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Durham University, Full Time Masters Degrees in Languages, Literature & Culture

We have 12 Durham University, Full Time Masters Degrees in Languages, Literature & Culture

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Our taught MA provision offers choice, flexibility and the opportunity to specialise. You can learn from the rich variety of research expertise in the Department and you also have the chance to concentrate on a particular area of literary study. Read more

Our taught MA provision offers choice, flexibility and the opportunity to specialise. You can learn from the rich variety of research expertise in the Department and you also have the chance to concentrate on a particular area of literary study. Our commitment to research-led teaching means that students are able to explore the cutting edge of the discipline - from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present day, from medieval manuscripts to contemporary crime narrative. We provide an intimate, dynamic and supportive environment for students of all backgrounds and nationalities.

Our programmes offer up-to-date training in research methods and skills and a wide selection of literature modules from which you choose three; you will also write a dissertation. You will have the opportunity to follow up particular interests by studying a named pathway, or to designate your own area of study within the broad MA in English Literary Studies, tailoring an individual programme based on period, theme or genre.

An MA in English is often the platform for further research at PhD level, as well as providing an excellent grounding for jobs in education, the arts and the media.

Course Structure

If you choose to take one of the named pathways, you will be expected to select two modules from those available within a pathway and to write your dissertation in an area related to your named pathway. You need not confine your choices to a named pathway, as on the broad MA in English Literary Studies you may choose any three from the full list of modules on offer if you prefer. Students may, with permission, take one module from other modules on offer elsewhere in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. All students must take the core Research Methods and Resources module and the dissertation alongside their three optional modules.

Core Modules

  • Research Methods and Resources - This module aims to provide you with the range of knowledge, understanding and high-quality skills that will enable you to study effectively at Masters level, and to offer a fitting training in research methods.
  • Dissertation - Your dissertation will enable you to make an in-depth study of a particular topic, author, or genre at a complex level and at substantial length.

Course Learning and Teaching

One of the distinctive features of the Durham MA in Literary Studies is that it permits both a broad-based, eclectic study of literary topics from the earliest periods of literature to the present and the possibility of specialisation through designated pathways in such areas as Medieval and Renaissance Studies or Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Studies. All students take 3 optional modules, taught in small seminar groups of up to 10, with each module generating 18 hours of contact time (9 seminars x 2 hours) over the academic year. A strong emphasis is placed on independent research, and seminars usually involve a considerable amount of preparation, including short presentations and workshop activities. Assessment for these modules is usually by coursework essay.

All students also register for the Research Methods and Resources module, which generates an additional 20 hours of contact time over the academic year. Again, a strong emphasis is given to independent research. Both pieces of assessed written work for the Research Methods and Resources module involve significant preparation for the MA dissertation (and in some cases for doctoral study later on). The MA dissertation is supported by 3.5 hours of dedicated individual supervision time. Drafts of the dissertation are read and commented upon by the supervisor.

Each MA student is assigned an Academic Advisor who can guide and support her or his progress during the programme of study.

Throughout the taught MA degree programme, all students are strongly encouraged to participate in a lively series of staff-postgraduate research seminars, usually involving invited guest speakers from the UK and beyond. 



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This course is ideal both for prospective professional translators and for those wishing to go on to further academic study, and it is internationally well respected for both of those purposes. Read more
This course is ideal both for prospective professional translators and for those wishing to go on to further academic study, and it is internationally well respected for both of those purposes. The course is designed for both native speakers of Arabic, and speakers of English who have near-native competence in Arabic.

The MA lasts for twelve months and it combines training in English to Arabic and Arabic to English translation with a special consideration of the theoretical issues involved in the process of translation. The MA modules are mainly taught in the Department of Arabic. Translation Theory and Research Skills for Translation Studies are offered by the School of Modern Languages and Cultures (MLAC).

Course structure

The MA involves a combination of core modules, which are taken by all students, plus a number of optional modules, where students have a choice. The course structure of the MA is as follows:

Core modules: obligatory for all students
In 2015, core modules included:
-Research Skills for Translation Studies (15 UCUs)
-Translation Theory (30 UCUs)
-Translation Practical Arabic>English, English>Arabic (30 UCUs)
-Dissertation (60 UCUs)

Optional modules 1
Students choose one module. In 2015, modules included:
-History of Translation (15 credits)
-Intercultural Project Management (15 credits)
-Revising and Editing for Translators (15 credits)
-Sociology of Translation (15 credits)
-Translation Ethics (15 credits)

Optional modules 2
Students choose two modules. In 2015, modules included:
-Business and Technical Translation, Arabic>English, English>Arabic (15 UCUs)
-Legal Translation, Arabic>English, English>Arabic (15 UCUs)
-Interpreting, Arabic>English, English>Arabic (15 UCUs)

Learning and Teaching

The main emphasis of this programme is on the development of translation and interpreting skills, which are reinforced by the provision of a general introduction to translation theory, as well as to more general academic, research and bibliographical techniques. Students attend on average six hours of translation and/or interpreting classes per week during the first two terms of the year. These classes, which are spread over three separate modules, are held in small groups, and alternate between Arabic>English and English>Arabic work. The classes are prepared for by independent learning in the form of preparation and reading (131 hours per module). The structure of the classes allows for extensive student participation, and for the provision of timely feedback on students’ home assignments in an interactive environment.

The practical orientation of these classes is supplemented and reinforced by the Translation Theory module, taught on a School-wide basis, which typically involves an average of one hour’s attendance per week at either a lecture or a seminar. This should be supported by 282 hours of preparation and reading.

