Undergradute student studying in the George Green library, University Park. November 5th 2021.

Modern Languages BA

University Park Campus, Nottingham, UK

Course overview

 

Study two languages. Studying languages is both fascinating and challenging. They break down barriers, allowing us to connect globally and share experiences. In an ever more complex world, language skills are more relevant than ever.


During this degree, you will have the opportunity to hone these skills by spending a year abroad immersing yourself into both your chosen languages and cultures. Many of our students say the year abroad is their course highlight and find that they return more independent and confident with experiences and skills which make them stand out to future employers. If you are unable to spend a year abroad, you may be interested in our three-year Modern Languages BA.


You may choose two languages from: Mandarin Chinese, French, German, Russian, Spanish (all post-A Level or from beginners' level); and Serbian/Croatian and Portuguese (from beginners' level only). If you would like to study three languages, please see our Modern Language Studies BA.

Indicative modules

Mandatory

Year 1

French 1

Mandatory

Year 1

German 1

Mandatory

Year 1

Russian 1

Mandatory

Year 1

Spanish 1

Mandatory

Year 1

French 1: Beginners

Mandatory

Year 1

German 1: Beginners

Mandatory

Year 1

Russian 1: Beginners

Mandatory

Year 1

Serbian / Croatian 1: Beginners

Mandatory

Year 1

Spanish 1: Beginners

Mandatory

Year 1

Portuguese 1: Beginners

Mandatory

Year 1

Mandarin Chinese for Beginners

Mandatory

Year 1

Mandarin Chinese for Intermediate Level

Mandatory

Year 1

Mandarin Chinese for the Advanced Level

Mandatory

Year 1

Culture and Society of Contemporary China

Mandatory

Year 1

Introduction to French and Francophone Studies

Mandatory

Year 1

French History and Identity

Mandatory

Year 1

Contemporary France

Mandatory

Year 1

Introduction to German Studies

Mandatory

Year 1

Literature in Spanish

Mandatory

Year 1

Culture and Society in Brazil, Portugal and Portuguese-speaking Africa

Optional

Year 1

Introduction to French Literature: Landmarks in Narrative

Optional

Year 1

Introduction to French Literature: Representations of Paris

Optional

Year 1

Contemporary France

Optional

Year 1

France: History and Identity

Optional

Year 1

Deutschland Heute

Optional

Year 1

Hitler and the Third Reich

Optional

Year 1

Reading German Literature II

Optional

Year 1

Sex, Gender and Society in Modern Germany

Optional

Year 1

From Dictatorship to Democracy

Optional

Year 1

Language Meaning, Variation and Change

Optional

Year 1

The Clash of Empires: History of the Balkans from Alexander the Great to Napoleon

Optional

Year 1

From Tsarism to Communism: Introduction to Russian History and Culture

Optional

Year 1

Serbian / Croatian 1: Beginners

Optional

Year 1

The Soviet Experiment

Optional

Year 1

Portuguese 1: Beginners

Optional

Year 1

Moder Latin America

Mandatory

Year 2

French 2

Mandatory

Year 2

German 2

Mandatory

Year 2

Russian 2

Mandatory

Year 2

Spanish 2

Mandatory

Year 2

Serbian / Croatian 2

Mandatory

Year 2

French 2 - Beginners

Mandatory

Year 2

German 2 - Beginners

Mandatory

Year 2

Russian 2 - Beginners

Mandatory

Year 2

Spanish 2: Beginners

Mandatory

Year 2

Portuguese 2: Beginners

Mandatory

Year 2

Mandarin Chinese for Intermediate Level

Mandatory

Year 2

Mandarin Chinese for the Advanced Level

Mandatory

Year 2

Mandarin Chinese for Proficiency Level

Mandatory

Year 2

China Beyond the Headlines

Mandatory

Year 2

Introduction to French Literature: Landmarks in Narrative

Mandatory

Year 2

Introduction to French and Francophone Studies

Mandatory

Year 2

Leben und Arbeiten in Deutschland: Introduction to Contemporary Germany

Mandatory

Year 2

Culture and Society in Brazil, Portugal and Portuguese-speaking Africa

Mandatory

Year 2

Reason and its Rivals from Kant to Freud

Mandatory

Year 2

Exploring the German archive: ideology and state in newspaper cuttings and family papers

