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Lecturer teaching conferencing techniques to students
MA/PGDip Conference Interpreting
Gain specialist skills and links with international organisations for an exciting interpreting career.

MA/PGDip Conference Interpreting

Year of entry: 2019


Degree awarded
MA: 12 months [full-time], 24 months [part-time]
Entry requirements

Applicants should hold a good, Upper Second Class Honours degree, or its overseas equivalent. Exceptionally, we may consider applicants who do not meet this requirement but have significant relevant experience and skills.

Full entry requirements

Number of places/applicants

Limited places are available on the MA in Conference Interpreting. We strongly recommend you apply early.

How to apply

Please refer to the following School page regarding subject-specific requirements. These are in addition to the basic prerequisites as shown under entry requirements:

For references, please email the following link to your referees:

References for master's applications

They will submit your references directly to us and we will add them to your application.

Please use the  Online Application Form   to apply. Once you register, you can search for the course to which you wish to apply and upload the required supporting documents towards the end of this process.

Course options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning

Course overview

  • Practice interpreting at the UN offices at Vienna and Geneva.
  • Learn from practising conference interpreters with EU or UN accreditation.
  • Benefit from links to key employers such as the EC and the UN.
  • Train on state-of-the-art Brähler equipment.
  • Prepare for the workplace through advanced simultaneous training after your final exams.

For course content queries, contact or

MA Conference Interpreting at The University of Manchester

Open days

The School's next Open Day will be held on the afternoon of  Wednesday, 8 May . The event will enable you to:

  • Discover more about course content through subject specific talks or taster sessions.

  • Meet academics and current students and find out more about life as a postgraduate student at Manchester.

  • Explore available funding options and find out how to apply.

  • Take a tour of our dedicated Graduate School and our award-winning cultural venues.

  • Find out more about our world-leading research.

Please Register via our Eventbrite page .

If you have any questions about the event, please  contact us  at or by phoning 0161 306 1259.


For entry in the academic year beginning September 2019, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • MA (full-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £9,500
    International students (per annum): £18,500
  • MA (part-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £4,750
  • PGDip (full-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £6,334
    International students (per annum): £12,334
  • PGDip (part-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £3,167

The fees quoted above will be fully inclusive for the course tuition, administration and computational costs during your studies.

All fees for entry will be subject to yearly review and incremental rises per annum are also likely over the duration of courses lasting more than a year for UK/EU students (fees are typically fixed for International students, for the course duration at the year of entry). For general fees information please visit: postgraduate fees . Always contact the department if you are unsure which fee applies to your qualification award and method of attendance.

Self-funded international applicants for this course will be required to pay a deposit of £1000 towards their tuition fees before a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) is issued. This deposit will only be refunded if immigration permission is refused. We will notify you about how and when to make this payment.

Policy on additional costs

All students should normally be able to complete their programme of study without incurring additional study costs over and above the tuition fee for that programme. Any unavoidable additional compulsory costs totalling more than 1% of the annual home undergraduate fee per annum, regardless of whether the programme in question is undergraduate or postgraduate taught, will be made clear to you at the point of application. Further information can be found in the University's Policy on additional costs incurred by students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes (PDF document, 91KB).


Each year the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures offer a number of  School awards  and  Subject-specific bursaries  (the values of which are usually set at Home/EU fees level), open to both Home/EU and international students. The deadline for these is early February each year. Details of all funding opportunities, including deadlines, eligibility and how to apply, can be found on the  School's funding page  where you can also find details of the Government Postgraduate Loan Scheme.

See also  the University's postgraduate funding database  to see if you are eligible for any other funding opportunities.

The  Manchester Postgraduate Scholarship of Academic Excellence  offers up to 100 fee waiver scholarships worth £2,000 each to high-achieving undergraduates from any UK University with an offer to study a Master's degree in the School.

For University of Manchester graduates, the  Manchester Alumni Bursary offers a £3,000 reduction in tuition fees to University of Manchester alumni who achieved a 1st within the last three years and are progressing to a postgraduate taught masters course for September 2019 entry.

The  Manchester Master's Bursary  is a University-wide scheme that offers 100 bursaries worth £3,000 in funding for students from underrepresented groups.

Postgraduate 1+3 funding  is available from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for students to pursue postgraduate study through a master's (one year) leading into a PhD (3 years). It requires a project proposal as part of the application. Information is available here:

Contact details

School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Contact name
Programme Director, Jin Liu
+44 (0)161 306 1259

See: About us

Courses in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of courses in related subject areas.

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

Applicants should hold a good, Upper Second Class Honours degree, or its overseas equivalent. Exceptionally, we may consider applicants who do not meet this requirement but have significant relevant experience and skills.