In addition, students receive instruction in general academic, presentational and bibliographical skills through participation in the School-based Research Skills module. Research Skills for Translation Studies provides interactive lectures on research skills and training sessions on the use of library and other resources over the course of the first two terms and, in the early part of the programme, a series of user-focused workshops in which students work intensively to consolidate their knowledge of selected translation technologies.

Over the final few months of the programme, students are able to apply the skills and theory learned over the year to a larger project (either a dissertation or an extended, annotated translation) in a more independent way. Each student is allocated a supervisor, who provides up to five hours of supervision / consultation on an individual basis. This exercise enables the student to apply the results of their studies during the year to a text or topic of particular interest to themselves (595 hours of independent study).

In addition to the formal provision detailed above, all students have access to the MA Course Director and to other members of the teaching staff during weekly office hours. Feedback on formative course assignments may also be provided to students on an individual basis outside these hours. Outside their particular programme, all students are also strongly encouraged to participate in other activities of the School and Department (for example research seminars) as appropriate.

Other admission details

We welcome applications from holders of international qualifications. For advice on the equivalency of international qualifications and further information on English language requirements, please contact our International Office or visit their website. We will require two academic letters of reference. If these are not uploaded with your application, we will contact your referees directly. It would be useful if you could inform your referees to let them know that they will be approached for references by Durham University.

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Durham University's unique MA in Museum and Artefact Studies will provide you with the high quality training relevant to a career in museums, the cultural heritage sector, and in the academic world. Read more

Durham University's unique MA in Museum and Artefact Studies will provide you with the high quality training relevant to a career in museums, the cultural heritage sector, and in the academic world.

In particular, it is intended to equip you with a sound knowledge and critical understanding of current professional principles, good practice and contemporary debates relating to museum and artefact studies.

It aims to help you develop a variety of skills:

  • Professional skills, relevant to the care, management and exhibition of collections in museums
  • Analytical skills, relevant to the study of a wide range of materials and artefacts, from different periods and cultures, and from a variety of disciplinary perspectives
  • Research skills, relevant to studies of museums and artefacts, including an awareness of current theoretical issues
  • Communication skills - oral, written and visual - relevant to work in the museum profession and to academic research.

It also aims to encourage students to take personal responsibility for their own learning, team-work and professional conduct.

Course Structure

Two distinct routes can be followed through the MA in Museum and Artefact Studies. These comprise different combinations of modules.

Route 1

The first route is intended for students who firmly intend to pursue a career in museums and galleries. It comprises six compulsory taught modules:

  • Approaches to Museum and Artefact Studies
  • Museum Principles and Practice
  • Artefact Studies
  • Care of Collections
  • Museum Communication
  • Research Paper.

Route 2

The second route through the MA provides you with a different choice of modules. It is intended for students with a strong interest in artefact studies, who may wish to pursue a career in the cultural heritage sector or undertake further postgraduate research in museum or artefact studies after completing the MA course, but who also wish to keep their options open. It comprises four compulsory modules (one of which is a dissertation) and a choice of a fifth module:

  • Approaches to Museum and Artefact Studies
  • Museum Principles and Practice
  • Artefact Studies
  • Dissertation.

And either

  • Museum Communication

Or

  • Care of Collections

Or

  • A module from the MA in Archaeology (e.g. Prehistory; Roman Archaeology; Medieval Archaeology; Post-Medieval Archaeology; or the Archaeology of Egypt, the Near East and India (when available).

Course Learning and Teaching

The programme is mainly delivered through a mixture of lectures, tutorials and practical classes. Typically lectures provide key information on a particular area, and identify the main areas for discussion and debate in the Museums sector. Tutorials, seminars and workshops then provide opportunities for you to discuss and debate particular issues or areas, based on the knowledge that you have gained through your lectures and through independent study outside the programmes formal contact hours. Finally, practical classes allow you to gain direct experience of practical and interpretative skills in Museum and Artefact Studies through placements and curating an exhibition and/or developing an educational programme for the University Museums.

The balance of these types of activities changes over the course of the programme, as you develop your knowledge and ability as independent learners , giving you the opportunity to engage in research, professional practice, and developing and demonstrating research skills in a particular area of the subject. The programme aims to develop these key attributes in its students thereby preparing them for work or further study once they have completed the programme.

In Terms 1 and 2 you will typically attend 3-4 hours a week of lectures, up to 4 hours of tutorials or seminars, in addition to 2 workshops and 2-3 hours of practical sessions working with artefacts or museum environment-related matters or fieldtrips over the term. You will have a 20-day Museum placement at Easter in a museum or archive. Outside timetabled contact hours, you are also expected to undertake your own independent study to prepare for your classes and broaden your subject knowledge. Professional speakers are brought in to engage the students with issues within the professional body.

In Term 3 the balance shifts from learning the basic skills required, to applying them within a real-life museum environment in the module Museum Communications where students work together on a specific project(s) with an opening date in May, June or July. Typically, you could be spending the equivalent of a working week as you complete the work for your projects, under supervision.

The move towards greater emphasis on independent research and research continues in Term 3, where the use of research skills acquired earlier in the programme are developed through the Dissertation research project or the Research Paper. Under the supervision of a member of academic staff with whom they will typically have between 3 and 5 one-to-one supervisory meetings, you will undertake a detailed study of a particular area resulting in a significant piece of independent research. The Dissertation is regarded as a preparation for further academic work while the exhibition and Research Paper route is designed for a more professional environment.

