MA Modern Languages

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)

Course Overview

Advanced knowledge of European cultures and languages, spoken worldwide, has never been more important. The MA in Modern Languages offers students with a high level of attainment in one or more foreign languages at undergraduate level an opportunity to pursue specialist further study, including an optional Erasmus trimester (available in certain languages only).

Internationally recognised scholars offer advanced education across the subject areas of French, German, Italian and Spanish, their cultures and languages. The MA programme entails specialisation in one or two of these language areas, within and beyond Europe, while broadening learning horizons through a range of theoretically informed, interdisciplinary approaches.

What will students learn?

The programme aims to develop students’ communicative and analytical skills to a sophisticated level of proficiency in the language(s) studied as well as in English. An optional Erasmus term abroad (available in certain languages only) offers great opportunities for linguistic and cultural development.

With a blend of disciplinary and interdisciplinary studies you will engage with current humanities research in foreign-language areas, guided by internationally recognised scholars. You will develop sophisticated critical and theoretical tools needed for deep engagement with language, literature, and culture. The programme will appeal both to students wishing to develop deep familiarity with the cultures of one language area and those looking for a broader exploration of the cultures of two language areas.

How will learning be facilitated?

Small graduate seminars at UCD ensure intensive interaction with academic staff and an ideal learning environment. Close individual supervision by a specialist in the field is central to the preparation of the Minor Thesis.


Academics in the School are part of a vibrant research culture shaped by very strong connections between research, publication and teaching. They participate in international research networks and are dedicated individual scholars in their fields of expertise.

Curricular information is subject to change

Full Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

Part Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. No

The MA in Modern Languages will interest students who have completed language, literature and culture studies at undergraduate level, and who would now like to pursue these studies in one or more languages (French, German, Italian, Spanish) at an advanced level of proficiency and with comparative possibilities.

Students on the MA in Modern Languages study six taught modules (60 credits), choosing to specialise in one or two of the School’s language areas of French, German, Italian or Spanish Students taking an Erasmus term abroad take three taught modules at UCD (30 credits) in the autumn trimester and  30 credits worth of modules at the host university in spring trimester. (60 credits)

Students write a Minor Thesis on a research area of their choice, working closely with an academic supervisor to develop and explore an original research question. (30 credits)

The MA can be taken for one year as a course of full-time study or over two years part-time. An Erasmus term exchange is available to students on the full-time MA (certain languages only).

  • Students should have established a sophisticated level of expertise in one or more of the programme’s languages.
  • deepened a contextually informed understanding of and engagement with the literary and cultural production of communities speaking one or more of the programme’s languages.
  • developed a familiarity with prominent critical and theoretical schools and tendencies.
  • identified and circumscribed an independent and significant research problematic that extends current thinking.
  • investigated the chosen research problematic in a systematic, critically and theoretically informed way, presented an analysis in appropriate academic form and language, and evaluated the conclusions of that analysis in relation to previous work in the area.
  • increased expertise in oral presentation and communication, especially in presenting and discussing substantial research questions in formal and specialist fora (seminars, symposia etc.) and to diverse audiences of experts and peers.

With an MA in Modern Languages, graduates enhance their employment opportunities in diverse areas. In recent years, our graduates have found employment in such fields as:

  • Cultural institutions in Europe

  • Multinational companies

  • Broadcasting and journalism

  • Translation

  • Doctoral research; academia

  • The teaching profession

  • The civil service

  • The diplomatic service

View All Modules Here

The programme comprises six taught modules and a minor thesis. Students taking an Erasmus trimester abroad will normally take three modules in the host university. Small class sizes at UCD ensure you enjoy an ideal learning environment. For the minor thesis, you will identify a significant research question in collaboration with an academic specialist and carry out your research under individual supervision.

MA Modern Languages (Z202) Full Time
EU          fee per year - € 9100
nonEU    fee per year - € 22600

MA Modern Languages (Z203) Part Time
EU          fee per year - € 4550
nonEU    fee per year - € 11300

***Fees are subject to change
Tuition fee information is available on the UCD Fees website. Please note that UCD offers a number of graduate scholarships for full-time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on a UCD graduate degree programme. For further information please see International Scholarships.

  • Applicants must present a primary degree (NFQ Level 8) in one or more languages, with an overall award of at least Second Class Honours, Grade 1. They also need to present two references from academic referees willing to comment on their intellectual ability, maturity and motivation.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate English language proficiency of IELTS 7.0 (with no band less than 6.5 in each element), or equivalent.
  • These are the minimum entry requirements – additional criteria may be requested for some programmes 

“I’m delighted with this course as it challenges me to acquire a deeper level of knowledge, analysis and reflexion. The tutors are always on hand to guide me and my fellow students. The tutorials are engaging and enjoyable; every research method I learn can be quickly applied. I benefit from the interdisciplinary nature of the course so that while I explore my own academic interests, I gain exposure to new horizons. Above all, the course provides me with a rewarding and fulfilling experience.” (Edward O’Sullivan)

"I am so glad that I chose to do my MA in Modern Languages at UCD. It allowed me to keep up my two languages from my BA degree and to explore a range of varied and stimulating topics. The lecturers were excellent teachers and guides, boosting my confidence to develop my own ideas and to work independently. This MA is an excellent stepping stone towards further academic study but in my case has also attracted the interest of employers in Europe." (Sarah McEvoy)

"The MA Modern Languages at UCD is an intensive program conducted by expert educators who greatly value individual opinion and encourage independent research. This Masters has given me the opportunity to deepen my knowledge in Spanish studies and discover new research areas beyond Europe. I have also benefited from its interdisciplinary and theory-based approaches to learning, which have further strengthened my critical thinking skills. In short, this MA has provided me with the necessary foundation and training to build an academic career." (Akshay Kumar Choudhary)

As well as intensive interaction with academic specialists and opportunities to participate in the School’s research culture, you will draw on the James Joyce Library’s extensive holdings in modern languages, literatures and cultures. Where an Erasmus term is included, you will avail of the School’s international network of relations.

The following entry routes are available:

MA Modern Languages FT (Z202)
1 Years
Full Time
MA Modern Languages PT (Z203)
2 Years
Part Time