BA Modern Languages and History of Art

Start date
September
Duration
4 Years
UCAS code
5QV1
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.

The study of one or two Modern Languages (French, Italian, Russian, Spanish and/or Portuguese) alongside History of Art is highly complementary and an exciting opportunity to contextualise your knowledge in each discipline. Your linguistic fluency is strengthened with a simultaneous understanding and appreciation of your target culture's literature, history, politics and society, and one language can be learnt from scratch. Travel opportunities such as the Year Abroad and the History of Art European study trip will enrich your skillset as both a linguist and art historian. 

You will have access to original works, a dedicated fine art library and collection of resources in the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, our acclaimed public gallery on-campus. Here you will find a great collection of European art and works by famous artists such as Botticelli, Van Gogh, Monet, Magritte, Degas, Gwen John, Vigée LeBrun and Rodin. For Modern Languages, 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 in your core target-language module/s.

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?

  • 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 for the first half of your studies at Birmingham. 
  • Our culturally exciting city - Birmingham has a thriving arts scene with a wide range of cultural venues and festivals to visit, volunteer or work with. The city also hosts over 50 annual festivals - from street art to international film.
  • Superb employability rates - 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.
  • Travel opportunities - Travel opportunities such as your Year Abroad and the History of Art European Cultural Tour will significantly improve your language skills and deepen your understanding of original artworks in situ. Many students remember their Year Abroad as the most exciting part of their degree.
  • Excellent student experience - Small classes, an on-campus gallery, language classes with native speakers, study trips, and joining student societies, writing for The Golovine and / or The UoB Linguist are just some of the benefits to studying Modern Languages and History of Art at the University of Birmingham.

Open day talks

Four full videos on YouTube of recent 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 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.

 

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.

If you take Modern Languages and History of Art, there is the option to take a major/minor weighting from Year 1. Please note that if you decide to take two Modern Languages alongside History of Art, your degree will be split as 40-40-40 for the full duration of your programme, one third in each subject area.

Modern Languages

During your years of study you will take compulsory modules depending on your language proficiency (Beginner or post A-Level). Depending upon the number of languages you are taking, you will choose amongst a wide range of optional modules to make up your remaining credits.

The range of modules available to you does depend on your chosen languages and the combinations you choose to study. Explore our My Choices app to discover more about the modules available to you within each language section.

History of Art

Year 1

Compulsory Modules

  • Historical Concepts in the History of Art (20)
  • Debates and Methods in the History of Art (20)
  • Writing Art's Histories 1 (10)
  • Writing Art's Histories 2 (10)

Detailed descriptions of Year 1 History of Art compulsory modules

Year 2

Compulsory Modules

  • 80 credits - Art History in the Field (10); Research Techniques in History of Art (10)
  • 60 credits - Art History in the Field (10); Research Techniques in History of Art (10)
  • 40 credits - No compulsory modules, you will spend your History of Art credits in optional modules

Detailed descriptions of Year 2 History of Art compulsory modules

You will spend the remainder of your History of Art credits on optional modules

Year 3

Your third year will be spent studying and/or working abroad in the countries of your target culture/s.

Final Year

Compulsory Module

  • 80 credits - Dissertation (40 or 20)
  • 60 credits - Dissertation (40 or 20)
  • 40 credits - No compulsory modules, you will spend your History of Art credits in optional modules

Detailed descriptions of the History of Art Final Year compulsory module

You will also spend your remaining History of Art credits on optional modules

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.


For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to financial support available via student loans for the duration of their course. For more information take a look at the gov.uk website.

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 the languages you wish to study as part of BA Modern Languages and History of Art under further details within the choices section of the application form.

Standard offer

International Requirements



Number of A levels required:
3
Typical offer:
ABB
Required subjects and grades:
If you plan to take one or two languages at Advanced level, we require an A level grade B or equivalent in the relevant Modern Language(s).
General Studies:
Not accepted

IB Diploma:

6,5,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall.

BTEC qualifications:

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

Other qualifications are considered - learn more about entry requirements.

BA Modern Languages and History of Art Students can study up to two foreign languages alongside History of Art. At least one of these languages needs to be an advanced language (post A-Level). A full breakdown of combinations and weightings can be found here.

Independent language diplomas:

If you would like to study advanced French, Spanish, 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), 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.

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.

Study trips play an important part in the teaching on the programme. These include visits to galleries and museums in Birmingham and the West Midlands, as well as overseas group trips that are funded by the University. Recent destinations have included Rome, Berlin and Paris, and provide you with the opportunity to examine works of art and architecture in situ.

One-to-one tutorials become increasingly important as you progress through your course. This is particularly the case in your final year, when a major part of your programme will be a dissertation on a topic of your choice. Tutorials enable you to discuss your research with your project supervisor in depth.

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 6-12 hours of lectures and classes.

On the History of Art side of your degree, you can expect about 4 hours of contact time per week made up of both lectures and seminars.

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.


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

Year 3 will be spent overseas in a country of your target language.

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 93% of our students enter work or further study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2017). 

You will acquire skills and knowledge that are highly prized by employers in many sectors, including:

  • Strong communication skills in English and one or more other languages;
  • Visual and textual analysis and interpretation.
  • 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;

Example employers:

  • Kettle’s Yard
  • the Bodleian Library
  • Cath Kidston
  • Historic Royal Palaces
  • The National Portrait Gallery
  • Christie’s
  • National Museum of Wales
  • the Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Amazon.fr
  • Harper Collins
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Town Hall Symphony Hall Birmingham
  • Deloitte
  • HSBC
  • The British Horseracing Authority
  • The British Council
  • French Connection

Example roles:

  • Archivist
  • Curator
  • Gallery Coordinator
  • Events Officer
  • Exhibitions Assistant
  • Learning and Access Officer
  • Programme Coordinator
  • Editorial Project Leader
  • Teacher
  • International Sales Coordinator
  • Consultant
  • Marketing Officer
  • Account Executive
  • Account Planner
  • Researcher

Graduates from both departments return to campus to talk to current students about their careers, how to find opportunities and the wide variety of roles available. Recent speakers hold positions at the Wallace Collection, the BBC, BMAG, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Sotheby’s Institute, Manchester’s Craft and Design Centre and the White Cube Gallery.

In addition, throughout your degree you will have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and contacts in museums and galleries, both on and off campus. You can also benefit from our biennial Art History Careers Fair.  The Modern Languages curriculum also has an increased focus on professional development in areas such as presenting, CV-building, debating, and developing digital projects in the target language. 

 

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.