Throughout the programme, all students also have access to an academic adviser who will provide them with academic support and guidance. Typically a student will meet their adviser two to three times a year, in addition to which all members of teaching staff have weekly office hours when they are available to meet with students on a ‘drop-in’ basis. The department also has an exciting programme of weekly one hour research seminars which postgraduate students are strongly encouraged to attend as well as Friends of the Oriental Museum events.

Career Opportunities

Many of our postgraduates move into an academic career, either teaching or by taking up post-doctoral research positions in universities. Others join museums or national and regional heritage organisations. Some work in professional archaeology, in national or local planning departments, while others elect to use their analytical and presentation skills to gain positions in industry, commerce and government.



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Our taught MA pathway in Romantic and Victorian Literary Studies offers choice, flexibility and the opportunity to specialise within this field. Read more

Our taught MA pathway in Romantic and Victorian Literary Studies offers choice, flexibility and the opportunity to specialise within this field. You can learn from the rich variety of research expertise in the Department and you also have the chance to concentrate on a particular area of literary study within the field. Our commitment to research-led teaching means that students are able to explore the cutting edge of the discipline - from Romantics legacies to the representation of women in Victorian poetry and painting, to critical theory. We provide an intimate, dynamic and supportive environment for students of all backgrounds and nationalities.

Our programme offers up-to-date training in research methods and skills. You will choose three modules, at least two of which are from within the pathway, and you will write a dissertation on a subject related to Romantic and/or Victorian studies.

An MA in Romantic and Victorian Literary Studies is often the platform for further research at PhD level, as well as providing an excellent grounding for jobs in education, the arts and the media.

Course Structure

If you choose to take this named pathway, you will be expected to select at least two modules from those available within the pathway and to write your dissertation in an area related to it. Your third optional module may, if you wish, be chosen from the full list of MA modules on offer in the Department. Students may, with permission, take one module from other modules on offer elsewhere in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. All students must take the core Research Methods and Resources module and the dissertation alongside their three optional modules.

Core Modules

  • Research Methods and Resources
  • Dissertation.

Optional Modules

Typical modules might include:

  • Reflections on Revolution, 1789-1922
  • Second-Generation Romantic Poetry
  • Romantic Forms of Grief
  • Women in Victorian Poetry and Painting
  • Thinking with Things in Victorian Literature
  • Literary Masculinity at the Fin-de-Siècle
  • Women and the Novel in the Eighteenth Century
  • Literature of the Supernatural.

Modules are subject to staff availability and normally no more than five of the above will run in any one year.

Please use the 'additional comments' section of the application form to indicate your choice of modules as well as to provide a personal statement.

Course Learning and Teaching

One of the distinctive features of the Durham MA in Literary Studies is that it permits both a broad-based, eclectic study of literary topics from the earliest periods of literature to the present and the possibility of specialisation through designated pathways in such areas as Medieval and Renaissance Studies or Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Studies. All students take 3 optional modules, taught in small seminar groups of up to 10, with each module generating 18 hours of contact time (9 seminars x 2 hours) over the academic year. A strong emphasis is placed on independent research, and seminars usually involve a considerable amount of preparation, including short presentations and workshop activities. Assessment for these modules is usually by coursework essay.

All students also register for the Research Methods and Resources module, which generates an additional 20 hours of contact time over the academic year. Again, a strong emphasis is given to independent research. Both pieces of assessed written work for the Research Methods and Resources module involve significant preparation for the MA dissertation (and in some cases for doctoral study later on). The MA dissertation is supported by 3.5 hours of dedicated individual supervision time. Drafts of the dissertation are read and commented upon by the supervisor.

Each MA student is assigned an Academic Advisor who can guide and support her or his progress during the programme of study.

Throughout the taught MA degree programme, all students are strongly encouraged to participate in a lively series of staff-postgraduate research seminars, usually involving invited guest speakers from the UK and beyond. 



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Our taught MA pathway in Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century Literary Studies offers choice, flexibility and the opportunity to specialise within this field. Read more

Our taught MA pathway in Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century Literary Studies offers choice, flexibility and the opportunity to specialise within this field. You can learn from the rich variety of research expertise in the Department and you also have the chance to concentrate on a particular area of literary study within the field. Our commitment to research-led teaching means that students are able to explore the cutting edge of the discipline - from the beginnings of the literature of revolution, to life writing, to contemporary US crime narrative. We provide an intimate, dynamic and supportive environment for students of all backgrounds and nationalities.

Our programme offers up-to-date training in research methods and skills. You will choose three modules, at least two of which are from within the pathway, and you will write a dissertation on a subject related to twentieth- and twenty-first-century studies.

An MA in Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Literary Studies is often the platform for further research at PhD level, as well as providing an excellent grounding for jobs in education, the arts and the media.

Course Structure

If you choose to take this named pathway, you will be expected to select at least two modules from those available within the pathway and to write your dissertation in an area related to it. Your third optional module may, if you wish, be chosen from the full list of MA modules on offer in the Department. Students may, with permission, take one module from other modules on offer elsewhere in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. All students must take the core Research Methods and Resources module and the dissertation alongside their three optional modules.

Core Modules

  • Research Methods and Resources
  • Dissertation.

Optional Modules

Typical modules might include:

  • Modern Poetry
  • Literatures of Slavery
  • Modernism and Touch
  • Life Narratives
  • Representing the Self: From Sophocles to the Sopranos
  • Post-War British Drama
  • The Contemporary US Novel
  • The Writing of Poetry
  • Blood and Soil: Regionalism and Contemporary US Crime Narrative.

Modules are subject to staff availability and normally no more than five of the above will run in any one year.

Please use the 'additional comments' section of the application form to indicate your choice of modules as well as to provide a personal statement.