English language

An overall grade of 7.0 (with a minimum writing score of 7) in IELTS is required or 100+ in the TOEFL iBT with a minimum writing score of 25.

If you are applying for the Chinese stream, there is an additional requirement for the speaking score. We require an overall grade of 7.0 with a minimum score of 7 in both writing and speaking in IELTS, or 100+ in the TOEFL iBT with a minimum score of 25 in both writing and speaking.

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Application and selection

How to apply

Please refer to the following School page regarding subject-specific requirements. These are in addition to the basic prerequisites as shown under entry requirements:

For references, please email the following link to your referees:

References for master's applications

They will submit your references directly to us and we will add them to your application.

Please use the  Online Application Form   to apply. Once you register, you can search for the course to which you wish to apply and upload the required supporting documents towards the end of this process.

Advice to applicants

This programme is taught during business hours and does not offer distance learning.

The part-time mode of attendance aims to concentrate contact time onto two days.

How your application is considered

Applications are mainly considered on the basis of an assessment of past and predicted academic achievements, the academic reference(s) and any other supplementary evidence that supports the application.

We therefore strongly recommend you include a personal statement (no more than 500 words) that demonstrates your understanding of the subject and your motivation for wanting to study the programme.

If your academic background is not directly related to the programme, you should supply an academic-standard writing sample on a subject related to the programme.

If English is not your native language, then you should provide an academic-standard writing sample in English directly related to the subject.

For the specific requirements of each programme in the School, please visit our Applying page.

Aptitude test requirement

Applicants must pass an aptitude test to secure an unconditional offer of a place.

There is no deadline for applications, and aptitude tests will be arranged on an ongoing basis.

However, as there are limited places, we reserve the right to close application for certain language(s) if all places of that/those language(s) have been taken up.

We will publish this information as soon as it happens, but we strongly recommend candidates to start their application at an early date.

Applicants will not be permitted to sit the aptitude test if they have not yet achieved the requisite results in the IELTS or equivalent examination, ie at least 7.0 overall and 7.0 in writing.

For applicants to the Chinese stream, there is an additional requirement for the speaking score, ie at least 7.0 in speaking for IELTS or 25 in speaking for TOEFL iBT.


Offer-holders will be allowed to defer entrance to the programme once.


If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry. In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved. We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course.

Course details

Course description

Eoin Ward

We benefited from EU virtual classes and a study visit to Brussels, as well as dummy boothing opportunities at the UN.

Through this contact with the main employers of conference interpreters, I was able to receive feedback from working interpreters and gained a better insight into the level required to pass an accreditation test.

Eoin Ward / MA Conference Interpreting graduate

Our MA/PGDip Conference Interpreting course aims to equip you with the knowledge and advanced interpreting skills required for a career in conference interpreting.

All of our interpreting trainers are practising conference interpreters in language combinations that reflect market demands. Most trainers are also AIIC members.

We offer simultaneous and consecutive interpreting training in five languages - French, German, Spanish, Russian and Chinese. These are key languages in international organisations such as the UN and EU and are also in demand on the freelance market.

Class sizes are kept small to ensure that students can receive individualised feedback. This enables you to progress at your own pace.

You will develop your interpreting skills under the guidance of a core team of interpreter trainers - all of whom have worked for international organisations such as the EU or UN, either as staff or on a freelance basis.

In addition, you can attend professional skills masterclasses in which visiting conference interpreters and potential employers offer insights into the profession.

One unit aims to increase your knowledge of topics interpreters are likely to encounter, eg the workings of major international organisations (eg the EU and the UN), diplomacy, international law, economics and foreign policy.

We have two interpreting suites equipped with 12 booths and Brähler consoles used widely in the profession.

Who is this course for?

As a prospective student, you will offer one of two profiles, reflecting the two distinct profiles of practising conference interpreters:

  • Profile 1: You have English as your native language (A language) and two passive foreign languages (C languages). You will be trained in consecutive and simultaneous interpreting out of both C languages into your A language.
  • Profile 2: You have Russian, Chinese, French, German or Spanish as your native language (A language) and English as an active foreign language (B language), or English as your A language and one of the five languages mentioned as your B. You will be trained in both types of interpreting in both directions (ie B-A and A-B)

Study options

You can study the course over one year (full-time) or two years (part-time). Part-time study is strongly supported and is actively facilitated in the timetabling of teaching hours for the MA, wherever possible.

The Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in Conference Interpreting is a slightly shorter course available for students who do not wish to complete a professional portfolio or research dissertation.

PGDip students can work on a new or existing language by enrolling on a University language course.

For recent updates on our activities, please visit our Facebook page or find us on Weibo.