Mandatory

Year 2

History of the German Language from Early Beginnings to the Present Day

Optional

Year 2

La France en guerre: Memoires de la Premiere Guerre Mondiale

Optional

Year 2

Varieties of French

Optional

Year 2

Nineteenth Century French Narrative

Optional

Year 2

Introduction to Contemporary Science Fiction

Optional

Year 2

Huit Tableaux: Art and Politics in Nineteenth-Century France (1799-1871)

Optional

Year 2

French Cinema: The New Wave

Optional

Year 2

Contemporary Francophone Cinema and Social Issues

Optional

Year 2

On Location: Cinematic Explorations of Contemporary France

Optional

Year 2

Literature and Politics in Modern France

Optional

Year 2

Leben und Arbeiten in Deutschland: Introduction to Contemporary Germany

Optional

Year 2

Reason and its Rivals from Kant to Freud

Optional

Year 2

From Dictatorship to Democracy

Optional

Year 2

History of German language from early beginnings to the present day

Optional

Year 2

Life and Demise of the GDR

Optional

Year 2

Teaching and Learning Foreign Languages

Optional

Year 2

Contemporary Translation Studies

Optional

Year 2

The Language of German Media - Linguistic and Journalistic Perspectives

Optional

Year 2

Introduction to Literary Translation

Optional

Year 2

Nationalist Socialist Germany

Optional

Year 2

Serbian / Croatian 1: Beginners

Optional

Year 2

Serbian / Croatian 2

Optional

Year 2

Gulag Archipelago: Stalin’s Prison Camps

Optional

Year 2

Screening Russia: Film and Society from the Tsars to Putin

Optional

Year 2

War and Peace in Yugoslav Literature

Optional

Year 2

Nation Building and National Identities in the Lusophone World

Optional

Year 2

New World(s): Contacts, Conquests and Conflict in Early Modern Hispanic History and Culture

Optional

Year 2

Modern Spanish and Spanish American Literature and Film

Optional

Year 2

Hispanic Cinemas

Optional

Year 2

Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Optional

Year 2

Work placement

Mandatory

Year 3

Year abroad

Mandatory

Year 4

French 3

Mandatory

Year 4

German 3

Mandatory

Year 4

Russian 3

Mandatory

Year 4

Serbian / Croatian 3

Mandatory

Year 4

Spanish 3

Mandatory

Year 4

Portuguese 3

Mandatory

Year 4

Mandarin Chinese for the Advanced Level

Mandatory

Year 4

Mandarin Chinese for Proficiency Level

Mandatory

Year 4

Mandarin Chinese for Research

Mandatory

Year 4

China in the Media: A Clash of Narratives

Optional

Year 4

Translation into French

Optional

Year 4

Dissertation in French Studies

Optional

Year 4

Subtitling and Dubbing from French into English

Optional

Year 4

Difficult Women

Optional

Year 4

Contemporary Francophone Cinema: The Personal and The Political

Optional

Year 4

Communicating and Teaching Languages for Undergraduate Ambassadors

Optional

Year 4

Citizenship, Ethnicity and National Identity in Post-War France

Optional

Year 4

Contemporary Representations of Travel

Optional

Year 4

French Documentary Cinema

Optional

Year 4

Language Contact and French

Optional

Year 4

Translation from French

Optional

Year 4

Vergangenheitsbewältigung und Nationale Identität: Geschichte und Gedächtnis nach dem Holocaust

Optional

Year 4

Twentieth Century German Theatre: From Avant-garde to Virtual World

Optional

Year 4

Exploring the German archive: ideology and state in newspaper cuttings and family papers

