BA Modern Languages and Music

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The Modern Languages and Music degree programme offers you the opportunity to combine studies in both languages and music. The languages available to study are French, German, Italian and Russian. You will study a range of modules across both subjects, which gives you great flexibility and the option to pursue the areas that interest you most. Modern Languages and Music is a complementary combination of subjects and allows you to explore language, culture, music and much more.

Student satisfaction rates for both departments are very high - for example, 100% of Music students and 98% of Modern Languages students agreed that staff were good at explaining things. Meanwhile, 100% of Music and 97% of Modern Languages students feel that staff are enthusiastic about what they are teaching – which leads to almost all students feeling that the course is intellectually stimulating.

Both Modern Languages and Music graduates from Birmingham benefit from high rates of employability - 95% of Music graduates and 87% of Modern Languages graduates are in work or further study 6 months after graduating. 

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

There are various weightings to choose from dependent on how you wish to focus your studies.

If you choose to study one language alongside Music, there are three different options.

  • You can split your time equally between your chosen language and Music. This means that you will take 60 credits in your chosen language and 60 credits in Music.
  • You can study your chosen language and Music in a major/minor combination, this means you will take 80 credits in your language and the remaining 40 credits in Music. 
  • You can study Music and your chosen language in a major/minor combination, this means you will take 80 credits in Music and the remaining 40 credits in your chosen language.

If you choose to study two languages alongside Music, you will study these all as minor subjects. This means that you will take 40 credits in each of your chosen languages, and 40 credits in Music.

First Year, Second year and Final year

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:

Year abroad

The third year is spent abroad. You attend Universities in the country or countries of your language(s) of study. You may also, if you are going to a French, German or Italian-speaking country, spend the year as a teaching assistant. Work placements are available for some language combinations. 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.

Why study this course

At Birmingham, you’ll 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 and creative industries.

  • The Department of Modern Languages at the University of Birmingham is the only one in the country to offer the full range of languages from the Iberian Peninsula (Basque, Catalan, Galician and Portuguese) in addition to our seven principal languages (French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, and Spanish). All programmes last four years, with the third year spent studying abroad. You can concentrate on a single language, study two or more languages or combine language study with some other subject.
  • Birmingham is one of the top four universities for language provision in the judgement of employers, according to the Guardian.
  • Our students are extremely satisfied with the experience they receive here at the University of Birmingham, which is reflected in our excellent returns in the National Student Survey over recent years. Our different language sections frequently achieve scores in excess of 80% or 90% for overall satisfaction.
  • There are a wide range of Joint Honours with Languages subjects available at Birmingham.
  • Read our ten reasons to study Modern Languages at Birmingham.

Modern Languages open day talk

Dr Emma Tyler delivers the 2013 undergraduate open day talk on studying Modern Languages at the University of Birmingham.

If you come to Birmingham to study music you will be taught musicology (music as an academic discipline), performance and composition. You will have access to outstanding facilities and benefit from a rich tradition of music-making.

Our facilities include practice rooms, electro-acoustic music studios, early instruments, computer workstations and the Barber Institute Concert Hall and Library. Our musical traditions include the University Music Society's choirs, orchestras (including two symphony orchestras) and jazz, wind and brass bands; the Barber operas and international concert series; the students' own summer festival; our New Music Ensemble; and the annual Birmingham Early Music Festival.

Our links with the city and its rich musical culture include instrumental lessons for all our students at the Birmingham Conservatoire; the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group as ensemble in association; University concerts held in the internationally acclaimed Symphony Hall; and access to open rehearsals from the likes of Thomas Ad?s, Sakari Oramo and Sir Simon Rattle. Instrumental and vocal lessons may also be taken through the Centre for Early Music Performance and Research.

