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BA Modern Languages and English Literature

Start date
September
Duration
4 Years
UCAS code
7Q6Q
Course Type
Undergraduate, Joint Honours combined
Fees

Annual tuition fees for 2024/25:
£9,250 (UK)
£22,860 (International)
More detail.

An undergraduate BA Modern Languages and English Literature degree at the University of Birmingham prepares you to live and work as an engaged citizen of the world. The programme blends language and culture with immersive learning in the imaginative worlds of writers from a diverse selection of cultures and societies past and present.

Studying a modern language from beginner or advanced level (French, German, Italian, Russian, or Portuguese), alongside English is highly complementary and an exciting way to contextualise your knowledge in each discipline. At Birmingham, undergraduate language is taught through the lens of the target culture's literature, history, politics and society, and through total immersion on the Year Abroad. You can choose from a wide range of exciting optional modules. Please note that not all combinations are available due to timetable restrictions. Find out more about your chosen combination.

By studying Modern Languages as a Joint Honours degree with English Literature, the programme allows you to study the ways in which literary culture has engaged with and shaped society and how it continues to do so today. You will also have the opportunity to take our specialist second-year undergraduate Shakespeare module and the possibility of participating in our residential trip in Stratford-upon-Avon. 

In my two years studying Modern Languages at Birmingham, I’ve chosen modules on culture, history, politics, and linguistics, enabling me to study a diverse range of topics whilst improving my language skills. The range of extra-curricular opportunities on offer has also helped develop my soft skills and employability prospects.

Alex

Why study this course?

Our undergraduate BA Modern Languages and English Literature degree is for you if you want to: 

  • Study differently – with our CLIL (Content Language Integrated Learning) teaching method. CLIL is a blended approach to language learning, based on a fusion of language and culture: study language, grammar and vocabulary in direct relation to topics of real cultural significance in your chosen language.
  • Join the Modern Languages community - enhance your skills with a wide range of exciting extracurricular activities, including cultural trips organised by the Modern Languages Society, our multilingual Linguist Magazine, specialist talks, research seminars and additional free languages classes at Languages for All.
  • Go beyond the printed book - take advantage of the wide-ranging expertise within our academic community and explore the study of art, comics, film, marketing, music, social media, textual production, theatre, TV and video games. 
  • Live and study in a city that values literature as much as you do – explore our exceptional resources, including our Cadbury Research Library, consisting of over 200,000 rare books dating from 1471, as well as the Library of Birmingham, Europe’s largest regional library. Get involved with the numerous on campus writer’s groups, including our very own newspaper, radio and TV stations and delve into the various citywide literature festivals.

Open day talks

Modules

Please note: You will take 120 credits of modules in each year of study. The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2025. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.

 

Joint Honours flexibility

Every degree programme at the University is divided into 120 credits of study for each year of the programme. In the first year of a Joint Honours programme, you will study 60 credits in each subject as you learn the core elements of the disciplines. We recognise that students on Joint Honours programmes might come to favour one subject slightly more than another. To account for this, we have added more flexibility into the second and final years of our programmes. In the second year, you can stick with the 60-60 split between the two subjects or shift to a 80-40 credit weighting, effectively a major/ minor combination. You can either go back to 60-60 in the final year, maintain the same 80-40 split or reverse the major and the minor and go to a 40-80 weighting.

Modern Languages:

During your years of study you will take compulsory language modules depending on your language proficiency (Beginner or post A-Level). You will then choose amongst a wide range of optional modules depending on the number of credits you are taking in the language.

You can find out more about the available modules dependent on your credit weighting for your chosen language via the My Choices website. The modules listed may occasionally be subject to change.

English Literature:

Year 1 

  • Poetry (20 credits)
  • Prose (20 credits)
  • Reading English (10 credits)
  • English in the World (10 credits)

Detailed descriptions of Year 1 English Literature compulsory modules

Year 2

  • 80 credits - Student Research Project (10 credits) and optional modules
  • 60 credits - Student Research Project (10 credits) and optional modules
  • 40 credits - Student Research Project (10 credits) and optional modules

Detailed descriptions of Year 2 English Literature modules

Year 3

The degree programme is four years in length, and you will spend your third year abroad working and/or studying in the country of your target language.

Final Year 

  • 80 credits -  English Literature Dissertation (40 credits); Special Subject
  • 60 credits - English Literature Dissertation (40 credits) and /or Special Subject
  • 40 credits - Special Subject

Detailed descriptions of Final Year English Literature modules

Fees

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2024, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.

