Modern Languages (MLitt) 2023 entry

On the MLitt in Modern Languages, you can study one or two language pathways and develop your understanding of global languages, literatures and cultures. You can choose from seven language pathways:  

Chinese Cultural Studies cannot be studied with another pathway. 

Start date
September 2023
End date
September 2024
One year full time
School of Modern Languages

Application deadline

Thursday 10 August 2023

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

“The programme structure means that my learning is very varied but I still have the time and freedom to focus on what interests me most. Classes are small and I get so much out of seminars. I will leave the University a more inquisitive, more resourceful, and more confident individual than when I first arrived.”
- Fife, Scotland

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.

Application requirements

  • CV or résumé. This should include your personal details with a history of your education and employment to date. 
  • personal statement 
  • sample of your own, single-authored academic written work (2,000 words) 
  • two original signed academic references 
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates.

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

English language proficiency

If English is not your first language, you may need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability. See approved English language tests and scores for this course.

Course details

The School of Modern Languages is distinguished by the breadth of its academic activity which spans language, literary, and cultural studies across seven distinct language areas as well as a range of cultural-historical epochs from the middle ages to the present day. This breadth is reflected in the topics you will study on the MLitt Modern Languages: 

Chinese Cultural Studies

Further your knowledge of the cultural creativity of the Chinese-speaking world of the 20th and 21st centuries. You will work on literary, visual, and other cultural representations and critiques of modern and contemporary issues such as ecology, gender and sexuality, minority ethnicities, and creative liberties. You will acquire the specialist methodological and critical theoretical skills and knowledge necessary for conducting research on these globally important issues in the context of the cultural expression of the Chinese-speaking world and its diaspora. 

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’s 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. You will work with specialists in a particularly wide range of areas in German studies: medieval literature, the 19th century, realism, travel writing, historiography, queer and gender studies, cultural memory, contemporary literature, literary theory, 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, 20th-century poetry and cinema, Renaissance literature and culture, Dante and medieval humanism, Mediterranean and postcolonial studies, and transnational modern languages. 

Middle Eastern Literary and Cultural Studies (Arabic and, or Persian)

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 topic, 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; 20th and 21st-century Spanish poetry; modern and contemporary Catalan culture and literature.  

Students can combine two pathways (for example, French and Italian Studies) to further broaden their learning. Chinese Cultural Studies cannot be studied with another pathway. 


  • 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 student body from across Europe, North America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa, provides a global outlook.  


The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details about each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue, which is for the 2022-2023 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2023 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. 

Chinese Cultural Studies pathway 

The Literary and Cultural Theory (1) module is not compulsory for students on the Chinese Cultural Studies pathway. Instead, students on this pathway will take the following compulsory modules: 

  • Research Methods for Chinese Cultural Studies: provides training in the Chinese language and other China-specific research tools and methods.
  • The Cultural Creation of China the nation-state: from Qing decline to 21st-century spectacular power: examines the creation and frequent re-invention of China-the-nation-state through language, literature and culture in its widest sense, and focuses on the imbrication of politics and culture from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. Texts studied will be drawn from poetry, fiction, film, television, and popular music. 
  • EcoArts China: Art in the age of the Anthropocene: explores the dynamics of ecocriticism in China from the early 20th century to the present day through the lens of art, visual culture and film. We will explore the environmental impact of economic liberalization, urbanization and globalization as well as the historical complexity of changing conceptions of nature, landscape and space. 
  • Cultural Expression in the Chinese Diaspora: addresses literary and visual texts and practices created outside of China by migrants and their descendants. The module will introduce the historical context of a migration that was brought about by Western aggression against what was not yet China the nation-state which resulted in a Chinese diaspora that today extends to all five continents. 

The Chinese Cultural Studies modules may also be open to students from other pathways subject to linguistic competence. 

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: 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: a high-level introduction to research areas of Hispanic literature and film. 
  • Problems of Culture and Identity 1: through the study of a broad range of particular cultural traditions, seeks to enhance understanding of the concepts and mechanisms involved in the formation of collective identity as such (the 'poetics' of cultural identity). 
  • Problems of Culture and Identity 2: focuses on personal, rather than group identity. Particular topics treated may include: the dialectical relationship between personal and collective identities, the self and alterity, narrative and identity formation, situatedness and corporeality, transnational identities and problems of autobiography. 
  • 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. 

Optional modules are subject to change each year and require a minimum number of participants to be offered; some may only allow limited numbers of students (see the University's position on curriculum development). 

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 2023 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.


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.




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

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews is committed to attracting the very best students, regardless of financial circumstances. Find out more about the scholarships and postgraduate loans available.

All taught postgraduate scholarships

After your degree


Alongside your academic learning, you will develop your broader capabilities and employability. All Masters students have access to the Professional Skills Curriculum, a flexible programme of workshops, lectures, and online materials to help you develop your personal and professional skills. 
Graduates have gone on to careers in fields including: 

  • 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 as well as a programme of events to assist students in building their employability skills.

Further study

The MLitt provides academic learning and research skills training for students intending to continue to a doctoral or other research degree.  

As well as the PhD degree, the School of Modern Languages offers supervision for two research-based Masters degrees – the Master of Studies by Research (MSt (Res)) and the Master of Philosophy (MPhil).  

Postgraduate research

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.

Postgraduate virtual days

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

Contact us

+44 (0)1334 46 2961
School of Modern Languages
Buchanan Building
Union Street
St Andrews
KY16 9PH

School of Modern Languages website