MA Mundus Crossways in Cultural Narratives

This Masters offers an exciting opportunity to obtain a prestigious, European Union-supported qualification with study in three European countries or in two European locations and one overseas.

Jessop West in the sun.


We are no longer accepting applications to this programme as it has been discontinued. 

The Crossways in Cultural Narratives programme is an EU-supported multidisciplinary, multilingual Masters programme. It is designed and taught by a consortium of twelve top European and North and South American universities:

The programme offers a full-time programme of postgraduate study in cultural and literary studies with a very wide range of possible pathways. You will follow a mobile study itinerary over two years. Study will take place in three European or North- or South-American universities chosen (with certain restrictions) from the twelve that make up the Crossways Consortium. You can study up to three of the following disciplines: English, Spanish, French, German and Portuguese. Italian is also available at St Andrews and Bergamo.

  • University of Bergamo (Italy)
  • University of Sheffield (England)
  • New University of Lisbon (Portugal)
  • University of Perpignan (France)
  • University of Poznan (Poland)
  • University of St Andrews (Scotland)
  • University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain)
  • Eberhard Karls Universitat, Tubingen (Germany)
  • University of Guelph (Canada)
  • Universidad Nacional Tres de Febrero UNTREF (Argentina)
  • University Iberoamericana (Mexico) - Associate University
  • Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) - Associate University


More information about programme structure, organisation, workloads and assessments is available from the main Mundus Crossways Masters website.

The main Sheffield focus is "Texts and Contexts", examining literary, discursive and cinematographic texts from the French, Iberian, English, German and Russian cultural arenas in their respective political- and social-historical contexts. However, Sheffield's exceptionally extensive and diverse range of modules can be incorporated in several other defined thematic pathways which students can choose to follow - or these modules can be part of a pathway which the student designs for him/herself in direct consultation with Sheffield tutors.

Semesters Two and Three will be spent at the same university (your 'Home University'). Your First and Fourth Semesters are spent at two other universities. (NB. It is not possible to study at both Sheffield and St Andrews; and nor can you study at Sheffield and Guelph, or at St Andrews and Guelph, within a single academic year).

In Semester Two, you EITHER (a) write a 'Short Dissertation' (or Pre-Dissertation) of approx. 10,000 words, OR (b) you write a shorter "Dissertation Report" of ca. 6,000 words AND undertake a short internship with an appropriate cultural organisation (of which you produce a written account). In Semester Four, you will write your main and final Masters dissertation (approx. 20,000 words) on an agreed topic.

The aims of the programme:

  • To prepare students for independent research at advanced postgraduate level
  • To offer students a programme that is qualitatively different from BA-level study by maximising opportunities for self-study and reflective practice
  • To focus on transferable research and learning skills such as critical thinking and reading, information retrieval and data presentation, oral delivery and written expression
  • To offer students the opportunity to study in several countries in order to develop multilingual communicative abilities and experience postgraduate study in multiple European and/or overseas contexts.

At the end of the degree, you will have a Master's from each of the three universities at which you've studied.


Modules were selected in relation to a common theme across the Crossways Mundus Masters programme: cultural crossways and hybridisation.

The wide choice of modules on offer enables you to pursue an individual study plan adapted to your professional and academic training. The main language of study at the universities is the national language (with the exception of Poznan), though some courses in other languages may also be offered.

You will obtain 30 ECTS credits in each semester of the Crossways degree (30 ECTS = 60 Sheffield credits).

In Sheffield this will normally mean two x 10-ECTS taught academic modules from the list below (you can choose modules from the School of Languages and Cultures, the School of English or the Department of History) plus a further 10-ECTS component: a language module in Semester 1; a Dissertation Progress Module (pre-dissertation) plus (optionally) a workplacement/internship in Semester 2; a Dissertation Report module in Semester 3. In Semester 4, you will take just one academic taught module while devoting most of your time and credits to finishing your Final Dissertation (Dissertation Completion module). The mark awarded to you for the Final Dissertation will apply to both the Dissertation Progress and the Dissertations Completion modules.

