As an MA (Hons) student of Spanish, you will develop language and communications skills to a high level of proficiency. You will be able to choose from a broad range of course options that reflect and explore the rich cultural heritage of Spain and Latin America, including: literature from the Golden Age to the present day, history, linguistics, film and translation.
Spanish at St Andrews caters both for students who are beginners and for those who have already studied Spanish as a main subject at school.
During your third year, you have the opportunity to study abroad in Spain at one of the University’s Erasmus+ partners, or in Montevideo, Uruguay.
The MA (Hons) in Spanish is also available as a five-year course with an integrated year abroad. The integrated year abroad is an opportunity for students to spend a year working in a Spanish-speaking country between second year and third year. Find out more about integrated year abroad options.
If you started this programme in 2019, you can find information about 2019 entry on the 2019 Spanish MA page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.
These grades are the overall standards required to consider you for entry. 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.
Standard entry grades: AAAB
Minimum entry grades: AABB
Gateway entry grades: BBBB
Standard entry grades: AAB
Minimum entry grades: ABB
Standard entry grades: 36 (HL 6,6,5)
Minimum entry grades: 36 (HL 6,5,5)
We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes, please see our entry requirements for more information.
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 entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.
If English is not your first language you will need an overall IELTS score of 7.0, with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English Language qualification.
No prior knowledge of Spanish is necessary. Modules are not designed for native speakers.
Faculty entry requirements
You must also meet the Faculty of Arts minimum qualifications. These vary depending on which qualifications you hold.
SQA National 5 (B) or equivalent in English and one SQA National 5 (B) from the following:
Computing Science or equivalent
Lifeskills Mathematics (A grade)
GCSE (B or 5) in English, English Language or English Literature, and one GCSE (B or 5) from the following:
Computing Science or equivalent
Passes in other examinations at equivalent levels and subjects may be accepted by the Dean of the Faculty. 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.
The University publishes its expected timetables before the advising process, and aims to provide each student with a personalised timetable once module choices have been made and confirmed during matriculation.
The School of Modern Languages has a long-standing reputation for innovative research in an exceptionally broad variety of interests including world literature, linguistics, cinema, history, gender and identity studies.
In the 2014 REF, the School of Modern Languages was ranked first in Scotland on the quality of publications, with over 70% of research work rated as world-leading and internationally excellent.
The University of St Andrews as a whole was voted top in the UK for student academic experience in The National Student Survey 2019 as 95% of St Andrews final year students gave the University top marks for the quality of the learning and teaching experience.
The University has secured a TEF Gold Award for the quality of teaching and the undergraduate experience.
The MA (Hons) in Spanish is a four-year course run by the School of Modern Languages. The course is available to both students who are beginners in Spanish and to more advanced students who have studied Spanish to A-Level or SQA Higher.
In the first two years, students will take modules which complement their level of Spanish entering the degree. Students of all levels will develop a deeper understanding and control of Spanish and are offered a broad view of Spanish and Latin American literature, civilisation and culture.
Alongside Spanish, 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 Erasmus+ partner institutions in a Spanish-speaking country or at the University of Montevideo (Uruguay). In this case, study undertaken at one of these institutions replaces equivalent study in St Andrews. Studying abroad is optional.
In your fourth year you will take the final language modules to establish a sound knowledge of the Spanish language. Additional modules are focused on communication skills and in a number of areas such as Spanish and Latin American literature, linguistics, translation and history.
Graduates in Modern Languages from St Andrews can expect to have not only a high level of competency 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 industry.
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 webpage.
Two different types of modules are offered in first year: intensive foundation courses for beginners or students with an SQA National 5 or GCSE in Spanish, and advanced language and literature courses for those with higher entrance qualifications such as a SQA Higher or GCE A-level.
Students who are beginners or who have studied Spanish to National 5 or GCSE-level are required to take the following compulsory modules in their first year:
Spanish for Beginners 1: initiates Spanish language acquisition with a firm grounding in the syntax, morphology and vocabulary of the language.
Spanish for Beginners 2: builds on Spanish for Beginners 1 and further develops the understanding of Spanish grammar and language. It also adds lectures and seminars (taught in English) on Hispanic film and literature.
Students who have an SQA Higher or a GCE A-level in Spanish are required to take the following compulsory modules in first year:
Spanish Language and Texts 1: provides grammar and language instruction alongside reading Spanish texts to provide language in context.
Spanish Language and Texts 2: builds upon Spanish Language and Texts 1 through contemporary and early Spanish texts and increased linguistic difficulty in the study of spoken Spanish.
Students who are ex-beginners in Spanish who wish to move into mainstream studies of Spanish language and literature are required to take the following compulsory modules in their second year:
Spanish Language and Texts: ex-Beginners: involves revision and further developing an understanding of the language and intensive practice in oral, spoken and written skills. In the literature component, study is planned so that thorough vocabulary acquisition, analysis of syntax and understanding of extended texts can be realistically achieved.
