BA Hispanic Studies and History

Combine the study of History and Spanish (from Beginner or Advanced Level).

The key to understanding another society is mastering its language. From this starting point, you can examine a country's history, its literature and culture; and by comparison you can learn more about our own society. 

The study of a language alongside History is highly complementary and an exciting way to contextualise your knowledge in each discipline. Researching primary sources is a key feature of any History degree – studying Hispanic Studies dramatically increases the range of primary sources that you will be able to access.

This programme is designed to provide both academic excellence and vocational development – a balance that is highly sought after by employers in today's intellectual, professional and creative industries, in this country and abroad. The programme is also very flexible, allowing you to specialise as you progress. Acquire advanced language skills and a deep cultural understanding through true immersion on your Year Abroad.

James Hill

James Hill

“I'd been to look at a lot of universities but I came to Birmingham and both departments seemed so welcoming and dedicated. I said yes to the offer and I haven't looked back. Both departments have a lot of overlap and I enjoy being able to transfer my knowledge from one discipline to another. It's a challenging course but with joint honours you get the best of both worlds. Moreover, the great teaching and my fellow students are very interesting and rewarding. ”

You will benefit from an intellectually challenging and stimulating environment for your undergraduate studies, focused on ensuring you’re a fully supported and active learner.

Our degrees are designed to provide both academic excellence and vocational development; a balance that’s highly sought after by employers in today's intellectual, professional and creative industries. 

Both the History and Modern Languages departments at Birmingham are two of the largest and most diverse in Britain. Our staff cover an extensive range of specialities and are committed to research in order to enrich their teaching. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014), the University of Birmingham was ranked first in the country for History, while over 75% of research in Modern Languages was judged to be ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. This allows you to choose from a broad choice of modules, each taught by an expert in that field.

Small group teaching involving student participation are important to both departments, in particular in Modern Languages where oral classes are held with native-speaker teachers. We have found that this produces confident, enthusiastic, articulate graduates, with excellent potential for employment in the UK and beyond. 

Why study this course

  • Outstanding staff: Our staff produce high quality research which directly influences their teaching. In 2015, 97% of Hispanic Studies students and 94% of History students agreed that staff are good at explaining things. 97% and 94% respectively, agreed that staff are enthusiastic about what they teach. Great teaching helps our students develop to their full academic potential.
  • Superb employability rates: Amongst our 2014 cohort, 85% of Modern Languages and 93% of History graduates were in work or further study 6 months after graduation in a diverse range of areas.
  • A broad, flexible and in-depth programme: In addition to your language modules, choose from a wide range of options in French covering culture, literature, film, history or politics. Pick from a selection of History modules covering medieval, early modern and modern periods, approached from social, military, political, economic or religious perspectives. 
  • Although there is a broad choice of modules, you will see from the module information below that each module is taught by an expert in that field. In addition, many modules draw on primary sources, some of which come from our own special collections. The combining of History with Modern Languages increases the range of primary sources that you will be able to access.
  • Travel opportunities: Many students remember their Year Abroad as the most exciting and formative part of their degree. This degree programme allows you to study, teach or work in a Francophone country.
  • Excellent student experience: Join one of our language student societies or our student magazine The UoB Linguist. Develop your language skills outside your teaching, make new friends who share your passion for languages and attend diverse extra-curricular events.
  • Read more about our strengths.

Open day talks

Three full videos on YouTube of recent open day talks relevant to this course:

Modules

The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.

The degree programme is four years in length, and you will spend your third year abroad.

In this programme, you study half of your modules (60 credits) in Hispanic Studies and half in History (60 credits)

First year

Hispanic Studies: Your first year in Hispanic Studies will involve compulsory language modules which will develop your speaking, listening, reading and writing skills (at advanced or beginner level) in your chosen language. Those who have Spanish to A level (or equivalent) are taught separately for language and also follow modules which deal with different aspects of Hispanic literature, politics, history or film.

History:

Compulsory modules:

  • Practising History (A): Skills in History
  • Practising History (B): Approaches to History

You then choose two out of the five survey modules below:

  • Discovering the Middle Ages
  • Living in the Middle Ages
  • The Making of the Modern World 1500-1815
  • The Making of the Contemporary World 1815-2000
  • War and Society

History first year detailed module descriptions

Second year

Hispanic Studies: During your second year in Hispanic Studies, you will develop your language skills even further studying two compulsory language modules, as well as deepening your understanding of the culture and society in the countries of your target language. You will have a wider selection of optional modules to choose from and will depend upon which language you are studying (and whether you entered on the advanced / beginner stream).