    You should expect to take most of your modules in the School of Languages & Cultures. Some of these modules are based on final-year undergraduate courses, plus extra, small-group Masters seminars, and with revised learning outcomes (e.g., greater independent research skills, develop your own research questions) and assessment (e.g., longer essays).

    Language modules in French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Italian (and several other mostly European languages) offered at various levels. One of these will normally be taken by Semester 1 Crossways students. Students in other semesters cannot take them for credits, but they may be studied informally.

    Autumn and Spring Semesters

    Research Methods in Modern Languages (Jane Woodin - Autumn Semester) Compulsory and available for Semester 1 students only.

    This module offers an introduction to key methodologies and techniques used in Languages & Cultures research and (where relevant) to their effective application. It aims to inculcate sound and ethical research habits, from the initial bibliographical research and literature review, through core organizational, critical and presentational skills, to the timely dissemination of results. By combining generic and discipline-specific input, it aims to make available a wide range of contexts against which students can test their own ideas.

    Approaches to Literary and Cultural Studies (Craig Brandist, Henk de Berg & others - Autumn Semester, Spring Semester)

    This provides an introduction to a number of the most important trends within twentieth-century literary and cultural theory. The student will become acquainted with the key tenets of the schools of thought studied, to a significant extent through close study of important texts. Discriminating critical engagement with theoretical concepts will be encouraged. The breadth and depth of the student’s methodological resources will be enhanced. Probable topics covered: Marxism; Feminism; Deconstruction; Psychoanalysis; Hermeneutics. This course is normally taught fortnightly.

    French Film Studies (Julia Dobson - Autumn Semester)

    Ce cours aura pour but l' analyse du cinéma français modern (depuis les les années 60 jusqù à l'an 2000). Chaque film sera mis dans son contexte socio-culturel, et l'analyse compendra les éléments suivants: genre, stars, forme, thèmes. Les étudiants vont travailler en groupes pour présenter leurs propres analyses des films. (NB : group presentations are not assessed). The course is taught in French.

    Literature and Politics of the 'Post(-)colonial' I and II (Audrey Small - Autumn and Spring semester) 

    This unit focuses on gaining an understanding of what is meant by 'post(-)colonial', examining the different reactions to this term in different parts of the francophone world, in literature and in literary and political theory, and from the point of view of the various writers studied on the course.  

    Haïti : La Tragédie (Histoire, politique et littérature de l'époque coloniale à nos jours) (Sophie Watt - Autumn semester)

    This course consists of two consecutive 10-credit modules which consider the intricate history of Haiti and France from the colonial period up until the present day. The focus of the course will be to analyse the historical development of the Haitian nation via the prism of Western imperialism and especially French colonial and post-colonial history. Through the analysis of historical works but also of works of political science and works of fiction, this module will review the tragic history of Haiti and the ways in which this tragedy is closely intertwined with French imperialism and the development of global capitalism. The course is taught in French.

    Gender and Sexuality in the Hispanic World (Phil Swanson - Autumn semester)

    Students will examine a range of relevant primary and secondary sources and explore issues pertaining to gender and the ways in which alternative approaches to sexuality are expressed in literature. In so doing they will gain an understanding of the forms used by authors, the linguistic issues involved in dealing with taboo subjects and assess the effects of social and cultural change.

    Questioning Spain (Rhian Davies - Academic Year) 

    Students will examine specific moments or periods in Spanish cultural history from the late nineteenth century to the present day in which a questioning of the status quo is foregrounded. They will examine a range of key texts, primary and secondary sources, and explore the issues raised. In so doing, they will acquire sophisticated techniques in interpreting the discourse of cultural expression on such subjects as the nature of social and gender roles, “race” and ethnicity.

    Contemporary Portuguese Language & Literature (Carmen Ramos Villar - Autumn Semester, Spring Semester)

    This course can normally be taken in one of two specialisms; Portuguese Literature, and the Literature and Culture of the Lusophone world. The course has two components: firstly, the study of Portuguese language, secondly the study of either modern Portuguese or Lusophone literature. The language component aims to provide a basis for the student to gain the necessary linguistic skills to read, analyse and discuss the literary works in the course. The literature component is designed to provide an introduction, through the study of important works, to major areas in either Portuguese or Lusophone culture and society. The course will focus on representative works of literature and film with a view to examining their discussion of themes and concerns present in either Portuguese or Lusophone societies and cultures. Taught in English but requiring an advanced reading knowledge in the language of study.

