Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

MA Spanish and History

UCAS code: RV41

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Spanish and History

Studying Spanish and History helps us understand the contemporary world, as well as shedding light on the past. On our flexible joint honours programme, you have the opportunity to develop advanced language skills in Spanish while discovering how the Spanish-speaking world, and other cultures around the globe, have shaped modern civilisation.

Spanish

Spanish is the official language in 20 countries and is widely spoken in four more territories, including the United States.

Studying Spanish at the University of Edinburgh, you will be immersed in an extraordinary range of literature, film, poetry and theatre from around the world. Our flexible programme invites you to explore the diverse and rich cultures of Spain, Latin America and the Caribbean in historical context.

On joining us, beginners take our Spanish 1A course; students with substantially more experience of learning the language typically take Spanish 1B.

Intensive language training gives you the opportunity to develop advanced spoken and written skills in Spanish while gaining the broad cultural education valued by graduate employers. You will learn how to discern different varieties and registers of Spanish, and gain crucial intercultural competencies.

History

The Edinburgh experience is distinctive for its range of historical themes, chronological periods and geographical areas. You can choose from courses covering:

  • the early Middle Ages to the most recent past
  • Britain and Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas

Further, our courses offer a rich variety of approaches to the past, including:

  • political history
  • cultural history
  • social history
  • economic history
  • intellectual history
  • gender history
  • global and transnational history

Why Edinburgh

As a world-leading festival and capital city, and home of two World Heritage Sites, Edinburgh is a fantastic place to study a modern language in its cultural context and alongside History.

Studying over four years enables you to choose courses, including from other disciplines, that match your own interests, expertise and employability needs.

In your first two years, you can choose to take option courses in other schools, or broaden your linguistic portfolio with another language such as Portuguese, Basque or Catalan.

We are unique in Scotland in offering students a full academic year abroad within the four-year honours programme, regardless of whether you spend the year studying or working.

What our graduates say

The tutors always inspired us to be inquisitive about Hispanic cultures and the Spanish language. Their enthusiasm for Latin America was infectious, and motivated me to form my own relationship with the continent: during my Year Abroad, and while making SANTI over the last two and a half years.

  • Harry Richards, Spanish and History MA (Hons), 2020. Harry is a filmmaker and director whose short film SANTI, inspired by his Year Abroad, was selected for the BFI Future Film Festival 2022.

One of the most attractive characteristics of this four-year programme is its flexibility.

In Years 1 and 2, your pre-honours years, you will choose option courses from a wide range of disciplines in addition to your core subjects of Spanish and History.

As well as broadening your education and skill set, this may enable you to change the focus of your programme in Years 3 and 4, your honours years.

Year 1

Spanish

You will study either Spanish 1A or 1B, depending on your language skills. Typically, students on Spanish 1B come to University with substantially more experience of studying Spanish than students on Spanish 1A.

As well as developing your language skills, both the 1A and 1B courses will introduce you to a diverse selection of cultural texts and films from across the Spanish-speaking world.

History

History courses in Year 1 are broad survey courses that will emphasise processes and patterns within broad chronological and geographical frameworks. These are designed to prepare you for more specialised study in Years 3 and 4.

You will choose one history course and a compulsory course in historical skills. This course engages with broader questions about the nature of history as an academic discipline and the methods and skills required for historical research.

Option courses

You will complete your Year 1 studies with option courses chosen from a wide range offered by the University.

You can, for example, opt to study another language, such as Basque, Catalan or Portuguese. Like the majority of our languages, these courses are suitable for complete beginners and includes cultural study.

Other options include, but are not limited to, courses in:

  • linguistics and language sciences
  • business, economics and informatics
  • politics, social policy and social anthropology
  • art and architectural history
  • history, classics and archaeology
  • Celtic and Scottish ethnology
  • philosophy, divinity and law

Year 2

Spanish

You will continue to develop your spoken and written language skills and to study Spanish and Latin American cultures.

Students of 1A and 1B will come together in our Spanish Language 2 course. This course will help you communicate your ideas in Spanish using more nuanced grammatical structures, vocabulary and syntax. In both your spoken and written work, you will gain confidence in expressing yourself in Spanish ready to study or work abroad in Year 3.

You will also take a further course on the literatures and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world. You'll be introduced to different genres and artistic currents which demonstrate how culture has reflected, shaped and contested reality from the sixteenth century to the present day.

History

As in Year 1, History courses offer broad surveys that are designed to prepare you for more specialised study in Years 3 and 4.

Extending your range geographically and chronologically, these courses currently cover various periods and themes in American, European, British, Scottish and global history.

You will choose one of them, and also take a compulsory course on historiography.

Option courses

As in Year 1, you will also choose other courses from a wide range offered by the University.

These option courses include a great selection in European languages and cultures that explore literature, film and theatre in themed and comparative contexts.

