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    MA PG Certificate PG Diploma
    2024 start September 

    Modern Languages and Cultures

    School of Languages and Cultures, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

    Deepen your critical understanding of how language, identity, culture and place intersect in an increasingly interconnected and complex world.
    Postgraduates: School of languages and Cultures

    Course description

    This MA helps you develop a deeper understanding of modern languages and their dynamic cultural contexts. It provides a solid foundation in cultural studies.

    It combines study into your specific language area of interest with a cross-cultural approach: we look within and across linguistics and national borders. The course will guide your research on current topics and ideas, and help you understand their application in cross-cultural contexts.

    Key concepts of the course are: intersectionality, power, race, ideology and gender in Western and non-Western cultures, including Francophone and Lusophone Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. You'll examine case studies from different disciplines, such as multilingualism and environmental studies, as well as literature, linguistics, cultural studies, history, visual and film studies, politics, society, migration studies, postcolonial, decolonial and neocolonial studies, and gender studies.

    The flexibility of the programme allows you to focus on a single area of study (for example French Studies, Spanish and Latin America Studies, Germanic Studies) particularly in your own research projects. You can also take an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural approach.

    The course is ideal if you have a background in Modern Languages but it is not a requirement as the course is taught in English. Our study materials are available in multiple languages.

    This MA is designed to prepare you for a career in the arts and cultural sectors and beyond, as well as doctoral study. You’ll build knowledge in your chosen specialist field through your choice of modules and dissertation topic, which could be the foundation for a PhD project. We’ll provide guidance on how to construct a research proposal and apply for scholarship funding, as well as support you towards other careers in the cultural sector.


    A selection of modules is available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Semester one:

    Critical Approaches to Culture and Media

    Despite common framings of the Internet and of contemporary media and culture as transnational, homogeneous and universalizing, the production, circulation and consumption of contemporary media and culture continue to be embedded in local linguistic and cultural specificity in ways which demand nuanced analysis, linguistic fluency and specialised knowledge of cultures and histories. This module considers these global, regional and local dimensions of media and culture. 

    First, this module offers students grounding in key cultural studies theories as well as the opportunity to explore emerging concepts in digital and new media studies. Second, through both historical and contemporary case studies, the module allows students to develop a critical awareness of how a broad range of cultural and media objects are produced, circulated and consumed across diverse global contexts, interrogating how they make meaning, shape societies, and have the power to entrench or destabilise hierarchies and inequalities. Each session interrogates distinct concepts such as governmentality, identity, (post)hegemony and subjectivity, through principal modes of critical analysis, such as representation, form, context and interpretation. Lastly, the module offers opportunities for students to learn from media industry experts and applies students' critical understanding to practice-based tasks integral to media and culture careers such as creative strategy, human insight and media consultancy. 

    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
    Migration and its Representations Across Cultures

    Using case studies from a range of areas and cultures, this module emphasises the importance of understanding socio-political contexts that shape cultural debates. This module will examine the cultural, social, intermedial and political issues at the heart of migration and transcultural communication while developing language skills.  The module will look at the mechanics of how culture is shaped and contested  through, for example, language, textual and/or visual discussions about representation and voice, or cultural responses to discrimination in multicultural and/or multilingual spaces. Students will study the multilingual and cultural factors that influence policymakers and practitioners, and explore how these issues are represented in mainstream media, artistic, cinematic and cultural productions. 

    In this module,  students are encouraged to think about how their experience relates to the socio-political context(s) under study , creating a community of learning through shared discussion. In this way, students can choose a topic within the theoretical frameworks studied in class, and tailor these  frameworks to their own interests and experience.

    15 credits
    Approaches to Literary and Cultural Studies (Critical Theory)

    A historical and critical survey, of major theoretical approaches to Literary and Cultural Studies, to include five topics such as the following: Marxism; Hermeneutics; Psychoanalysis; Russian Formalism; Structuralism; Feminism and Gender Studies; Postcolonial Theories; Poststructuralism; New Sociologies of Culture. Historical and conceptual analysis will prepare the ground for informed application and critical employment of theoretical approaches to literary and cultural phenomena.

    15 credits

    Semester two:

    Race and Ethnicity in a Global Context

    This module will explore the issues of race, racism, racial conflicts, and race relations in a global context. Although we will use large imperialist nations as point of reference we will then look more closely at case studies originating from the Caribbean, South American, and/or Francophone and/or Lusophone Africa.

    Beginning with a survey history of colonialisms and the imperial ideology across the Western world, we will focus on the impact of slave trade, colonial and racialist discourses. This module will examine the various historical, societal, cultural, and political forces that help shape race as a concept and a reality.

    Some key questions and issues explored in the module include: 

    What is race and racism? 

    What are the forms of on-going racial oppressions? 

    How/When does race emerge as a concept and a lived reality? 

    15 credits
    Innovations: Cultural Movements and Patterns

    How can culture bring about a change of mindset? When do a group of like-minded people become a 'movement' and is this welcomed or feared by the individuals concerned? Is the concept of cultural movements helpful for our understanding or does it obscure nuance and competing, less prominent ideas? This course will look at cultural movements (in both national and transnational contexts) as a means of instigating change in Europe and the wider world. We shall investigate the role of media and prominent cultural actors in disseminating new ideas. We shall also consider how cultural historians have identified and labelled cultural movements as a way of imposing narrative upon the many artistic and literary developments which co-exist at a given point in time and place. 