We aim to:

  • equip you with the knowledge and advanced interpreting skills for a career in conference interpreting;
  • provide specialist training in consecutive and simultaneous interpreting;
  • provide a gradual transition into the professional world through practical, real-life interpreting tasks;
  • provide guidance on professional conduct and ethics;
  • enable you to reflect critically on your own and others' interpreting practice;
  • equip you for further study and research.

Special features

SCIC recognition

We are one of the few UK courses to be recognised by SCIC (the European Commission Interpreting Service).

Those with suitable language combinations can benefit from EU initiatives including SCIC bursaries and the opportunity to travel to Brussels to learn about interpreting for the EU institutions and to practise dummy booth (simultaneous interpreting in the booth in real meetings but without the mic on) at the European Commission.

Experienced SCIC interpreters visit Manchester to take part in classes and simulated conferences and deliver careers talks. You can also participate in virtual classes with SCIC and/or the European Parliament.

UN links

Students with relevant language combinations and strong performances in interpreting units have interpreted for the Geneva International Model United Nations, a non-governmental organisation in special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council, as well as practice dummy booth at the International Maritime Organization in London and volunteer at a UN Crime Congress in Qatar.

Additional training

We offer a four-week advanced simultaneous training course to MA students following their final exams, where you can bring the standard of your interpreting up to the level required of professional conference interpreters.

After this, MA students will produce a written piece outlining their preparation for a hypothetical interpreting assignment. You will be encouraged to pick a meeting for which webcasts and documentation are available online, prepare, and then test the effectiveness of your preparation by interpreting from the webcast.

For an additional fee, PGDip students and graduates from other universities can attend this extra training if the relevant language groups are running.

Teaching and learning

This course is designed to train students with an aptitude for conference interpreting in an intensive and highly individualised manner.

Contact hours with our trainers will involve a mixture of seminars with students studying all six languages on the degree (English, Chinese, French, German, Russian and Spanish) and language-specific tutorials focusing on your particular language combination.

In the Professional Development for Conference Interpreters unit, you will also have the opportunity to work as part of a team of interpreters at a number of simulated multilingual conferences.

Class sizes are small, which allows for intensive contact with teaching staff.

You will be taught in separate classes for language tutorials covering each direction in which you interpret, for example, an interpreter working with French><English attends interpreting classes both into English and into French.

In addition to interpreting classes, you will also take a unit that helps you to expand your general knowledge in areas relevant to conference interpreting, such as international law and economics. In Semester 2, you will take a professional development unit to prepare for working life.

In addition to class contact hours, e-learning provision provides you with the support and feedback required between classes, as well as giving you the ability to track your progress.

Guided self-study sessions in small groups are an essential part of the degree. These sessions also nurture peer assessment and feedback skills.

Teaching staff

You will learn from experts in interpreting and translation throughout the course. See the People page on the Translation and Intercultural Studies website to find out more about our staff.

Coursework and assessment

This course is designed as a specialist postgraduate qualification in Conference Interpreting where course units in consecutive and simultaneous interpreting complement one another.

Assessment on the MA takes two forms:

  • end of unit interpreting exams to assess progress in interpreting skills;
  • assessed coursework for other units such as professional development.

For students taking the MA, there are two options for the dissertation:

  • write a research dissertation, or
  • attend an additional four weeks of training in advanced simultaneous interpreting. This takes place during the summer after the Semester 2 exams. Students then complete a professional portfolio setting out how they would prepare for a hypothetical assignment.

Course unit details

You will undertake units totalling 180 credits. Core units combine to make 120 credits, with the remaining 60 credits allocated to a research dissertation or professional portfolio.

  • Consecutive Interpreting
  • Simultaneous Interpreting- Early Skills Development to Advanced Simultaneous

These very practical units combine general seminars attended by all MA students with weekly language-pair specific tutorials.

All trainers teach only language directions they are qualified to work with themselves.

  • Topics in International Diplomacy

This unit will introduce you to key topics in international diplomacy. The aim is to equip you with a broad understanding of current international affairs, including international organisations, diplomacy, the fundamentals of international law and economics.

As part of this unit, students have researched topics ranging from the South China Sea conflict to straddling fish stocks!

  • Professional Development

This unit will give you an opportunity to prepare for employment through a series of simulated conferences and seminars which explore the contexts in which interpreters are employed.

The unit includes advice on handling assignments, including professional marketing, pre-assignment preparation and employer expectations.

  • Research Methods (Translation and Interpreting Studies) I
  • Research Methods and Approaches for Interpreting Studies

These units provide an introduction to the study of conference interpreting and familiarise you with the role of the interpreter in history, and the key 'turns' of research in conference interpreting from the 1950s to the present day.

They also cover research methods in translation and interpreting studies.

