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Modern Languages (MLitt) 2020 entry

The MLitt in Modern Languages brings together the exceptionally broad fields of research interest in the School of Modern Languages, ranging from the medieval period to the present day and engaging with cultures spanning the world. This programme allows you to specialise in a specific language pathway and provides cohort-wide taught modules in relevant research methodologies and skills. 

Students who choose the MLitt in Modern Languages can study one or two of the following pathways

  • French Studies
  • German Studies
  • Italian Studies
  • Middle Eastern Literary and Cultural Studies
  • Russian Studies
  • Spanish and Latin American Studies. 

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Course type

Postgraduate; leading to a Master of Letters (MLitt)

Course dates

  • Start date: 7 September 2020
  • End date: 30 September 2021

If you started a Modern Languages programme in a previous year, you can find information about all programmes from previous years of entry in the archive.

Course duration

One year full time or two years part time

Entry requirements

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

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Tuition fees

UK and EU: £9,450
Overseas: £19,400

Application deadline

Wednesday 12 August 2020. Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

Application requirements

  • CV or résumé. This should include your personal details with a history of your education and employment to date.
  • personal statement (optional)
  • sample of academic written work (2,000 words)
  • two original signed academic references
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates
  • evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.

Course information

The MLitt in Modern Languages is a one-year taught programme run by the School of Modern Languages. Students on this MLitt choose to study one of the following language culture pathways:

  • French Studies: acquire advanced knowledge of the individuals, the artistic and scientific creations, the events, the wars and the revolutions that have shaped literature and culture in France and French-speaking lands from the Middle Ages to the present day. Research specialisms in the French Department include philosophy and literary theory, painting and poetry, women writing and life writing, erotic fiction and postcolonial literature, French and Francophone theatre as well as the interfaces of 19th-century culture and science in French and European contexts.

  • German Studies: develop your academic interests in German language societies and cultures from the Middle Ages to the present. Students work with academics who have expertise in a particularly wide range of research specialisms in German studies (medieval literature, the 19th century, realism, travel writing, historiography, queer studies, cultural memory, contemporary literature, film and visual culture).

  • Italian Studies: further your studies in a wide range of areas of Italian literature, culture and history. Students can bring training in theory and research methodologies to bear on directed study of topics which reflect their own research interests. Staff research specialisms include modern and contemporary literature and film, 20th-century poetry, Renaissance literature and culture, Dante studies, postcolonial studies, Italian humanism and transnational modern languages.

  • Middle Eastern Literary and Cultural Studies: deepen your knowledge of classical and modern Arabic and Persian literatures and cultures, including music and film, as a prelude to professional work in the arts and culture of the area or as a sound basis for progression to PhD study. The teaching is in English, but applicants must be fluent in either Arabic or Persian to be able to engage with a variety of cultural products taught in the programme. Students explore a broad range of subjects in Middle Eastern literary traditions (Arabic, Persian, Kurdish) before focusing on a subject, medium or genre of their choice.

  • Russian Studies: deepen your knowledge of the interrelated fields of Russian literature, film, culture and history to the present day. Students are taught by internationally acclaimed academics with an exceptionally wide range of expertise, including comparative literature, literary theory, poetry, crime fiction, gothic, realism, cultural memory, film, Russian avant-garde, Russian and Soviet theatre, celebrity, gender and queer theory in Russia.

  • Spanish and Latin American Studies: develop and enhance your knowledge of Hispanic literature, culture and history through textual study and theoretical reflection.
    Students will encounter a wide range of research interests and expertise, including in Cervantes; Golden Age poetry; Latin American narrative and essay; modernismo and avant-garde in Spain and Spanish America; gender, cultural memory and theatre censorship in Spain; twentieth and 21st century Spanish poetry; Spanish historical grammar and sociolinguistics; modern and contemporary Catalan culture and literature. 

Students also have the opportunity to combine two pathways (for example, French and Italian Studies). 