Fees for 2024/25 are as follows:

  • UK: £9,250
  • International: £22,860

Eligibility for fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

For further information on tuition fees, living costs and available financial support, please see our pages on undergraduate fees and funding.


Tuition fees when studying abroad

For those spending a whole academic year abroad (where available):

  • Students who are classed as UK for fees purposes are required to pay 15% of their normal annual tuition fee
  • Students who are classed as International for fee purposes are required to pay 50% of their normal annual tuition fee

For those studying abroad for just one semester (where available), normal annual tuition fees apply.

Note - Study abroad opportunities vary between courses; please see the course description for details of study abroad options offered.

How To Apply

When completing your UCAS form, please indicate which modern language and at what level and which English pathway (‘Literature’ or ‘Language’) you wish to study under the further details section of the choices section of the application form using the following codes.

Standard offer

International Requirements



Number of A levels required:
3
Typical offer:
AAB
Required subjects and grades:
A level grade B is required for the advanced language you wish to study. It is also possible to study two beginner (including post-GCSE) languages without taking an advanced language, as long as one of your beginner languages is French or Spanish.

Please see our guidelines for prohibited combinations before you make your application.

For the English Literature pathway, A level English Literature or English Language and Literature is required.

For the English Language pathway, A level in English Language, English Literature, English Language and Literature or a Modern Foreign Language is preferred. We also welcome applications from candidates who can demonstrate an interest in and an aptitude for the study of language, so other combinations of complementary Humanities and Social Science subjects will be considered. Please contact us to discuss. 

IB Diploma:
6,5,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall. You also require a Higher Level or equivalent in each modern language that you plan to study, plus HL 6 in English Language & Literature / English Literature.

BTEC qualifications:

  • BTEC Extended Diploma: DDM, plus AB at A-level in the required subject/s mentioned above.
  • BTEC Diploma: DD, plus AB at A-level in the required subject/s mentioned above.
  • BTEC Subsidiary Diploma: D, plus AB at A-level in the required A-level subject/s mentioned above.

Independent language diplomas:

If you would like to study advanced French, Spanish, German, Italian or Russian as part of your programme but are not currently studying the required language at A level, we are happy to consider applications from those offering an independent language diploma at B2 level as demonstration of advanced language skills.

The independent language diplomas we would consider are as follows; DELF-B2 (French), DELE-B2 (Spanish), Goethe-Zertifikat-B2 (German), DILI-B2 (Italian) and TRKI 2nd Certificate (Russian). These diplomas are assessed against the criteria set by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, and can be studied for in your own time or through a language centre.  These diplomas will be considered when taken in addition to three A levels or equivalent qualifications as outlined above.

Other qualifications are considered - learn more about entry requirements.

A full breakdown of which Modern Languages levels and weightings are available in combination with English. Please note: you cannot study English Language with German due to timetabling reasons.

BTEC Extended Diploma, Diploma and Subsidiary Diploma are all considered on a case by case basis.

Please be aware that you will need to meet the subject specific requirements for both subject areas within the degree programme - please check their Single Honours coursefinder entries for more information. If you need further guidance please contact us.

Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements.

Alternative offers through our Pathways to Birmingham programmes and our Contextual Offer scheme

Students who are eligible and successfully complete a Pathways to Birmingham programme will receive special consideration from admissions tutors and an alternative offer (typically two grades below the standard offer). In addition, our Contextual Offer Scheme recognises the potential of students whose personal circumstances may have restricted achievement in school or college. If you are eligible to benefit from the contextual offer scheme, you will receive an offer which is one grade lower than the standard offer.

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 one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

In linguistics, we’re all about looking at what can different aspects of the world around us tell us. How can we define Spanish? Historically, where does Spanish come from? Geographically, where is Spanish spoken? Linguistically, what does it mean to speak Spanish?

Dr Alice Corr

Support

You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to higher education when you start at Birmingham. 

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 advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.

Wellbeing Officers –You will also have access to dedicated wellbeing officers who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or to talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond if you need it.

Our Academic Skills Centre helps you to 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.

The Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) provides guidance on writing essays and dissertations if you need it. You can receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects too.

Our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They offer research opportunities, study skills support, and help you prepare for your post-university career. They also organise social events, including trips.

Teaching staff

Students at the University of Birmingham are taught by a mixture of professors, senior lecturers, lecturers and doctoral researchers, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience. Many of our teaching staff have published important works about their areas of expertise, whilst others have taught at international institutions and can offer unique perspectives of their subjects.

