Skip to main content

Map made up of different books


MA in Languages, Literatures and Cultures


The MA in Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Durham University is an exciting and dynamic new course. Unique in its range and scope, the MA invites you to engage critically with literatures emerging from diverse literary and cultural contexts from around the world. Our course has a broad global reach and draws together our wealth of expertise in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Hispanic and Russian Studies. This inclusive approach to languages, literatures and cultures presents a distinct opportunity for students who wish to pursue a degree in world literatures and comparative studies with a firm emphasis on working on materials in their original language(s), with due attention to the local, national and regional contexts in which they originate. Whether you work with text in one, or several non-English languages, we will also invite you think within an international context, and to cross borders disciplines and canons.

You will be able to work with specialists in your areas of expertise and to choose from a range of innovative modules. The course allows you to explore historical periods from the medieval to the contemporary, to develop a thorough theoretical foundation and critical analytical skills in a range of literary styles, as well as to explore literary interactions with wider intellectual and cultural phenomena such as translation, philosophy and visual culture.


Why study Literature and Culture at Durham University's School of Modern Languages and Cultures?

As one of the largest within the country, Durham's School of Modern Languages and Cultures will provide you with an exceptional and intellectually stimulating context for your study.

In the recently published Complete University Guide 2018, the School of Modern Languages and Cultures of Durham University is ranked 2nd in French, German, Italian, Hispanic Studies, Middle Eastern and African Studies and Russian & East European Languages, 3rd in East and South Asian Studies (a new entry in the league table). At the institutional level, Durham is currently ranked 6th in the UK.

MLAC unites over 80 full time members of staff. While our linguistic expertise covers a range of languages, our disciplinary breadth ranges from close textual analysis and archival studies to the digital and environmental humanities. Some students will thus find themselves engrossed in the study of some of the centuries-old manuscripts Durham holds, while others may think through the ways in which access to oil has reshaped the way in which we conceptualise the world.

This is the image alt text

What our Students Say

Hear why MA Languages, Literatures and Cultures graduates Mona Habeb and Irini Picolou chose this programme and which experiences they made at Durham University's School of Modern Languages and Cultures.

Find out more about our alumni

What is unique about our programme?

We place particular emphasis on your own research, which you will develop under the supervision of the relevant specialists. The most important component of your MA is thus your dissertation, in which you will engage with texts in their original language(s). You will write your dissertation under the supervision of a specialist in the School, and will be able to draw on cross-departmental expertise where this might be an advantage. In addition to this, you will be able to immerse yourself in a wide range of world literatures and theoretical concepts both in their original language and in translation. We also offer a work placement module.

You will thus be able to tailor your own MA: whether you would like to specialise in medieval French, Italian, or Hispanic studies, 19th- or 20th-century studies or in Scientific Humanities, our MA will allow you to develop both a broad knowledge base, and a specialist expertise.

The major strength of our MA in Languages, Literatures and Cultures lies in the flexibility that is built into our programme. We only have one core module that is required for all of our students: it will provide you with a diverse range of theoretical perspectives and thus a firm grounding for your ongoing research. You will then choose further modules from a range of options, that typically include those listed on the courses database.


University student
The main reason I chose this course was to develop my interest in world literatures, and to acquire the knowledge and key skills to prepare me for a PhD. The coursework I completed in the MA is currently under review for publication, which is all thanks to the outstanding support and encouragement I received by academics across the School. The MA has also allowed me to venture beyond academia and apply my knowledge of cultural theory in research roles at Netflix, Hulu and Disney.

Mona Habeb
MA LLC, School of Modern Languages and Cultures
University student
This MA was perfect for expanding my horizons, and the various components enabled me to develop essential skills for my PhD in Art History and Gender Studies. During the Work Placement module, I worked with archives at Ushaw College, which allowed me to gain experience in examining palaeographical and visual material. My favourite part of the course was the core module, which not only enriched me academically, but also provided me with new ways of thinking, writing and seeing the world.

Irini Picolou
MA LLC, School of Modern Languages and Cultures

What is the purpose of this MA?

This programme has been designed to provide preparation for students who intend to proceed to a PhD in Literary and Cultural studies, with a view either to pursue a research career in academia or to seek a position in other cultural and public organizations. The MA in Languages, Literature and Culture, however, also offers a qualification in its own right, which will equip students to embark upon a range of careers in the cultural and public sector, both nationally and internationally. We offer support with a range of work placements to help students make this transition.

If you have questions, please contact:


University student
Teaching on the MA is consistently intellectually stimulating, led by valuable research on evolving critical, cultural, and political contentions. Tutors foster opportunities for intellectual expansion, and provide high quality feedback. The course goes further than just a degree certificate as tutors constantly seek to promote critical and lateral thinking. My favourite part has been the opportunity to delve deep, beyond canonical texts, into a broad range of cultural and critical perspectives.

Rhodri Sheldrake Davies
MA LLC, School of Modern Languages and Cultures
This is the image alt text

Meet MA Languages, Literatures and Cultures student Ruixiang Zhong (Jason)

Find out about why Ruixiang decided to study Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Durham University, what he most enjoys about his course and what has been his proudest moment during his time at Durham University.

Apply to MA Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Research Environment

You will benefit from cross-disciplinary, cutting-edge research groups in MLAC. Through the research groups, we encourage you to become an active member of Durham's academic community and help to shape our intellectual agendas. Further, MLAC houses two important centres: the Centre for Visual Arts and Cultures and Centre for Humanities Innovation, both of which offer ground-breaking and stimulating opportunities for engagement.


Discover more

Find out more about how to apply to the MA Languages, Literatures and Cultures programme and other MA programmes.

MA Languages, Literatures and Cultures Course Page

See all course details and structure, entry requirements and how to apply.
The Eiffel Tower framed by glass panels inscribed with writing in different languages

MA in Translation Studies

An internationally recognised programme that offers close study of a wide range of languages.
Peru billot nic rainbow mountain vinicunca cusco

MA in Visual Culture

Develop your knowledge and understanding of the visual arts and culture.
An image of multi coloured circles by Tondo Stars