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MA British Sign Language (Interpreting, Translating and Applied Language Studies)

Key information

The MA (Hons) British Sign Language (Interpreting, Translating and Applied Language Studies) programme will prepare you to work as British Sign Language (BSL)/English interpreters and translators. You’ll also be able to use BSL proficiently in related professional areas.  

UCAS code
Delivery type
Full Time
Degree qualification
Mode of delivery
4 years
Start date

This degree is designed to lead you from a beginners level of British Sign Language (BSL), to achieving professional competence in signed interactions. The degree focuses on practical and applied language skills, interpreting and translating skills, communication studies, linguistics, translation and interpreting studies, and Deaf studies. You will learn from a series of intensive courses which will provide you with the necessary cultural, social, political, and linguistic knowledge which will form your ability to become reflective practitioners and will prepare you for postgraduate study. By the end of this degree, you will be trained to a high professional standard to work in applied settings with BSL.  

In your third year, you’ll be placed full-time with signing organisations in the UK or at one of our international partner universities. This will allow you to develop your linguistic skills, and you’ll be able to understand complex language in a wide range of social and work situations.  

In your final year, you’ll have additional opportunities to work closely with professional interpreters in real-life situations on placement, gaining vital work-place experience. 

After you have graduated and successfully completed all specified components of the programme, you are able to register as full members of the Register of Sign Language Interpreters with NRCPD – the national registration body in the UK for sign language interpreting, and with SASLI, the Scottish Association of Sign Language Interpreters.  

You’ll benefit from the industry relevance of the programme, which will set you up for life after graduation. Upon completion, you’ll be equipped with a variety of skills that are appropriate for you to embark on professional level employment in a wide range of careers. 

Your student experience

Our MA British Sign Language (Interpreting, Translating and Applied Language Studies) degree is taught by experienced, leading academics who, in many cases, have published the research which shapes their disciplines and written the books which will guide your learning. Many academics balance teaching time with continued professional practice as translators, interpreters, practitioner psychologists, tax and finance specialists and management consultants. They bring real-world experience to the classroom. 

Go Global

There are currently no Go Global opportunities for this particular programme. However, other Go Global opportunities may be available. Please contact for more information.

Course content

September Intake - Edinburgh

Students take two intensive, practically-oriented courses in British Sign Language, one course in Introduction to Deaf History and Culture, one course in Introduction to Languages and Intercultural Studies, and two Elective courses.

Mandatory September

  • BSL Intensive Beginners 1
  • Introduction to Language and Intercultural Studies

Mandatory January

  • BSL Intensive Beginners 2
  • Introduction to Deaf History and Culture

Programme Video

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Fees and funding

ScotlandPaid by SAAS
England / Wales / N Ireland / Rep of Ireland£9,250
  • Status: 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.
  • International: 'International' includes applicants from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in UK. (This does not include students from the Republic of Ireland - see above).

Scholarships and bursaries

Bursaries for students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales

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 undergraduate students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales:

  • Heriot-Watt University Bursary (up to £3,100 per year)
View details

Entry requirements

We have standard entry requirements for all of our courses that you will have to meet.

Standard entry requirements

  • Highers AABB including main language at A (over two sittings)
  • A-Levels BBC (including main language)
  • Int. Baccalaureate 30 points (with main language at Higher Level 5)
  • BTEC DDM (Main language at A-Level B or equivalent required)
  • HNC B in graded unit (with main language Higher A or A-Level B grade or equivalent)
  • HND BB

Minimum entry requirements*

  • Highers BBBC including main language at B (over two sittings)
  • A-Levels BCC including main language at B

* Minimum: under our Fair Access Policy, we will relax our standard entry requirements for some Scottish students depending on their circumstances. Our minimum requirements will apply if you:

  • live in an area within the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation lowest 20% (SIMD20), or
  • are care experienced.

We can also make exceptions for some Scottish students with grades above minimum but below standard. Read more about our Minimum and standard entry requirements

Why Heriot-Watt

We're the top university in Scotland for graduate outcomes which means that more of our graduates are employed or in postgraduate education than any other institution in the country and we ranked 5th in the UK.

We're also rated number one in the UK for CEO or MD roles, meaning more of our graduates go on to become CEOs or MDs than any other university in the whole of the UK. On top of that, we have beautiful campuses, across the globe, so you'll get a truly international education. Our Edinburgh Campus is home to Oriam, Scotland's National Sports Performance Centre combined with plenty of wellbeing resources, prioritising fitness and mental health for all students. Our Global Research Institutes look at solving real world issues such as climate change and saving our oceans as well as working on the next medical technological breakthrough and the future of AI and robots.


Work and study

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The average salary of students 15 months after graduating
The average UK salary of students 15 months after graduating from a similar course

Potential career paths

  • Artistic, literary and media occupations

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