Language skills 

We now offer all of our campus based postgraduate students the opportunity to develop their language skills, either for personal development or to support their research, via our Graduate Languages and Languages for All courses. 

Graduate Languages: Reading Languages for Researchers

This is a unique suite of one-year Graduate Language modules which are tailored to your needs as a postgraduate.

They are available for all our campus based PhD students and most of our campus based Masters students. No other UK university offers you the ability to learn intensive graduate academic language skills in a year so that you will be able to read texts in French, German, Russian, Italian and Spanish.

The CAL Graduate Language modules offer you the opportunity to acquire a good reading knowledge of Russian, French, German, Italian and Spanish in order to help you pursue your research at Masters or PhD level. The aim is to ensure that you gain the ability to read academic texts representative of the research literature in your area of specialism, with the aid of a dictionary.

If you are a Masters student, check with your course convenor to see if these modules are offered on your course. If you are a PhD student, you can take the modules while you undertake your research, gaining extra skills while at Birmingham, and supporting the development of your research. They are free for PhD students at the University of Birmingham.


  • LM Reading Russian for Researchers.
  • LM Reading French for Researchers.
  • LM Reading German for Researchers.
  • LM Reading Italian for Researchers.
  • LM Reading Spanish for Researchers.

Please contact Stella Hart for more information on the above modules.

Further information

For more information about a particular module, please contact the module tutor listed above.


Masters students who have the option to take a language module as part of their programme will register on the relevant module at the beginning of the academic year.

PhD students should contact Stella Hart by emailing or calling +44 (0)121 414 7411.

Delivery and assessment

Each module is taught in two halves, A and B, over one hour per week. You will be taught by a mixture of tutor-led and workshop sessions, typically alternating between the two. Tutor-led sessions give instruction on the grammatical and lexical features of the language, based on a progressive reading of the prescribed coursebook. In the workshop sessions, you will do exercises, including translation of texts into English, under the guidance of the tutor. 

If you are taking the module for credit, you will be assessed by a one-hour reading task.


Languages for All

These open-access courses are available to all postgraduate taught and research students who would like to learn a language on an extra-curricular basis. The courses focus on developing practical language skills and are ideal for personal development. They cater for all levels from beginner (no prior knowledge) right through to advanced (A-level/degree level knowledge).

A limited number of free places are available for postgraduate students in the College of Arts and Law. If you wish to guarantee a place on your preferred course, you can choose to complete paid enrolment at a cost of £175 (a discounted rate for University of Birmingham students).

Languages available

You can study Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese or Spanish.
The languages are offered across a variety of levels:
Level 1: Beginner 
Level 2: Post beginner*
Level 3: GCSE level but needs practice
Level 4: GCSE level Grade A/B
Level 5: AS level or old A level
Level 6: A level
Level 7: Recent A level (or equivalent) and Degree level

It is important that you identify the correct level to match your ability. For further advice, visit the ‘What level am I?’ page on the Languages for All website.

* Students should have completed a beginners’ course previously or had at least 10 weeks’ teaching in their chosen language


The courses last for twenty weeks, ten weeks in semester 1 and ten weeks in semester 2, with two hours of teaching and learning per week. The courses are delivered through small group teaching, with a maximum of 16 students per class. 

The courses do not include any formal tests. Your tutor may run some informal tests in class to monitor your progress, but they will not be taken into account as formal evaluation.

Further information

For more information, visit the Languages for All website


New students joining the University will be eligible to apply in Welcome Week. For more information, see

However, please note that places are limited, especially on popular Level 1 language courses, and we are unable to guarantee all applicants a place. Where courses are oversubscribed, the places available will be allocated to applications on a random basis.