BA Modern Languages and Music

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The key to understanding another society and is mastering its language. From this starting point, we can examine a country's history, culture, society and much more; and by comparison we can learn more about ourselves. The study of languages (French, German, Italian or Russian) alongside Music is highly complementary and an exciting opportunity to contextualise your knowledge in each discipline.

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, both 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.

The city of Birmingham is an ideal place to study music as it boasts an impressive array of venues across a whole spectrum of genres. 

Course fact file

UCAS code: R752

Duration: 4 Years

Typical Offer: AAB (More detailed entry requirements and the international qualifications accepted can be found in the course details)

Start date: September

Details

This programme offers you the opportunity to combine studies in Music and French, German, Italian and/or Russian in a variety of combinations (one or two languages; German, Italian and Russian may be taken from beginners level).

Currently ranked 4th for Music in the Sunday Times University Guide, our undergraduates benefit from some of the best facilities for music study and practice in the country. You will study musicology, performance and composition - including lessons on one instrument / voice. Many of our students receive their practical tuition from the Birmingham Conservatoire, with whom we enjoy close links. As you progress through your degree, a greater emphasis is placed on independent work and you are able to choose modules that suit your interests. 

Your Modern Languages modules are designed to give you an in-depth knowledge of the language and its culture. We put an emphasis on small group teaching and encourage student participation, which produces confident, enthusiastic, articulate graduates with excellent potential for employment in the UK and beyond. 

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

Why study this course

  • Exceptional music facilities: You will benefit from some of the best facilities for music study and practice in the country, including state-of-the-art facilities in our new Bramall Music Building along with practice rooms, electro-acoustic music studios, early instruments, computer workstations. You will also use the on-campus Barber Institute of Fine Arts, with its magnificent Art Deco Concert Hall and Library (one of the best in the country, with Special Collections centred on 20th century English music, including Elgar diaries, manuscript scores and early editions, and Baroque music). Together, these buildings provide spaces perfectly suited for everything including chamber music, electronic music, jazz and orchestra concerts. The department houses a Balinese Gamelan and a large collection of Early Instruments, upon which it is possible to receive tuition. We are also home to the Centre for Early Music Performance and Research (CEMPR); the Centre for Composition and Associated Studies (COMPASS); and Birmingham Electroacoustic Music Studios (BEAST).
  • Excellent employability development: Amongst our 2013 cohort, 95% of our Music and 87% of our Modern Languages graduates were in work or further study 6 months after graduation in a diverse range of areas.
  • Performance opportunities: You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to making music. You will have access to a wide variety of choirs, orchestras, ensembles and musical theatre organised by the Department of Music, University Music Society and the Guild of Students. There is even a Summer Festival of Music, organised by students.
  • Travel opportunities: Many students remember their Year Abroad as the most exciting and formative part of their degree. Choose to study, teach or work in the country of your chosen language. 
  • Excellent student experience: Join one of our language student societies or our student magazine the UoB Linguist magazine. Develop your language skills outside your teaching, make new friends who share your passion for languages and attend diverse extra-curricular events. You can also easily access Birmingham’s diverse music scene.

Read more about our strengths.

Open day talks

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

Modules

Modern Languages:

You can find out more about the available modules dependent on your credit weighting for your chosen language(s) below:

Music:

You can find out more about the available modules dependent on your credit weighting for your Music below:

Fees and funding

Standard fees apply 
Learn more about fees and funding
 
Scholarships
Learn more about our scholarships and awards

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required: 3

Typical offer: AAB

Required subjects and grades: A level Music grade A.

Additional information: Other qualifications are considered - learn more about entry requirements

Additional information:

To take a language from beginners level, evidence of language learning ability is required such as a grade A in a Modern Language at GCSE.

If you have an A level in French, German, Italian or Russian you can take your language study at advanced level. You will need to obtain a B or above at A level in the language that you are going to study.

General Studies: Not accepted.

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 36 points

Those wanting to study at advanced level will need a modern language at HL.

To take a language from beginners level, evidence of language learning ability is required such as a grade A in a Modern Language at GCSE.

International students:

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 the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.

How to apply

When completing your UCAS form, please indicate the languages you wish to study as part of BA Modern Languages and Music under further details within the choices section of the application form.

Modern Language and
Level selection
Code to be entered on
the UCAS application
French (ADV) FrA
German (BEG) GeB
German (ADV) GeA
Italian (BEG) ItB
Italian (ADV) ItA
Russian (BEG) RuB
Russian (ADV) RuA

Apply through UCAS at www.ucas.com.

Learn more about applying.

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.

Learning and teaching

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 welfare advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.
  • Transition review - you will undergo a formal transition review during your first year with an academic member of staff. They will see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support.
  • 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.

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

Seminars, workshops and studio work are interactive sessions that develop subject-specific skills such as harmony, counterpoint, composition, analysis and historical understanding, as well as generic skills such as communication and essay writing.

Instrumental and vocal lessons are one-to-one and usually take place at the Birmingham Conservatoire.

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.

To test your knowledge and develop your core skills we use a range of different assessment methods, including essays, compositions (on paper and in electronic files), teacher reports, instrumental/vocal recitals, end-of-year examinations, listening tests, critical reports on concerts and programme notes

Employability

Amongst our 2013 cohorts, 87% of Modern Languages and 95% of Music 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;
  • 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:

  • City of London Sinfonia;
  • CBSO;
  • the BBC;
  • Purcell School;
  • KPMG;
  • Island Records UK;
  • Cartwright Communications;
  • Royal Opera House;
  • Royal Academy of Music;
  • Government;
  • Educational institutions.
  • Amazon.fr
  • Capita
  • Eurocity Group
  • Harper Collins
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • IQD Frequency Products
  • Aura Financial
  • JC Decaux
  • Town Hall Symphony Hall Birmingham
  • British Airways
  • Deloitte
  • HSBC
  • Pricewaterhouse Coopers
  • The British Council
  • French Connection
  • NATO
  • BP
  • Local and central government

Examples of graduate jobs include:

  • Accompanist Composer;
  • International Events Manager;
  • Lecturer Music Teacher;
  • Orchestra Administrator;
  • Trainee Orchestra Manager;
  • Performance Music Assistant;
  • Film Composer;
  • Marketing Assistant;
  • Teacher
  • Editorial Project Leader
  • International Sales Coordinator
  • Investigation Specialist
  • Operations Analyst
  • Consultant
  • Marketing Officer
  • Account Executive
  • Account Planner

Graduates from both areas return to campus to talk to current students about their careers, how to find opportunities and the wide variety of roles available. Recent speakers hold positions such as Teacher; Jazz Festival Manager at Cheltenham Festivals; Music Therapist at Music Therapy Works; Broadcast Journalist at the BBC; Customer Service and Admin Assistant at DanceXChange; a director-level role at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; and Assistant Registrar at the University of Birmingham.

Read more about why studying languages is great for your career.

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.