Languages and Intercultural Studies

Heriot-Watt University ranked second in Scotland and eighth in the UK for Modern Languages in the National Student Survey 2020. In the National Student Survey 2019, 100% of students said staff were good at explaining things. 

View all Languages and Intercultural Studies courses

At Heriot-Watt University we don’t just teach languages, we teach languages for a purpose. For 50 years we have produced graduates with the highest professional standards.

Our degrees can be studied from beginners level or intermediate level (post-Higher/A-Level), and combine interpreting, translation, business management or cultural studies, with one or two of the following languages:

  • British Sign Languages
  • Chinese
  • French
  • German
  • Spanish

Our students are taught by established academics and practising professionals with years of experience, and benefit from a community environment with attentive teaching in our state-of-the-art language labs. 

A world of possibilities 

Studying languages can open up a world of possibilities for your career. Our alumni work in every corner of the globe, as freelancers or with international organisations, NGOs and multinational corporations.

On each of our modern language degrees you will have the chance to study Year 3 abroad on 1 or 2 exchange placements, studying at our partner universities immersed in your chosen language and culture. Our partner universities have been chosen because they share our applied and practical ethos for the teaching of languages. On BSL you will spend Year 3 on a work placement in the BSL community. 


Accreditation and recognition

We are an official higher education partner for the Chartered Institute of Linguists - a professional body that maintains the highest standards for practising interpreters and translators.

Our BSL course is accredited and graduates can register with the UK and Scottish sign language interpreting bodies NRCPD and SASLI.  

We are a member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI), the UK-based professional association of interpreters and translators. 

We are founding members of CIUTI, the world’s oldest and most prestigious international association of universities who train interpreters and translators, and recognised as a mark of quality by industry and international organisations such as the European Parliament and the United Nations.

We benefit from close collaboration with SCIC, the Directorate-General for Interpretation of the European Commission, through a cooperation agreement. This cooperation translates into virtual classes, pedagogical assistance missions and training delivered by SCIC trainers, as well as study visits to Brussels.

Teaching facilities 

  • three state-of-the-art interpreting laboratories equipped for simultaneous interpreting
  • three further digital language laboratories with CAT Tools for translation practice
  • a dedicated lab for BSL interpreting training
  • audio-visual self-study facilities
  • a virtual learning environment accessible on or off campus.

All of our practical language classes are small and interactive.

Key information

Course Enquiries