Taught course


Heriot-Watt University · School of Management and Languages

Entry requirements

Strand A

  • Native / near-native command of English plus native / near-native command of Chinese, French, German, or Spanish
  • Good degree or equivalent in a relevant subject.

Strand B

  • Native / near-native command of English plus an excellent command of two from French, German, Spanish or Chinese.
  • Good degree or equivalent in a relevant subject.

Entrance tests

Suitable applicants will be invited for interview and to undertake a short test.

English language requirements

Non-native speakers of English must provide evidence of their English language ability. This must be IELTS 7.0, or equivalent, with at least 6.5 in all components.

Months of entry


Course content


Our MSc Interpreting programme is one of the most established and respected interpreting degrees of its kind in the UK and offers professional standard training in Chinese, French, German and Spanish.

Our specialist programme is designed for those who want to work as professional interpreters. During the master’s programme, you’ll develop knowledge and critical awareness of the requirements of interpreting in a range of professional contexts, including those of conference interpreting, liaison interpreting, public service interpreting and interpreting for business contexts.

You’ll learn relevant transferable communication skills, including the skills of summarising, abstracting, note-taking for interpreting purposes and public speaking. You’ll be able to communicate effectively and efficiently with other professionals in the field, including colleagues and clients. You’ll master IT skills that are relevant to the work of a professional interpreter and will be able to use specialised databases.

Each course will equip you with highly employable expertise and skills in interpreting. You’ll have the opportunity to choose one optional course – including international politics and organisations, intercultural communication in the workplace, translation technologies and subtitling. This will allow you to customise learning and development goals to your specific interpreting interests. Your dissertation will allow you to engage in an independent in-depth critical examination of a particular topic that falls within the scope of Translation and Interpreting Studies.

You’ll benefit from the industry relevance of the programme, which will set you up for life after graduation. Upon completion, you’ll be equipped with the professional skills and qualities necessary to become an interpreter in a variety of professional contexts. Additionally, you will develop transferable skills that will help broaden your career horizons. Beyond the subject-specific knowledge and skills, you’ll also be given the opportunity to learn and practice transferrable skills such as presentation, communication and ICT skills.

Your learning environment

Our MSc Interpreting programme uses state-of-the-art language labs and interpreting booths which will provide you with the ideal setting to develop your interpretation skills to professional standards.

You’ll be given the chance to develop your skills through regular practice in our refurbished interpreting booths, which are modelled on those used by the United Nations, the European Union and the Scottish Government. You’ll also have access to digital resources and a range of professional-standard software packages – gaining experience and confidence in using these facilities is a key part of this degree programme.

The MSc Interpreting programme is taught through a combination of seminars, lectures, tutorials, self-study, practical laboratory work and individual/group work, allowing you to get to know and build relationships with your peers, the teaching staff and academics. You’ll be assessed by oral examinations, written examinations, projects, short and long translations and a dissertation.

Additionally, you can join Heriot-Watt’s Languages Society, which holds regular social events in a welcoming environment. They encourage a safe, culturally diverse community where you can explore language and linguistics.

Customise your learning

You’ll learn from eight courses on the syllabus (seven mandatory and one optional). The optional course allows you to focus on the area of interpreting that interests you the most. This gives you the opportunity to customise your degree to match your specific interests or career pathway by selecting a specialist course option.

You’ll explore a chosen area of interpretation in-depth through your dissertation. You will be required to undertake independent research into a topic that is relevant to the practical pursuit of interpreting and falls within the scope of Translation and Interpreting Studies. You’ll present your findings of the research in an appropriate academic form.

You can choose whether to study the programme full-time, part-time or per course. This flexibility allows you to fit your postgraduate studies around your lifestyle.


By studying MSc Interpreting, you’ll have access to an ever-growing international network of employers who recognise the high standard of interpreting graduates from Heriot-Watt University.

Our industry links contribute to our SWATI Day (Starting Work as a Translator or Interpreter) for our graduate students. This is an industry-focused conference which brings together key figures from the industry to Heriot-Watt University for a day of professional guidance and networking.

You’ll be given access to exclusive internship opportunities with organisations such as the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza in Spain (IAMZ), which provides four graduate students with a proficient level of Spanish the opportunity to take up partly European exchange-funded three-month Simultaneous Interpreting placements in Spain.


Heriot-Watt University is a member of Conférence Internationale permanente d'Instituts Universitaires de Traducteurs et Interprètes (CIUTI), which is an international association of university institutes with translation and interpretation programmes. CIUTI is dedicated to excellence in the training and research of both translation and interpretation. Membership of CIUTI requires fulfilment of strict quality criteria and is a distinct seal of quality.

Fees and funding

UK students
£9,152 (full-time) £4,576 (part-time)
International students
£20,376 (full-time) £10,188 (part-time)

See University website

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MSc
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
  • PGDip
    part time
    21 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    9 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Admissions Office