  • Deepen and expand your interests in at least one language specialism through dedicated modules and individualised guided reading programmes. 
  • Fifty full-time academic staff teaching in seven languages provide unusually wide discipline-specific and cross-disciplinary research, teaching, and supervision expertise.
  • Investigate cutting-edge Modern Languages research through involvement in the work of the School's research centres, interdisciplinary research groups and postgraduate student seminars.  
  • A diverse and international study body from across Europe, North America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa, provides a global outlook. 

Teaching format

The School promotes discipline-specific and collaborative teaching and learning so that students may explore their own particular interests in greater depth and breadth. 

Classes are delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars and tutorials. Classes are intentionally small, with many being one-to-one or in very small groups. Lectures are usually in groups of up to 20. Modules are assessed through coursework; there are no final exams.

Further particulars regarding curriculum development.


The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2019–2020 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2020 entry.

  • Literary and Cultural Theory (1): provides research training by exploring a range of literary and cultural theories through which texts may be conceptualised, criticised and analysed.
  • Literary and Cultural Theory (2): provides research training by exploring a range of literary and cultural theories through which texts may be conceptualised, criticised and analysed.

Optional modules are chosen in consultation with your supervisor to reflect the best mix of courses for your preferred specialism.

  • French Literary Revolutions: advanced knowledge of contexts that have shaped literature and culture in the French-speaking lands from the Medieval period to the present day.
  • German Literary and Cultural Contexts: Turning Points: advanced knowledge of contexts that have shaped literature and culture in the German-speaking lands from the Middle Ages to the present day. 
  • Italian Literary and Cultural Contexts: Italians: investigates how Italian identity has been constructed in cultural production from the 13th century to the present day.
  • Middle Eastern Literary and Cultural Contexts: provides students with a comprehensive knowledge of important elements of classical and modern Arabic and Persian literatures and cultures from pre-Islamic times to the present.
  • New Approaches to the Russian Literary Canon: explores how the ‘Russian literary canon’ has been constructed over the past 200 years.
  • Patterns in Hispanic Literature and Film (40): a high-level introduction to research areas of Hispanic literature and film.
  • Research and Professional Skills: introduces students to a range of skills which are essential to advanced researchers and key to many other non-academic workplaces.

There are also specialised research modules in each of the language pathways.

Student dissertations will be supervised by members of the teaching staff who will advise on the choice of subject and provide guidance throughout the research process. The completed dissertation of not more than 15,000 words must be submitted by a date specified in August.

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MLitt, there are exit awards available that allow suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and, assuming you have attained appropriate grades, receive a PGDip instead of an MLitt.

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2020 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

Visit St Andrews

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at a visiting day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.

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Virtual events

Join our Admissions team for one of our upcoming virtual events. During these events, you can find out more about studying at St Andrews and what it will do for your future.


Conferences and events

The School of Modern Languages hosts an annual seminar programme which promotes integration across the language departments. In addition, the School hosts a number of conferences and events, including guest speakers and workshops for the discussion of ideas and issues in a thought-provoking but relaxed and supportive environment. 

Students also organise their own events and activities in the School, including workshops with postgraduates in other disciplines.


The School of Modern Languages offers a number of Masters-level funding opportunities each year. 

Find out more about postgraduate scholarships

Recent Graduate Discount
The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews.

After the MLitt

Research degrees

In addition to the MLitt, the School offers a two-year residential Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree option in different modern languages.

Many graduates continue their education by enrolling in PhD programmes at St Andrews or elsewhere.

PhD in Modern Languages


Modern Languages postgraduates go on to careers in the academic field or in other areas, for example as cultural advisors, translators, or in the public or civil service.

Recent graduates have secured posts such as:

  • consulting
  • energy resource management
  • international development
  • journalism
  • UN interpreting
  • public policy
  • publishing
  • the civil and diplomatic services
  • University academics and administrators.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.


School of Modern Languages
University of St Andrews
Buchanan Building
Union Street
St Andrews
KY16 9PH

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 3670

Modern Languages website


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).

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