BA Modern Languages and Film Studies

Combining Modern Languages with Film Studies gives you the choice of three separate pathways (see below) and allows you to study one or two modern languages and to as you develop a detailed knowledge of European and North American film. The languages available are French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian. 

You’ll be learning at one of the biggest, most prestigious centres for the study of modern languages in the UK, with teaching from experts in their field. It’s an exciting chance to develop skills that will equip you for a huge range of careers, both in this country and abroad. The wide range of posts that recent graduates have secured includes roles in journalism, law, publishing and teaching at every level.

Course fact file

UCAS code: RP83

Duration: 4 years

Places Available: 5

Applications in 2011: 4

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

Start date: September


This programme allows you to study one or two modern languages and to develop a detailed knowledge of European and North American film. The languages available are French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian.

The programme is housed within the Department of Modern Languages, which brings together the language subjects of French, German, Hispanic Studies, Italian and Russian at Birmingham.

In the Film Studies element of your degree, you will learn to analyse films, to study their production and reception in a range of social, political and economic contexts, and to apply theories of film analysis. We offer a very broad range of modules looking at European and north American film.

The Film Studies element of the programme is delivered by specialists teaching within the language departments and by other specialists on film in the Department of American and Canadian Studies and the Department of Music.

On this programme you either take half (60 credits) of film studies and one language, with a Year Abroad in Year 3, or one third (40 credits) of film studies and one or two languages (80 credits or 40 credits each). You may alter the balance of your film and language study between the first and second or second and final year, though may not take up a second language after Year 1.

The languages of which you can study 60 credits alongside film are French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish.

The languages of which you can study 80 credits alongside film are French, German and Spanish. 40 credits of Italian, Portuguese, Russian, French, German and Spanish may be taken as one of two languages alongside film.*

*it is not possible to combine beginners Spanish with advanced Russian or Italian with Portuguese.

First Year

You will study one or two modern languages alongside Film Studies. Film Studies modules in the first year offer an introduction to the subject and the chance to study some landmark films. The precise structure of your programme will depend on whether you are studying one or two languages.

Second year

You will continue your study of one or two languages at advanced level. If you took two languages in the first year, you can continue to study two modern languages equally or, if you want to specialise, there is the option of specialising in one language. You will also study European national cinemas, and you will be able to choose from a range of modules focusing on North American film, and other topics within European film.

Modern Languages second year modules [pdf, 756KB]

Year abroad

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

Fourth year

In the fourth year you can continue to study two languages or elect to specialise in one. You will continue to study at least one language module in your chosen language(s) and select specialist options in Film Studies and the politics, literature, culture and history of the language(s) studied.

Teaching and assessment

We will use a variety of methods to help you improve your practical language skills, including small group conversation classes with native speakers, language labs, grammar workshops, language lectures and computer-based assessments. Non-language modules (including Film Studies) will be taught through a combination of lectures and seminars. Regular film screenings will also be offered. Assessment will generally be via a mixture of essays submitted throughout the year, continuous language assessment and end-of-year examinations.

Career opportunities

During the course you will have the opportunity to acquire linguistic expertise and inter-cultural skills. The course aims to help you develop a range of highly prized transferable skills, including the ability to analyse complex and demanding material, to work independently and to communicate your findings effectively in spoken and written form. The enhanced sensitivity to linguistic and visual communication that the programme aims to develop is highly valued within the media and communications industries.

Modern Languages Graduates 2013

Why study this course

Open day talk

Fees and funding

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

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required: 3

Typical offer: ABB

Required subjects and grades: Those studying French will need an A level or equivalent. for German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese or Russian you need an A level in the chosen language for the post-A level course. Applicants planning to take ab initio German, Italian, Spanish or Russian need at least a grade B GCSE in a language

General Studies: accepted

Additional information:

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 32 points including an appropriate modern language at HL

Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements

Please note that where two languages are studied it is not possible to combine Spanish with Advanced Russian, nor Italian with Portuguese. Where two languages are studied, you must have an A level or equivalent in one of these languages. Any of the languages apart from French can be studied ab initio, but German and Spanish can only be studied ab initio as part of Pathways 1 and 2. Portuguese is only available in Pathway 1.

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 Film Studies under further details within the choices section of the application form.

Apply through UCAS at

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).


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 Language learning in the classroomallow you to practise your listening and spoken skills and are an essential part of all our language programmes.

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. 

Related research


[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.

90% 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 80% 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

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 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.