Spanish and Contemporary Chinese Studies BA


Fact file - 2017 entry

UCAS code:RT41
Qualification:BA Jt Hons
Type and duration:4 year UG (year 3 out)
Qualification name:Spanish and Contemporary Chinese Studies
UCAS code
UCAS code
Spanish and Contemporary Chinese Studies | BA Jt Hons
4 years full-time/year 3 out (available part-time)
A level offer
Required subjects
B in Spanish at A Level
IB score
32 (5 in Spanish at Higher Level or 6 at Standard Level (B programme)  
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places
20 places across RT11, RT21, RT71 and RT41


This course offers you the opportunity to combine studies in Spanish and Chinese languages, literatures, histories and cultures.
Read full overview

This course offers you the opportunity to combine studies in Spanish and Chinese languages, literatures, histories and cultures. The year abroad gives you a unique opportunity to practise your language skills and enhance your understanding of Spanish and Chinese culture.

Year one

You will take core modules in both languages, and introductions to Chinese and to Spanish and Spanish American literature, history and culture.

Year two

In Spanish and Chinese, your language studies will be consolidated to prepare you for the year abroad. You will take modules in literature, history, politics and society from a wide choice of modules in both Spanish and Chinese Studies.

Year three

In your third year of study you will spend the academic year abroad in Spain or Spanish America and China. You will be supported by our Year Abroad officer in preparation for this period in Year Two. You have the option to undertake study at a University, do a work placement or work as an English language teaching assistant.

For more information, please visit the Year Abroad page.

Year four

You will develop your command of both languages and their use in increasingly sophisticated contexts, and study optional modules drawn from the areas of literature, history, politics, society, film and translation. In Spanish, you may also choose to write a dissertation.

More information 

See also the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies.

Entry requirements

A levels: ABB, including B in Spanish at A level

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 

We recognise that potential students have a wealth of different experiences and follow a variety of pathways into higher education, so we treat applicants with alternative qualifications (besides A-levels and the International Baccalaureate) as individuals, and accept students with a range of less conventional qualifications including:

  • Access to HE Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma
  • BTEC Extended Diploma

This list is not exhaustive, and we consider applicants with other qualifications on an individual basis. The entry requirements for alternative qualifications can be quite specific; for example you may need to take certain modules and achieve a specified grade in those modules. Please contact us to discuss the transferability of your qualification.

For more information, 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.  


Typical Year One Modules

Spanish 1

This module will combine revision of grammar with intensive exposure to a variety of types and registers of written and spoken Spanish, concentrating on appropriate thematic areas. It will consolidate and build on basic written, aural and oral language skills through spending 3 hours per week in lectures and seminars.

Introduction to Literature in Spanish

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.

Spain and Portugal in the Twentieth Century

In this module you’ll study the evolution of Spanish and Portuguese history, politics and culture from 1898 to the present day. You’ll be encouraged to draw links between the Portuguese and Spanish experiences, and place both countries’ experience of the twentieth century within the broader context of European and wider global history in this period. Particular emphasis will be placed upon the development of both countries from a (perceived) position of ‘difference’ and ‘backwardness’ to relatively prosperous, economically developed and culturally diverse members of the European Union. You’ll spend 2 hours in classes each week.

Introduction to the History of Modern Latin America

In this module you will be introduced to the main patterns of Latin American political, economic and social history between the late colonial period and the mid-to-late 20th Century which will give you a thorough grounding of the major issues, themes and forces that have shaped the societies in the region. In one part of the module you will study the history of the Spanish-speaking America and in the other half consider the history of Brazil and aspects such as the various patterns of change and development of the region and political radicalism. For this module you will have a 1-hour lecture and a 1-hour seminar each week.

Mandarin Chinese for Beginners

This module assumes you have no prior knowledge of the language. You will then be taught to speak, read, write and understand materials in the target language relating to everyday situations. The basic structure of the language is introduced through topics related to giving and requesting personal information. You’ll be taught through a two-hour lecture and one-hour practical class each week.

