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Open for Clearing 2024

MA Modern Languages (Interpreting and Translating)

Key information

The Languages and Intercultural Studies department at Heriot-Watt University has been one of the leading providers of language degrees in the UK for over 50 years – ranking 3rd in Scotland in the Guardian Good University Guide 2024.

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

Our MA (Hons) Modern Languages (Interpreting and Translating) programme allows you to study two languages to degree level and spend a year abroad on placement with two of Heriot-Watt University's partner universities – where you’ll become immersed in your studied languages and cultures. 

You can choose to study two languages from: 

  • Chinese 

  • French 

  • German 

  • Spanish 

  • British Sign Language (BSL) 

Our Modern Languages Interpreting and Translating 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’ll learn about the unique interpreting approaches required for various professional contexts, such as health care situations, business situations, legal contexts, or for conferences. 

In addition to BSL, Chinese, French, German or Spanish courses, you’ll learn applied language studies for which Heriot-Watt University is best known, developing highly employable abilities in interpreting and translating. 

In year one, if necessary, we offer intensive language courses to help bring you up to speed in your second non-native language. 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 two introduces regular classes on simultaneous interpreting and advances your language skills further. 

Your third year is spent abroad on exchange placements with our partner institutions or working in the Sign Language community if studying BSL. This is a unique opportunity to spend a year living and studying, immersed in your chosen languages and cultures. In year four, you will study advanced interpreting and translating skills and learn about political contexts and organisations. 

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 the transferable skills and qualities necessary to become a professional interpreter and translator in a variety of professional contexts. Beyond the subject specific knowledge and skills, you’ll also be given the opportunity to learn and practice transferrable skills such as presentation, communication and ICT skills. 

Your student experience

You will be taught by a team of highly qualified researchers, educators and practising professionals who bring knowledge, expertise and guidance to the classroom. 

This blend of academic and professional expertise helps our programme maintain its position at the forefront of industry practice and ensures that you will gain practical insights into the careers of successful interpreters and translators on an almost daily basis. 

Go Global

With Go Global, Heriot-Watt's global student programme, you can carry your studies to new places and experience new cultures, expanding your horizons on the way. You'll discover what it means to be a true global citizen and emerge prepared for wherever your career journey will take you.

European Exchange

This Exchange Programme enables you to study or work in Europe as part of your degree programme, usually for a full academic year.

Worldwide Exchange

This Exchange Programme enables you to study outside of Europe as part of your degree programme, usually for a full academic year.

Course content

September Intake - Edinburgh

NB: 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.

Mandatory September

  • Introduction to Language and Intercultural Studies

Optional September

  • BSL Intensive Beginners 1
  • Chinese Intermediate 1
  • French Intensive Beginners 1
  • German Intensive Beginners 1
  • Spanish Intermediate 1
  • French Intermediate 1
  • German Intermediate 1
  • Spanish Intensive Beginners 1

Mandatory January

  • Introduction to World History and Culture

Optional January

  • BSL Intensive Beginners 2
  • Chinese Intermediate 2
  • French Intensive Beginners 2
  • German Intensive Beginners 2
  • Spanish Intermediate 2
  • French Intermediate 2
  • German Intermediate 2
  • Spanish Intensive Beginners 2

Programme Video

Languages at Heriot-Watt University

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).

Entry requirements

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

Standard entry requirements

  • Highers AABB (A in main language)
  • A-Levels BBC - ABB (B in main language)
  • Int. Baccalaureate 30 points (HL 5 in main language)
  • HNC B in graded unit
  • HND BB

Minimum entry requirements*

  • Highers BBBC (B in main Language)
  • A-Levels BCC (B in main Language)

* 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

This is what our MA Modern Languages (Interpreting and Translating) students are doing 15 months after graduating:
are working
are studying
are studying and working


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

  • Business and public service associate professionals
  • Artistic, literary and media occupations
  • Teaching Professionals

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