    The Self and Other: Twentieth Century German Fiction (Caroline Bland - Academic Year)

    The course provides a survey of major prose fiction (novels and novellas) from Germany and Austria during the twentieth century, from the end of the Wilhelminian era to the Wende. The texts studied enable students to trace literary and intellectual development over the period, but also require and reinforce an understanding of the political and social background. Advanced competence in German required. 

    Luxury and Liberty: Germany and Britain (Sean Williams - Spring semester)

    In the industrial revolution, 'consumerism' was seen as a British idea. But it made its way to German-speaking territories, influencing a tradition of the arts known for intellectualism. Germany's most famous poets and philosophers sought to carve out their own creative and conceptual space away from everyday stuff - only to then be imported to Britain in order to give Victorian liberal capitalism intellectual credibility! You will examine an international circulation of ideas and texts during the birth of our modern economic and social system (that's still in place today), questioning what it meant to be an 'artist' and - or - 'consumer'. This module will entail lively discussions about both 'high art' and philosophy, as well as everyday objects people might otherwise think banal (sofas or coffee sets, as just two examples). The concept arises from the tutor's current research, as well as from a BBC programme written and presented by S Williams (

    Russian Poetry, Performance and Prose (Adam Fergus - Autumn semester)

    Russian literature is famous for its big novels but for many Russians, lyric poetry is at least as important. This module explores the connection between the two through a range of nineteenth- and twentieth-century texts from Pushkin to Tsvetaeva. You'll be given guidance on reading short poems out loud in Russian - a great way to develop both your proficiency in the language as well as confidence in your voice. You'll then learn to analyse the poems in detail and set them in their historical and literary context. Having done this, you'll be able to understand the complexities of prose texts by Tolstoy, Dostoevsky or Chekhov. We finish with the vibrant and innovative poetry of the early twentieth century and examine some of its responses to the political and artistic upheavals of the time. Level-appropriate guidance on approaches to literary study will be given. Regular and varied assessments spread the workload through the year and give you plenty of opportunities to receive feedback (including some from your fellow students) and develop a range of analytical skills.

    Concepts and Approaches in Translation Studies (Lena Hamaidia - Autumn Semester)

    The aim of this module is to introduce students with an interest in languages and communication to key theoretical approaches in Translation Studies, including theories of equivalence, functionalism, domestication v. foreignisation and comparative syntax. This module will give students a solid grounding in translation theory and prepare them for further study in this area and/or relating to other disciplines.

    Concepts & Approaches in Intercultural Communication (Jane Woodin - Autumn Semester)

    This course aims to equip students with the key theoretical approaches in Intercultural Communication, including those originating from applied linguistics, management theory, anthropology and sociocultural theory. Discriminating, critical engagement with theoretical concepts will be encouraged, as will consideration of their practical application. The breadth and depth of students’ methodological resources will be enhanced.

    Language in Context (Nicole Baumgarten - Autumn Semester)

    This module sets out to explain what we do when we use language across cultural boundaries. We will address questions of direct relevance to an understanding of translation and intercultural communication, including: To what extent do speech acts and politeness conventions differ culturally? What 'background clues' do intercultural communicators and translators need when interpreting a message? How do metaphors work across languages? How do speakers/hearers understand and create humorous effect? What linguistic devices are employed in conveying a speaker's/writer's ideological position? We will explore these kinds of questions through analysing a variety of text types from the perspective of the theoretical frameworks presented in lectures.

    Intercultural Communication in Practice (Jane Woodin - Spring Semester)

    This module is designed to develop participants’ 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.

