Durham University

Degree level: Postgraduate

Languages, Literatures and Cultures (Taught)

There are other course options available which may have a different vacancy status or entry requirements – view the full list of options

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Course summary

The MA in Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Durham University is an exciting, unique and dynamic course that invites you to engage critically with literatures emerging from diverse literary and cultural contexts from around the world. The course has a broad global reach and draws together a wealth of expertise in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Hispanic and Russian Studies. This global 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 working with text in one, or several non-English languages, the course invites students to think within an international context, to cross borders, disciplines and canons, to reflect on questions of cultural transmission and exchange in literature, as well as to explore literary interactions with wider intellectual and cultural phenomena, such as translation, philosophy and visual culture. The course provides an exceptional critical base that prepares and invites students to proceed to a PhD in a corresponding field, encouraging throughout a research-led approach which culminates in the dissertation. With a strong emphasis on urgent current themes and debates, it also equips you with high-level critical skills in literary, cultural and conceptual analysis and argument that can lead to employment in the literary, culture, arts and heritage sectors.


Core module: Critical Theory and Frameworks This module introduces and develops knowledge of cutting-edge cultural and literary theories, and allows you to extend your skills of critical analysis. It provides a crucial foundation for the course, and offers you critical and conceptual tools to take forward as you pursue your optional modules and dissertation. The module foregrounds questions about literature and textuality, and covers themes such as identity, gender, race, disability, and ecology, through multiple theoretical frames, from literary theory to psychoanalysis, poststructuralism, and cultural studies. Dissertation You will write a research-led dissertation of 15,000 or 20,000 words, on a topic of your choice, and are provided with guidance and support in individual supervisions with an expert (or two) in the field. Examples of optional modules: You can select from a wide range of optional modules from within the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, as well as options from the wider Faculty of Arts and Humanities. Options include: Selected Topics in World Literatures World Literature and Translation Science, Technology and the Re-making of Nature Visual Modernities History of Translation Work Placement Crossing Cultures: Word, Text and Image in Translation Transnational Cinema German Reading Skills for Research 1 French Reading Skills for Research 1 Things That Matter: Material and Culture in/for the Digital Age Romantic Forms of Grief Classical Modernisms Narrative Transformations: Medieval Romance to Renaissance Epic The Contemporary US novel Women and the Novel in the Eighteenth Century Modernism and Touch Shame Modern Poetry Narrative and Thresholds of Consciousness Anti-Capitalist Poetry and the Modern World System Illness and Narrative Practices Divergance, Deviance, and Disability in Nineteenth-Century Literature Grant-Writing for Master Students The Nature of History: Approaches to Environmental History Transnational History Science and the Enlightenment Current Issues in Aesthetics and Theory of Art Ethics, Medicine and History Environmental Philosophy Phenomenology and the Sciences of Mind Ideologies and Political Thought Contemporary Political Philosophy The Politics of East Asia.

Assessment method

The course consists of one core module, two to four optional modules, and a dissertation. The core module sets out the intellectual framework for the course, offering a broad overview of key conceptual debates in World Literature, together with methodologies and critical tools for the study of literatures and cultures. The optional modules provide further specialised areas of study in related topics of interest to individual students, and the dissertation—with 15,000 and 20,000 word options—involves detailed study of a particular aspect of a topic related to the broad area of world literature.

How to apply

International applicants

If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take a pre-Masters pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.

Entry requirements

You will be expected to have a BA degree (upper-second class degree or equivalent) in a relevant subject, such as language (Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Russian), literature or linguistics from a recognised national or international university. Students holding a degree in a non-language-related field may be admitted provided they can demonstrate they have the required competence (C1 following the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) in one of the above mentioned languages. Two positive academic or equivalent professional references are required.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

No fee information has been provided for this course

Additional fee information

The tuition fees for 2023/24 academic year have not yet been finalised, they will be displayed on the durham.ac.uk website once approved.

Sponsorship information

For further information see the course listing.

Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Durham University - UCAS