Introduction to Business and Economy of China

This module introduces you to the economy, business, institutions and economically-related political aspects of contemporary China with a focus on the reform period. You will gain an overview of macro and micro-economic environment, institutional and political factors that affect business and development in China, as well as major economic sectors in China. You’ll have a weekly two-hour lecture to study for this module.


Typical Year Two Modules

Spanish 2

This module will combine revision and extension of grammar with intensive exposure to a variety of types and registers of written and spoken Spanish, concentrating on appropriate thematic areas. It will consolidate and build on basic written, aural and oral language skills, and include preparatory work for the Year Abroad. For this module you’ll have a 1-hour and 2-hour seminar as well as a one 1-hour lecture each week.

Mandarin Chinese for Intermediate Level 2a

This module assumes a basic knowledge of the language at approximately GCSE standard - it is, however, recognised that the GCSE may have been taken several years ago and the courses are designed to revise and develop basic structures. The four skills of reading, listening, speaking and writing are expanded to enable participation in discussions with reasonable fluency and accuracy. You’ll have a two-hour seminar and one-hour practical each week to study for this module.

Mandarin Chinese for Intermediate Level 2b

This module develops the speaking and comprehension skills obtained in stage 2a. There is emphasis on extracting and processing authentic language and instruction in the target language is increasingly used. You’ll have a two-hour seminar and one-hour practical each week to study for this module.

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 four hours per week in lectures.

Hispanic Visual Culture

In this module you will be given and general introduction to cinema and painting in the Hispanic and Lusophone worlds. In the first semester you will be introduced to painting in Spain, Portugal, and Latin America from the late 15th century to the early 19th century with an emphasis on how to analyse paintings and understand the styles and contexts from which paintings emerge. In the 2nd semester you will examine contemporary cinema from Spain and Latin America addressing questions of style, socio-historical context and narrative context. In this module you will have a 2-hour lecture and a 2-hour workshop for this module.

Metropolis and Empire: Spain, Portugal and the Americas 1492 to Independence

You’ll be introduced to the broad patterns of historical development of Spain and Portugal and of their emerging and evolving American colonies, over the three centuries of the imperial experience. You’ll focus mostly on the interconnections between metropolis and colonies in each case, but also on the discrete experiences of Spain, Portugal and of the major colonial centres, thus providing an understanding of the background to modern Spain, Portugal and Latin America. You will have a weekly one-hour lecture and one-hour seminar to study for this module. 

Environment and Development in China I

In this module you’ll learn about the physical, human and geographical issues that have occurred in recent years due to China’s development policies over the past century. You’ll explore these in the context of political, economic and social changes. Topics covered include air and water pollution, the impact of industrialisation and the evolution of the environmental legal system among others. You’ll have two hours per week of lectures studying this module.

Social Change and Public Policy in China's Reform Era

In this module you’ll learn how the Chinese central government has responded to socio-economic changes through key public policies since 1978. You’ll explore contemporary debates surrounding China’s recent modernisation drive. You’ll have two hours per week of lectures studying this module.

The Rise of Modern China

This module covers the history of China from the 1840s, through to the establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949. It looks at social, cultural, political and economic developments in this period from a variety of angles and approaches. You’ll spend around two hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.



Year Three

In your third year of study you will spend the academic year abroad in Spain or Spanish America and China. You will be supported by our Year Abroad officer in preparation for this period in Year Two. You have the option to undertake study at a University, do a work placement or work as an English language teaching assistant.

For more information, please visit the Year Abroad page.

Typical Year Four Modules

Spanish 3

This is a module for all students of Spanish language, and will consist of 3 hours per week of oral work and writing skills. Recognising that significant progress will have been made in colloquial and informal language skills during the Year Abroad, this module intends to introduce you to a more formal and sophisticated register of spoken and written Spanish using print, off-air and internet sources.

Advanced Spanish Translation

This module offers coaching and practice in high-level translation from Spanish to English. You will work with a variety of texts over the semester, exploring different registers in Spanish and English, and equivalences between source and target languages. You will be required to reflect on the process of translation through annotations on specific translation decisions which will be part of the given task each week. You will also be given a brief for each translation and asked to research the target publication/context for their translation and specify ways in which the target context may differ from the original.