Course Learning and Teaching

One of the distinctive features of the Durham MA in Literary Studies is that it permits both a broad-based, eclectic study of literary topics from the earliest periods of literature to the present and the possibility of specialisation through designated pathways in such areas as Medieval and Renaissance Studies or Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Studies. All students take 3 modules, taught in small seminar groups of up to 10, with each module generating eighteen hours of contact time (9 seminars x 2 hours) over the academic year. A strong emphasis is placed on independent research, and seminars usually involve a considerable amount of preparation, including short presentations and workshop activities.

All students register for the Research Methods and Resources module, which generates an additional 20 hours of teaching over the academic year. Again, a strong emphasis is given to independent research. Written work for the RMR module involves significant preparation for the MA dissertation (and in some cases for doctoral study later on). The MA dissertation is supported by 3.5 hours of dedicated individual supervision time. Drafts of the dissertation are read and commented upon by the supervisor.

Throughout the taught MA degree programme, all students are strongly encouraged to participate in a lively series of staff-postgraduate research seminars, usually involving invited guest speakers from the UK and beyond.



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Students on the MA in Translation Studies choose between a more theoretical and a more practical pathway; both pathways include translation practice and examination(s) for professional accreditation. Read more

Students on the MA in Translation Studies choose between a more theoretical and a more practical pathway; both pathways include translation practice and examination(s) for professional accreditation.

The Durham MATS has been a member of the European Masters’ in Translation (EMT) network since 2011. The network is an initiative of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Translation and EMT network membership acknowledges the high quality of the MA programme.

Core modules engage with theoretical questions and with current translation practices. Students are trained to use translation technologies. Specialised Translation modules are offered from/into English and Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish.

The final examinations of the Specialised Translation modules are externally moderated by the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIoL) and may lead to exemption from Unit 1 of the Diploma in Translation (DipTrans), the professional-standard qualification in the UK.

Core modules

In 2016, core modules included:

  • Research Skills for Translation Studies (15 credits)
  • Translation Theory (30 credits)
  • Specialised Translation Language 1 (Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish) from and into English (30 credits)

Starting in the 2017-18 academic year, Translation Studies will include Arabic as one of its languages. 

Core dissertation/project

Students choose 60 credits. Modules have previously included:

  • Translation Studies Dissertation (60 credits)
  • Extended Translation Project (60 credits) 
  • Translation Project 1 (30 credits) + Translation Project 2 (30 credits)

Optional modules

Students choose 45 credits. Modules have previously included:

  • Specialised Translation Language 2 (30 credits)
  • History of Translation (15 credits)
  • Translation Ethics and Intercultural Project Management (15 credits)
  • Editing and Revising for Translators (15 credits)
  • Sociology of Translation (15 credits)
  • Translation Work Placement (15 credits)
  • Consecutive English-Chinese Interpreting (15 credits)
  • Simultaneous English-Chinese Interpreting (15 credits).

Course Learning and Teaching

The MA in Translation Studies (MATS) is a one-year (12-month) full-time or two-year (24-month) part-time course (180 credits, corresponding to 90 ECTS). The Durham MATS is a member of the EMT Network of Excellence. The Durham programme offers different pathways according to the number of specialised translation modules (in one or two languages) students take and whether they opt for the more vocationally-oriented project(s) or the more research-focused dissertation. Both pathways benefit from the varied delivery of content that consists of seminars, workshops, lectures, group projects, research seminars, and individual tutorials. The Institute of Linguists assesses the Specialised Translation examination papers against the requirements of Dip Trans Unit 1; successful candidates receive accreditation for Unit 1 of this official test of professional competence.

Lectures in Translation Theory introduce the discipline’s key debates; students prepare seminar presentations focused on related topics. Research Skills for Translation Studies provides interactive lectures on research skills and training sessions on the use of library and other resources over the course of the first two terms and, in the early part of the programme, a series of user-focused workshops in which students work intensively to consolidate their knowledge of selected translation technologies. The Specialised Translation modules work in both directions, translating from and into the foreign language, with students completing weekly assignments individually or in groups. 

An extensive programme of visiting speakers is provided, partly under the auspices of the School’s Translation & Linguistics Research Group; these include both researchers and professional practitioners, for example European Commission Visiting Translators and field officers. These lectures are seen as an integral part of the course and students are expected to attend. The balance shifts from taught hours to independent study or work experience in the third term. The MATS aims to offer a vocational approach for intending professional translators and an academic approach for those considering continuing to a doctorate by honing specific skills developed in earlier modules. This places further emphasis on students’ autonomy in carrying out work to professional standards or in undertaking a substantial piece of independent research. Students receive individualised support in the form of regular meetings with their designated supervisor. Students also have access to Course Directors and other staff during their office hours.



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This programme provides you with the systematic knowledge and intellectual tools to critically review developments in the theory and practice of international relations. Read more

This programme provides you with the systematic knowledge and intellectual tools to critically review developments in the theory and practice of international relations. It enables you to evaluate in a sophisticated and critical fashion concepts, theories and paradigms within the broad field of international relations, drawing lessons from empirical studies involving both quantitative and qualitative investigations.

Students are able to develop their ability to deploy research strategies and methods in an appropriately advanced fashion to critically evaluate current research and advanced scholarship. Each study route aims to provide advanced knowledge and understanding of the dynamics, including cultural and local political and ideological factors, which shape the contemporary international relations of the area.

The course also provides an opportunity for studying international relations and in comparative and historical perspective taking account of regional specific political and economic factors.

Course Structure

Students will take five core modules to the value of 150 credits and optional modules to the value of 30 credits, 15 of which must be from the regional module list.