History:

Compulsory modules:

  • Group Research
  • Option B

Choose from one of the following:

  • History in Theory and Practice*
  • Research Methods (Dissertation Preparation) (please note: this module must be studied if a History 40 credit dissertation is to be taken in the final year)*
  • Professional Skills (please note: places on this module are limited)*
  • Option A*

*If you wished to do 80 credits in History you would do two of the non-compulsory courses.

History second year detailed module descriptions

Year Abroad

The third year is spent abroad. You attend a university (or universities) in a country of your language of study, such as Spain, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador or Mexico. You'll perfect your language skills and prepare a dissertation on an Hispanic theme. The year abroad is one of the most exciting aspects of the programme and many graduates remember it as one of the best years of their life.

Final year

Hispanic Studies: We offer a range of options in the final year alongside a compulsory advanced language module, which reflect staff research interests, from advanced translation skills to Piracy and Conspiracy, and US Latino Culture.

History

Compulsory modules:

  • Special Subject A+B (20 + 20 credits)

Optional Modules:

Students can also take an Advanced Option A, an Advanced Option B or a Joint Honours History dissertation for a further 20 credits or two of these modules for a further 40 credits.

If you studied Research Methods (Dissertation Preparation) in year 2 you would normally be expected to do a 40 credit dissertation in History (for 80 credits in total).

History final year detailed module descriptions

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2016/17 are as follows:

  • Home / EU: £9,000
  • Overseas: £13,860

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

For further information on tuition fees, living costs and available financial support, please see our pages on undergraduate fees and funding.

Tuition fees when studying abroad

For those spending a whole academic year abroad (where available):

  • Students who are classed as home/EU for fees purposes are required to pay 15% of their normal annual tuition fee; for 2016/17 this will be £1,350
  • Students who are classed as overseas for fee purposes are required to pay 50% of their normal annual tuition fee; for 2016/17 this will be £6,930

For those studying abroad for just one semester (where available), normal annual tuition fees apply.

Note - Study abroad opportunities vary between courses; please see the course description for details of study abroad options offered.

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required:
3
Typical offer:
AAB
Required subjects and grades:
A Level History, Medieval History or Ancient History at grade A. Spanish can be studied post A level or from Beginner level (ab initio)

Additional information:

To study Spanish without A Level Spanish, applicants should normally be able to demonstrate some previous experience in learning a modern language, such as GCSE French, German etc.

BTEC Extended Diploma, Diploma and Subsidiary Diploma are all considered on a case by case basis.

Please be aware that you will need to meet the subject specific requirements for both subject areas within the degree programme - please check their Single Honours coursefinder entries for more information. If you need further guidance please contact us.

Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements.

International students:

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 6,6,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall.

We welcome applications from international students and invite you to join our vibrant community of over 4500 international students who represent 150 different countries. We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

How to apply

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

University of Birmingham students are part of an academic elite and learn from world-leading experts. We will challenge you to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers.

You will have a diverse learning experience, including:

  • lectures
  • small group tutorials
  • independent study
  • and peer group learning, such as delivering presentations with your classmates

Support

You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to Higher Education.

  • Personal tutors - You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.
  • Welfare tutors - We have dedicated welfare tutors who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond.
  • Academic Skills Centre - The centre aims to help you become a more effective and independent learner through a range of high-quality support services. The centre offers workshops on a range of topics, such as note-taking, reading, academic writing and presentation skills.
  • Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) - the AWAS team will provide guidance on writing essays and dissertations at University-level. You will receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects. Support is given in a variety of ways, such as small-group workshops, online activities, tutorials and email correspondence.
  • Student experience - Our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They will offer research opportunities, study skills support and help you prepare for your post-university careers. They will also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.

During your first year it is important that you have a smooth transition into university. You will be able to talk to your tutors about this and discuss if there are particular areas where you need support.

Teaching staff

Students at the University of Birmingham are taught by a mixture of professors, senior lecturers, lecturers and doctoral researchers, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience. Many of our teaching staff have published important works about their areas of expertise, whilst others have taught at international institutions and can offer unique perspectives of their subjects.

You can find out more about the members of staff (including their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest) in their academic profiles linked below.

Language laboratory sessions allow you to practise your listening and spoken skills and are an essential part of all our language programmes.

Contact hours

On the Hispanic Studies side of your degree, you can expect about 7 hours of contact time per week. This is made up of approximately 2 hours of lectures, 2 hours of seminars and 3 hours of language teaching.

