Language skills 

Students examining language books in the library

We now offer all of our postgraduate students the opportunity to develop their language skills, either for personal development or to support their research, via our Languages for All and Graduate Languages courses. Both schemes are completely free of charge to students in the College of Arts and Law. 

Graduate languages

This unique, tailor-made scheme is available for all PhD students and many Masters student and is designed to support you in undertaking your research. Almost no other UK University offers you the opportunity to learn intense graduate academic language skills in just one year to equip you for reading demanding texts in French, German, Russian, Italian, Spanish, Greek or Latin. The aim is that you exit the course with the ability to read and analyse primary and/or academic texts that will be most valuable to you in your research.

Modules available

Note: Ancient Greek and Latin modules can be taken in Semester 1 and/ or Semester 2, depending on your needs and prior knowledge of the language (if any). Semester 2 modules build on knowledge acquired in Semester 1. For further information, please contact Dr Niall Livingstone at


You will be taught by a mixture of tutor-led and workshop sessions, typically alternating between the two. Tutor-led sessions give instruction on the grammatical and lexical features of the language, based on a progressive reading of the prescribed material. In the workshop sessions, you will do exercises, including translation of texts into English, under the guidance of the tutor. You will be able to work on samples of your own material. There are assessments at the end of each semester. 

Further information

For more information about a particular module, please contact the module tutor listed above.


Masters students who have the option to take a language module as part of their programme will register on the relevant module at the beginning of the academic year.

PhD students should contact the College of Arts and Law Graduate School.

Languages for All

These open-access courses are available to all postgraduate taught and research students who would like to learn a language on an extra-curricular basis. The courses focus on developing practical language skills and are ideal for personal development. They cater for all levels from beginner (no prior knowledge) right through to advanced (A-level/degree level knowledge). 

Languages available

You can study Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese or Spanish.
The languages are offered across a variety of levels:
Level 1: Beginner 
Level 2: Post beginner*
Level 3: GCSE level but needs practice
Level 4: GCSE level Grade A/B
Level 5: AS level or old A level
Level 6: A level
Level 7: Recent A level (or equivalent) and Degree level

It is important that you identify the correct level to match your ability. For further advice, visit the ‘What level am I?’page on the Languages for All website.

* Students should have completed a beginners’ course previously or had at least 10 weeks’ teaching in their chosen language


The courses last for twenty weeks, ten weeks in semester 1 and ten weeks in semester 2, with two hours of teaching and learning per week. The courses are delivered through small group teaching, with a maximum of 16 students per class. 

The courses do not include any formal tests. Your tutor may run some informal tests in class to monitor your progress, but they will not be taken into account as formal evaluation. However, if you wish to take a test, you will be able to do so (a £50 fee applies). 

Further information

For more information, visit the Languages for All website


You can register your interest for a place on a free language course for 2014/15 from Monday 22 September on the dedicated Canvas page

Please be aware that by registering for this opportunity, you are expressing your interest in joining a language course. We cannot guarantee all students a place. Free places are limited and allocated on a first come first served basis.