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Durham University


R9T207 Languages, Literatures, Cultures MA Postgraduate Taught  2020


Degree MA
Mode of study Part Time + Full Time
Duration 1 year full-time; 2 years part-time
Start Date 2 October 2020
Location Durham City
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Department(s) Website

Course Summary


The MA in Languages, Literatures and Cultures is a distinct course 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 courses 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 course. 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 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 course, 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 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 £9,000.00 per year
Home Student £9,000.00 per year
Island Student £9,000.00 per year
International non-EU Student £20,300.00 per year

Part Time Fees

EU Student £5,000.00 per year
Home Student £5,000.00 per year
Island Student £5,000.00 per year
International non-EU Student £11,200.00 per year

The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

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


The School of Modern Languages and Cultures carries out research into literature, culture and language as well as film and visual studies that is extensive in historical scope and geographically wide ranging. Expertise includes Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hispanic, Italian, Japanese, and Russian Studies. Nearly 50 full-time research-active members of staff supervise and teach around 125 postgraduates (over half of whom are international), comprising 75 students in taught programmes and 50 students pursuing MA and PhD research degrees. As a major partner in a number of University-wide research centres and institutes, we provide an ideal research environment for postgraduate study, with weekly research events and regular postgraduate activities. Our emphasis on comparative, interdisciplinary and cross-cultural approaches to research gives our research students a broad-ranging and cohesive environment in which to develop a range of skills. This equips them for future careers both within and beyond academia, nationally and internationally.