The taught postgraduate and PhD programmes aligned with CTISS are highly successful and respected programmes nationally and internationally. All the programmes are informed by the extensive research expertise of CTISS members.

Postgraduate taught programmes

All our postgraduate (MSc) taught programmes are 1-year full-time in duration, except for our specific Chinese-English programmes, which are 2-years, and our Sign Language Interpreting programme which is 2.5 years part-time. For more information about our taught postgraduate programme, please visit Heriot-Watt University’s online prospectus.

  • Chinese-English Translating and Interpreting
  • Chinese-English Translating
  • European Masters of Sign Language Interpreting
  • Interpreting
  • Interpreting and Translating
  • Translating
  • Translating with Entrepreneurship
  • Translating for Business
  • Translating for Business with Entrepreneurship
  • Translation and Interpreting

Postgraduate Research Programmes

We seek to recruit research students in any areas of related research and welcome enquiries from suitably qualified candidates.

CTISS membership presents a diverse and distinctive range of supervisory specialisms within a stimulating and supportive environment. The Centre has a good record of guiding doctoral candidates into research-active careers.

In addition to the normal facilities, guidance and monitoring, the university offers extensive study input to all new students, covering time management, informational retrieval, ICT, communication and presentation skills. Furthermore, the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies (LINCS) runs a PGR symposium twice a year where all candidates are expected to present their work-in-progress, and CTISS offers various opportunities for the organisation of PhD topic-related research seminars, as well as informal workshops on various research topics.

PhD students are considered as part of the academic community in LINCS, and are encouraged to engage actively with the activities of CTISS and the Department, and to work alongside its members. This philosophy has engendered a strong sense of community within the doctoral student body.


LINCS annually advertises highly competitive scholarships that target students with outstanding potential, both in terms of their research proposals and of the contribution that they can make to departmental activities. Other studentship funding has also been sourced through the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities and European Research funding. In addition, LINCS also receives a steady number of applications from candidates who are sponsored, e.g., by Governments and other institutions, or self-funded.

Entry requirements

All applications will be reviewed within the relevant department with a shortlisting decision made based on qualifications, the research proposal and the availability of a supervisory team. Shortlisted applicants must have either the equivalent of a 1st class honours undergraduate degree, or a Masters degree with an average mark of 65% or higher and a dissertation mark of 65% or higher. Applicants who are unsure if their qualifications meet the minimum criteria should contact Please note that possession of the minimum qualifications does not guarantee shortlisting for interview. Please note that possession of the minimum qualifications does not guarantee shortlisting for interview.

How to apply

Please submit your application online and on the admissions website please select ‘PhD Languages’ or ‘PhD Translation & Interrpreting’.

If applying for a scholarship – please state clearly on your application that you are applying for a Heriot-Watt University Scholarship.

In order that your application can be processed, please ensure that all the supporting documents listed below are submitted with your application:

1. Research Proposal (approximately 5 – 8 pages)

The research proposal should contain as much as possible of the following: an introduction or outline of the proposed topic; a statement of objectives and/or specific research questions; a summary of some of the relevant literature which supports the research objective(s); an indication of the intended research methodology; an indication of the theoretical structure and/or conceptual outline; a provisional timetable of the major phases of the research process; results expected from the research e.g. practical value of the research or possible contributions to knowledge or policy or methodology. At this stage we are not looking for a definitive document but merely an indication that you have thought through most of the above issues. Applicants may wish to identify potential supervisors on the application form. However, academic staff are unable to provide feedback on applications including drafts.

Please note that work submitted may be subject to screening via plagiarism software.

2. Academic Transcripts and Degree Certificate

Copies of full academic transcripts/marks from all previous academic degree courses and copies of degree certificates for degrees already awarded. If you are currently pursuing a degree course please provide available marks to date.

3. Curriculum Vitae

A CV should be submitted.

4. References

If you have references available these should be submitted with your application.

English Language Requirements

If you have not already studied a degree programme that was taught and examined in the medium of English we require evidence of language proficiency. For IELTS: the minimum overall IELTS score is 6.5 with no score lower than 6.0 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. Further information can be found at Queries may be directed to

Visiting Scholar Programme

The CTISS is open to incoming visits of excellent scholars from other universities to partake in collaboration and joint research (co-authorship; collaborative research proposals; etc.) with scholars of Heriot-Watt University. Our reputation is for original research ideas leading to world-class projects and outputs. To learn more about the Visiting Scholar Programme, please contact the School for Social Sciences Research Support For CTISS-specific enquiries, please email