  • Professional Portfolio or Dissertation

You will have the option of completing a traditional research dissertation or a professional portfolio. The professional portfolio aims to help you prepare for your first interpreting assignments.

Students taking this option will attend four weeks of additional teaching, which will focus on advanced simultaneous and simultaneous with texts, as well as meeting preparation.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Research Methods (Translation and Interpreting Studies) I ELAN60211 15 Mandatory
Consecutive Interpreting ELAN60530 30 Mandatory
Simultaneous Interpreting ELAN60760 30 Mandatory
Professional Development for Conference Interpreters ELAN61132 15 Mandatory
Topics in International Diplomacy ELAN71011 15 Mandatory
Research Methods and Approaches for Interpreting Studies ELAN71022 15 Mandatory

What our students say

Sam Dyson

The trainers really make the course. They are all highly qualified interpreters (with EU/ UN accreditation).

Perhaps more importantly, they are fantastic teachers who clearly delight in handing down their skills and knowledge to the next generation of interpreters.

Sam Dyson / MA Conference Interpreting graduate

See what our graduates have to say about this course on the student spotlights page.


Our fully-equipped, state-of-the-art interpreting suite, used for conference interpreting courses and practice sessions, includes a main conference room with built-in, simultaneous interpreting booths with interpreting consoles and integrated teaching software. This is the same equipment used at international organisations such as the European Parliament.

Our students also have exclusive access to the EU multi-lingual speech repository, which provides a large amount of useful interpreting training materials.

We also offer a Melissi digital self-study lab, which provides excellent resources for group study and individual practice. This lab allows students to edit and use a wide range of multimedia materials.

Additionally, the digital recording systems make it easier to record and monitor performance, both for consecutive interpreting and simultaneous interpreting exercises.

The University of Manchester Library boasts one of the best stocked libraries internationally for Translation and Interpreting Studies literature. It also holds subscriptions to leading international journals in the field of interpreting such as Interpreting and The Translator.

In addition, students have access to the most comprehensive abstracting service in Translation and Interpreting Studies, Translation Studies Abstracts (TSA).

Learn more on the Facilities page.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email:


Career opportunities

Carmen Rus Pérez

The MA exceeded my expectations in every possible way. I wanted to have a career in interpreting and that's exactly what I have achieved thanks to this course.

The course leaders take your career as seriously as you do. I would highlight how effective their approach to improving their students' English B is.

Carmen Rus Pérez / MA Conference Interpreting graduate

The supply of English mother tongue interpreters is expected to fall further over coming years, due to the decline of language-learning in the UK.

This will in turn increase the opportunities available for those native speakers who do have the necessary skills to work as simultaneous interpreters.

In the private sector, all interpreters are increasingly expected to be able to interpret reliably into (as well as from) English.

But employers cannot be expected to pay professional rates for second-rate English. The language immersion and opportunities for feedback that come with studying in small-group sessions on a reputable UK-based course can help to develop the command of idiom and register, giving you the necessary edge on the job market.

A postgraduate qualification in Conference Interpreting also provides you with highly developed research, analytical and summarising skills, excellent public speaking skills and an advanced understanding of mediation between cultures and languages. These transferable skills can be used in a variety of jobs.

Career destinations

Our graduates have been accredited to work as interpreters for international organisations, such as the United Nations and the European Union.

Some of our interpreter trainers have themselves helped to assess candidates for exams at international organisations, so we have a clear idea of what is required. Our own final exam marking criteria reflect those in use at international organisations.

The MA also prepares you for work as interpreters in the private sector, ie in settings beyond international organisations. This can involve interpreting for businesses, think tanks, national and regional governments, NGOs, trade unions, legal firms and more.

How we prepare you for work

The course includes a unit focused on professional development and the contexts in which you can work as a conference interpreter.

To ensure you understand the dynamics of interpreting in multilingual meetings, simulated conferences with interpretation from several languages are run during Semester 2.

Our trainers have experience of working both in international organisations and in the private sector, so are well-placed to prepare you for all markets.

We maintain close links with key employers, giving students the opportunity to gain experience and receive external feedback on their performances during their training.

For example, we have regular visits from senior staff interpreters at the European Commission. Some of our students have had opportunities to volunteer locally, for example our Chinese interpreting students volunteered during the recent visit of President Xi Jinping to Manchester.

Students considering a career in research benefit from our location within the Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies, with staff research interests ranging from translation and conflict to the interpreting profession.

Learn more on the Careers and employability page.

Accrediting organisations

We are one of the few UK courses to be recognised by SCIC (the European Commission Interpreting Service).

Associated organisations

The course design reflects best practice criteria set out by the internationally recognised professional body for conference interpreters, AIIC (the International Association of Conference Interpreters).