The course

UCAS code
Up to 4 years
Delivery type

Heriot-Watt University ranked as the Number 1 University in Scotland for Modern Languages in the National Student Survey 2018. We also gained the highest ranking in Scotland for employability from Modern Languages in the Guardian University Rankings 2019.



MA (Hons) Languages (Interpreting and Translating) is a clear example of our career-focused approach to language studies.

Combining the two areas of language studies for which Heriot-Watt University is best known, this degree allows you to develop highly employable interpreting and translating skills to a professional standard.

You will study French and Spanish to an advanced level, learning in small class sizes in our unrivalled interpreting and translating teaching facilities. Our facilities include recently refurbished interpreting booths, which are modelled on those used by the United Nations and European Parliament, and computer labs with state-of-the-art Computer Aided Translation tools, as used by professional translators.

In Year 1, if it is necessary, we offer intensive courses to help bring you up to speed in your second non-native language (French or Spanish). This tried and tested approach ensures you will be able to use your interpreting and translating skills in two non-native languages by the time you graduate. Year 2 introduces regular classes on simultaneous interpreting and Year 3 is spent abroad, on two Erasmus placements at partner institutions, immersed in your chosen languages. In Year 4 you will study advanced interpreting and translating skills and learn about political contexts and organisations.

This degree will prepare you for careers requiring the practical application of advanced language, communication and intercultural skills and it will teach you about the wider professional contexts in which you will use these skills.

For example, you will learn about the unique interpreting approaches required for various professional contexts, such as: health care situations, business situations, legal contexts, or for conferences.


The Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies is a member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI).

We are also official higher education partner of the Chartered Institute of Linguists – a professional body that maintains the highest standards for practising interpreters and translators: Chartered Institute of Linguists

In addition, we are founding members of CIUTI, the world’s oldest and most prestigious international association of universities who train interpreters and translators: CIUTI

Detailed course information

Course content

Detailed course guide

Year 1

Semester 1

  • Introduction to Language and Intercultural Studies
  • Language 1: Intermediate (1)
  • Language 2: Intermediate or Language 2: Intensive for Beginners (1)*
  • Elective unless doing Language 2: Intensive for Beginners (1)

Semester 2

  • Introduction to European History and Culture
  • Language 1: Intermediate (2)
  • Language 2: Intermediate or Language 2: Intensive for Beginners (2)*
  • Elective unless doing Language 2: Intensive for Beginners (2)

* Language 2: Intensive for Beginners is for students with little or no knowledge of a second foreign language and is the equivalent of two standard, 15 credit, courses. Those sitting this course do not take an elective in Year 1.

Language 1= French or Spanish

Language 2 = French or Spanish

Year 2

Semester 1

  • Societies and Institutions in Contemporary Europe
  • Language 1: Advanced (1)
  • Language 2: Advanced (1)
  • Elective

Semester 2

  • General Linguistics
  • Language 1: Advanced (2)
  • Language 2: Advanced (2)
  • Elective

Language 1 = French or Spanish

Language 2 = French or Spanish

Year 3

Students taking 2 European languages complete two five-month placements - one per language studied - studying at partner universities in countries where their foreign languages are spoken such as France, Belgium, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Mexico.

Year 4

Semester 1

  • Dissertation (1)
  • Translation and Language Proficiency (1)
  • Advanced Interpreting Skills (1)
  • International Politics and Organisation

Semester 2

  • Dissertation (2)
  • Translation and Language Proficiency (2)
  • Advanced Interpreting Skills (2)
  • Option

Course Options

  • Translation and Interpreting Studies
  • Applied Linguistics
  • Sustainable Development and Intercultural Context
  • National Perspectives and EU Context


Work and study

This is what our MA (Hons) Languages (Interpreting and Translating) (French/Spanish) students are doing six months after graduating:

  • 81% are working
  • 5% are studying
  • 0% are working and studying.

Managerial/professional position

  • 80% of those working are in a professional/managerial position six months after graduating.


  • The average salary of students six months after graduating: £18000
  • The average UK salary of students six months after graduating from a similar course: £18000


These are the most common jobs students go into six months after graduating:

  • Artistic, literary and media occupations
  • Business, research and administrative professionals
  • Teaching and educational professionals
  • Business and public service associate professionals
  • Administrative occupations
  • Information technology and telecommunications professionals
  • Leisure, travel and related personal service occupations
  • Elementary occupations

Entry requirements

Year 1

  • Highers AAAB including A in language(s) (over two sittings)
  • A-Levels BBB including B in language(s)
  • Int. Baccalaureate 30 points with at least 5 HL in the language(s) to be studied
  • HNC/HND Students who can demonstrate the required language skills will be considered

Additional information

  • Entry routes As our Languages courses include a compulsory year abroad at Level 3, the normal entry route for all Languages courses is to Level 1 of a four-year Honours course. However, candidates with outstanding Advanced Highers or A-Level results may be considered on an individual basis.
  • Intermediate 2 / National 5 / GCSE English is required for all Languages courses.
  • English language requirements Students who are non-native speakers of English will need to achieve either the IELTS test with 7.5 or the CPE with B. The second language may be studied from beginner’s level or from a post-Standard Grade/GCSE level.
  • BTEC Relevant BTEC qualifications are accepted; please contact Admissions Tutor for further details


Tuition fees for 2019 entry (by residency status)
Status* Scotland / EU** England / Northern Ireland / Wales*** International
Fee Paid by SAAS £9,250 £14,640

* Your residency 'status' is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course. Find out more about tuition fees.

** European Union countries (not including England, Northern Ireland or Wales).

*** 'Rest of the UK' (RUK) students entering at Level 1 receive a fee waiver of one year's tuition fee. Normally this will be the final year, or a year during which students study abroad (either at a partnership institution, or at one of Heriot-Watt's overseas campuses).

Additional costs

You may incur additional costs in the course of your studies at Heriot-Watt over and above tuition fees in an academic year. Depending on your programme of study, these may include: protective equipment, field trips, professional memberships, studio fees, required course texts or other study resources.

Scholarships and bursaries

Featured scholarships

Bursaries for students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales starting undergraduate degree courses in 2020

In addition to government loans and grants towards the costs of fees and living costs, we are offering generous financial support to attract and support eligible students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales:

Merit Awards for international students starting undergraduate degree courses in 2019

If you are an international fee-paying, self-funded applicant and have achieved, or are on course to achieve, the minimum entry requirements for the programme you wish to study you may be eligible for:

View our full range of undergraduate scholarships.