2022 start September 

Intercultural Communication

School of Languages and Cultures, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Learn best practice for effective communication at work across a wide range of cultural groups, and develop your communication skills in more than one language. As one of the first UK universities to offer a course in this field, our staff are at the forefront of this developing discipline.
Image of discussion between postgraduate students in the department of languages and cultures

Course description

If you want to work in an international, multicultural environment and develop advanced intercultural competence and communication skills in more than one language, this course is for you.

You'll create a bespoke course with optional modules within a clear structure that reflects your unique interests and ambitions. You'll have the option to specialise in either Digital Information or Audio Visual Media. We'll help you develop your intercultural knowledge and skills and apply them to your area of interest, whether you have a background in languages, social sciences or science and engineering.

The course combines the study of theory and practice with critical thinking and reflection. We’ll cover the main theories of intercultural communication, including best practice for effective communication at work, which will help you to connect theory with real-life situations.

You'll develop essential skills in ethnographic research and form systematic approaches to complex problems and engage with major intercultural questions and issues relevant to your future profession. Our optional modules give you the chance to focus on your area of interest.

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The modules listed below are examples from the last academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course. For the very latest module information, check with the department directly.

If you wish, you can choose to use your optional modules to specialise in either Digital Information or Audio Visual Media as described below.

Semester one:

Concepts and Approaches in Intercultural Communication

This module aims to develop an understanding of the main theoretical approaches to the study of intercultural communication and the ability to analyse and evaluate their relative significance, including those originating from applied linguistics, management theory, anthropology and sociocultural theories. Students will consider the concept of culture from a variety of perspectives, and will study topics including stereotyping and prejudice, (non-)essentialism, identity, culture shock, and the role of language and dialogue in intercultural communication. A wide range of real-world examples will be examined, including media reports, international communications, multicultural situations, and intercultural problems raised by students. By the end of the module students will be able to: i) Analyse and critically evaluate the main concepts and approaches in intercultural communication; ii) Consider the implications for their application in practice; and iii) Develop their own perspectives and insights from these theories.

15 credits
Research Methods in Modern Languages and Cultures

This module will introduce and explore a range of methodological approaches and techniques that are relevant to students of Modern Languages and Cultures. It will enable students to identify, assess and exploit sources and data, present the results of their research in (an) appropriate manner(s), and adhere to data protection, intellectual property and ethics requirements. Students will engage with different theoretical models and debates, and a range of tools for accessing information. Students will be required to attend generic research methods sessions as well as those which are of greatest relevance to their research topic(s).

15 credits
Ethnography/Reflective Practice

This module aims: i) To explore aspects of linguistic theory in relation to the act of translation; ii) To offer an account of translation as an act of cultural and ideological mediation; and iii) To study key concepts of translation theory including equivalence and functionalism. By the end of the module, we expect that students will be able to: i) Understand, explain and comment critically on the main theories of translation; ii) Develop their own views and insights from an understanding of these theories; and iii) Relate theories of translation to practical translation scenarios

30 credits
Induction and Transition: SLC MA Study Support

The aim of this module is to give students of the Applied Languages MA Programmes the opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to complete successfully the requirements of their postgraduate programme, including writing an essay at MA level and undertaking a dissertation in the field (to be agreed with the dissertation supervisor). Students will be introduced to library skills, academic requirements of writing an essay at MA level, referencing conventions, plagiarism issues and autonomous learning. Students will be introduced to the requirements of a dissertation at Sheffield, and follow appropriate support lectures supporting the student in identification of the research area; reading to be undertaken, adopting appropriate methodologies and the development of original ideas and insights.

Semester two:

Intercultural Communication in Practice

This module is designed to develop your intercultural competence with a view to becoming an intercultural mediator and effective communicator in an international/multicultural workplace. It requires participants to combine their knowledge of approaches to intercultural communication with real-time situations, thus enhancing their awareness of the values by which they and others operate. Emphasis will also be placed on the centrality of language in the intercultural communication process. You will take an active role in seminars; these are designed to develop intercultural learning through consideration of critical incidents, materials analysis, simulation, role play, drama, and multilingual discussion. These activities will lead to a deeper understanding of the centrality of language in intercultural encounters; the values carried by language and the participants themselves as intercultural people.

15 credits
Dissertation- MA in Intercultural Communication

The aim of this module is to give students of the MA in Intercultural Communication the opportunity to research a topic in the field (to be agreed with the dissertation supervisor). They will be expected to put into practice theories, strategies, methods and techniques already studied in the relevant preparatory modules; they may also link their dissertation to a work-placement or work-based project, in which case the dissertation approach may be more practice-oriented, drawing on theories. The normal length of the dissertation will be 12-16,000 words.

60 credits
Further Ethnography

This module builds on knowledge and skills developed in the module Ethnography. Students will further develop their knowledge and research skills through undertaking an ethnographic project, develop an understanding of the broad range of ethnographies published across disciplines and critically reflect on their own ethnographic practice. Commitment to active engagement in coursework, class discussion, sharing of experiences and reflection on the ethnographic process are central to this module

15 credits
Key Issues in Intercultural Communication Seminar

Following the module Concepts and Approaches in Intercultural Communication (Autumn), students will work in groups on a range of concepts in more depth. Learning the principles of running a 1-hour seminar, they will research, plan and deliver an interactive session to peers. They will also prepare for and contribute to seminars delivered by other peer groups. They will consider the implications for a range of workplace scenarios.

15 credits

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.


  • 1 year full-time
  • 2 years part-time


Teaching takes place through lectures, seminars, small-group work and workshops.


You’ll be assessed on essays, presentations and a dissertation.

Your career

Our graduates have high-level intercultural knowledge and skills, which make them highly employable in industries such as human resources, international business, education, or international project management.

Graduates have gone on to a variety of roles, including: communications officer, journalist, intercultural trainer, consultant, university teacher, project manager, company regional director.

Companies and organisations our graduates have worked at include: Sheffield International College, University of Leeds, Together for Regeneration, Communicaid, Tesco, Lambson Fine Chemicals (Yorkshire), Landrover (China).

Some of our graduates have also set up their own companies, or continued onto PhD study.

Graduate profile: Elena

Elena Romera discusses why she chose this course and how the skills she developed prepared her for her role as European Marketing Manager at Papa John's Pizza.

Entry requirements

A 2:1 degree in any discipline and working knowledge of one language other than your mother tongue (level approx CEFR B1/B2).

Overall IELTS score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component, or equivalent.

Pathway programme for international students

If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for a pre-masters programme in Business, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

We also accept a range of other UK qualifications and other EU/international qualifications.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.


You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

Apply now

+44 114 222 0631

Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

Our student protection plan

Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

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