Typical option courses include:

  • Cultural Responses to War
  • Migration, Exile, Diaspora
  • Crime and Detection in Literature
  • Gender and Culture
  • The Coming-of-Age Narrative
  • Introduction to European Cinema
  • Dynamics of Language and Power
  • Languages Beyond University

Alternatively, you can take up or continue Basque, Catalan or Portuguese, expanding your knowledge of Iberian languages and cultures.

Year 3

You will spend Year 3 in a Spanish-speaking country, deepening your knowledge of Spanish by speaking it daily and immersing yourself in local cultures.

Living abroad will also give you the wider perspective, experience and skills to embrace the opportunities and challenges of life after university.

30 weeks to live your languages

You will spend a total of 30 weeks abroad. You might be able to divide your time between two destinations, but to give you a balanced experience, you will spend at least eight weeks in each place. How you further divide your 30 weeks is typically based on whether you study, work or combine the two.

Where can I go?

Transforming classroom learning into a lived experience, you will study or work in a country in which Spanish is spoken. The University has exchange places in a wide variety of universities in Spain and Latin America (Argentina, Chile and Mexico).

If you are considering working abroad, the first step is to start thinking about where you would like to go. Visa requirements and application processes vary between countries, so it is a good idea to find out what documentation you will need and whether you are eligible to get it.

Study or work?

When you are abroad, you can typically choose to:

  • study in one or two destinations
  • work in one or two destinations
  • study in one destination and work in another

If you choose to study, you will take classes at one or two of the universities where we have available exchange opportunities. This means that you will spend either:

  • two semesters at a single institution
    or
  • one semester at two different institutions (in different destinations)

A work placement abroad is another great way to gain an international perspective, build professional networks and prepare you for your career after university. Once you have checked if you are eligible to work abroad, and have talked through your plans with us, you might choose to do one or more placements. For example, you might find an internship or traineeship, arrange work with a private company or charity, volunteer, or gain experience as a teaching or language assistant through an organisation such as the British Council.

Whatever you decide to do, your time abroad is a chance for you to evolve and grow beyond Edinburgh. It adds an international dimension to your studies, showing future employers that you are open to new ideas and experiences.

Coursework while abroad

We will aim to ensure your experience abroad is as beneficial as possible to your final year, as well as to your wider language learning, cultural awareness and skills development.

Regardless of whether you study or work abroad, you will take an e-learning course to prepare you for your Year 4 language courses in Spanish. This course will count as part of your Year 3 marks, alongside any coursework arranged by your host university (if studying abroad).

For History, you will take courses in history at your host university, undertake independent research projects supervised by a member of staff in History at Edinburgh, or a mix of both.

Depending on your Year Abroad activities, you also begin preparing for your dissertation while abroad, guided by your dissertation supervisor.

Keeping in touch

While you are studying or working abroad for credit, you are still a student at the University of Edinburgh.

The Year Abroad Office and your Student Adviser, both based in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC), will check in with you at key points during your Year Abroad. Additionally, each language has a dedicated Year Abroad Coordinator for any academic queries, ensuring you are all set and ready for your final year in Edinburgh.

Just like any other time during your studies, you have access to all University services while you are abroad. These include our:

  • Student Wellbeing Service
  • Student Counselling
  • Student Disability and Learning Support
  • University emergency helpline (available 24 hours a day)

Wellbeing and safety

Your wellbeing and safety abroad is our first priority. If international travel is not possible or placements are disrupted, for example following travel advice from the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), we will offer you alternative ways to engage with your subjects. We will support you to meet your learning outcomes for Spanish and History and prepare you for your final year.

Year 4

You will study advanced Spanish written language, spoken language and translation into English.

In addition to these core skills courses, you will also choose from a range of specialist, honours-level courses in Spanish and in History.

For Spanish, these courses cover aspects of Spanish and Latin American:

  • film
  • literature
  • history
  • politics
  • language
  • linguistics
  • media and cultural production

Building on all the knowledge and skills you have developed over four years, including in independent research, you will complete a dissertation or long essay.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2024/25)

Our facilities

On campus

When you are on campus, you can expect to spend most of your time in the University of Edinburgh's Central Area - in class, in the library, or in one of the University’s many social and support spaces.

A number of our Spanish courses have developed online resources to complement the core materials. These resources are designed to be accessible from home, or from the campus' excellent computing facilities.

The Central Area is located on the edge of Edinburgh's historic Old Town, surrounded by lots of green space.

Take a virtual tour of the Central Area

Libraries and collections

The Main University Library holds academic books, journals and databases, films, newspapers and other media. Its holdings include around 27,000 books and 5,000 journals in Spanish, and extensive resources for the study of History.