    Translation Skills and Genres (Lena Hamaidia - Autumn Semester, Spring Semester)

    The aims of this module are to develop skills and expertise in translation strategies between English and one other language and develop an understanding of practical, professional and theoretical approaches to the translation of different genres of texts. Through a combination of theoretical lectures and language specific seminars students will develop an awareness of issues related to translation and language. Students will analyse material from the word to the text level and examining theoretical and practical issues in the translation of authentic Source Language texts. Students will examine frequently occurring translation problems and a range of strategies, which can be used to solve them, as well as learn how to justify their choice of strategy

    Directed Reading (Various lecturers - Autumn Semester, Spring Semester)

    Exceptionally, where a student wishes to work on a specialist topic in which a particular lecturer is highly expert and also available, a 'Directed Reading' module can be used to make this possible. A programme of appropriate reading will be negotiated and the student and lecturer will normally have fortnightly one-to-one tutorials.

    Further information about this course can be found under the headings below:

    Teaching and learning

    The MA Crossways in Cultural Narratives consists of a variety of teaching and learning methods, including staff- and student-led seminars, small group work, and one-on-one consultations with staff. Independent learning and assessment methods include practical translation and localisation tasks, written exams, and essay writing.


    The Crossways programme opens up a wide range of career paths, such as policy experts, journalists and translators.

    Many of our students go on to study for postgraduate research degrees. Two of our recent MUNDUS graduates who are now pursuing their PhDs are Harsh Trivedi and Amanda Tavares.


    Before you apply, please make sure that you can provide the following:

    • a Bachelor degree with a result of 2:1 degree, or equivalentin the field of Arts, Languages or Social Sciences; particularly a Modern Languages Degree (e.g. language, literature, thought and cultural studies programmes of a high, specialised level relating to one or more of the following: English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, German and related cultures) if your first language is not English, you must have passed the Academic IELTS language test with a score of 6.5 (and a minimum of 6.0 in each component); the English test certificate must be dated within two years of the start date of the programme
    • two academic references
    • a motivation letter

    A registration fee is payable each year of the programme. Please see the main Mundus website for current amounts.

    Language qualifications

    With EU students, we have some flexibility in how we gauge your language qualifications and abilities. Students from majority English-language speaking countries outside the EU are exempt from language requirements. If you are from a non-majority-English country outside the EU, there is almost no flexibility, even if you have a good degree in English from an excellent university. You must possess English-language certificates which:

    • are from an approved testing organisation (currently approved organisations/tests are IELTS, TOEFL IBT, Pearson Academic PTE, and Cambridge CAE and CPE only)
    • (b) are up to date (must be dated within 2 years of the start date of the programme)
    • are at or above the minimum grade levels that we prescribe. Note that Crossways requires slightly higher English language grade levels than the minimum set by the UK Visa & Immigration authority (UKVI).

    The website contains important information about study visas.

    If you are coming to Sheffield for the coming autumn semester, making sure your language-certificates and other documentation are in order is urgent, particularly if you are from outside the EU. If you are due to start in Sheffield later, the urgency is less, though you should still get your paperwork together as soon as you can.


    The European Union normally awards several European and non-European student scholarships each year to the programme.  You will find more details about scholarships and whether you qualify as a European or non-European applicant on the Mundus masters website. These scholarships are made available to students from all over the world to enable them to undertake study with us. The scholarships are based on academic criteria and are strictly competitive.

    Students who are not awarded an EU scholarship are very welcome to join the programme on a self-funding basis.

    Both EU and non-EU students may qualify for an Erasmus-Socrates mobility grant during the course.

    Pre-arrival information

    MUNDUS Crossways study offer

    You have already received and accepted the offer of a study place on the two-year degree, together with notification of your financial arrangements. This offer was issued to you by the Crossways Coordination Office at the University of Perpignan. You will also receive or have received from the University of Sheffield’s Admissions Office a formal offer for the Sheffield portion of your degree. You need to react promptly to your offer from Sheffield and record an acceptance of it as instructed. This is in addition to the acceptance you have sent to Perpignan. Once you have sent Sheffield your acceptance of the offer, but not before, you start to receive information about accommodation, visa requirements and other issues from the University.

    Sheffield study offer

    Your Sheffield offer will either be ‘Unconditional’ (i.e. you have already fulfilled all our requirements) or ‘Conditional’. If it is ‘Conditional’, the specific conditions will be stated. You may be told to show your completion of a B.A. or equivalent degree at a certain minimum level. If asked, you should email this evidence to us as soon as it is available. Or you may be asked to provide certificated evidence of appropriate English language qualifications at a required minimum level. This is particularly important for students from non-EU countries, who often have to fulfil prescribed English language requirements to qualify for a UK visa (see below).


