BA Modern Languages

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

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

You will choose to study one, two or three languages to a high level. You must have either FrenchGermanItalianRussian or Spanish at advanced level. Alongside this, you can take up to two other languages, which can include a new one from scratch. Languages offered at beginner level include the languages mentioned above, as well as PortugueseCatalanChinese and Japanese. You will also complement your studies with a vocational understanding of the working world, in areas which can include translation, language teaching, legal cultures, business and enterprise.

If you study two languages, you have the option to vary the amount of time you spend on each language from year to year. If you study three languages, your time will be equally split. Our BA Modern Languages programme also offers a dedicated Translation Studies minor that can be taken alongside one or two modern languages. This minor will occupy one third of your studies and has a vocational focus which will strengthen your theoretical and practical translation skills. You can find out more about your chosen combination here. Some combinations we are unable to offer due to timetabling restrictions.

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?

  • Competitive contact hours - 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 modules. This intensive teaching usually takes place within groups of no more than 15, encouraging active language-learning through engagement with cultural material (beginners will receive more support in English, as appropriate).
  • Latest language-learning technology - We use technology in teaching and assessment to develop digital skills within our students. Digital projects include blog work, producing interactive timelines and creating digital comic strips. Furthermore, our state-of-the-art Interpreting Suite boasts similar technology to those used by the United Nations. Our award-winning Televic interpreter desk and sound-proof booths emulate a professional context, ideal for students hoping to pursue careers in translation and interpreting. 
  • Outstanding employability - Our outstanding teaching equips our students for a huge range of international careers, with 93% of our students entering work or further study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2017). Our 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 sectors such as business, the arts, translation, interpreting, and education.
  • Travel opportunities - You will spend your third year abroad studying, teaching and/or working. Depending upon your chosen language(s), you may also have the opportunity to participate in a vacation course.
  • Excellent student experience - 91% of our students gave the course an overall satisfaction rating in the National Student Survey 2018.

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.

  • 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 such as 'Financial Analysis' and 'Introduction to Economics'
  • 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. 

There are also a number of optional departmental-wide modules available across all languages in the second year. This collaborative approach within Modern Languages currently includes modules such as; ‘Cross-cultural Cinema’, ‘Language Learning in the Classroom: Pedagogy and Practice’, ‘Global Enterprise Project’, ‘Songs Without Borders’ and ‘Legal Cultures Compared’.

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

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.

Number of A levels required:
3
Typical offer:
ABB
Required subjects and grades:
A level or equivalent in each modern language that you plan to take at Advanced level.
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 each modern language that you plan to study at Advanced level. 

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.

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.

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

Depending on the amount of languages you take and the modules you select, each week you will have between 12-20 hours of lectures and classes, with lecturers on hand to answer additional questions outside this timeframe.

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.

 

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. 

The Year Abroad will make up 6.25% of your degree. In terms of assessment, students going to a university or summer school will be assessed by their assessment marks abroad, and those undertaking a teaching or work placement will be required to submit a piece of work related to their experience, in order to progress into final year.

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

Your third year will be spent 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 

 

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, as 93% of our BA Modern Languages graduates enter work or further study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2017).

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
  • French 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

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.