Spanish Language and Critical Approaches to Texts 2: language material will reflect cultural aspects of the Spanish-speaking world, and literary texts are studied in the context of regions and eras including Middle Ages and Renaissance in Spain and modern Spanish America.
Advanced students must take the following compulsory modules in their second year:
Spanish Language and Critical Approaches to Texts 1: skills in reading, listening, speaking and writing Spanish are developed through prepared work and class activities. Language material will reflect cultural aspects of the Spanish-speaking world, and major critical approaches in texts are studied with reference to the genres of poetry, prose and drama.
Spanish Language and Critical Approaches to Texts 2: further develops skills learnt in Spanish Language and Critical Approaches to Texts 1. Language material will reflect cultural aspects of the Spanish-speaking world and literary texts are studied in the context of regions and eras including Middle Ages and Renaissance in Spain and modern Spanish America.
All students (both advanced and ex-beginners) also have the option of taking the following module, recommended in particular for students wishing to continue their Spanish studies at Honours level:
Spanish Language and Critical Approaches to Cinema: enhances the language skills of the student, with intensive practice in oral, spoken and written skills. The syllabus is based on a selection of films from Spain and Latin America, which are used as sources for thematic discussion and linguistic development. Weekly film viewings in advance of scheduled classes are part of the programme. Ex-Beginners will normally take this module in Semester 2.
If you take Spanish in third and fourth years, you will choose from a variety of advanced options which incorporate literary, historical and cultural studies into language learning. Students of all language levels take the same core modules in Spanish language, including advanced oral, writing and communication skills.
Modules at Honours level in previous years have included (but are not limited to):
Action Heroes and Anti-heroes in Early-Modern Spain
Autobiographical Writing in Twentieth-Century Spain
Linguistic Study of the Spanish Language
Mexico in the Nineteenth Century
Post-1975 Writing in Spain 1
Spanish American Literature 1 (Gauchos and Indians)
Strange Girls and Domestic Angels: Women’s Writing in Spain
Tales of the Nation
The Argentine and Chilean Avant-Garde (1920s-1930s).
In fourth year, students have the option of undertaking a dissertation of up to 5,000 words or 10,000 words, written in English, on a topic agreed with a supervisor. This independent project develops 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 available for the current academic year can be found in the module catalogue.
All Modern Language modules involve a combination of lectures, tutorials and practical languages 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.
Sub-honours Spanish modules are delivered through lectures (50 to 100 students), seminars (12 to 15 students) and language classes (12 to 15 students).
At Honours level, you will attend lectures and seminars (10 to 20 students) and language classes (10 to 12 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:
practicing Spanish grammar and pronunciation
working on individual and group projects
undertaking research in the library
preparing coursework assignments and presentations
preparing for examinations.
You will be taught by a research-led teaching team with expertise and knowledge of Spanish. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of tutorials under the supervision of the module leader.
In addition to your studies in the Department of Spanish, 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 Spanish are assessed by at least 40% coursework, with the remaining 60% made up from additional coursework or practical and written examinations.
Examinations are held at the end of each 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 every assessment within three weeks to help you improve on future assessments.
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. Please note that some Schools offer qualified entry to Honours, and this will be clearly specified in the programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please visit the common reporting scale webpage.
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.
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.
In addition, many graduates pursue postgraduate study in languages and literatures, translation studies and teaching. Others study law or information technology.
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.
Students studying Spanish may 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.
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.
Students may choose to spend an additional year working or studying in a Spanish-speaking country. Find out more about the integrated year abroad for this course.
From the outset, the University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensures a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.
The School of Modern Languages, in collaboration with The Byre Theatre, runs Byre World, an exciting programme of events related to the literature, film and cultures of the wider world.
Students of Spanish may be interested in joining the following student societies:
At Home and Abroad Society (AHAsoc) promotes study and work abroad programmes along with all forms of international cultural exchange.
St Andrews Hispanic Society is passionate about all things Spanish and Latin American including food, music, culture and more. The society holds weekly conversation practice, social dinners, sangría nights and lots more.
The School of Modern Languages is situated at the very centre of St Andrews in the Buchanan Building on Union Street. Within the Buchanan Building is the Multimedia Centre, a digital language lab which students will use as both a component of their module classwork and as part of individual study.
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 and areas of greenery and seaside which provide a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. If you want a change of scenery, St Andrews' position near surrounding towns and cities such as Anstruther, Dundee and Edinburgh make it ideal for getting to know more about Scotland.
“Becoming fluent in Spanish has always been a dream of mine – my family speaks Spanish, and I am now able to hold a conversation! St Andrews offered a pathway not only towards speaking the language, but also an introduction to a whole world of literature previously inaccessible to me. It has been challenging but my lectures and tutors are wonderfully supportive and make it well worth it!”
Caelan (Texas, USA)
Department of Spanish School of Modern Languages University of St Andrews Buchanan Building Union Street St Andrews KY16 9PH
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).