MA (Hons) Applied Modern Languages and Translating

The course

UCAS code
4 years
Delivery type

Heriot-Watt University has taught applied language studies for over 50 years. Study two languages from Chinese, French, German and Spanish, and complement with specialist translation skills. Accredited by the Chartered Institute of Linguists.


Got questions about this programme?

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We are ranked 2nd for German, 2nd for Iberian Languages and 3rd for French in Scotland by the Complete University Guide 2022.

MA (Hons) Applied Modern Languages and Translating allows you to study two languages to degree level and spend a year abroad on placement with two of Heriot-Watt's partner universities, immersed in your studied languages and cultures. Choose two languages from:

  • Chinese
  • French
  • German
  • Spanish

UCAS Codes and language combinations

  • French and German - UCAS Code: RRC2
  • French and Spanish - UCAS Code: RRC4
  • German and Spanish - UCAS Code: RRF4
  • Chinese and French - UCAS Code: RACF
  • Chinese and German - UCAS Code: RACG
  • Chinese and Spanish - UCAS Code: RACS

Applied Language Studies

This degree focuses on practical language skills, communication studies, cultural studies and linguistics/ translation studies. 

You will be introduced to interpreting in state-of-the-art booths which mirror the United Nations and European Parliament and learn translation skills in language labs with professional-standard CAT tools. 

Students with only one language at post-Higher/A-Level follow an accelerated intensive language course during Year 1 and join the mainstream language courses from Year 2.
In Year 3 you study abroad, immersed in your chosen languages and cultures and in Year 4 you are given flexibility to tailor your studies to your personal interest and strengths.


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

Course content

Year 1

Semester 1

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

Semester 2

  • Introduction to World History and Culture
  • Language 1: Intermediate (2)
  • Language 2: Intermediate (2) or Language 2: Intensive for Beginners (2)*
  • Elective unless taking 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 = Chinese, French, German or Spanish 
Language 2 = French, German or Spanish

Year 2

Semester 1

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

Semester 2

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

Language 1 = Chinese, French, German or Spanish

Language 2 = French, German or Spanish

Year 3

Students spend at least part of Year 3 abroad, studying at a partner institution or working in countries where their languages of study are spoken, such as China, Taiwan, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Spain. All students must spend one semester abroad but may spend the full year abroad if they wish. If one semester is spent abroad, students will return to the UK to undertake project work.

Year 4

Semester 1

  • Translation and Language Proficiency 1
  • Honours Dissertation 1
  • International Politics and Organisations 
  • Optional courses: 
    • Comparative Social and Cultural Issues
    • Applied Linguistics 
    • Translation Technologies for Professional Translators 
    • Translation and Interpreting Studies

Semester 2

  • Translation and Language Proficiency 2 
  • Honours Dissertation 2
  • Optional courses: 
    • National Perspectives and the EU Context 
    • Sustainable Development and the Intercultural Context
    • Applied Linguistics 2 
    • Global Englishes and the International Workplace
  • National Perspectives and EU Context

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Entry requirements

Year 1

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

Year 2

Our language degrees include a compulsory year abroad at Level 3 so the normal entry route for all languages courses is to Year 1 for a four-year honours course. However, candidates with outstanding Advanced Highers or A-Level results may be considered on an individual basis. 

  • A-Level: ABB with A in main language
  • Advanced Higher: BB with B in main language and AABB at Higher

Year 3

As our languages courses include a compulsory year abroad at Level 3, the normal entry route for all languages courses is to Year 1 of a four-year honours course. However, candidates with outstanding Advanced Highers or A-Level results may be considered on an individual basis.

Additional information

English language requirements

  • If English is not your first language, you have to show that your English is good enough to succeed on your course. Please see our English language requirements.


Tuition fees for 2024 entry
Status* Scotland England / Wales / N Ireland / Rep of Ireland International**
Fee Paid by SAAS £9,250 £18,704

* 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.

** '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). Read more about the application process for EU nationals.

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

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 about the Heriot-Watt University Bursary

View our full range of undergraduate scholarships.