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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 2022, our School of Modern Languages and Cultures at Durham University is ranked 3rd in Arabic (Middle Eastern & African Studies) and Chinese and Japanese Studies (in the East & South Asian Studies), 4th in Russian, 5th in Italian, German and Hispanic Studies and 6th in French. At an institutional level, Durham is currently ranked 6th in the UK.

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6th for French The Complete University Guide 2022
5th for Italian The Complete University Guide 2022
5th for German The Complete University Guide 2022
Durham 6th in UK The Complete University Guide 2022

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?


Jessica Rushton wins the Durham 3-Minute Thesis Competition

The 3-Minute Thesis Competition allowed Jessica, a PhD student in French, to present her thesis project in front of a non-specialist audience through a creative approach that stood out from typical academic conference papers.
Hand drawn picture of woman with red background

Reopening of the Honorary Vice-Consulate in Newcastle with Professor Santiago Fouz Hernández 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

Rosi Song and Daniel Newman in conversation at the Sant Jordi festival in New York

As part of the Sant Jordi in New York festival, curator Professor Rosi Song was in conversation with Professor Daniel Newman about his new book, The Sultan’s Feast, on 21 April 2021.
Sant Jordi in NYC Logo

New publication from Professor Nicholas Saul

Interrogations of Evolutionism in German Literature 1859-2011 from Professor Nicholas Saul (School of Modern Languages and Cultures)

Upcoming events

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.