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

Our MA in Languages, Literatures and Cultures will draw on a vast wealth of knowledge in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Hispanic and Russian Studies to take you on an intellectual journey across continents through an enthralling study into languages, literatures and cultures and how they are transmitted, exchanged and established.

The course will nurture your interests in world literatures and comparative studies by enabling you to work on literary materials in their original language, understanding their local, regional and national contexts and exploring what happens when they become entwined with intellectual elements such as translation, philosophy and visual culture.

The course is taken full-time over one year and will consist of innovative core and optional modules ranging from women and the novel in the 18th century to anti-capitalist poetics and from science and the enlightenment to environmental philosophy.

You will also be required to complete a dissertation involving the detailed study of a particular aspect of a topic related to world literature.

The School of Modern Languages and Cultures will provide you with a stimulating environment for your study and the strongest emphasis will be on your own research which you will carry out under the supervision of a subject specialist.

The School is also home to several cutting-edge research groups and we will encourage you to become an active member of the academic community, with the important Centre for Visual Arts and Cultures and Centre for Culture and Ecology both offering innovative opportunities for engagement.

Course structure

Core modules:

Critical Theory and Frameworks will give you the methodologies, tools and skills required for the study of literatures and cultures and will provide you with an overview of the crucial debates that take place within cultural studies and critical theory.

The Dissertation will enable you to carry out your own detailed exploration of an area of languages, literatures and cultures of particular interest to you and to produce a piece of scholarly writing that demonstrates how you are able to understand the relevant theoretical frameworks and apply them appropriately.

Examples of optional modules (please note that the following modules are subject to staff availability):

  • Selected Topics in World Literatures
  • World Literature and Translation
  • Science, Technology and the Re-making of Nature
  • Visual Modernities
  • History of Translation
  • Work Placement (half module)
  • Crossing Cultures: Word, Text and Image in Translation
  • Classical Modernism: Receptions of Greece and Rome
  • Romantic Forms of Grief
  • Literary Masculinity at the Fin de Siècle
  • Narrative Transformations: Medieval Romance to Renaissance Epic
  • The Contemporary US Novel
  • Women and the Novel in the Eighteenth Century
  • Modern Poetry
  • Narrative and Threshold of Consciousness
  • Anti-capitalist Poetics: Writing and Resisting the Modern World-system
  • Illness and Narrative Practices
  • Divergence, Deviance and Disability in Nineteenth century Literature
  • Minimalisms: Understanding the Aesthetics of Lessness
  • Environmental Posthumanities
  • Neurodiversity and the Humanities
  • Qualitative Approaches to Digital Humanities
  • Theory and History of the Novel
  • Things That Matter: Material and Culture in/for the Digital Age (half module)
  • 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
International students

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