The Library is also the home of the University's Centre for Research Collections which brings together:

  • more than 400,000 rare books
  • six kilometres of archives and manuscripts
  • thousands of works of art, historical musical instruments and other objects

Spanish and Latin American treasures in these collections include:

  • a 1629 edition of Cervantes
  • paintings by Murillo and Picasso
  • the renowned musicologist Jan Fairley’s rich collection of Latin American music recordings and interviews

Many of the University's Special Collections are digitised and available online from our excellent Resource Centre, computing labs and dedicated study spaces in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC).

There are also further facilities, including study spaces, common rooms and research collections, within the School of History, Classics and Archaeology (HCA).

Centres for research, teaching and outreach

We play a key role in the Centre for Contemporary Latin American Studies at the University. It brings together staff and students from a number of different subject areas at Edinburgh, including:

  • film, media and art
  • geography
  • politics
  • history
  • social anthropology
  • linguistics

Since 2023, we have hosted the first extension of the Cervantes Institute in Scotland. Established in 1991, the Cervantes Institute is a non-profit organisation that promotes, supports, and celebrates Spanish-language literature, film, art, and cultures through a range of events and activities for students and the public.

Events and activities

The Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA) supports more than 300 student-led societies and clubs, including the Spanish Society and History Society.

From acting to dancing, making friends in language cafes to campaigning on global issues, these student-led groups offer lots of ways to explore your subjects, interests and talents socially. EUSA also promotes opportunities with local charities through its volunteering centre.

If you love to write, our online creative writing magazine Babble is the place to publish your:

  • prose
  • poetry
  • drama
  • non-fiction

Babble goes out twice a year and includes work written in Spanish, Portuguese and seven other European languages. You can get involved in the editorial committee, and launch nights typically include readings and performances.

In the city

Edinburgh is a world-leading festival city filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections. From the winding streets of the medieval Old Town to the Georgian squares and terraces of the New Town, it is also a history lover's paradise.

The city's resources for studying literatures, languages and cultures are exceptional. Many of them are located close to the University's Central Area, making them easy to access between classes. Highlights include the National Library of Scotland, which has an outstanding collection of early modern Spanish material.

Spain has a consulate in Edinburgh, and there is a large community of Spanish speakers.

The city's world cinema scene is particularly strong, and we are proud to contribute to its success through collaborations with festivals such as IberoDocs.

The annual Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival was started and developed by our very own colleagues, and celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2023.

Study abroad

You will spend Year 3 (a minimum of 30 weeks) in a Spanish-speaking country.

This is a chance for you to evolve and grow beyond Edinburgh. Our graduates have told us how much the Year Abroad has benefited their broader life experience and skills, as well as their understanding of cultures in context and of the Spanish language.

We know that you are likely to have lots of questions about your Year Abroad. We’ve gone into lots of detail about where you can go and what you can do under ‘What you will study / Year 3’ above. You can also find out more through the University's Study and Work Away Service.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

University is a place to plan your own goals under expert guidance, study independently and in groups, and reflect upon your learning throughout your degree.

Our approach to learning and teaching is active, inclusive and question driven, so it may be different to your experiences at school. It will help you gain the skills for life after university, and we will guide you through the steps from one phase to the next.

Depending on the size of your year group, and which option courses you take, your classes will typically fall into three categories:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • seminars

As well as these classes, to get the most out of your courses, you will need to read widely.

We make extensive use of our audio and visual resources, and you will also be encouraged to use online materials.

Lectures

Lectures are taken by all students on a course, typically at the same time. They are delivered as interactive presentations which may involve audio-visual material.

Lectures are given by an experienced academic. They are designed to guide you through the background, questions and debates related to the topic you are studying.

Tutorials

Tutorial groups are smaller. They are also led by an academic, but here the emphasis is more on what you think about the topic yourself. So, tutorials are your chance to discuss and expand upon what you have learned in a lecture.

Language tutorials give you the opportunity to develop your linguistic skills in a range of real-world tasks under the supervision of an experienced language teacher.

These classes typically cover skills such as reading, writing, listening and speaking – all of which involve learning and applying grammar.

Seminars

Seminars blend features of lectures and tutorials. Again, they are designed to encourage and enable your active participation in learning.

On some courses, you will have seminars instead of lectures, especially in Year 4.

Support

As well as the teaching staff and other staff members you will meet day-to-day, there are lots of ways to get help with your learning, including through the University’s Institute for Academic Development (IAD).

History students are assigned to Clans. Additionally, the Students’ Association facilitates a peer support scheme for Spanish, bringing together students across year groups to help each other with specific study skills, topics or themes.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through a combination of coursework and exams.

Coursework is generally completed throughout the year, while exams take place at the end of a teaching block.