    If you are from outside the European Union, you will probably need a visa to study in Sheffield. There are two possible types of visa, 6-Month Student Visitor Visas and longer-term Tier-4 (General) Student Visas. If you are from any non-EU country and are staying more than 6 months (i.e. Sheffield is your Crossways Home University), you must obtain a Tier-4 (General) Student Visa. And if you have special requirements (for example, you want to bring a spouse or partner; or you want to be able to return to the UK later in the course), you may need such a visa even for a shorter stay. A Tier-4 (General) Student Visa also entitles you to undertake part-time paid work. But Student Visitor Visas are cheaper and less complicated.

    On your visa application, if you do not yet have a Sheffield accommodation address, write the main address of the University: C/O The University of Sheffield, Firth Court, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK (tel: +44 114 222 0000)

    For important information, see the or the University's SSID pages. Alternatively, this page has answers to your visa questions.

    Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies' (CAS) number

    For non-EU students who need or want a Tier 4 Student Visa: when the University has received your acceptance of its offer and whatever evidence it needs of your fulfilment of its conditions, it will issue you (by email) with a so-called 'CAS' (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) number. It will do this no earlier than 3 months before your course begins. With this, and only with this, can you apply for a UK Tier 4 Student Visa, if you need one.

    N.B. If you are a one-semester non-EU student on Crossways and decide on a 6-Month Student Visitor Visa, you do not need a CAS number and the University will not give you one. It will you issue with an approval letter instead.

    National Health Service Surcharge

    Applicants for a Tier 4 Student Visa must now (since 6 April 2015) also pay a charge to the UK National Health Service (NHS) when applying for the visa. This is regardless of any private or other health insurance policies you may have. The payment is NOT required if you qualify for and are requesting only a 6-Month Student Visitor Visa. But if you need or prefer the longer-term Tier 4 Student Visa, the new charge is unavoidable. See here for full information.

    Tuberculosis Screening (TB)

    Please note that visitors from certain countries will need to provide evidence of a tuberculosis (TB) test as part of their UK visa application. Please see here for further information.

    Location and arrival

    We hope to have got to know some of you at the Crossways Induction Days in early September. Otherwise, we will meet first when you arrive here. We suggest you come as early as your visa and your arrangements will allow, and if possible at least a fortnight before your semester here starts. Please keep us informed of your plans. One or other of us should be available all summer.

    While in Sheffield you will be a student of the School of Languages & Cultures, which is part of the Faculty of Arts & Humanities and is located in the Jessop West Building, at the heart of the University's main city-centre campus. Your Crossways coordinators are Dr Lauren Rea ( and Dr Maxime Georgen (  The Sheffield administrator is Caroline Wordley (  We all have offices in the Red Wing of Jessop West. Your workspaces and some of your classes will be here but may also be timetabled to take place within other departments or central teaching space.

    The Jessop West building is Number 184 on the University campus map and is easily accessed by public transport. You can download a map here:

    Sheffield's central location means that it is within easy reach of many parts of the UK. The city is well served by national road and rail networks and has excellent local transport. The University campus is on the western edge of the city centre and is easy to get to by car, bus and tram.

    Maps and travel advice

    Find out how to get to Sheffield by car, rail, train, plane and bike and download online maps to make your journey easier.

    Open a bank account

    For information, see the University's guidance on opening a bank account.

    • Cash machines are everywhere and should work with any cards, including foreign ones.
    • Cash machines will not normally charge a fee. If they do, they will warn you.
    • For transferring money from abroad, the online peer-to-peer money-transfer system Transferwise is much cheaper than banks or building societies.
    • If you have a Euro bank account, don't close it prematurely. It will be particularly useful if you are due to receive scholarship money from Perpignan.
    • Scholarship payments from Perpignan are sometimes slow, for reasons to do with anti-money-laundering legislation. Even if you are a scholarship-holder, make sure you bring reserves of money with you.

    Police registration

    For information, see the University's guidance on police registration.

    Read more in our online prospectus:

    The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is 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.

    Information last updated: 25 August 2021

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