You can find out more about the members of staff (including their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest) in their academic profiles linked below.

Language laboratory sessions allow you to practise your listening and spoken skills and are an essential part of all our language programmes.

Contact Hours

All Birmingham degrees are set within a credit framework designed to measure your academic achievements. We expect all students to accumulate 120 credits in each full year of study which is equivalent to 40 hours of learning a week. Learning is considered to include contact learning (lectures and seminars), private study, revision and assessment.

For this programme, those 40 hours are estimated to be broken down and split into lectures, seminars and other guided teaching opportunities and independent study. This is a general rule across the entire academic year and may change week by week. 

Year 1: 20% Lectures, Seminars or similar, 80% Independent study
Year 2: 15% Lectures, Seminars or similar, 85% Independent study
Year 3: 100% Time on placement
Year 4: 10% Lectures, Seminars or similar, 90% Independent study

Assessment Methods

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 exams

Feedback - you will receive feedback on each assessment within three 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.

The principal means of assessment for English are coursework essays and written exams.

English and Modern Languages graduates have a range of highly-valued skills:

  • Understanding and appreciation of other cultures
  • Communication skills in English and another language 
  • Critical thinking skills
  • The ability to research, analyse and interpret complex information
  • Independence and experience of living abroad
  • Leadership and teamwork
  • Forming concise and articulate arguments
  • Time management
  • Workload prioritisation

Our English and Modern Languages graduates are highly employable and go into a wide range of careers, both in this country and abroad. They enter the wide range of careers similar to other arts and humanities graduates but with much greater scope in international settings.

Example employers:

  • Hodder & Stoughton Publishers
  • Birmingham Repertory Theatre
  • Brooklyn Museum
  • Daily Mail
  • ITV
  • Macmillan Cancer Support
  • Amazon.fr
  • Capita
  • Harper Collins
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Aura Financial
  • British Airways
  • Deloitte
  • Pricewaterhouse Coopers
  • The British Council
  • French Connection
  • NATO
  • BP
  • Local and central government

Example roles:

  • Social Media & Website Officer
  • Cultural Intern
  • PR Client Executive
  • Research Assistant
  • International Sales & Digital Executive
  • Editorial Quality Executive
  • Events Membership Co-ordinator
  • Editorial Project Leader
  • International Sales Coordinator
  • Investigation Specialist
  • Operations Analyst
  • Marketing Officer
  • Account Executive

Examples of further study include:

  • NCTJ in Multimedia Journalism
  • MA Medieval & Renaissance Literary Studies
  • MA Writing for Performance and Publication
  • MA Creative Writing
  • PgDip Education
  • MA Social Work
  • PGCE (various)
  • Graduate Diploma in Law
  • MA in French/German/Italian/Hispanic studies
  • MA Translation Studies

You will benefit from organised events in both departments whereby our graduates return to campus to talk to current students about their careers, how to find opportunities and the variety of roles available. Recent speakers include authors, writers and graduates that hold positions at companies such as the BBC, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Guardian, Network Rail, Capital One, the National Trust.

Developing your career

The University of Birmingham is the top choice for the UK's major employers searching for graduate recruits, according to The Graduate Market 2024 report. Our Careers Network are here to offer you tailored, expert advice on your career plans and support you with finding and applying for jobs, internships and further study. There are hundreds of events to help you meet potential employers and learn more about the breadth of opportunities and career sectors available to you.

Support will be offered to you covering the whole job application process, including CVs, LinkedIn, application forms, interviews and assessment centres.  You can also email our experienced Careers Advisors and College Teams to review your applications or answer any careers related question, alongside our on campus and online 1:1 appointments.

We have a number of exclusive Internship Programmes such as our Cultural Internship, which will give you paid, professional experience to set you apart in the graduate market. We also offer work experience bursaries, which allow you to apply for funding to support you during any unpaid internships. 

First years can take part in The Birmingham Project, with themes including celebrating arts and culture and shaping a global society. There’s also a successful Mentoring Programme, where you can gain access to experienced Mentors who can empower, inspire and inform you about their experiences.  As a University of Birmingham student you will also be given access to LinkedIn Learning giving free access to real world training courses to kick-start your careers.

If you want to earn money WorkLink advertises convenient part-time job opportunities on campus to fit round your studies.  

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you may want to engage in extra-curricular activities to broaden your skills and your network of contacts. Our employer-endorsed, award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme.

There are more than 500 student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students (our Students’ Union) so you’re bound to find activities that you want to be involved in whilst meeting friends who share your interests.