  • The appointment of Sir Edward Elgar as the University of Birmingham's first Professor of Music led to the creation of one of the country's leading music departments.
  • The University has invested £16 million in an impressive new Bramall Music Building which is located in the centre of the University campus. You will benefit from some of the most versatile and technologically advanced facilities in the UK. The building is centred around the state-of-the-art Elgar Concert Hall which can seat 450 people. The building also contains purpose built facilities including a large rehearsal room, a suite dedicated to study a performance of early modern music and five electroacoustic studios.
  • Music is joint second out of all the UK's music departments in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise.
  • We currently rank 6th overall in the Guardian University League Table for Music.
  • The Barber Music Library is 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.
  • All undergraduates receive a scholarship for lessons on two instruments. We enjoy close relations with the Birmingham Conservatoire, where many University students receive their practical tuition.
  • The University has two symphony orchestras, a jazz orchestra, new music ensemble, choirs and many other ensembles, run by the Department and the University Music Society.

Music open day talk

Joint honours open day talk

Dr Craig Blunt delivers an undergraduate open day talk about studying Joint Honours at the university.

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 English Literature 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

As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. At Birmingham we advocate an enquiry based learning approach, from the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.

Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates).

Support

To begin with you may find this way of working challenging, but rest assured that we will enable you to make this transition. You will have access to a comprehensive support system that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors and welfare tutors who can help with both academic and welfare issues, and a formal transition review during your first year to check on your progress and offer you help for any particular areas where you need support.

Our Academic Skills Centre also offers you support with your learning. The centre is a place where you can develop your mathematical, academic writing and general academic skills. It is the centre's aim to help you to become a more effective and independent learner through the use of a range of high-quality and appropriate learning support services. These range from drop-in sessions to workshops on a range of topics including note taking, reading, writing and presentation skills.

From the outset, you will be assigned your own Personal Tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies, providing academic and welfare advice, encouraging you and offering assistance in any areas you may feel you need extra support to make the most of your potential and your time here at Birmingham.

The Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) will provide you with individual support from an academic writing advisor and postgraduate subject-specialist writing tutors. You will receive guidance on writing essays and dissertations at University-level which can be quite different from your previous experiences of writing. Support is given in a variety of ways, such as small-group workshops, online activities, feedback through email and tutorials.

Student experience

Supporting you throughout your transition to University, offering research opportunities and study skills support and helping you develop and prepare for your post-University careers - our Arts and Law Student Experience Team strive to help you get the most out of your academic experience.

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. All our students receive a scholarship for lessons on two instruments.

Assessment methods

Studying at degree-level is likely to be very different from your previous experience of learning and teaching. You will be expected to think, discuss and engage critically with the subject and find things out for yourself. We will enable you to make this transition to a new style of learning, and the way that you are assessed during your studies will help you develop the essential skills you need to make a success of your time at Birmingham.

You will be assessed in a variety of ways, and these may be different with each module that you take. You will be assessed through coursework which may take the form of essays, group and individual presentations and formal exams (depending on your chosen degree).

During your first year you will undergo a formal 'transition' review to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support. This is in addition to the personal tutor who is based in your school or department and can help with any academic issues you encounter.

At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed for that particular programme of study. You will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from and build on what you have done. You will be given feedback on any exams that you take; if you should fail an exam we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is made available to enable you to learn for the future.

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

Modern Languages

[Video above - Dr Emma Tyler discusses careers and employability during the Modern Languages open day presentation]

Modern Languages graduates have a range of skills that are highly prized by graduate employers: oral and written communication in one or more foreign languages, critical thinking,  intercultural awareness and understanding. You will also develop leadership, teamwork and organisational skills through activities such as group projects and your year abroad.

87% of our Modern Language graduates go into work or study within six months of graduation. 50% of vacancies advertised for new and recent graduates don’t specify a degree subject, and our graduates enter a wide range of careers similar to other arts and humanities graduates but with much greater scope in international settings. This includes business, government, journalism, the creative arts, teaching and law. Some go abroad to develop their language skills while working as TEFL teachers and university language tutors.