Core Modules:

  • International Relations Theory
  • Model United Nations
  • Research Methods and Dissertation Production
  • Dissertation.

European Route Core Module:

  • European Security.

Regional Modules:

  • European Institutions and the Policy Process
  • The European Union as a Global Actor
  • Collective Memory & Identity in Post War Europe.

Non-regional Modules:

In previous years these have included:

  • German Foreign Policy
  • Collective Identities and Political Thought in Britain
  • Contemporary Socio-Political Issues in Muslim Religious Thought
  • International Relations and Security in the Middle East
  • The Political Economy of Development in the Middle East
  • America and the World: The Making of the US Foreign Policy
  • Human Rights
  • Political Ideology
  • Issues in the Politics of Military Occupations
  • Just War in Political Theory and Practice
  • Nationalism Revolution and Reform in Contemporary China
  • Political Economy and Development of Chinese Business
  • Political Ideology
  • Region, Nation and Citizen in Southeast Asia
  • Strategic Asia: Policy and Analysis
  • The Contemporary Politics of the Middle East
  • A module offered by the School of Modern Languages and Cultures.

Course Learning and Teaching

At the beginning of the academic year, students go through five-day induction events in which they are informed about University, the School, the MA/MSc programmes and the facilities available for their learning.

The 180 credits one-year MA degree programme is divided into four core and two optional modules of 15 credits each. Furthermore, students have to submit a dissertation of 75 credits of not more than 15,000 words. Most of the modules are delivered during the first two terms and students spend the remaining time to write the dissertation.

Usually a module has 18 contact hours spread over 9 weeks and 132 hours of self-directed learning. The modules are mainly delivered through weekly 2 hours sessions which can either take the form of seminars or one hour of lecture and one hour of tutorial. The form in which seminars are conducted can differ from one module to another. Typically modules would have elements of lectures, discussions, and presentations from students—the extent of each of these components would differ from one module to another.

All modules have written exercise for formative assessments. Upon getting feedback on these assignments, students can meet their lecturers to discuss their marks before then eventually completing a summative assessment. Typically summative assessments are 3000 word essays but some modules may be assessed by examination. Students can also meet their module coordinators during their weekly contact hours or by making an appointment. When students are working on their dissertations during the later half of the year, they meet their assigned supervisors for a minimum of 6 hours. Students also have access to the academic advisors whenever there is a need.

SGIA has a wide variety of resources available to students such as: computer room/work room with networked PC’s, printing facilities including scanner and photocopier, audio system, Wi-Fi and a relaxation area with satellite television system.

SGIA conducts weekly seminars and organises lectures and conferences which all postgraduate students can attend. These events provide students the opportunity to engage with, and debate, the most important issues in current political and international studies.

Towards the end of the programme students can contact the Careers Office of the University to get advice on available job prospects and get assistance on applying for these.

Career Opportunities

Our students go on to a wide range of successful careers including civil service and other government agencies, UN/INGOs/CSOs, journalism, media, teaching, law, banking and finance, diplomatic services and risk analysis.



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The MSc in Arab world Studies is intended to provide rigorous, research-driven, interdisciplinary, masters-level education and training. Read more

The MSc in Arab world Studies is intended to provide rigorous, research-driven, interdisciplinary, masters-level education and training. It is committed to providing a supportive learning environment that seeks to combine critical and practical reasoning so as to attain the following aims:

  • The programme is designed to establish a cadre of exceptional researchers, qualified at the Masters level, with skills and knowledge sufficient for the conduct of research in and on the Arab World.
  • To recruit students of high calibre who have not previously completed any substantive research training and who have few or no Arabic language skills.
  • To provide generic training in research methods and methodologies to provide a foundation in a broad range of social science research methods as well as basic research and transferable skills that all students in the social sciences require as deemed appropriate for ESRC recognition.
  • To provide subject-specific training in research methods and methodologies in Politics, relevant also to International Relations and International Studies.
  • To provide language instruction in the Arabic language, such that the student develops appropriate and sufficient competence to utilise the language in their subsequent research, or employment in the Arabic-speaking world.
  • To develop the knowledge, skills and understanding which will prepare students to undertake research for a doctoral degree in Politics, International Relations or International Studies, and which may be required of a professional researcher in these fields of the social sciences.
  • To develop the student's knowledge of the range of existing disciplinary, multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary research on the Arab World.

Course Structure

Year 1

  • Core modules to the value of 70 credits
  • Optional modules to the value of 30 credits.

Year 2

  • Core modules to the value of 40 credits
  • Optional modules to the value of 75 credits, plus
  • Dissertation 60 credits.

Core Modules

  • Arabic Language 1B
  • Perspectives on Social Research
  • The Contemporary Politics of the Middle East
  • Arabic Language 2B
  • Dissertation.

Optional Modules

Optional modules in previous years have included:

  • Statistical Exploration and Reasoning
  • Quantitative Methods in Social Science
  • Applied Statistics
  • Qualitative Methods in Social Science
  • Fieldwork and Interpretation
  • International Relations and Security in the Middle East
  • The Political Economy of Development in the Middle East
  • America and the World: The Making of US Foreign Policy
  • Contemporary Socio-Political Issues in Muslim Religious Thought.

Course Learning and Teaching

At the beginning of the academic year, students go through five-day induction events in which they are informed about University, the School, the MA/MSc programmes and the facilities available for their learning.

This MSc programme is spread across two-years. In the first year 100 credits is divided into three core and one/two optional modules and then in the second year 175 credits is divided into one core and five optional modules. Furthermore, students have to submit a dissertation of 60 credits of not more than 12,000 words. Most of the modules are delivered during the first two terms and students spend the remaining time to write the dissertation.

