The key to understanding another society is mastering its language.
From this starting point, you can examine a country's history, literature and culture, and by comparison you can learn more about our own society. The study of languages is an exciting chance to develop a wide range of skills that will equip you for a huge range of careers, both in this country and abroad.
Our BA Modern Languages programme is one of the broadest in the UK. You will choose to study one, two or even three languages and develop these to a high level (including French, German, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Hispanic Studies - which includes Spanish, Portuguese and others). Complement your language study with modules from a diverse selection of areas, such as literature, history, film, politics, society, translation and business. Develop advanced language skills and a deep cultural understanding through true immersion on your Year Abroad.
“I chose my degree programme because I have always loved learning French and I was determined to continue with it in higher education. I wanted to pick up a secondary language too, so I went for Spanish as I find their culture and history really interesting. I chose to study at Birmingham because I was really impressed by the course structure and content. Also, I fell in love with the campus as soon as I saw it – it’s so green!”
Our degrees are 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.
The courses are also very flexible, allowing you to specialise as you progress, culminating in a final-year dissertation that allows you to carry out in-depth research into a topic of your choice.
The BA Modern Languages programme involves the study of one, two or three modern languages via one of our pathways.
Choose from the following (each option is hyperlinked to further details, such as level availability and each pathway’s languages):
The small print.
The degree programme is four years in length, and you will spend your third year abroad studying, teaching or working before returning to Birmingham for your final year. Depending upon your chosen language(s), you may also have the opportunity to participate in a subsidised one-week escorted European Cultural Tour to the country of your target language, or a subsidised trip to Petrozavodsk in western Russia for an intensive four-week language programme for beginners in Russian.
Other ways to study Modern Languages
You can study Modern Languages in a wide range of other degree programmes and in combination with many other subjects - see the Modern Languages course list for all available courses.
- Outstanding staff in a strong department: Our staff produce high quality research which directly influences their teaching. In 2014, 98% of students agreed that staff are good at explaining things and 97% agreed that staff are enthusiastic about what they teach. Great teaching helps our students develop to their full academic potential – this year 82% of our BA Modern Languages graduated with first or upper-second class degrees.
- Superb employability rates: Amongst our students who graduated in July 2013, 87% were in work or further study 6 months after graduation. 80% of those were in professional or managerial roles. Read more in our "employability" section.
- Broad curriculum: You will benefit from an exceptionally broad and flexible curriculum. Choose up to three languages and a variety of modules covering history, politics, culture, society, business and translation.
- Travel opportunities: All our language degrees involve time abroad – whether that is on the European Cultural Tours or Russian study trip in first year, or your Year Abroad, when you can study, teach or work in another country.
- Active student societies: 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.
- An exciting discipline: By choosing Modern Languages, you are entering an excellent field with almost limitless opportunities and benefits.
Hear from our students
Open day talk
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.
Explore our My Choices app to discover more about our modules. You will be able to build your own prospectus based on the languages and combinations that you wish to study.
- Number of A levels required:
- Typical offer:
- Required subjects and grades:
- A level (or equivalent) in at least one modern language
- General Studies:
International baccalaureate update
Please note that we have reviewed our policy on the IB Diploma for 2016 entry and our offers will now focus on performance in Higher Level subjects. For more information and details please read our 2016 IB Diploma requirements.
Important information: please see “how to apply section” for the language / pathway codes to use in your UCAS application
Alternative modern language qualifications are considered.
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.
Important information: When completing your UCAS application, please indicate your proposed language(s) / pathway selections under ‘Further details’ in the ‘choices’ section of the application by using the following codes, separated by a space.
Apply through UCAS at www.ucas.com.
Learn more about applying.
Joint Honours combinations
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:
- small group tutorials
- independent study
- and peer group learning, such as delivering presentations with your classmates
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.
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.
Modern Languages graduates have a range of skills that are valued by employers:
- Strong communication skills in English and one or more other languages;
- A deep understanding and appreciation 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;
Our Modern Languages graduates are highly employable and go into a wide range of careers, both in this country and abroad. In the most recent survey, 87% of our graduates progressed to further work or study. 85% of these were in professional or managerial jobs.
- Eurocity Group
- Harper Collins
- Deutsche Bank
- Royal Bank of Scotland
- IQD Frequency Products
- Aura Financial
- JC Decaux
- Town Hall Symphony Hall Birmingham
- British Airways
- Pricewaterhouse Coopers
- The British Council
- French Connection
- Local and central government
Graduate roles include:
- Editorial Project Leader
- English Teacher
- International Sales Coordinator
- Investigation Specialist
- Operations Analyst
- Marketing Officer
- Account Executive
- Account Planner
Examples of further study include:
- PgDip Education
- MA Social Work
- PGCE Modern Foreign Language
- PGCE Primary
- Graduate Diploma in Law
- MA Hispanic Studies
- MA Translation Studies
- MSc Strategy and International Business
- PGCE Primary languages specialism
Modern Languages graduates enter the wide range of careers similar to other arts and humanities graduates but with much greater scope in international settings.
You will benefit from organised events in the Department whereby our graduates return to campus to talk to current students about their careers, how to find opportunities and the variety of roles available to linguists.
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.
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.
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.