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Welcome to the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at Durham

The School of Modern Languages and Cultures consists of Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hispanic Studies, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and the Centre for Foreign Language Study. The School also hosts the BA in Visual Arts and Film. Our community of academics, teachers and support staff aim to foster a world-class student experience in all our disciplines.

Sections within our School feature regularly in the top five in national league tables such as the Good University Guide and the Complete University Guide. The School of Modern Languages and Cultures is ranked in the top 60 universities globally in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023.

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2nd for Italian Studies Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024
3rd for Asian Studies
3rd for Asian Studies Complete University Guide 2025
5th for Iberian Languages
5th for Iberian Languages Complete University Guide 2025
3rd for Russian Studies Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024

Study with us

Some 80 full-time members of staff are engaged in teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, offering expertise in a wide range of subjects, including language, literature, cultural history, cinema and visual culture, and translation; this is reflected also in an exciting range of taught degrees at postgraduate level. The Centre for Foreign Language Study offers learners not taking a specialist degree in Modern Languages, including students, staff and members of the public, the opportunity to learn a range of languages from beginners to more advanced levels.

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The Helen Sharp Undergraduate Scholarship in Modern Languages

Are you considering starting your undergraduate study with us in 2024? Thanks to a generous gift from our alumna Helen Potts, we have a scholarship to offer to a talented student from a low-income background.

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Edible History - the culinary secrets of medieval Arab cuisine

Join our team of food history experts, Daniel L Newman, Giles Gasper and Amanda Herbert as they recreate a delicious medieval sweet, Zulabiyya, and share insights from their own research on cooking historical recipes.

Find out more about Historical Food
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Where Are We Now? Exhibition

Where Are We Now? is an art exhibition exploring the present and future of Modern Languages and Cultures at a local and global level.

Find out more about "Where Are We Now?"

Our research

The School's research community is organised through a number of interdisciplinary Research Groups and is home to some 60 postgraduate students pursuing research degrees.
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Cable car station, Innsbruck, Austria
QS World University Rankings 2024

World-leading status affirmed in QS World University Rankings 2024

Durham is now ranked 78th in the world top 100 universities. We are also ranked joint 30th in a new category of Sustainability, and 50th in the Employer Reputation category.

Learn more about the QS World University Rankings

What's new?


'Knowledge of languages is the doorway to wisdom'

Our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Karen O'Brien, makes the case for languages education.
A male, back to camera, points a pen at a screen displaying a globe and 'hello' in different languages

Professor Daniel L Newman appears on ‘The Ancestors’ Dining Tables' documentary series

Professor Daniel L. Newman has taken part in a six part documentary on the History of Medieval Arab food.
Colourful photograph of baskets of spices

The Bigas Luna Tribute announces new events in Los Angeles this March

The Bigas Luna Tribute announces new events in Los Angeles in collaboration with American Cinematheque, Durham University, Instituto Cervantes LA, Egeda US and Algarrobo Films.
Colourful photograph of a cinema billboard displaying the word American Cinematheque

French Slogan Writing Competition

We are delighted to launch a slogan competition in French on the themes of ‘le français: une nouvelle langue, une nouvelle culture, un nouveau monde’
Information about competition

Bigas Luna Tribute 14-15 October 2022

New BIGAS LUNA TRIBUTE announced for October 14-15th, 2022 as part of the Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival
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Edible History: Zalābiyya

Professor Daniel L Newman shares a recipe from his recent book 'The Exile's Cookbook'. The unique medieval cookbook reveals the fascinating development of the Arab culinary tradition and its profound influence on European cooking.
zalābiyya recipe

Touch: Migrating Embodiedness, 24 September 2023

Dr Fusako Innami will be leading a dance workshop with a focus on touch.
A painting
Daniel Newman at COP28

From our Staff Blog: Arabic Culinary Tradition at COP28

Daniel Newman, Professor of Arabic Studies in our School of Modern Languages and Cultures, was recently invited to COP28 in Dubai to share his knowledge of the Arabic culinary tradition, recreating recipes from the 8th to the 15th centuries.

Read about Daniel's experiences at COP28

Student updates

Hear from our students at The School of Modern Languages and Cultures.


My year abroad

Read about Tom, a Durham student who recently graduated after studying French and Spanish for the last four years, and follow him on his year abroad in Paris and Barcelona.

A Day in the Life of a Languages, Literature and Cultures MA student

MA Languages, Literature and Cultures student, Rebecca takes us through her day-to-day experience at Durham.
Students walking down the staircase into the library

Get in touch

Find out more about our undergraduate and postgraduate opportunities at The School of Modern Languages and Cultures.

School of Modern Languages & Cultures

Durham University
Elvet Riverside
New Elvet
Durham DH1 3JT


+44 (0) 191 334 3420

Questions about studying here?

Check out our list of FAQs or submit an enquiry form.

Your Durham prospectus

Order your personalised prospectus and College guide here.