Coursework may take a range of forms to give you the opportunity to practice different skills. For example, you may be asked to:

  • write an essay, review, blog post, opinion piece or learning journal
  • respond to a piece of writing, film, or other media, including through close reading
  • give a short talk or presentation
  • record a podcast or video
  • design a poster or presentation

Exams will include oral exams to test your spoken language skills.

Depending on where you go and what you do on your Year Abroad, Year 3 may include being assessed, in part, by a host university.

In your final year, you will also complete a dissertation or long essay.

Skills and experience

Combining a language with history to degree level demonstrates that you are a good communicator, and someone open to other cultures and new ideas – what employers value as Intercultural Competence.

Beyond the language, research and analytical skills you will develop, you will also gain a nuanced understanding of other cultures and societies throughout history.

Graduating with a four-year Master of Arts degree from the University of Edinburgh shows intellectual maturity, resilience, and flexibility.

The skills you will be able to demonstrate to employers when you graduate include the ability to:

  • understand, analyse and articulate complex issues and concepts
  • manage your time to meet deadlines on different types of projects
  • work independently and as part of a group

Opportunities across sectors

Our programmes are an excellent primer for a range of careers, especially those that place a premium on thinking that is both disciplined and imaginative.

Within the private, public, not-for-profit, and for-benefit sectors, previous graduates have gone on to work in:

  • business, finance and commerce
  • communications, marketing, advertising and public relations
  • education, outreach, advocacy and training
  • journalism, broadcasting and media
  • leisure, tourism and travel
  • politics, policy work, diplomacy, civil service and law
  • publishing, culture, heritage and the arts
  • research, development and venture acceleration
  • translating and interpreting

What our graduates say

The Spanish teaching I received during my studies at LLC gave me the language skills to write accurate Spanish for the Colombian characters in our script. Translation classes helped me understand how to convey emotion, feeling and humour through SANTI’s subtitles, as we translated fast Colombian Spanish dialogue into English for our UK-based audience.

  • Harry Richards, Spanish and History MA (Hons), 2020. Encouraged by teaching staff in Spanish, Harry wrote and directed a film inspired by his Year Abroad in Mexico and Colombia. The support gave him the confidence to work closely with with Spanish-speaking crew members, including Colombian executive producers, talent manager and actors. In 2022, Harry visited more than 20 universities across the UK, including Edinburgh, to meet with students and talk about his film.

Local and global opportunities

With increasing migration in response to changing global dynamics, there is demand for our graduates in Scotland, the UK and abroad.

Wherever you are based in the world, the ability to communicate in another major language, and to understand the cultures to which it opens doors, will make you stand out.

If you are keen to work abroad, it’s good to know that Spanish is one of the five most widely spoken languages in the world. In addition to having over 400 million native speakers, it is spoken as a second language by around nine million people, globally.

The language is your gateway to a great many countries and cultures, including a large number of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean and a growing community of speakers in the United States.

Further study

The enhanced research skills you will develop on a four-year programme, particularly in your honours years, are a valuable asset if you wish to continue studying at postgraduate level.

At the University of Edinburgh, we typically offer Masters by Research degrees in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies and in History. Either of these programmes is a good foundation for a PhD, but is equally of value as a stand-alone qualification.

Our portfolio of taught MSc programmes typically includes:

  • Comparative Literature
  • Translation Studies
  • Contemporary History
  • Medieval History

Careers advice

Throughout your time with us, we will encourage you to identify and hone your employability skills.

LLC has a dedicated Careers Consultant within the University's excellent Careers Service.

Through our careers service, you can:

  • book one-to-one appointments and practice interviews
  • access a range of online resources
  • attend themed fairs such as the Creative and Cultural Careers Festival

Popular peer support includes Life After LLC, a panel event where you can draw inspiration from our recent graduates.

Be inspired by our alumni

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAA (achievement by end of S5 preferred). BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAA.
  • IB: 37 points with 666 at HL - 34 points with 655 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: a language other than English at B. National 5s: English at C.
  • A Levels: a language other than English at B. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: a language other than English at 5. SL: English at 5.

Additional requirements

Language requirement

For degrees that have a subject requirement of a language other than English, students may not use their own native language to meet this requirement. In these instances, English or an alternative language other than native will be acceptable.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

International Foundation Programme

If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.

International Foundation Programme

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

SQA, GCSE and IB

For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 54 in each component.

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

Unless you are a national of a majority English speaking country, your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start of the month in which the degree you are applying to study begins. If you are using an IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE test, it must be no more than two years old on the first of the month in which the degree begins, regardless of your nationality.

English language requirements

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA Spanish and History

Additional costs

As long as international travel is possible, you will spend Year 3 abroad. The costs you have to pay will depend on where you decide to go, and how you spend your time.

Some study placements at language schools may charge a fee, but we will normally refund you for tuition costs as long as your activity has been approved. You will be responsible for associated travel costs such as flights and visas.

Funding

For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding