Modern Language Studies BA


Fact file - 2017 entry

UCAS code:T900
Qualification:BA Hons
Type and duration:4 year UG (year 3 out)
Qualification name:Modern Language Studies
UCAS code
UCAS code
Modern Language Studies | BA Hons
4 years full-time/year 3 out (available part-time)
A level offer
ABB (or BCC via a foundation year)
Required subjects
at least two of French, German, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish at A level
IB score
32 (5 at Higher Level or 6 at Standard Level (B programme) in at least two of French, German, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish
Course location
University Park Campus
Course places

This course may still be open to international applicants for 2016 entry. Please visit our international pages for details of courses and application procedures from now until the end of August.


This course enables you to study three languages. In addition to core language modules, you will choose from optional modules relating to the history, culture, politics, literature, film or linguistics of your chosen languages.
Read full overview

Combined Honours (3 languages)

This course enables you to study three languages; you can choose three from post-A level French, German, Russian, Portuguese or Spanish, or two post-A level languages along with a beginners' language. French, German, Russian, Serbian/Croatian, Portuguese, Slovene, or Spanish are offered as beginners' languages. The third year of the course is spent abroad in the most appropriate countries for your chosen combination of languages.

In addition to core language modules, you will choose from optional modules relating to the history, culture, politics, literature, film or linguistics of your chosen languages. 

You will graduate with a high level of expertise in three languages and will be able to use them in professional and other contexts. Your time spent abroad will prove to employers that you are adaptable and independent. You will have acquired knowledge of the history, culture, and literature of the countries you have studied and skills in communication and independent study. 

Year one 

The first year core language modules develop the four skills of reading, listening, speaking and writing. In addition, you take modules introducing you to the study of literature, history, politics and society.

Year two 

Your language skills will be consolidated to prepare you for the year abroad. In addition, you will have a wide choice of modules in linguistics, literature, history, politics and society and the media.

Year three

You will divide your time between countries where your chosen language(s) are spoken. Depending on where your placement is, you could study at one of our exchange universities, teach on the British Council assistantship programme, or undertake a work placement with a company. 

For more information see our Year Abroad page.

Year four

You will develop your command of your languages and their use in increasingly sophisticated contexts, and study optional modules drawn from the areas of literature, history, politics, society, media and linguistics.


Entry requirements

A levels: ABB, including two of French, German, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish at A level 

This course may also be accessed via a foundation year for which the entry requirements are BCC at A level, find out more here.

English language requirements 

IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

Students who require extra support to meet the English language requirements for their academic course can attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE) to prepare for their future studies. Students who pass at the required level can progress directly to their academic programme without needing to retake IELTS. Please visit the CELE webpages for more information.

Alternative qualifications 

Please see the alternative qualifications page.

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, The University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.  


This combined honours degree enables you to study three languages, one of them from beginners’ level if you wish. Each language represents a third of your yearly credits. 

Alongside your compulsory language modules, you will take core and optional modules from each of the departments related to your chosen languages. These often focus on topics such as history, literature or culture relating to the country or region you are interested in.

Depending on your beginners’ language choice, you may take fewer optional modules in the first two years, so that you can concentrate on intensive language acquisition. 

You can choose three languages from post-A level: French, German, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish.

OR two post-A level (from the list above) and one beginners’ language: French, German, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian/Croatian, Slovene or Spanish.

N.B You cannot take more than one language from beginners’ level in the same year.

Language Modules 

You will take language modules at the appropriate level throughout the course. Post-A level language instruction builds on your existing skills and develops your competence in reading, writing, speaking and listening. If you are a beginner, you will take an intensive course that is structured to take you from beginners’ or GCSE level to degree level in four years. You will take the same language modules as post-A level students in the final year of the course, and you thus graduate with the same language level. For more information about core language modules, see the pages of the individual language departments.

Modules taken alongside your language work

Students on this degree course will typically take core modules in the first year of study and select from a range of optional modules in the second and final year of the course. Beginners normally follow a set programme in their beginners’ language in the first two years of the course. For more details of optional modules in your particular language combination, please see the relevant web page for individual language departments.

