BA Modern Languages and English

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

We charge an annual tuition fee.
Fees for 2019/20:
£9,250 (Home/EU)
£17,640 (Overseas)
More detail.

Birmingham’s fusion of language and culture places employability at its heart, preparing you to live and work as an engaged citizen of the world.

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

The English Literature pathway allows you to investigate the ways in which literary culture has engaged with and shaped society and how it continues to do so today. You will benefit from unparalleled resources, such as the study of Shakespeare through our Shakespeare Institute and exciting new collaboration with the RSC. The English Language pathway will develop your understanding of the linguistic, social and political issues surrounding language.

The course understands how being digitally aware is essential for the workplace in today’s society. They do this by moving away from essays and exams, instead creating assessments such as writing blog posts, creating comic strips or creating a radio interview – all in different languages.

Zara

Why Study this Course?

  •  Exceptional connections to Shakespeare - We have a unique provision for the study of Shakespeare due to our Shakespeare Institute and our collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company. The Shakespeare Institute, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, is a world-leading centre for international Shakespeare scholarship. You will have the opportunity to attend RSC productions and events, be able to access creative and teaching spaces at the iconic studio, The Other Place, as well as the expertise of RSC artists and practitioners.
  • Innovative language study - The target-language core module pioneers a blended approach to your linguistic development, as your cultural knowledge is developed through the medium of your target language. In addition to linguistic and cultural fluency, the department also offers optional vocational modules in areas such as translation and business. We pride ourselves on competitive contact hours of 6 hours per week for advanced language study and 8 hours per week for beginner language study. 
  • Outstanding employability development - Over 93% of our students enter work or further study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2017). By choosing Modern Languages, you are entering an excellent field with almost limitless opportunities and benefits. In addition, the Department’s ‘Modern Languages Professionals Week’ in the first year features workshops and talks from former students who are using their languages for a 21st century global workplace in business, the not-for-profit sector, the arts, translation and interpreting, and education.
  • Focusing on the latest language-learning technology - Our state-of-the-art Interpreting Suite, which opened in Spring 2018, boasts technology similar to those used in the United Nations.
  • Excellent world-leading academic experience – English Language and Literature at the University of Birmingham is ranked in the Top 35 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2019, whilst Modern Languages is ranked in the Top 100.

Open day talks

Five full videos on YouTube of recent open day talks relevant to this course:

Modules

Please note: 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 2019. 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.

You can see more information about the different modules and options on the links below. Within the English side of your programme you can follow either a Literature or a Language pathway. 

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:

First year

English Language : Your first year modules will introduce you to many different aspects of language and its use. You will take three compulsory modules: 'English Language: Sounds, Structures, and Words', 'Investigating Language', and 'Theories of Language'. These modules combine to create an excellent foundation for your study and research in subsequent years.

English Literature: Your first-year modules in Joint Honours English will introduce you to the key genres of English Literature across a wide historical and international span, and train you in new ways of thinking about literature. By studying compulsory modules on 'Poetry', 'Prose' and 'Plays and Performance', you will develop the close reading skills needed to analyse all kinds of texts, from medieval plays and early modern poetry to contemporary drama. You will also develop new understanding of how the historical and cultural contexts in which literature is produced and read can shape its meaning.

Second year

English Language : In your second year you will take two compulsory modules: 'Research Skills in English Language' if taking 60 credits and 'English Grammar' if taking 80 credits, as well as a range of optional modules.

English Literature : The second year of your degree is an excellent opportunity to build on the new interests and passions that you discovered in your first-year modules. You can choose between modules in 'Histories of Literature' to deepen your knowledge and understanding of all literary periods from medieval to the present day. If you take 80 credits in English you will take the Shakespeare module - 'Shakespeare: Elizabethan and Jacobean' - as a compulsory module.

Third year

The degree programme is four years in length, and you will spend your third year abroad.

Final year

English Language : Your final year modules are mainly optional and you can choose from a wide range of modules. If you will take 80 credits in English, you will complete either a Dissertation or Language Investigation, the culmination of your development as an undergraduate researcher.

English Literature : Depending on whether you elect to take 80, 60 or 40 credits in English Literature, you will take a number of the Special Subject modules plus either a 12,000-word Dissertation or a 6,000-word Extended Essay on a subject of your choice, for which you will be supervised by an expert in the field.

 

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.

Fees

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2019, 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 2019/20 are as follows:

  • Home / EU: £9,250
  • Overseas: £17,640

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas 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 home/EU for fees purposes are required to pay 15% of their normal annual tuition fee
  • Students who are classed as overseas 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.

Number of A levels required:
3
Typical offer:
AAB
Required subjects and grades:
A level grade B or equivalent in your chosen Modern Language is required if you plan to take it at Advanced level.

You will need to obtain a B or above at A level in the language that you are going to study. 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 grade A 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:
6,6,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall.

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.

Other qualifications are considered - learn more about entry requirements.

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.

Please see here for 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.

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

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:

  • lectures
  • small group tutorials
  • independent study
  • and peer group learning, such as delivering presentations with your classmates

Support

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 advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.
  • Wellbeing officers - We have 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 talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond.
  • 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.

During your first year it is important that you have a smooth transition into university. You will be able to talk to your tutors about this and discuss if there are particular areas where you need support.

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

On the Modern Languages side of your degree, depending on the modules you select, each week you will have between 7 and 10 hours of lectures and classes, with lecturers on hand to answer additional questions outside this timeframe. These figures assume that you are taking 60 credits on the language side of your degree. For JH programmes that allow 40 or 80 credits on the language side each year, the contact hours will vary accordingly.

On the English side of your degree, you can expect about 6 contact hours per week on both the Literature and Language pathways.

For the Literature pathway, classes will be made up lectures and seminars and the independent research you will conduct in your final year will be supported by 1 to 1 supervision meetings with a lecturer.

For the Language pathway, this will be made up of a combination of workshops, lectures and seminars. In your second and final years this will also include 1 to 1 supervision meetings with a lecturer who will support you as you conduct independent research.

Outside of this timeframe, lecturers will be on hand during office hours to answer questions and the Academic Writing Advisory Service and the Careers Network run workshops throughout the academic year.

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 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.

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

Year one

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

For a detailed breakdown of the contact hours associated with each module available on this programme, please visit:  https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/registry/policy/programmemodule/handbook/index.aspx 

 

Year two

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

For a detailed breakdown of the contact hours associated with each module available on this programme, please visit:  https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/registry/policy/programmemodule/handbook/index.aspx 

 

Year three

The degree programme is four years in length, and you will spend your third year abroad.

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

For a detailed breakdown of the contact hours associated with each module available on this programme, please visit:  https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/registry/policy/programmemodule/handbook/index.aspx 

 

Year four

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

For a detailed breakdown of the contact hours associated with each module available on this programme, please visit:  https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/registry/policy/programmemodule/handbook/index.aspx 

 

Over 90% of our Modern Languages and our English graduates enter work or further study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2016). 

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 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

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.

Extra-curricular activities

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.