Taught course

Languages, Literatures, Cultures

Durham University · School of Modern Languages and Cultures

Entry requirements

You 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.

Months of entry


Course content

The MA in Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Durham University is an exciting, unique and dynamic course that invites you to engage critically with literatures emerging from diverse literary and cultural contexts from around the world. The course has a broad global reach and draws together a wealth of expertise in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Hispanic and Russian Studies.

This global approach to languages, literatures and cultures presents a distinct opportunity for students who wish to pursue a degree in world literatures and comparative studies with a firm emphasis on working on materials in their original language(s), with due attention to the local, national and regional contexts in which they originate.

Whether working with text in one, or several non-English languages, the course invites students to think within an international context, to cross borders, disciplines and canons, to reflect on questions of cultural transmission and exchange in literature, as well as to explore literary interactions with wider intellectual and cultural phenomena, such as translation, philosophy and visual culture.

The course provides an exceptional critical base that prepares and invites students to proceed to a PhD in a corresponding field, encouraging throughout a research-led approach which culminates in the dissertation. With a strong emphasis on urgent current themes and debates, it also equips you with high-level critical skills in literary, cultural and conceptual analysis and argument that can lead to employment in the literary, culture, arts and heritage sectors.

Core module:

Critical Theory and Frameworks

This module introduces and develops knowledge of cutting-edge cultural and literary theories, and allows you to extend your skills of critical analysis. It provides a crucial foundation for the course, and offers you critical and conceptual tools to take forward as you pursue your optional modules and dissertation. The module foregrounds questions about literature and textuality, and covers themes such as identity, gender, race, disability, and ecology, through multiple theoretical frames, from literary theory to psychoanalysis, poststructuralism, and cultural studies.


You will write a research-led dissertation of 15,000 or 20,000 words, on a topic of your choice, and are provided with guidance and support in individual supervisions with an expert (or two) in the field.

Examples of optional modules:

You can select from a wide range of optional modules from within the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, as well as options from the wider Faculty of Arts and Humanities. Options include:

  • Selected Topics in World Literatures
  • World Literature and Translation
  • Science, Technology and the Re-making of Nature
  • Visual Modernities
  • History of Translation
  • Work Placement
  • Crossing Cultures: Word, Text and Image in Translation
  • Transnational Cinema
  • German Reading Skills for Research 1
  • French Reading Skills for Research 1
  • Things That Matter: Material and Culture in/for the Digital Age
  • Romantic Forms of Grief
  • Classical Modernisms
  • Narrative Transformations: Medieval Romance to Renaissance Epic
  • The Contemporary US novel
  • Women and the Novel in the Eighteenth Century
  • Modernism and Touch
  • Shame
  • Modern Poetry
  • Narrative and Thresholds of Consciousness
  • Anti-Capitalist Poetry and the Modern World System
  • Illness and Narrative Practices
  • Divergance, Deviance, and Disability in Nineteenth-Century Literature
  • Grant-Writing for Master Students
  • The Nature of History: Approaches to Environmental History
  • Transnational History
  • Science and the Enlightenment
  • Current Issues in Aesthetics and Theory of Art
  • Ethics, Medicine and History
  • Environmental Philosophy
  • Phenomenology and the Sciences of Mind
  • Ideologies and Political Thought
  • Contemporary Political Philosophy
  • The Politics of East Asia.

Information for international students

If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take a pre-Masters pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.

Fees and funding

UK students
£10,700 per year
International students
£23,500 per year

For further information see the course listing.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details