The degree is offered to students who would like specific training for postgraduate research in modern languages aiming ultimately at a PhD, or who wish to take a challenging end-stopped Master’s.

The Master of Research is a flexible programme that allows in-depth study under the supervision of experts in the field and provides excellent preparation for a student wishing to continue to doctoral study. The dissertation gives the student scope to explore an area of interest in depth and to develop advanced critical and analytical research skills. Students receive face-to-face supervision and specialist research training in small groups within a well-established research training programme. 

The course is underpinned by exceptional resources in the Senate House Library, a diverse range of seminars and conferences, and networks associated with the specialist centres within the Institute: the Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies, the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing, the Centre for the Study of Cultural Memory, the Ingeborg Bachmann Centre for Austrian Literature and Culture, the Centre for Quebec and French-Canadian Studies and the Ernst Bloch Centre.

The MRes is further supported by the digital resources of the PORT (postgraduate online research training) website, port.sas.ac.uk, part of which is tailored specifically to the needs of students and researchers in modern languages. It includes a variety of resources, ranging from introductory training manuals on conducting research in modern languages via language-specific materials to video clips advising on the preparation for the viva or for job interviews.

Upon graduating, students will receive a degree awarded by the University of London.


Entry requirements

  • A second-class honours degree from a recognised university
  • Native or near-native competence in English and the language of study


Structure and Assessment

The course comprises two compulsory core modules (2 x 20 credits) and a 25,000-word dissertation (140 credits).

Teaching will be provided by SOAS staff (core course 0.5, term 1) and IMLR staff (core course 0.5, terms 1 and 2; dissertation) - under review.

The research component of the programme is a dissertation written on a research topic agreed and supported by fortnightly meetings between student and supervisor. The dissertation may be written in English or in the language of study: French, German, Italian or Spanish. Topics include: literature, film, cultural memory, women’s writing, exile studies, migrant studies, cultural history, history of ideas and translation studies. Areas of study include: Europe, the Americas, Caribbean and North Africa.

IMLR supervisors: Professor Catherine Davies, Dr Dominic Glynn, Professor Andrew Hussey, Dr Katia Pizzi, and Dr Godela Weiss-Sussex.

Core Modules

  • Translation Theory (20 credits) in the first term - under review
  • Research Skills and Methodologies (20 credits) in the first and second terms
  • Dissertation (25,000 words = 140 credits)
Translation Theory

This module provides students with key concepts, issues and theories of translation; effective application of translation principles and methods; and knowledge of the translation profession. It consists of 11 weeks with 4 hours per week of classroom contact - under review.

Research Skills and Methodologies 

Students will be provided with specialised training in: research projects in modern languages; archive skills training with the Wiener library; modern languages archives and libraries training (in collaboration with specialist librarians in Senate House library and the British Library); digital resources and use of social media; critical theories and approaches; visual languages; history and history methods; and professional skills and career management. The module consists of eight one-day workshops. It also offers students participation in the IMLR graduate forum, PORT (postgraduate research training online) and IMLR work-in-progress seminars.


The dissertation will be on a research topic agreed between student and supervisor and will be supervised with (on average) fortnightly meetings entirely within IMLR or, where appropriate, with co-supervisors in other institutes in SAS or elsewhere. The dissertation is the research component of the Master of Research. It consists of a significant research project in which the student is expected to undertake an in-depth investigative study in the modern languages disciplinary field, which may include aspects of translation and translation theory.

The dissertation will be assessed by an internal and external examiner. The assessors will consider: overall structure, organisation and presentation of the contents; the relevance and understanding of the theory and methodologies used; the ability to develop an argument and to integrate theory with close critical reading; and the ability to provide a critical evaluation of secondary sources and to give evidence of original ideas or approaches. The dissertation may be written in the language of study – French, German, Spanish or Italian (subject to the availability of staff).

Full-time students take the core courses in terms 1 and 2 and meet their supervisor in preparation for the dissertation throughout the year. By the beginning of term 2, a proposal for the dissertation project (including a title) must be submitted to the supervisor. Most of the supervision for the preparation of the dissertation will take place in term 2.  The students write up their dissertation in the summer.

Part-time students take the core courses in terms 1 and 2 of the first year, and prepare and write up their dissertation in year 2.


The student will be expected to have successfully completed two/three essays, a 25,000-word dissertation and an assessed presentation at an IMLR research seminar.


Teaching and supervision

Teachers are recognised experts drawn from the Institute, the British Library, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Lambeth Palace Library, and other institutions, at which some of the teaching takes place.


Mode of Study

This degree can be taken full-time over one year or part-time over 24 months.



Contact Details

For further information, contact the Institute Director, Professor Catherine Davies, or the supervisor responsible for the language field in which you are interested.

Professor Catherine Davies (Spanish/Latin American)
Dr Dominic Glynn (French)
Dr Katia Pizzi (Italian)
Dr Godela Weiss-Sussex (German)