On the History side of your degree, you can expect 4 hours per week in your first year, about 3.5-4 hours in your second year and about 3.5-4.5 hours in your final year depending on the focus of your dissertation. During your first year you will also undergo a formal transition review to see how you are getting on. There are also many additional activities that are available to students.

Assessment methods

Assessments - you will be assessed in a variety of ways to help you transition to a new style of learning. At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed. Assessments methods will vary with each module and could include:

  • coursework, such as essays
  • group and individual presentations
  • and formal exams

Feedback - you will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so you can learn from each assignment. You will also be given feedback on any exams that you take. If you should fail an exam, we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is provided to help you prepare for future exams.

Amongst our 2014 cohorts, 85% of Hispanic Studies and 93% of History graduates were in work or further study 6 months after graduation.

During your degree, you will acquire skills and knowledge that are highly prized by employers in many sectors, including:

  • Strong communication skills in English and one or more other languages;
  • An appreciation of the past and how this impacts on the present;
  • A deep understanding of other cultures;
  • Critical thinking skills, alongside the ability to research, analyse and interpret information;
  • Independence and experience of living abroad;
  • Leadership and teamwork;
  • Handling complex information;
  • The ability to form concise and articulate arguments;
  • Managing your time and prioritising your workload;

Graduates in these areas have gone on to work at:

  • Amazon.fr
  • Capita
  • Eurocity Group
  • Harper Collins
  • Deloitte
  • Birmingham Children’s Hospital
  • JP Morgan
  • Ministry of Justice
  • National Trust
  • Teach First
  • Thames Water
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Weightmans LLP 

Examples of graduate jobs include:

  • Teacher
  • Major Gifts Officer
  • Management trainee
  • PR and Media Relations Intern
  • Researcher
  • Ship Broker
  • Strategy Analyst
  • Account Administrator
  • Editorial Project Leader
  • International Sales coordinator
  • Investigation Specialist
  • Sales Executive
  • Account Executive
  • Graduate Trainee
  • Consultant
  • Marketing Officer
  • Operations Analyst

Examples of further study include:

  • Graduate Diploma in Law
  • MA Antiquity
  • MA Magazine Journalism
  • MA Medieval Studies
  • MRes Modern History
  • MSc Economic History
  • PGCE (various)
  • MA Social Work
  • MA Translation  Studies

You will benefit from events in both departments whereby graduates return to campus to talk to current students about their careers, how to find opportunities and the variety of roles available to both linguists and historians. Recent speakers have held high-profile roles at the BBC and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Developing your career

Employers target University of Birmingham students for their diverse skill-set and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of our wide range of opportunities you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

  • Careers events - we hold events covering careers in teaching, event management, marketing and working with charities to help you meet potential employers and learn more about these sectors.
  • Global Challenge - you can apply to work overseas on an expenses-paid placement during your summer vacation through our Global Challenge initiative.
  • Work experience bursary - we encourage you to apply your skills in the workplace by undertaking internships in the summer. Our work experience bursaries allow you to apply for funding to support you during unpaid internships.
  • Cultural Internships - our innovative Cultural Internships offer graduates the opportunity for a six month paid internship at a leading cultural institution in the West Midlands. These internships will give you professional experience to set you apart in a competitive graduate market. Our current partners include Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham REP, Birmingham Royal Ballet, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust, Library of Birmingham.

There are also internships available at our own cultural assets, such as Winterbourne House, the Lapworth Museum, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you will need to think about engaging in some extra-curricular activities to broaden your skills and network of contacts.

  • Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme - our College of Arts and Law Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme enables interested students to work on a current academic research project being run by one of our academic researchers. Undergraduate research scholars gain work experience over the summer after their first or second year and have the chance to develop skills in both collaborative and independent research.
  • Personal Skills Award - our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.
  • Guild of Students - there is a vast number of student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students, which cover a wide variety of interests.

Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Clubs and societies

The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.

Student Experience Officers

Our Student Experience Officers will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They will offer research opportunities, study skills support and help you prepare for your post-university careers. They will also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.

Accommodation

Coming to Birmingham might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and culture, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work.

Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.

International students

The University of Birmingham has been welcoming international students onto our campus since 1900.

We have one of the largest and most vibrant international student communities in the UK, with 5,000 international students from more than 150 different countries and 31% of our academic staff from overseas.

If you would like further information about entry requirements, how to apply and funding options, then you can visit our international students webpage. You may also wish to take a virtual tour of our campus and watch the video below to hear our international students say their favourite thing about the University of Birmingham.