Year One

Introduction to French and Francophone Studies (core)
You will receive a firm grounding in the structures of French through the core language module. You will also follow a core module 'Introduction to French and Francophone Studies' which will prepare you for studying the range of topics and skills you will develop in your degree course. You will also choose optional modules in French literature and the history and politics of contemporary France.
Introduction to German Studies: Unity and Diversity in German Identities (core)
This core 20-credit module introduces you to some of the key areas of German Studies that you can go on to study in German over the course of your degree: linguistics, literature, translation studies, film, history, politics and society, and cultural studies. You will choose to specialize in some of these areas in your degree; for others, this module provides you with a basic foundation which will be useful to you as a student of German Studies. The module also helps you learn and practise the key skills that you will need in your degree and beyond: not just taking exams, but also researching, reading and taking notes, writing essays, and making oral presentations: the same skills that you will take with you into your future careers. It also helps you gain experience in reading and listening to a wide range of German language - informal and formal, literary and academic, for example, so that you develop your ability to use German in your studies and in your career.
Nation, Myth, Identity: Introduction to Russian and Slavonic Studies (core)
This module introduces students to important areas and topics in Russian and Slavonic Studies, examining important aspects of the histories and cultures of the region, as well as aspects of the languages, cultures and literary traditions. You will learn to analyse a wide range of cultural phenomena, including pictures, music, film, literary texts and other kinds of written sources.
History of the Low Countries
This module will introduce students to selected topics in the history of the Low Countries from the sixteenth century to the present day. It will focus on a number of key events and periods such as the fall of Antwerp in 1585, the Belgian Revolution of 1830, the Flemish Movement and the Second World War. You’ll spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.
Introduction to Literature in Spanish (core)
You’ll read a series of key texts from Spain and Spanish America. Its purpose is to impart an essential body of literary-historical and cultural knowledge relating to the main periods, genres and conventions of literature in Spanish from the Middle Ages to the modern period. You’ll spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.
Introduction to Lusophone Societies and Cultures (core)
The Portuguese speaking-world is made up of people on four different continents: Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas, and there are eight countries in which Portuguese remains the official language. The spread of the language is a representation of the reach of the Portuguese Empire at its height as well as a reflection of the legacy of Lusophone cultures. This module provides you with the opportunity to learn about the diversity of cultural practices and social relations in the different parts of the world where Portuguese is spoken. The module covers the major social and cultural practices from modern Lusophone societies, including aspects of popular culture such as football and soap operas, but also cultural and artistic currents in literature and film. Questions of social relations and identity are also examined through a consideration of religious practice and religious expression, as well as themes of conflict, crisis and revolution through formations of political identity and political mobilisation. For this module you will have a one 2-hour lecture each week.
Culture and Society in the Low Countries
This module will examine the development of the Netherlands and Belgium since the First World War with particular reference to: the period from 1945 to the present day; society in the Netherlands and Belgium; aspects of Dutch and Flemish culture. 