Usually a module has 18 contact hours spread over 9 weeks and 132 hours of self-directed learning. The modules are mainly delivered through weekly 2 hours sessions which can either take the form of seminars or one hour of lecture and one hour of tutorial. The form in which seminars are conducted can differ from one module to another. Typically modules would have elements of lectures, discussions, and presentations from students—the extent of each of these components would differ from one module to another.

All modules have written exercise for formative assessments. Upon getting feedback on these assignments, students can meet their lecturers to discuss their marks before then eventually completing a summative assessment. Typically summative assessments are 3000 word essays but some modules may be assessed by examination. Students can also meet their module coordinators during their weekly contact hours or by making an appointment. When students are working on their dissertations during the later half of the year, they meet their assigned supervisors for a minimum of 6 hours. Students also have access to the academic advisors whenever there is a need.

SGIA has a wide variety of resources available to students such as: computer room/work room with networked PC’s, printing facilities including scanner and photocopier, audio system, Wi-Fi and a relaxation area with satellite television system.

SGIA conducts weekly seminars and organises lectures and conferences which all postgraduate students can attend. These events provide students the opportunity to engage with, and debate, the most important issues in current political and international studies.

Towards the end of the programme students can contact the Careers Office of the University to get advice on available job prospects and get assistance on applying for these.

Career Opportunities

Our students go on to a wide range of successful careers including civil service and other government agencies, UN/INGOs/CSOs, journalism, media, teaching, law, banking and finance, diplomatic services and risk analysis.



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The MSc in Energy and Society is an innovative postgraduate programme that considers energy as socio-technical. Read more

The MSc in Energy and Society is an innovative postgraduate programme that considers energy as socio-technical. Using ideas from practice theory, notions of integrated energy systems, energy development and social science approaches to energy, it aims to draw together diverse disciplinary approaches, and to ensure that students can speak and read across disciplinary boundaries. It will be of interest to engineers seeking to understand how and why innovations succeed or fail, to social scientists who want to improve their understanding of energy developments and to a broad range of graduates with an interest in today’s energy issues.

The full-time course consists of two terms of teaching, during which students are introduced to the range of research questions and methods, and a dissertation, involving the design, development and implementation of an independent research project. Students work closely with academic staff, and have the opportunity to become involved in active research projects.

The programme draws on leading experts in energy studies at Durham from Anthropology, Engineering, Geography, Earth Sciences and other departments. The two core taught modules are delivered via intensive block-teaching, and there is also a field study module for applied team-research. 

Please see the website for further information on current modules.

Course Learning and Teaching

The full-time course runs for a full year, from October to September. Full-time students attend classes between October and December (Michaelmas Term) and January and March (Epiphany), with further assessment in April and May (Easter Term), and then work, under the supervision of a specialist supervisor, to complete a dissertation by September.

The programme is delivered through a mixture of interactive lectures, seminars, practical sessions and workshops, in addition to one-to-one dissertation supervision. Typically, lectures deliver key information on progressively more advanced themes and topics. Seminars provide an opportunity to reflect in more depth upon material delivered in lectures and gathered from independent study outside the programme’s formal contact hours. They give students an opportunity to engage with academic issues at the cutting-edge of research in Anthropology, in a learning environment focused on discussion and debate of current issues.

Full-time students have on average 6-8 hours of formal teaching and learning contact per week, and are also expected to attend weekly departmental and Durham Energy Institute research seminars, often given by prominent visiting speakers. Outside timetabled contact hours, students are expected to devote significant amounts of time to reading, discussing and preparing for classes, assignments and project work.

Throughout the programme, all students meet regularly with the degree tutor, who provides academic support and guidance. Members of teaching staff have weekly office hours when they are available to meet with students on a ‘drop-in’ basis. Before the academic year starts, we provide information on preparation for the course. On arrival we have induction sessions, including a field trip,and social events, headed by the Director of Postgraduate Studies and the Degree Tutor for Energy and Society.. Students also attend an “Introduction to Research Groups in Anthropology”.

Career Opportunities

Students with a postgraduate qualification in Anthropology pursue a diverse array of careers in areas such as conservation, tourism, public health, health research and management, captive primate care and zoological research management, local government research and management, education (secondary, further and higher), social care, social research, in addition to academia.



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The MA in Visual Arts and Culture at Durham is a distinctive interdisciplinary programme that invites students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the visual arts and of visual culture. Read more

The MA in Visual Arts and Culture at Durham is a distinctive interdisciplinary programme that invites students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the visual arts and of visual culture. To study visual arts and culture is a way of paying attention to phenomena that are literally everywhere. The concept of ‘visual culture’ acknowledges the pervasive nature of visual phenomena, and signals openness towards both the breadth of objects and images, and the range of theoretical and methodological perspectives needed to understand them adequately. Drawing upon research strengths across the departments that contribute to the programme, the MA in Visual Arts and Culture encourages you to take a broad view of geographical and chronological scope, while allowing you to engage with a wide range of visual phenomena, including fine art, film, photography, architecture, and scientific and medical imaging practices.

The importance of critical visual literacy in the contemporary world cannot be exaggerated. ‘The illiterate of the future’, wrote the Bauhaus artist and theoretician László Moholy-Nagy, ‘will be the person ignorant of the camera as well as of the pen’. This observation was made in the 1920s, when photography was first used in the periodical press and in political propaganda. The rich visual world of the early twentieth century pales in comparison with the visual saturation that now characterises everyday experience throughout the developed societies and much of the developing world. But the study of visual culture is by no means limited to the twentieth century. Turning our attention to past cultures with a particular eye to the significance of visual objects of all kinds yields new forms of knowledge and understanding.

