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BA Modern Languages

Start date
September
Duration
4 years
UCAS code
R901
Course Type
Undergraduate, Single Honours, Study abroad year
Fees

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

Studying an undergraduate BA Modern Languages degree at the University of Birmingham prepares you to live and work as an engaged citizen of the world, blending language and culture through unforgettable experiences that increase your employability. 

Our programme offers flexibility, where you will study three languages from a choice of Catalan, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. You will learn a wide range of topics beyond language, in line with our Content Language Intergrated Learning (CLIL) teaching philosophy.

Choose from an extensive selection of exciting optional modules, which may include: 

  • Avant-garde Currents in French Cinema
  • Border Crossings: Word & Image in Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century Russophone Cultures
  • Business Russian 
  • Dante: Word, Music, Image
  • Digital Media and Spanish Youth Culture
  • Imagining the Truth: Latin American Culture in a Post-truth World
  • La France Moderne
  • Sex, Seduction and Submission: gender in German literature from 1900 to today
  • Visions of Italy: Modern Italy in the making
  • Writing identities in the German-speaking world 

You will also spend a year abroad immersing yourself in the culture of your chosen languages, through either study or work opportunities. 

There are some combinations we aren't able to offer due to timetabling restrictions.

Find out more about your chosen combination using our MyChoices app

If you're looking to study one or two languages you may be interested in our BA French, BA German, BA Italian, BA Russian or BA Spanish courses.

The Modern Languages degree at the University of Birmingham has given me the cultural awareness and the confidence to interact with people from different backgrounds. The programme has enabled me to explore a range of different topics from different subject areas such as history, politics, art and linguistics. My favourite thing about my degree is the flexibility in language choice and the opportunity to do a wide range of optional modules.

Jenny

Why study this course?

Our undergraduate BA Modern Languages 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.
  • Enjoy flexibility in your studies – you can study three languages, or consider combining with Translation, Business Management, Linguistics, English Literature, History, History of Art or Music – visit our Department course pages for details.
  • Be more than a name on a spreadsheet – we pride ourselves on our competitive contact hours with our academics. These take place within small groups, encouraging active language learning through engagement with intriguing cultural material.  
  • 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

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.

  • 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 download a personalised prospectus and discover more about the modules available to you within each language area.
  • You may also be interested in our Modern Languages with Business Management BA, where you would also take Business modules in our Birmingham Business School.
  • You can study Modern Languages in a wide range of other degree programmes and in combination with many other subjects - see the Modern Languages course list for all available courses. 

During your years of study you will take compulsory modules depending on your language proficiency (beginner or advanced). 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.  

Some combinations we are unable to offer due to timetabling restrictions.

There are also a number of optional departmental-wide modules available throughout your degree. This collaborative approach within Modern Languages currently includes modules such as:

  • Introduction to Linguistics  
  • Constructions of Gender, Sexuality and Race  
  • Narratives of Conquest and Incomprehension  
  • Cross-cultural Cinema
  • Legal Cultures Compared

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.

Additional Course Costs

Students who choose to study Japanese will be expected to purchase Minna no Nihongo vol. 1 and 2 (by 3A Network) and Basic Kanji Book Vol. 1 and 2 (by Bonjinsha).

How To Apply

Important information: When completing your UCAS application, please indicate your proposed language(s) / pathway selections under ‘Further details’ in the ‘choices’ section of the application by using the following codes, separated by a space.

Standard offer

International Requirements



Number of A levels required:
3
Typical offer:
ABB
Required subjects and grades:
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.
General Studies:
Accepted.

IB Diploma:
6,5,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall. You also require a Higher Level or equivalent in the modern language that you plan to study.

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.

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: 25% Lectures, Seminars or similar, 75% Independent study
Year 3: 100% Time on placememt
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.

 

Assessment throughout Modern Languages also prepares you for subsequent parts of your degree and for the working world beyond it. This includes; digital projects, practicing everyday interactions in preparation for the Year Abroad, and producing a mini-research project to build skills for writing the final-year dissertation. 

Global workplace skills are developed throughout the lifespan of our Modern Languages programmes, which enable our graduates to thrive in a number of professional environments. Birmingham’s Modern Languages graduates have a consistently high employability rate.  

Modern Languages graduates have a wide range of skills that are valued by employers, such as:

  • Strong communication and presentation skills in English and one or more other languages
  • 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
  • Expressing thoughts, feelings and opinions in different registers
  • Leadership, negotiation, debating and teamwork
  • Handling complex information
  • The ability to form concise and articulate arguments
  • Time-management, alongisde the ability to prioritise workload

Example employers:

  • Amazon.fr
  • Capita
  • Eurocity Group
  • Harper Collins
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • IQD Frequency Products
  • Aura Financial
  • JC Decaux
  • Town Hall Symphony Hall Birmingham
  • British Airways
  • Deloitte
  • HSBC
  • Pricewaterhouse Coopers
  • The British Council
  • Connection
  • NATO
  • BP
  • Local and central government

Example roles:

  • Editorial Project Leader
  • English Teacher
  • International Sales Coordinator
  • Investigation Specialist
  • Operations Analyst
  • Consultant
  • Marketing Officer
  • Account Executive
  • Account Planner

Examples of further study include:

  • PgDip Education
  • MA Social Work
  • PGCE Modern Foreign Language
  • PGCE Primary
  • Graduate Diploma in Law
  • MA Hispanic Studies
  • MA Translation Studies
  • MSc Strategy and International Business
  • PGCE Primary languages specialism

Modern Languages graduates enter the wide range of careers similar to other arts and humanities graduates but with much greater scope in international settings. 

You will benefit from organised events in the Department whereby our graduates return to campus to talk to current students about their careers, how to find opportunities and the variety of roles available to linguists. The 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

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.