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R9T207 Languages, Literatures, Cultures MA Postgraduate Taught  2018


Degree MA
Mode of study Part Time + Full Time
Duration 1 year full-time; 2 years part-time
Start Date 2 October 2018
Location Durham City
Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 3439

Course Summary


The MA in Languages, Literatures and Cultures is a distinct programme that offers students thorough knowledge in the field of literary and cultural studies with an extensive theoretical foundation to engage critically with various literatures. As opposed to other literary studies programmes in the UK (which are commonly affiliated with English departments) it presents a unique opportunity for students who wish to pursue a degree in literatures and comparative studies with a firm emphasis on working on materials in their original language(s). It will thus combine the broad comparative approach to a wide range of seminal historical and current themes in world literature with a strong grounding in linguistic and cultural competence in a particular region or country. 

Its purpose is to provide a solid foundation that prepares and indeed invites students to proceed to a PhD in a corresponding field by placing an emphasis on the research-led dissertation component of the programme. With an equally strong emphasis on current topics and debates, it will also train students to take up employment in the culture sector.

Core Module

Critical Theory and Frameworks 

This module aims to introduce established and innovative theoretical and conceptual tools to engage with literary and cultural texts.

Optional modules

Optional modules are likely to include:

Selected Topics in World Literatures        

"World Literature" has in recent years emerged as the most visible, but also controversial successor to "comparative literature." This module will briefly introduce these debates. The module as a whole will focus on literatures from around the world, organized around topics that recur in different literatures as they speak to the experience of living in the pre-modern and/or modern world.

World Literature and Translation                

Translation is an important, if often ignored, player of the literary field. This module will explore theories of translation and equip students with a methodological toolkit to analyse phenomena in world literature as a whole and in particular national traditions.           

Science, Technology and the Re-making of Nature      

Examining European literature through the theoretical discourses of the history and philosophy of science, plus digital- and science and technology studies, this module will analyse how literary works have engaged with technological invention and scientific discovery. 

Visual Modernities      

This module offers a detailed overview of international visual cultures from the modernist and avant-garde periods.                                                         

History of Translation

In the spirit of postcolonialism and internationalization of the present-day Translation Studies, the module explores a variety of developments in translation praxis and translation theory across time and space. Questions of the historiographic translation/interpreting-focused research will be addressed. 

Work Placement

This module provides the framework for optional national and international placement.

For more optional modules from across the University please see the Course Detail tab.

Course Detail

To find out more about the modules available to students studying at Durham University please click here.

Please note: Current modules are indicative. Information for future academic years may change, for example, due to developments in the relevant academic field, or in light of student feedback.

Course Learning and Teaching

The course consists of one core module, two to four optional modules, and a dissertation. The core module sets out the intellectual framework for the programme, offering a broad overview of key conceptual debates in World Literature, together with methodologies and critical tools for the study of literatures and cultures. The optional modules provide further specialised areas of study in related topics of interest to individual students, and the dissertation—with 15,000 and 20,000 word options—involves detailed study of a particular aspect of a topic related to the broad area of world literature.

Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

Students will be expected to have a BA degree (upper-second class degree or equivalent) in a relevant subject, such as language (Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Russian), literature or linguistics from a recognised national or international university. Students not holding a degree in a non-language-related field may be admitted provided they can demonstrate they have the required competence (C1 following the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) in one of the above mentioned languages.

Two positive academic or equivalent professional references are required. 

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £7,245.00 per year
Home Student £7,245.00 per year
Island Student £7,245.00 per year
International non-EU Student £17,325.00 per year

Part Time Fees

EU Student £4,000.00 per year
Home Student £4,000.00 per year
Island Student £4,000.00 per year
International non-EU Student £9,600.00 per year

Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding

Career Opportunities

School of Modern Languages and Cultures

For further information on career options and employability, including the results of the Destination of Leavers survey, student and employer testimonials and details of work experience and study abroad opportunities, please visit our employability web pages.

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Overseas Visit Schedule

Postgraduate Visits


Department Information

School of Modern Languages and Cultures


We currently have over 160 postgraduate students studying for taught and research postgraduate degrees, working on topics as diverse as translation, literature, theatre, cinema and visual culture. As a student in the School you will participate in a variety of postgraduate activities including dialogue days and research seminars. Our research encompasses all the traditional areas of Modern Languages and Cultures, as well as a number of less orthodox topics, and is internationally recognised for its excellence.

Interdisciplinary research is central to our research. Within the School, research activity is co-ordinated by five research groups: Digital Studies, Ecology, Justice and the Arts, Translation and Linguistics, and Transnationalism.

We also work closely with the University's Institute of Advanced Study and Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and play a major role in the following research centres: Centre for Advanced Photography StudiesCentre for Humanities InnovationCentre for Intercultural MediationCentre for Medical Humanities and Centre for Visual Arts and Culture. All provide research opportunities and contacts across a range of disciplines.

The School’s postgraduates enjoy an excellent success rate in finding employment on completion of their studies, with many working either in universities or in the culture industries, such as media and publishing.