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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. 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. In the recently published Complete University Guide 2020, our School of Modern Languages and Cultures at Durham University is ranked 2nd in French, Hispanic Studies, and Arabic (Middle Eastern & African Studies) and 3rd in Russian (Russian & East European Languages), Italian, and German. Our Chinese and Japanese Studies are ranked 5th nationally in the East & South Asian Studies category. At an institutional level, Durham is currently ranked 6th in the UK.

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2nd in French, Hispanic Studies, and Arabic
3rd in Russian, Italian, and German
5th nationally for Chinese and Japanese Studies
6th in the UK for Durham University

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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What's new?


Reopening of the Honorary Vice-Consulate in Newcastle with Professor Santi Fouz-Hernandez appointed as the new Honorary Vice-Consul

With this reopening, the Consulate General in Edinburgh, as a part of the Spanish Embassy in the United Kingdom, fulfils two important objectives. Firstly, it is once again present in a vibrant city with a large Spanish community and many links with Spain. Secondly, it reinforces its network of honorary consulates, which also includes Glasgow, Aberdeen and Belfast.
A photo of Professor Santi Fouz Hernandez

Adam Talib now on the Editorial team of Middle Eastern Literatures

Adam Talib now on the Editorial team of Middle Eastern Literatures
Jordan Desert - 2018 photography submission from Talia Berriman

How French words became part of the English language

We may not realise it, but many of us speak more French than we think. French words have gradually become part of the English language over the centuries and their origins go as far back as the Norman conquest of England in 1066.
A black and white illustration of a ship by John Barnett

Delicious Old-age Arab Cuisine Comes to Light Via Cookbook

For the past five years, Daniel Newman, the chair for Arabic studies at Durham University, has been delving deep into this region’s medieval culinary tastes and traditions.
A spice market with a shop keeper

New publication from Professor Nicholas Saul

Interrogations of Evolutionism in German Literature 1859-2011 from Professor Nicholas Saul (School of Modern Languages and Cultures)
The book cover including a photo of Darwin

Alexander Pushkin: A Life

Join Patrick Geoghegan and panel of distinguished poets, writers, translators and literary scholars - including our very own Dr Viktoria Ivleva - as they explore the life and intellectual legacy of Russian Poet, Novelist and Playwright Alexander Pushkin.
An image of the romantic poet, playwright and novelist Alexander Pushkin

Upcoming events

Caprice in the Time of Covid: An Inaugural Film-Lecture in Two Acts

Friday 14 May 2021 - Friday 14 May 2021
5:00 PM to 6:15 PM
Links to join the event will be sent after registration closes.

Centre for Culture and Ecology Reading Group, 20 May 2021

Thursday 20 May 2021 - Thursday 20 May 2021
2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Shale Gas Digging Rig with Logo

Centre for Culture and Ecology Seminar Series - Dr Cinzia Arruzza (New School)

Thursday 20 May 2021 - Thursday 20 May 2021
4:00 PM to 5:30 PM
Shale Gas Digging Rig with Logo

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

Student updates

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


My year abroad experience

Combined Honours 4th year student, Marina tells about her exciting trips abroad during her degree.

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.