    As well as understanding movements by analysing significant pieces of writing or visual culture which exemplify them, we shall also ask about their conditions of production, ie: patronage/publishers/galleries/prizes.

    Key movements: Realism / Naturalism / Modernism / Expressionism / Socialist Realism / New Objectivity / Post-war renewal / New Subjectivity  / Post-Modernism / Feminism and Neo-Feminism / Post-colonialism and De-colonialism

    Students will explore questions such as: What are the links between creativity and generational belonging?

    What role does media play in disseminating new ideas? 

    Does a movement need a manifesto? 

    How does art foster innovation, community or renewal?

    Can understanding cultural history in terms of movements be a useful framework or more of a straitjacket?

    15 credits
    Dissertation in Modern Languages & Cultures

    The dissertation undertaken by all students on the Masters Degree is designed to deepen further subject knowledge; to provide a broader range of opportunities to apply relevant research methodologies to selected primary and secondary materials; and to hone critical evaluation and language skills on a topic on an aspect of the modern languages and cultures offered by SLC. The topic will be agreed with the dissertation supervisor. Students will be expected to put into practice theories, strategies, methods and techniques with which they will have become acquainted while studying the relevant preparatory modules. The dissertation helps students to foster the development of intellectual qualities and organisational skills essential for higher-level research and by these means if appropriate they will be well-placed to prepare a cogent, fresh and rigorous MPhil/ PhD proposal and to obtain financial support for further study.

    60 credits
    Approaches to Literary and Cultural Studies (Critical Theory) II

    A historical and critical survey, of major theoretical approaches to Literary and Cultural Studies, to include five topics such as the following: Marxism; Hermeneutics; Psychoanalysis; Russian Formalism; Structuralism; Feminism and Gender Studies; Postcolonial Theories; Poststructuralism; New Sociologies of Culture. Historical and conceptual analysis will prepare the ground for informed application and critical employment of theoretical approaches to literary and cultural phenomena.

    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.

    Open days

    An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses.

    You may also be able to pre-book a department visit as part of a campus tour.Open days and campus tours


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


    MA Modern Languages and Cultures consists of a variety of teaching and learning methods, including staff and student led seminars, small group work, one to one tutorials with staff, and practical workshops.

    Independent study and research are crucial elements of the programme.


    Learning and assessment methods include extended essays or individual projects, individual or small-group oral presentations, organisation of a research event and a dissertation, depending on the module studied.

    Your career

    This MA will help you extend and deepen your knowledge of culture and language. It is an ideal route into PhD study, giving you a solid foundation from which to develop your doctoral research.

    You'll have the opportunity to build on your specialist knowledge through optional modules and your dissertation, which may serve as the foundation for a PhD project. We'll give you advice and guidance on how to construct a PhD proposal and how to apply for scholarship funding.

    SLC Ojotule Ichado

    I am doing an MA because it is a major step toward my career development

    Ojotule MA Modern Languages and Cultures

    Ojotule is currently studying on the MA Modern Languages and Cultures.


    School of Languages and Cultures

    We're a leading hub for research in modern languages and cultures, translation and intercultural communication.

    Our work spans topics such as identity, gender, politics, film, audiovisual translation, migration, diversity in societies, multilingualism/multiculturalism, and literary studies. It examines the past, observes the present and probes into the future. This research informs our teaching, helping you to develop a global understanding of language and communication within and across cultures, countries, and communities.

    Right from the start of your course, you'll work with the school's top specialists, who are all experienced teachers as well. Our students and staff are international, so studying with us will hone your intercultural communication competence.

    Our courses will enhance your career development and employability prospects through our links to industry and real-life workplace settings and experiences. You'll study modules which will give you an in-depth understanding of the theories, concepts and practices of your chosen field and specialisation .

    You'll be able to diversify and deepen your language skills, for example by studying advanced translation. Some of our programmes offer a specialisation in audiovisual media/translation and digital information.

    All of our programmes will nurture you to achieve your potential as a strategic leader in the global marketplace, where languages and cultures intersect, as well as in the increasingly culturally diverse, interconnected and networked local environments that characterise life today and in the future.


    Our students get to make the most of the University's facilities across campus. Explore some of the teaching, library and social spaces you'll be able to visit as an arts and humanities student.

    Student profiles

    Katy Humberstone

    My undergraduate degree (French, Italian and Spanish), gave me a taster of multilingualism and sociolinguistics and I just knew I wanted to pursue this further at Postgraduate level - I was keen to expand on my knowledge and research in the field. Sheffield's SLC was the best choice for my MA, owing to its strong research profile and specialisms in multilingualism and small languages.

    Katy Humberstone

    MA Modern Languages and Cultures

    Katy on her postgraduate experience in Sheffield

    My favourite module from the programme was a module put together by the Germanic Studies department on identity in 19th and 20th-century Germany. It was right up my street and covered a number of topics and issues that I found really engaging. I also enjoyed the Luxury and Liberty module as it was something different to what I have done before and opened my eyes to new aspects of 17th/18th-century German and British society.

    Jamie, on his favourite modules as part of his studies in German

    Entry requirements

    Minimum 2:1 honours degree in a language-related discipline, such as linguistics, literature or a language.

    The programme is for students with a background in French and Francophone studies, Germanic studies (German and Dutch), Hispanic and Lusophone studies (Spanish, Catalan and Portuguese; Latin America), Luxembourgish studies, or Russian and Slavonic studies (Russian and Czech; the former USSR).

    We also consider a wide range of international qualifications:

    Entry requirements for international students

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

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


    You can apply now 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.