Inter Faculty Mandarin Chinese 3a

This module develops the speaking and productive skills of language learning to enable you to function effectively at an intermediate level. The module stresses the productive skills, particularly spoken and written ones. You’ll have a two-hour seminar and one-hour practical each week in the target language to study for this module.

Inter Faculty Mandarin 4b

This module develops the four skills of reading, listening, speaking and writing to enable students to gather and process information accurately and quickly through discussion, from radio and TV and from written sources.

Spanish American Narrative

You’ll explore the work of key writers in 20th Century Spanish America, all of whom bear the recognisable imprint of literary Modernism. You will closely study two writers of what has become known as the ‘Boom’(namely, Gabriel García Márquez and Julio Cortázar); and three precursors of that generation (Jorge Luis Borges, Alejo Carpentier and Juan Rulfo). The module will examine the ways in which they make use of myth, the fantastic and experimental narrative techniques to write about history, traditional, popular and/or mass culture, gender and sexuality. You will have a 2-hour class each week.

The Radicalisation of Nationalism in Modern Latin America: Cuban Revolution in Continental Perspective

This module is concerned with the emergence, nature and evolution of the Cuban Revolution.  You will consider the Revolution in question within a wider historical and ideological context: the Latin American tradition of an increasingly radical nationalism. Dating from the 19th and early 20th century this is a time when there was a need to engage in serious and collective nation-building. The module therefore examines how the Cuban Revolution went on to influence the subsequent radicalisation of that tradition, shaping a range of political manifestation. For this module you will have a 2-hour class each week.

China from Revolution to the Socialist Era

In this module you’ll learn China under the communist party in the pre-reform era of 1949-1978. You’ll examine how China was organized and governed, changes in rural and urban society, the family, the economy and the Chinese workplace under Mao Zedong's CCP. You’ll have an hour a week of both lecture and seminar learning during this module.

China Through Film and Literature

In this module you will first examine the close linkage between literature and cinema in China and the consequences and then explore trends in modern Chinese literature and cinema, with a primary focus on different genres and themes developed since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. By placing Chinese literature and film within their cultural, social and historical contexts, you will analyse, interpret and appreciate such phenomena. You will analyse individual texts in translation and films with English subtitles to increase your awareness of the major developments in literature and film as they are embedded in the wider changes in contemporary China.  You will have one 3 hour practical class each week studying this module.



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. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.


Year abroad

In your third year of study you will spend the academic year abroad in Spain or Latin America, and China. You will be supported by our Year Abroad Officer in preparation for this period in year two. You have the option to undertake study at a university, do a work placement or work as an English language teaching assistant.

For more information, please visit the Year Abroad page.



You will have attained a high level of expertise in Spanish, an advanced level in Mandarin, and a broad knowledge of the culture and history of China and Spain. Your international experience will prove to employers that you are adaptable and independent, and your transferable skills will include critical analysis and effective communication.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2014, 95% of first-degree graduates in the Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £20,942 with the highest being £28,000.*

Availability for employment and salary data for the the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies is not attainable due to a small sample size in 2014.*

* 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.

Home students*

There are several types of bursary and scholarship on offer. Download our funding guide or visit our financial support pages to find out more about tuition fees, loans, budgeting and sources of funding.

To be eligible to apply for most of these funds you must be liable for the £9,000 tuition fee and not be in receipt of a bursary from outside the University.

* 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 normally spend one semester in each country. Assessment consists of a grammar and translation exercise, completed in class during week one under exam conditions, and a written report on a topic related to the year abroad. This is submitted in week two.

The grammar and translation exercise tests knowledge on all grammatical structures studied in years one and two. The report should be 500 words, word processed and about a relevant cultural, social, political or religious aspect of the country where the year was spent. The average of both pieces gives 10% of the final mark for each final year language module. 

Mandarin is compulsory when students spend their second semester at our China Campus.

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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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