Year Two

Francophone Africa: Exploring Contemporary Issues
This module explores a range of political and social issues relevant to contemporary sub-Saharan Francophone Africa through literature, film and popular culture. It also offers an overview of the history of the French language in Africa and introduces students to the range of varieties of French spoken there today. 
Post-War French Theatre
Examining the experimental theatre which flourished in France in the 1950s and 1960s, you'll consider authors such as Genet, Beckett and Ionesco. Focusing on dramatic technique, theory, and performance, you'll spend around two hours per week studying in lectures and seminars. 
Quebecois Writing
This module offers an introduction to Quebecois writing and the light it throws on the development of a Quebecois cultural identity. Three texts from the 1960s and 1980s are related to their historical, political, social and cultural background. Students look at how a traditional, French-speaking, North American, catholic population reacted to the pressures and opportunities of modernization and developed a new confidence in themselves as Quebecois. 
Modern Spanish and Spanish American Literature and Film
This module explores a cultural period in the Hispanic world characterised by profound social change and the emergence of major world-figures of modern art (e.g. Picasso). It is structured around key literary and artistic movements from Spain and Spanish America from the early nineteenth century to the latter part of the twentieth, movements such as Romanticism, Realism, Symbolism-Decadence/Modernismo, the Avant-garde, and Modernism. You’ll spend two hours per week in classes.
Sociolinguistics: An Introduction
In this introduction to sociolinguistics, you’ll consider the social contexts of language use, paying particular attention to intercultural communication, politeness, linguistic determinism, language choice, speech act theory, and approaches to the study of speech. You’ll be required to do weekly readings and to engage in discussions during a two hour lecture held once a week.
Runes to ROFL: History of the Germanic Languages
This module will introduce students to the history of the Germanic languages, from the earliest linguistic evidence up to the present day. We will investigate the major sound changes that distinguish Dutch, German and other Germanic languages like English from the rest of the Indo-European language family (which includes French, Greek, and many other European languages, as well as Sanskrit). You'll look at the process by which Dutch and German went their separate ways , ultimately emerging as two standardised languages in the 17th century. You'll spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Linguistic Variation in France
You’ll explore the different kinds of linguistic variation in France including those across time periods, geographical variation, social groups, class, and disparity between oral and written forms. You’ll also be introduced to the history of the French language and its recent developments, spending around 2 hours per week in lectures and seminars. 
Screening Russia: Film and Society from the Tsars to Putin
In this module you will acquire an in-depth understanding of developments in Russian society and culture as reflected in popular and influential films from the period 1900 to 2010. You’ll examine how films are constructed technically and develop skills in analysing cinema in its historical and social contexts. You’ll spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars
Nation Building and National Identities in the Lusophone World
In this module you will be introduced to some of the major texts of the Portuguese-speaking world. You will examine the ways in which ideas of nationhood and national identity have been expressed and constructed through cultures of the Lusophone world. You will study the ways in which cultural production is embedded in the formation of nationhood and ideas about national identity and therefore culture are examined through its political and historical context. For this module you will have a one 2-hour lecture each week.
Repression and Resistance: Dissidents and Exiles in Russian Culture
This module provides you with an introduction to the themes of dissidence and exile, central notions in Russian literature, culture and thinking, using the examples of the life and work of four major Russian writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Nabokov, Bulgakov). You will learn the theory of different literary forms (verse narrative, novel, short story and drama).
History of Yugoslavia and Successor States since 1941
The aim of this module is to examine developments in the political, social and diplomatic history of Yugoslavia after 1941 leading towards an understanding of the reasons behind the collapse of the country and subsequent violence in the 1990s. You’ll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module. 
Year Three

You will divide your time between countries where your chosen language(s) are spoken. Depending on where your placement is, you could study at one of our exchange universities, teach on the British Council assistantship programme, or undertake a work placement with a company. 

For more information see our Year Abroad page.


