MA (Hons) Modern Languages for Business Management

The course

UCAS code
4 years
Delivery type

This degree can be studied from a beginner or intermediate language level. It combines our expertise in applied language studies with specialist business courses from Heriot-Watt's Edinburgh Business School. Study Chinese, French, German and Spanish.


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Heriot-Watt University ranked 2nd for German, 2nd for Iberian Languages and 3rd for French in Scotland in the Complete University Guide 2022. We are accredited as a higher education partner by the Chartered Institute of Linguists.

The Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University is one of the largest and most respected business schools in Scotland with expertise in Finance, Marketing, Economics and Management.

MA (Hons) Modern Languages for Business Management is a clear example of our career-focused approach to language studies.

Study at least one language to degree level:

  • Chinese
  • French
  • German
  • Spanish

Beginner Pathway

If you have not achieved B in A-Level or A in Higher in your chosen language (Chinese, French, German or Spanish), please apply for our Beginner Pathway (UCAS: C4BB).

The Beginner Pathway offers double the classroom time for language learning in Year 1, in place of two elective courses, to help you reach the required language level by Year 2. This is a tried and tested method and works for those starting their language from beginner level.

UCAS Codes: MA (Hons) Modern Languages for Business Management

  • Chinese: C4BC
  • French: C4BF
  • German: C4BG
  • Spanish: C4BS
  • Beginner Pathway: C4BB 

Heriot-Watt University's degree MA Modern Languages for Business Management gives students the chance to study a modern foreign language from a beginner level to a proficient standard, whilst developing transferable skills in business and management. 

Depending on your ability in year 1, you will your chosen language from an intermediate level, or from a beginner's level.  

Complementary courses explore the countries in which your chosen language is studied, with a focus on their societies and business cultures. You will also study the core principles of business management and their application in global workplaces. 

Business and language career prospects

Our Modern Languages for Business Management degree will open up opportunities for a global career. It will provide you with the specialist business knowledge and transferable communication and language skills required to enter the employment market in a strong position.

European and international markets present great opportunities for multilingual graduates with business and management skills, so learning a language as part of a degree in business and management can be the foundation of a truly rewarding career. 

Study Year 3 abroad

In years 1, 2 and 4 you will study a mix of mandatory and optional courses, including your chosen language courses (Chinese course, French course, German course or Spanish course) and one mandatory business management course per semester. 

In Year 3, at least one semester will be spent working or studying abroad, immersed in the language and culture you are studying.  

French Study Abroad partners

  • ESSCA, Angers
  • EM Strasbourg Business School, Strasbourg
  • Université Lumière Lyon 2, Lyon
  • Sciences Po, Toulouse

German Study Abroad partners

  • Otto Friedrich University, Bamberg

Spanish Study Abroad partners

  • University of Deusto, Bilbao
  • ICADE, Madrid
  • University of Valencia, Valencia


Heriot-Watt University is an 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 Languages and Intercultural Studies
  • Management of Global Context
  • Language* Intermediate (1) or Language: Beginner Pathway (1)
  • Elective (If taking Language: Intermediate 1)

Semester 2

  • Introduction to World History and Culture
  • Language* Intermediate (2) or Language: Beginner Pathway (2)
  • Elective (If taking Language: Intermediate 2)
  • Option: Becoming a Professional or Academic Skills

*Language = Chinese, French, German or Spanish

If starting for beginner level, students will follow our tried and tested accelerated intensive beginner pathway (30 credits per course). Students with Post-Higher/ A-level qualifications in the language of study will take one language course per semester at intermediate level (15 credits per course) plus an elective.

Mandatory courses explore history and culture, intercultural issues, and management in a global context. Students will have the opportunity to develop their critical writing skills and employability through optional courses. Those who take Intermediate level language courses can also choose two courses from a range of electives.

Year 2

Semester 1

  • Society and Institutions in Contemporary World
  • Language*: Advanced 1
  • Intercultural Issues in Business and Management
  • Elective

Semester 2

  • Operations management
  • Language*: Advanced 2
  • General Linguistics
  • Elective

*Language = Chinese, French, German or Spanish

Level 2 moves into the advanced study of student's chosen language. It includes two advanced language courses, as well as mandatory courses exploring intercultural issues in business management, general linguistics, and the principles underlying key aspects of cultures, societies and political systems in contemporary Europe and the wider world. Two elective courses can be chosen from a range of electives. 

Year 3

Students will spend at least one semester working or studying abroad in a country where their chosen language is spoken. Students may spend the full year abroad if they wish, but if just one semester is spent abroad, students will return to Edinburgh to undertake supervised project work in the other semester. 

Year 4

Semester 1

  • Honours Dissertation 1
  • Language* Proficiency 1
  • Global Business Analysis 1: International Markets and Strategy 
  • International Politics and Organisations

Semester 2

  • Honours Dissertation 2
  • Language* Proficiency 2
  • Global Business Analysis 2: Global Trends and Ethics
  • Option: Comparative Social and Cultural Issues or Sustainable Development and the Intercultural Context

*Languages = Chinese, French, German or Spanish

Level 4 includes one language course in each semester with three mandatory courses on international politics and international business management. Students can choose one optional course from a selection including modules on sustainable development and comparative cultural studies. In addition, students will complete an Honours Dissertation.

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Work and study

This is what our MA (Hons) Modern Languages for Business Management students are doing 15 months after graduating:

  • 78% are working
  • 1% are studying
  • 9% are working and studying.


  • The average salary of students 15 months after graduating: £25000
  • The average UK salary of students 15 months after graduating from a similar course: £25000


Employers include:

  • Business and public service associate professionals
  • Finance Professionals
  • Business, Research and Administrative Professionals

Entry requirements

Year 1

Standard entry requirements

  • Highers AABB (A in chosen language, unless studying Beginner Pathway)
  • A-Levels BBC - ABB (B in chosen language, unless studying Beginner Pathway)
  • Int. Baccalaureate 30 points (HL 5 in chosen language, unless studying Beginner Pathway)
  • HNC B in graded unit 
  • HND BB

Minimum entry requirements*

  • Highers BBBC
  • A-Levels BCC 

* 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 chosen language
  • Advanced Higher: BB with B in Chosen 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

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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.