Modern Languages graduates from the University of Birmingham have excellent prospects after graduation. An impressive 85% of our graduates go into professional or managerial jobs within six months of graduation. Our graduates have started careers with employers including British Airways, Deloitte, HSBC, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, the British Council, NATO, BP, central and local government, and universities in the UK and abroad.

Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal. This is a unique careers guidance service tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team who can give you expert advice. This includes individual careers advice and talks and events, including ‘Careers with Languages’, to provide insight into careers of interest to our students. Many languages students will also find our events about careers such as teaching, law, marketing, journalism and advertising of interest.

We work hard to help students identify how the year abroad may help their future career. We also encourage all our students to apply their skills in the workplace by undertaking internships in the summer; the work experience bursary scheme enables students to apply for funding for those career areas where placements are often unpaid. You can even apply for our ‘Global Challenge’ to work overseas on an expenses paid placement during your summer vacation.

Modern Languages alumni profiles

Music

Our Music graduates have a range of general skills that are highly prized by graduate employers. The study of musical performance and musicology develops analytical skills, lateral thinking and your creative imagination. The process of performing itself helps to develop skills in personal organisation, event management, teamwork and entrepreneurship to succeed in a competitive field. You will have the opportunity to take a practical module in Arts Management which has a strong focus on employability. Subjects covered include marketing, project management, fundraising and finance, programming and contracts. Guest lecturers are invited including previous music graduates and professionals from the University Cultural Partnerships.

Music graduates often go on to pursue highly successful careers with employers including: City of London Sinfonia, CBSO, Purcell School, the Royal Academy of Music, local government, schools, colleges and universities. Many have taken management jobs in orchestras, music venues and other arts and performance organisations, with specific job titles including Accompanist Composer, International Events Manager, Lecturer Music Teacher, Orchestra Administrator, Trainee Orchestra Manager, Performance Music Assistant, Piano Teacher and Professional Musician. Some also decide to pursue graduate study in music and other fields.

The University of Birmingham's music graduates are very successful after graduation. 95% of our Music graduates go into work or study within six months of graduation. This is well above the national average.

Famous former Music students of University of Birmingham include:

  • Natasha Marsh, BA Music and Drama, 1996 - highly regarded and well-known operatic soprano
  • Gabriel Prokofiev, BMus Music, 1997 - well-known composer and DJ with works performed at the Proms (Sergei was his grandfather)
  • David Murray, BMus Music, 1975 and 2012 Honorary Graduate - Director of the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales

Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal. This is a unique careers guidance service tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team who can give you expert advice. This includes individual careers advice and events to give you insight into the professions and employers of interest to arts graduates, and access to internships (including some at summer music festivals) and job vacancies.

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you will need to think about engaging in some extra-curricular activities while you're at university to broaden your skills and your network of contacts. This can include the many societies at the Guild of Students and also the many voluntary opportunities offered with local arts organisations. 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.

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 the College's 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.

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 are a unique opportunity to learn fundamental, transferable business and interpersonal skills, through experience of real work in an established cultural institution. Our current partners include Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham REP, Birmingham Royal Ballet, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust and the Library of Birmingham. We have plans to expand the scheme to include our own major cultural assets, such as Winterbourne House, the Lapworth Museum, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts. This scheme will give you professional experience to set you apart in a competitive graduate market.

We also offer voluntary work which complements your studies by helping you gain practical experiences in occupational settings while contributing back to society. This can bring new skills that will be useful throughout your future and can make a positive impact on your learning whilst at university. Volunteering enables you to develop skills such as communication, interpersonal skills, teamwork, self-confidence and self-discipline all of which can be transferred into your studies.

Your Birmingham degree is evidence of your ability to succeed in a demanding academic environment. Employers target Birmingham students for their drive, diversity, communication and problem-solving skills, their team-working abilities and cultural awareness, and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.