Year Four

Language and Social Interaction
This year-long module introduces students to the close and detailed study of spoken language as a fundamental resource for human action and social organisation. The normative structures of the mainstream conversation-analytic tradition will be explored. Examination of both ordinary conversation and institutional discourse will enable you to explore the ways in which actions are performed, identities constructed, and context achieved through talk. Students will be expected, and encouraged, to analyse data and discuss their observations. You’ll have two hours of lectures weekly for this module.
The Language of Social Media
Language is constantly changing and nowhere more so than on social media, where users constantly adapt their language to achieve their communicative goals and to overcome the lack of face-to-face contact with their communication partners. In this module we explore the ways in which the German language is used on various kinds of social media, and how this often differs from standard German. We study the state-of-the-art linguistic research into online communication and non-standard language use. At the same time, students carry out their own research, collecting and analysing data from various social media sources: because of the ever-evolving nature of online language use, this often involves investigating phenomena that are so new, they haven't been properly studied yet! On this module you have three hours of teaching per week alongside extensive private study (which doesn't just involve reading, but also data collecting and analysis): we spend one hour in a computer room collecting data to test a particular hypothesis followed by an hour in which we analyse the data; a third hour, later in the week, is spent learning about and discussing theories of online language use. There is a strong focus on small group work in the module: the in-class research and analysis are done in groups of three to five students, and then presented to the whole class.
Francophone Writing in Canada
This module studies a selection of texts which have played a significant part in establishing a tradition of Canadian writing in French. The module includes texts by both Québécois and non-Québécois writers. The texts are studied in the context of the specific cultures to which they belong and of the reception they found. You will spend two hours a week in lectures and seminars for this module.
Translation and Linguistic Exchange
This module offers in-depth discussion of grammatical, lexical and idiomatic aspects of German and English as well as issues of translation, register and cultural difference. It will be taught primarily through the medium of translation, both from and into German, using a variety of texts and passages on a range of topics and in a range of registers. Groupwork between home students and Erasmus students will foster dialogue about linguistic and translation issues as well as general cultural exchange.
The Petersburg Text
Through three hours of lectures and seminars each week, you’ll undertake an in-depth analysis of the Russian imperial capital, St Petersburg and its artistic representations. You will study the development of the image of St Petersburg in Russian poetry (Pushkin, Blok, Akhmatova, Mandelshtam) and prose (Gogol, Dostoevsky, Bely, Bitov) of both the 19th and 20th centuries. You’ll also be given a historical overview of the evolution of the legend of St Petersburg, its representations in folklore, and readings of its urban landscape.
East European and Balkan Cultural Studies
The module examines issues covering the division of Europe into East and West, the West's construction of Russian, East European and Balkan identities in its own imagination, relations between dominant and subordinate cultures in Europe, theoretical frameworks in which to examine intercultural relations (semiotics, orientalism).Texts from mainly British sources are analysed as examples of such constructions (travelogues, popular fiction, film, journalism). The module also includes the influence of such largely negative views on identity formation within Eastern Europe and the Balkans.
Myths and Memories: Histories of Russia's Second World War
This module introduces you to the construction of national and collective memory of the Second World War in Soviet and Russian culture and society. You’ll focus on contemporary and subsequent artistic and social responses to the experience of war, but also look at individual acts of remembering (diaries, reports, letters) in the context of a wider cultural memory. The module is conducted in English and you’ll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars. 
Civil War and Memory Wars in Contemporary Spain
This module will give you an understanding of the origins of the Spanish Civil War, the character of the war itself, the factors which determined its outcome, and the implications of that outcome for Spanish history since 1939. The module will also consider the legacy of this period of history in contemporary Spanish politics and culture. You’ll have 1 two-hour seminar each week to study for this module.
Lusophone Identities, Culture, and Modernity in Portugal and Africa
In this module you will focus on identities and identity formation, as represented or articulated in literary, cinematic and visual texts, as the basis of a chronological survey of the development of Lusophone societies and culture in the 20th century. You will focus on two particular areas: the political ramifications of contending conceptions of race, gender, and sexuality in the last century and the role of cultural identity and ‘identity’ politics’ in nation-building and in the negotiation of, and recovery from, collective crises such as regime change and civil conflict. For this module you will have a one 2-hour seminar each week.

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. The above list is a sample of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.


Year abroad

You will divide your time between countries where your chosen language(s) are spoken. Depending on where your placement is, you could study at one of our exchange universities, teach on the British Council assistantship programme, or undertake a work placement with a company. 

For more information see our Year Abroad page.



You will have a high level of expertise in three languages and will be able to use them in professional and other contexts. Your time spent abroad will prove to employers that you are adaptable and independent. You will have acquired knowledge of the history, culture and literature of the countries you have studied and skills in communication and independent study.

Average starting salary 

Availability for employment and salary data for this school is not attainable due to a small sample size.* Please contact the school for guidance:


* Known destinations of full-time home and EU first-degree graduates, 2013/14.

Careers Support and Advice

Studying for a degree at The University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take. Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our Careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.  


Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

The University of Nottingham provides information and advice on financing your degree and managing your finances as an international student. The International Office offers a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees.


Key Information Sets (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS)

KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.


This course contains a period of study abroad. Students study three languages and spend time in three different countries. 

Assessment depends on the language(s) studied and may be one or more of the following:

  • French: students' language skills and cultural understanding are assessed through both presentations and written assignments upon their return to Nottingham.
  • German: students' language skills and cultural understanding are assessed through a presentation. The assessment forms part of the final year language module R23201 or R23202 (essay and oral, 10 credits) and makes up 20% of the overall module mark.
  • Spanish/Portuguese: assessment is a grammar and translation exercise, completed in class under exam conditions during week one, and a written report on a topic related to the year abroad. This is submitted in week two. 

The report should be 500 words, word processed and about a relevant cultural, social, political or religious topic associated with the country where the year was spent. The average of both pieces makes up 10% of the final mark.

  • Russian and Slavonic studies: students are assessed on their language skills and cultural understanding developed during their year abroad.

Assessment of the Russian part of the degree is through a presentation and forms part of the final year core language module R83112 (Advanced Russian). This makes up 10% of the final mark. 

Assessment of the year abroad for Serbian and Croatian studies is incorporated into the assessment of coursework for R83098 (Serbian/Croatian 3), which is the final year core language module. 

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This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.


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