema 
  • Italian cultural studies 
  • Italian history 
  • Italian literature. 

Graduates in modern languages from St Andrews can expect to have not only an advanced level of competence 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 area. 

The University of St Andrews operates on a flexible modular degree system by which degrees are obtained through the accumulation of credits. More information on the structure of the modules system can be found on the flexible degree structure web page.


In the first two years of your degree, 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).

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 in Italian. 

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

  • Introduction to Italian Language: concentrates on grammar and usage through reading, writing, listening and speaking and introduces elements of Italian culture and history. 
  • Italian Language (Elementary): builds on the 'Introduction to Italian Language' module by increasing the student’s knowledge of, and ability to use, Italian, and includes some study of Italian literature. 

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 and 2: the core language module each semester provides a thorough and structured revision of grammar and a consolidation of speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills through formal grammar classes and practical oral language classes. 
  • Italian Geographies: aims to give 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 study of Italian culture across different time periods.
  • 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. Students will continue their study of Italian culture across different time periods.

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 topics such as: 

  • Authority and Subversion in the Renaissance Italy 
  • Black Italians 
  • Contemporary Cultures of Migration
  • Dante Alighieri 
  • Fascism and Film 
  • Italian Detective Fiction. 

In fourth year, you have the option of undertaking a dissertation of up to either 5,000 words or 10,000 words in length, written in English, on a topic of your 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 compulsory modules listed here must be taken 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. For Honours level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules appropriate to the programme for the current academic year can be found in the programme requirements.


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. 

First and second-year Italian modules are delivered through lectures (up to 100 students in first year, up to 40 in second year), language classes and discussion seminars (typically in groups of 12 to 15 students). 

At Honours level, you will attend language classes, and seminars in groups of 8 to 10 students. 

When not attending lectures, tutorials and practical language classes, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve: 

  • developing language skills 
  • working on individual and group projects 
  • undertaking research in the library 
  • preparing coursework assignments and presentations 
  • preparing for examinations. 

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 
  • assessed coursework. 

Examinations are held at the end of the second 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. The Department aims to provide feedback on assessments and coursework within three weeks. 

Undergraduates at the University of St Andrews must achieve at least 7.0 on the St Andrews 20-point grade scale to pass a module. To gain access to Honours-level modules, students must achieve the relevant requisites as specified in the policy on entry to Honours and in the relevant programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please see the common reporting scale.

You will be taught by a team of internationally recognised, skilled and research-active academics, with specialised language teachers. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of classes under the supervision of the module coordinator. 

You can find contact information for all staff in the Department of Italian on the School of Modern Languages website. 

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.



England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland

Channel Islands, Isle of Man

EU and overseas

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.

Funding and scholarships

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

Joint Honours degrees

You can also take Italian as part of a joint Honours degree in which you will take core modules of your chosen subjects.

Course name UCAS code
Master of Arts (Honours) Ancient History and ItalianRV31
Master of Arts (Honours) Ancient History and Italian (With Integrated Year Abroad)RVHD
Master of Arts (Honours) Arabic and ItalianRT36
Master of Arts (Honours) Arabic and Italian (With Integrated Year Abroad)RTH6
Master of Arts (Honours) Art History and ItalianRV33
Master of Arts (Honours) Art History and Italian (With Integrated Year Abroad)RVH3
Master of Arts (Honours) Chinese Studies and ItalianCH09
Master of Arts (Honours) Chinese Studies and Italian (With Integrated Year Abroad)CW09
Master of Arts (Honours) Classical Studies and ItalianRQ38
Master of Arts (Honours) Classical Studies and Italian (With Integrated Year Abroad)RQJ8
Master of Arts (Honours) Classics and ItalianQR83
Master of Arts (Honours) Classics and Italian (With Integrated Year Abroad)RQH8
Master of Arts (Honours) Comparative Literature and ItalianQRF3
Master of Arts (Honours) Comparative Literature and Italian (With Integrated Year Abroad)QRG3
Master of Arts (Honours) Economics and ItalianLR13
Master of Arts (Honours) Economics and Italian (With Integrated Year Abroad)LRC3
Master of Arts (Honours) English and ItalianQR33
Master of Arts (Honours) English and Italian (With Integrated Year Abroad)RQ33
Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies and ItalianPR33
Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies and Italian (With Integrated Year Abroad)PR3H
Master of Arts (Honours) French and ItalianRR13
Master of Arts (Honours) French and Italian (With Integrated Year Abroad)RR31
Master of Arts (Honours) Geography and ItalianLR73
Master of Arts (Honours) Geography and Italian (With Integrated Year Abroad)LRR3
Master of Arts (Honours) German and ItalianRR23
Master of Arts (Honours) German and Italian (With Integrated Year Abroad)RR32
Master of Arts (Honours) International Relations and ItalianLR23
Master of Arts (Honours) International Relations and Italian (With Integrated Year Abroad)LRF3
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and LatinQR63
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and Latin (With Integrated Year Abroad)RQ36
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and ManagementNR23
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and Management (With Integrated Year Abroad)NRF3
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and MathematicsGR13
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and Mathematics (With Integrated Year Abroad)RG31
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and Medieval HistoryRVJ1
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and Medieval History (With Integrated Year Abroad)RVH1
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and Modern HistoryRV3D
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and Modern History (With Integrated Year Abroad)RVHC
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and PersianR3T6
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and Persian (With Integrated Year Abroad)R36T
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and PhilosophyRV35
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and Philosophy (With Integrated Year Abroad)RVH5
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and PsychologyRC38
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and Psychology (With Integrated Year Abroad)CR83
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and RussianRR37
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and Russian (With Integrated Year Abroad)RR73
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and Scottish HistoryVR23
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and Scottish History (With Integrated Year Abroad)VRF3
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and Social AnthropologyLR63
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and Social Anthropology (With Integrated Year Abroad)RL36
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and SpanishRR43
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and Spanish (With Integrated Year Abroad)RR34
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and Sustainable DevelopmentF887
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and Sustainable Development (With Integrated Year Abroad)F883

Triple subject degree options

It is also possible to take Italian as part of a Modern Languages Honours degree including either three modern languages or two modern languages and one additional subject. Find out more about the triple subject combinations available.


Modern languages graduates have an extremely good record of employment after graduating, not only in all sectors that require advanced language skills but also in professional environments that demand good communication and analytical skills. 

Employers value language graduates because they demonstrate excellent communication, interpersonal and intercultural skills. 

Many graduates go on to: 

  • specialise in translation and interpreting services, in language teaching or other sector-specific careers 
  • join international institutions and enterprises, working in international development departments, human resources, administration, media and communication jobs 
  • start a career in the banking and financial sector 
  • join the civil service, particularly in positions within the Foreign Office 
  • continue to study at postgraduate level. 

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 specialist training or conversion courses to prepare for careers in translating and interpreting. 

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.

What to do next

Online information events

Join us for one of our information events where you can find out about different levels of study and specific courses we run. There are also sessions available for parents and college counsellors.

Undergraduate visiting days

We encourage all students who are thinking of applying to the University to attend one of our online or in-person visiting days.

Contact us

+44 (0)1334 46 3662
Department of Italian
Buchanan Building
Union Street
St Andrews
KY16 9PH

Department of Italian website

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