You can study Portuguese Language as a MOMD (20-credit Module outside the main discipline), as a 20-credit Option within the Department of Hispanic Studies, or as a 40-credit component of the BA Modern Languages, including the BA Modern Languages with European Studies and the BA Modern Languages with Film Studies.Portuguese (20 credit pathway) is also available for students who are registered for the BSc Economics with Language.

First year

You join our beginners’ course (20 credits as a Departmental Option, 40 credits as part of the BA Modern Languages or as Minor) where students are taught in small, friendly groups and we'll have you speaking (simple) Portuguese from day one of the course. We know how to set attainable goals, and courses are structured in manageable steps. 

Regular feedback from your tutors will keep you up-to-date on your progress and development.We believe that communicative competence is important, and so you will be taught by a native-speaker of Portuguese. We want our students to be familiar with more than one variety of Portuguese, so Brazilian Portuguese is factored into the syllabus. We also think that audio-visual resources are a vital teaching aid, and therefore recommend that students make extensive use of video and satellite material as well as the Internet, all of which are easily accessible on campus.

By the end of your first year, you'll be able to read and translate short texts and newspaper articles, write letters and compositions, and converse in Portuguese. Those students taking the 40 credit pathway are expected to reach a higher standard, and are also exposed to more cultural content in their classes.

Second year

Students who didn’t take Portuguese as a Departmental Option in the first year have the opportunity to take the beginners course in their second year.Those who did take study Portuguese in their first year now have the opportunity to move on to the next stage and consolidate their learning experience. This will involve revising grammatical structures, broadening your vocabulary, writing compositions and practising your listening and conversational skills. 

Students taking Portuguese Language as a Departmental Option will have three hours a week, while those taking the 40 credit pathway will be introduced to key works from Portugal and Brazil.In the Portuguese module, we read or view novels, plays and films that deal with recurrent themes such as the journey from childhood into adulthood, women’s role in patriarchal society, the opposition between town and country. The Brazilian course focuses on key issues that are particularly acute in the North East – the human cost of poverty and drought, the syncretism of African religions and Christianity, and how these are treated on stage and screen. 

For students whose interest lies mainly with the Iberian Peninsula, one of these options may be replaced by a module on early Galician-Portuguese lyric poetry.And of course, we’ll be getting you ready for the Year Abroad, if you have chosen to spend the whole or part of your third year in a Portuguese-speaking country. 

Year Abroad

We have exchange agreements with the Universities of Lisbon and Coimbra in Portugal, and the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Florianópolis, in Brazil.Our students return to Birmingham speaking fluent Portuguese, are passionate and knowledgeable about the culture and the culture of the country they have visited, and confident about their ability to work in the area of Portuguese or Brazilian Studies.

Final year

Students who have taken one year of Portuguese proceed tothe Final Year Intermediate level where they build on previous knowledge andskills. Those who have already passed first and second year Portuguese go intothe Advanced Level.

By the end of the Final Year, all of our students willhave reached a level of competence that permits them to express themselves correctlyand idiomatically.. Because we consider it important that our students shouldleave university with transferable skills, we offer an advanced translationworkshop that trains you how to work between English and Portuguese. Oralskills are especially valued, so we prepare students to give a presentation(Powerpoint) in Portuguese, on a topic related to the world of advertising.(Students applying for jobs with big companies have reported that this exercisehas been invaluable as a training exercise, boosting their confidence in theirpresentation skills). Above all, we want you to understand how Portuguese worksand enjoying using it.

Studentstaking the 40 credit pathway will take two Option Courses. One of these, on ContemporaryPortuguese Fiction chronicles values and attitudes held before and afterthe Revolution of 1974. Students will look at aspect of Portugal under Salazar, colonialismand postcolonialism, detective fiction as a vehicle for social criticism, andexperimental women’s writing. The other will focus on Brazilian Literature, flagging up key issues in Brazilian Societyas represented in the literature of that country, namely race, gender andsexuality, as presented by male and female writers. At the same time, studentswill engage with questions of intertextuality and the blurring of boundariesbetween high and “popular” culture, as exemplified by detective fiction.

These Final Year 10-credit Optional Coursesare also open to students of Hispanic Studies, whether they have studied the   Portuguese Language or not.

Year 4 students may in certain circumstancesdo a 20 credit Dissertation Project, on a Lusophone topic.

Year 4 students who take the EuropeanStudies Translation Theory and Practice module may in certain circumstances selectthe English-Portuguese pair.