Our programme facilitates the development of critical visual literacy in three main ways. First, it attends to the specificity of visual objects, images and events, encouraging you to develop approaches that are sensitive to the individual works they encounter. Second, it investigates the nature of perception, asking how it is that we make meaning out of that which we see. Finally, it investigates how our relationships with other people, and with things, are bound up in the act of looking.

Course structure

The course consists of one core module, two optional modules and a dissertation. The core module sets out the intellectual framework for the programme, offering a broad overview of key conceptual debates in the field of Visual Culture, together with training in analysis of visual objects of different kinds, an advanced introduction to understanding museum practice, and key research skills in visual arts and culture. The optional modules provide further specialised areas of study in related topics of interest to individual students, and the 12,000-15,000 word dissertation involves detailed study of a particular aspect of a topic related to the broad area of visual culture.

Optional modules

Previously, optional modules have included:

  • Critical Curatorship
  • History, Knowledge and Visual Culture
  • Representing Otherness
  • Negotiating the Human
  • Digital Imaging
  • Cultural Heritage, Communities and Identities
  • Current Issues in Aesthetics and Theory of Art
  • Ethics of Cultural Heritage
  • Monumental architecture of the Roman Empire in the Antonine and Severan periods
  • Art in Ecological Perspective
  • Texts and Cultures I: Visual and Verbal Cultures (Early Modern)
  • Energy, Society and Energy Practices
  • German Reading Skills for Research
  • French Reading Skills for Research

The Centre for Visual Arts and Culture (CVAC) brings together scholars from across and beyond Durham University in order to provide a dynamic setting for wide-ranging interdisciplinary research and debates about visual culture, a field that entails the study of vision and perception, the analysis of the social significance of images and ways of seeing, and the attentive interpretation of a range of visual objects, from artworks to scientific images. 

Centre for Visual Arts and Culture

The Centre brings together scholars from across and beyond Durham University in order to provide a vibrant and dynamic setting for wide-ranging interdisciplinary research and debates about visual culture. The Centre provides a focus for cutting-edge research on visual arts and cultures: it aspires to train new generations of scholars through innovative postgraduate programmes, it fosters informed debate both nationally and internationally, and it offers an engaging, open environment for researchers at all levels.

CVAC takes a generous view of what constitutes visual culture and it is broad in both geographical and chronological scope, encouraging debate about the range of approaches, methods and theories that are most generative for research on visual phenomena. Durham’s current visual culture research includes the study of word and image, art and religion, medicine and visual representation, film, the history of photography, architecture, urban culture, heritage and philosophical aesthetics. It also includes the development of pioneering visual research methods and the study of vision.

Durham’s location itself provides a rich and inspiring environment for this field of research. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site that also includes Durham Cathedral; its acclaimed Oriental Museum is a significant asset which houses three Designated Collections, recognised by the Arts Council as nationally and internationally pre-eminent; alongside an outstanding collection of twentieth-century and contemporary art. CVAC has many established relationships with major national and international cultural organisations, and aims to develop further its links with museums, galleries and heritage sites.

For further information on the Centre see http://www.durham.ac.uk/cvac



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This programme provides you with the systematic knowledge and intellectual tools to critically review developments in the theory and practice of international relations. Read more

This programme provides you with the systematic knowledge and intellectual tools to critically review developments in the theory and practice of international relations. It enables you to evaluate in a sophisticated and critical fashion concepts, theories and paradigms within the broad field of international relations, drawing lessons from empirical studies involving both quantitative and qualitative investigations.

Students are able to develop their ability to deploy research strategies and methods in an appropriately advanced fashion to critically evaluate current research and advanced scholarship. Each study route aims to provide advanced knowledge and understanding of the dynamics, including cultural and local political and ideological factors, which shape the contemporary international relations of the area.

The course also provides an opportunity for studying international relations and in comparative and historical perspective taking account of regional specific political and economic factors.

Course Structure

Students will take five core modules to the value of 150 credits and optional modules to the value of 30 credits, 15 of which must be from the regional module list.

Core Modules:

  • International Relations Theory
  • Model United Nations
  • Research Methods and Dissertation Production
  • Dissertation.

East Asia Route Core Module:

  • Strategic Asia: Policy and Analysis

Regional Modules:

  • Region, Nation and Citizen in SE Asia
  • Political Economy and Development in Chinese Business
  • Nationalism, Revolution and Reform in Contemporary China.

Non-regional Modules:

In previous years these have included:

  • European Institutions and the Policy Process
  • The European Union as a Global Actor
  • German Foreign Policy
  • Collective Identities and Political Thought in Britain
  • Collective Memory and Identity in Post-War Europe
  • Contemporary Socio-Political Issues in Muslim Religious Thought
  • European Security
  • International Relations and Security in the Middle East
  • The Contemporary Politics of the Middle East
  • The Political Economy of Development in the Middle East
  • America and the World: The Making of US Foreign Policy
  • Human Rights
  • Political Ideology
  • Issues in the Politics of Military Occupation
  • Just War in Political Theory and Practice
  • Political Ideology
  • A module offered by the School of Modern Languages and Cultures.

Course Learning and Teaching

At the beginning of the academic year, students go through five-day induction events in which they are informed about University, the School, the MA/MSc programmes and the facilities available for their learning.

