BA Modern Languages and History

Start date
September
Duration
4 Years
UCAS code
R9V1
Course Type
Undergraduate, Joint Honours combined
Fees

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

A BA Modern Languages and History degree blends language and culture, preparing you to live and work as an engaged citizen of the world.

The undergraduate study of either FrenchGerman, or Spanish from beginner or advanced level alongside History is highly complementary and an exciting way to contextualise your knowledge in each discipline. Researching primary sources is a key feature of any undergraduate History degree course, and studying a language dramatically increases the range of primary sources that you will be able to access. At the University of 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

International undergraduate scholarships available in the College of Arts and Law

We are proud to offer 10 scholarships to international students in the form of £3,000 tuition fee awards for year one entry only.

Learn more about our scholarships and apply

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?

BA Modern Languages and History 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.
  • Experience a history degree applicable to today’s society - our modules explore how the past informs the present and provides a global historical understanding from the Middle Ages to this century, all through a modern lens. 
  • Tailor your own undergraduate degree - pursue your passions throughout your degree with a wide range of specialist optional modules that span a huge chronological range and most of the globe. 
  • Enjoy a supportive environment and a rewarding student experience - You will receive one-to-one support on coursework and feedback. You will also join two vibrant communities and have access to Modern Languages and History society events, including cultural trips, podcasts, quizzes and celebrations.

Open day talks

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

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 2024. 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 French, German, or Spanish 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.

History:

Year 1

Compulsory Modules

  • Practising History A and B: Skills in History (10 credits)
  • Semester 1: Discovering the Middle Ages OR The Making of the Modern World 1500 - 1800
  • Semester 2: The Making of the Contemporary World: Modern History OR The History of Africa and its Diaspora

Detailed descriptions of first year History modules

Year 2

As a Joint Honours student you have the flexibility to tailor your degree in terms of weightings across your two subjects as well as choosing between a wide range of optional courses. There is just one core module that all students take, ‘Topics in History’ - which includes a range of particular topics you can choose from. All students must also choose one of the optional modules within the Department of History in the Autumn term.

  • Students taking 80 credits in History will choose: an autumn option and Topics in History, plus 40 further credits of optional modules chosen from 'History in Theory and Practice', a 'Sources in History' module, or a spring option. You can also choose, if you wish, a Future or Professional Skills module which is taken in the Autumn term.
  • Students taking 60 credits in History will choose: an autumn option and Topics in History, plus 20 further credits of optional modules chosen from 'History in Theory and Practice', a 'Sources in History' module, or a spring option. You can also choose, if you wish, a Future or Professional Skills module which is taken in the Autumn term.
  • Students taking 40 credits in History will choose: an autumn option and Topics in History.

List of second year History modules

Year 3

The third year is normally spent studying and/or working in the country of your target language.

Year abroad

Final Year

Compulsory Modules

  • Independent Study  OR History Dissertation (40 credits)

You will make up your remaining History credits with optional modules

List of final year optional History 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

Standard offer

International Requirements



Number of A levels required:
3
Typical offer:
AAB
Required subjects and grades:
A level humanities subjects. 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.

A Level History, Medieval History or Ancient History is preferred but we welcome applications from candidates who can demonstrate an interest in and an aptitude for the study of history and modern languages. Acceptable subjects include: Ancient History, Anthropology, Archaeology, Business Studies, Classical Civilisation, Drama and Theatre Studies, Economics, English Language, English Language and Literature, English Literature, Environmental Studies, Geography, Government and Politics, History, History of Art, Law, Medieval History, Modern or Classical Languages, Music, Philosophy, Psychology, Religious Studies, and Sociology. If you are not studying one or more of the above then please contact us to discuss your application.

If you are not taking A level History then we will require GCSE History grade 7 and at least one humanities subject at A level or equivalent.

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.  

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.

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

This programme provides both academic excellence and vocational development; a highly sought-after balance by employers in today's professional, intellectual and creative industries. 

During your degree, you will acquire skills and knowledge that are highly prized by employers in many sectors, including:

  • Strong communication skills in English and your target language
  • An appreciation of the past and how this impacts on the present
  • A deep understanding 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

Example employers:

  • Amazon.fr
  • Capita
  • Eurocity Group
  • Harper Collins
  • Deloitte
  • Birmingham Children’s Hospital
  • JP Morgan
  • Ministry of Justice
  • National Trust
  • Teach First
  • Thames Water
  • Deutsche Bank 
  • Weightmans LLP 

Example roles:

  • Teacher
  • Major Gifts Officer
  • Management trainee
  • PR and Media Relations Intern
  • Researcher
  • Ship Broker
  • Strategy Analyst
  • Account Administrator
  • Editorial Project Leader
  • International Sales coordinator
  • Investigation Specialist
  • Sales Executive
  • Account Executive
  • Graduate Trainee
  • Consultant
  • Marketing Officer
  • Operations Analyst

Examples of further study include:

  • Graduate Diploma in Law
  • MA Antiquity
  • MA Magazine Journalism
  • MA Medieval Studies
  • MRes Modern History
  • MSc Economic History
  • PGCE (various)
  • MA Social Work
  • MA Translation  Studies

You will benefit from events in both departments whereby graduates return to campus to talk to current students about their careers, how to find opportunities and the variety of roles available to both linguists and historians. Recent speakers have held high-profile roles at the BBC and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. 

Developing your career

The University of Birmingham is the 3rd most targeted university by the country’s top graduate employers according to The Graduate Market 2023 report [PDF - 1.4MB]. 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 Internships, 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.

Culture and collections

Schools, institutes and departments

Services and facilities