The key to understanding another society is mastering its language. From this starting point, you can examine a country's history, literature and culture, and by comparison you can learn more about our own society.
You will choose to study one, two or three languages to a high level (French, German, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan). Your linguistic fluency is strengthened with a sophisticated understanding of your target culture's literature, history, politics and society, and through total immersion on your Year Abroad. You may also wish to complement your studies with vocational understanding of areas such as translation, language teaching, business and enterprise.
Modern Languages at Birmingham ranks in the Top 100 in the QS World University Rankings 2018. Our BA Modern Languages programme is one of the most comprehensive in the UK, which will equip you for a huge range of international careers.
Answering your questions and concerns about the outcome of the EU referendum.
“I chose my degree programme because I have always loved learning French and I was determined to continue with it in higher education. I wanted to pick up a secondary language too, so I went for Spanish as I find their culture and history really interesting. I chose to study at Birmingham because I was really impressed by the course structure and content. Also, I fell in love with the campus as soon as I saw it – it’s so green!”
Our degrees are designed to provide both academic excellence and vocational development – a balance that is highly sought after by employers.
On the BA Modern Languages programme, you can study one, two or three modern languages. You must have either French, German, Italian, Russian or Spanish at advanced level. Alongside this, you can take another advanced language/s or a new one at beginner level. Languages offered at beginner level include the languages mentioned above, as well as Catalan, Chinese, Japanese and Portuguese.
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.
Please take a look at some combinations we are unable to offer due to timetabling restrictions .
Our BA Modern Languages programme also offers a minor in Translation Studies that can be taken alongside one or two modern languages. This has a vocational focus which will strengthen your theoretical and practical translation skills, and support your study of language.
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.
- Latest language learning technology - We recently opened our brand new state-of-the-art Interpreting Suite in spring 2018, which boasts similar technology to those used by the United Nations.
Outstanding employability - 90% of our students enter work or further study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2016). 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 - The degree programme is four years in length, and 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 subsidised one-week escorted European Cultural Tour to the country of your target language, taking a vacation course or a subsidised trip to St Petersburg for an intensive four-week language programme for beginners in Russian.
- Active student societies - Join one of our language student societies or our student magazine The UoB Linguist Magazine. Develop your language skills outside your teaching, make new friends who share your passion for languages and attend diverse extra-curricular events to become a well-rounded linguist.
Hear from our students
Open day talks
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 2018. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules after that date; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.
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.
For UK students beginning their studies in September 2018, 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 2018/19 are as follows:
Home / EU: £9,250
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.
- Number of A levels required:
- Typical offer:
- Required subjects and grades:
- A level or equivalent in each modern language that you plan to take at Advanced level.
- General Studies:
BTEC Extended Diploma will not be considered without relevant language A level.
BTEC Diploma will be considered when combined with relevant language A level.
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma will be considered when combined with 2 A levels to include a relevant language.
Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements.
International Baccalaureate Diploma: 6,6,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall.
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.
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.
Joint Honours combinations
Key Information Set (KIS)
Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.
All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.
The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.
The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.
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:
- small group tutorials
- independent study
- and peer group learning, such as delivering presentations with your classmates
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.
- Welfare tutors - We have dedicated welfare tutors 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.
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.
Depending on the amount of languages you take and the modules you select, each week you will have between 8-18 hours of lectures and classes, with lecturers on hand to answer additional questions outside this timeframe.
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 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.
90% of our Modern Languages students enter work or further study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2016)
Modern Languages graduates have a wide range of skills that are valued by employers, such as:
- Strong communication 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
- Leadership and teamwork
- Handling complex information
- The ability to form concise and articulate arguments
- Managing your time and prioritising your workload
- Eurocity Group
- Harper Collins
- Deutsche Bank
- Royal Bank of Scotland
- IQD Frequency Products
- Aura Financial
- JC Decaux
- Town Hall Symphony Hall Birmingham
- British Airways
- Pricewaterhouse Coopers
- The British Council
- French Connection
- Local and central government
- Editorial Project Leader
- English Teacher
- International Sales Coordinator
- Investigation Specialist
- Operations Analyst
- 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.
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.
Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.
Clubs and societies
The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.
Student Experience Officers
Our Student Experience Officers 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.
Coming to Birmingham might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.
The City of Birmingham
One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and culture, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work.
Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.
The University of Birmingham has been welcoming international students onto our campus since 1900.
We have one of the largest and most vibrant international student communities in the UK, with 5,000 international students from more than 150 different countries and 31% of our academic staff from overseas.
If you would like further information about entry requirements, how to apply and funding options, then you can visit our international students webpage. You may also wish to take a virtual tour of our campus and watch the video below to hear our international students say their favourite thing about the University of Birmingham.