The 180 credits one-year MA degree programme is divided into four core and two optional modules of 15 credits each. Furthermore, students have to submit a dissertation of 75 credits of not more than 15,000 words. Most of the modules are delivered during the first two terms and students spend the remaining time to write the dissertation.

Usually a module has 18 contact hours spread over 9 weeks and 132 hours of self-directed learning. The modules are mainly delivered through weekly 2 hours sessions which can either take the form of seminars or one hour of lecture and one hour of tutorial. The form in which seminars are conducted can differ from one module to another. Typically modules would have elements of lectures, discussions, and presentations from students—the extent of each of these components would differ from one module to another.

All modules have written exercise for formative assessments. Upon getting feedback on these assignments, students can meet their lecturers to discuss their marks before then eventually completing a summative assessment. Typically summative assessments are 3000 word essays but some modules may be assessed by examination. Students can also meet their module coordinators during their weekly contact hours or by making an appointment. When students are working on their dissertations during the later half of the year, they meet their assigned supervisors for a minimum of 6 hours. Students also have access to the academic advisors whenever there is a need.

SGIA has a wide variety of resources available to students such as: computer room/work room with networked PC’s, printing facilities including scanner and photocopier, audio system, Wi-Fi and a relaxation area with satellite television system.

SGIA conducts weekly seminars and organises lectures and conferences which all postgraduate students can attend. These events provide students the opportunity to engage with, and debate, the most important issues in current political and international studies.

Towards the end of the programme students can contact the Careers Office of the University to get advice on available job prospects and get assistance on applying for these.

Career Opportunities

Our students go on to a wide range of successful careers including civil service and other government agencies, UN/INGOs/CSOs, journalism, media, teaching, law, banking and finance, diplomatic services and risk analysis.



Read less
This programme provides you with the systematic knowledge and intellectual tools to critically review developments in the theory and practice of international relations. Read more

This programme provides you with the systematic knowledge and intellectual tools to critically review developments in the theory and practice of international relations. It enables you to evaluate in a sophisticated and critical fashion concepts, theories and paradigms within the broad field of international relations, drawing lessons from empirical studies involving both quantitative and qualitative investigations.

Students are able to develop their ability to deploy research strategies and methods in an appropriately advanced fashion to critically evaluate current research and advanced scholarship. Each study route aims to provide advanced knowledge and understanding of the dynamics, including cultural and local political and ideological factors, which shape the contemporary international relations of the area.

The course also provides an opportunity for studying international relations and in comparative and historical perspective taking account of regional specific political and economic factors.

Course Structure

Students will take five core modules to the value of 150 credits and optional modules to the value of 30 credits, 15 of which must be from the regional module list.

Core Modules:

  • International Relations Theory
  • Model United Nations
  • Research Methods and Dissertation Production
  • Dissertation.

Middle East Route Core Module:

  • International Relations and Security in the Middle East

Regional Modules:

  • Contemporary Socio-Political Issues in Muslim Religious Thought
  • The Contemporary Politics of the Middle East
  • The Political Economy of Development in the Middle East.

Non-regional Modules:

In previous years these have included:

  • German Foreign Policy
  • European Security
  • Collective Memory and Identity in Post-War Europe
  • European Institutions and the Policy Process
  • The European Union as a Global Actor
  • Collective Identities and Political Thought in Britain
  • America and the World: The Making of US Foreign Policy
  • Human Rights
  • Political Ideology
  • Issues in the Politics of Military Occupation
  • Just War in Political Theory and Practice
  • Nationalism Revolution and Reform in Contemporary China
  • Political Economy and Development of Chinese Business
  • Political Ideology
  • Region, Nation and Citizen in Southeast Asia
  • Strategic Asia: Policy and Analysis
  • A module offered by the School of Modern Languages and Cultures.

Course Learning and Teaching

At the beginning of the academic year, students go through five-day induction events in which they are informed about University, the School, the MA/MSc programmes and the facilities available for their learning.

The 180 credits one-year MA degree programme is divided into four core and two optional modules of 15 credits each. Furthermore, students have to submit a dissertation of 75 credits of not more than 15,000 words. Most of the modules are delivered during the first two terms and students spend the remaining time to write the dissertation.

Usually a module has 18 contact hours spread over 9 weeks and 132 hours of self-directed learning. The modules are mainly delivered through weekly 2 hours sessions which can either take the form of seminars or one hour of lecture and one hour of tutorial. The form in which seminars are conducted can differ from one module to another. Typically modules would have elements of lectures, discussions, and presentations from students—the extent of each of these components would differ from one module to another.

All modules have written exercise for formative assessments. Upon getting feedback on these assignments, students can meet their lecturers to discuss their marks before then eventually completing a summative assessment. Typically summative assessments are 3000 word essays but some modules may be assessed by examination. Students can also meet their module coordinators during their weekly contact hours or by making an appointment. When students are working on their dissertations during the later half of the year, they meet their assigned supervisors for a minimum of 6 hours. Students also have access to the academic advisors whenever there is a need.

SGIA has a wide variety of resources available to students such as: computer room/work room with networked PC’s, printing facilities including scanner and photocopier, audio system, Wi-Fi and a relaxation area with satellite television system.

SGIA conducts weekly seminars and organises lectures and conferences which all postgraduate students can attend. These events provide students the opportunity to engage with, and debate, the most important issues in current political and international studies.

Towards the end of the programme students can contact the Careers Office of the University to get advice on available job prospects and get assistance on applying for these.

Career Opportunities

Our students go on to a wide range of successful careers including civil service and other government agencies, UN/INGOs/CSOs, journalism, media, teaching, law, banking and finance, diplomatic services and risk analysis.



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