Optional

Year 4

Widerstand und Opposition in der DDR

Optional

Year 4

'Heimat' in the German Cinema

Optional

Year 4

German Studies Dissertation

Optional

Year 4

Russian Interpreting

Optional

Year 4

The World of Orthodox Sainthood

Optional

Year 4

Dissertation in Russian and Slavonic Studies

Optional

Year 4

Serbian / Croatian 2

Optional

Year 4

Serbian / Croatian 3

Optional

Year 4

Brotherhood and Unity: Yugoslavia on Film

Optional

Year 4

Myths and Memories: Histories of Russia's Second World War

Optional

Year 4

Language Project in Russian and Slavonic Studies

Optional

Year 4

Dissertation in Hispanic Studies

Optional

Year 4

Brazilian Slave Society

Optional

Year 4

Portuguese 3

Optional

Year 4

Culture and Society across the Portuguese-speaking World

Optional

Year 4

Business and Society in Spain

Optional

Year 4

Making the Cuban Revolution: Ideology, Culture and Identity in Cuba since 1959

Optional

Year 4

Literature and Film under Franco

Optional

Year 4

Painting in Spain

Optional

Year 4

Translation, Power and Gender in the Spanish-speaking World

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About modules

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer, but is not intended to be construed or relied on as a definitive list of what might be available in any given year. This content was last updated on Wednesday 21 February 2024.

When you begin studying at university, you will probably find that you cover material much more quickly than you did while studying for your A levels. The key to success is preparing well for classes and then taking the ideas you encounter further in your own time.

Lectures – provide an overview of what you are studying, using a variety of audio and visual materials to support your learning.

Seminars and workshops – give you the chance to explore and interact with the material presented in lectures in a friendly and informal environment. You will be taught in a smaller group of students, with discussion focusing on a text or topic you've previously prepared.

Workshops are more practical, perhaps through exploring texts, working with digital materials, or developing presentations.

Tutorials – individual and small-group tutorials let you explore your work with your module tutor, perhaps discussing plans for an essay or presentation, or following up on an area of a module which has interested you.

eLearning – our virtual-learning system, Moodle, offers 24-hour access to teaching materials and resources.

Peer mentoring

All new undergraduate students can opt into our peer mentoring scheme. Your peer mentor will help you settle into life at Nottingham, provide advice on the transition to university-level study and help you access support if needed.  

Class sizes vary depending on topic and type. A lecture may have up to 100 students attending with seminar groups of typically 12 to 20. Most are taught in English with some classes including use of the target language. Language classes are mainly delivered in the language and include oral classes.

The majority of the language teaching you will experience on this degree will be led by native speakers.

Teaching quality

Our staff know that studying complex subjects can sometimes seem challenging (they've all been where you are!). Their contributions to high quality teaching and learning are recognised through our annual Lord Dearing Awards. View the full list of recipients.

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Oral classes
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops

You will be assessed by a wide variety of methods, consisting mainly of coursework and exams, but you may also be tasked with commentaries, dissertations, group work, in-class tests, portfolios and presentations.

Each module has its own methods of assessment and we strive to make these as varied as possible so that everyone can perform to the best of their abilities. When choosing optional modules, you will be able to see how the module is assessed in advance.

Assessment methods

  • Commentary
  • Dissertation
  • Essay
  • In-class test
  • Portfolio (written/digital)
  • Presentation
  • Written exam
  • Oral exam

As well as scheduled teaching you’ll carry out extensive self-study such as preparation for seminars and assessments, as well as language practice. As a guide 20 credits (a typical module) is approximately 200 hours of work (combined teaching and self-study). An average week will have between 12-15 hours of classes.

Studying languages can open up a world of opportunities. From banking to charities and from teaching to MI5, businesses and organisations across the globe seek to employ language specialists.


During this degree you’ll be able to choose from a wide range of modules, allowing you to tailor your studies around personal interests. In doing so you’ll start to identify potential career paths and begin to discover your areas of professional interest.


In addition to language skills, you’ll develop transferable skills highly sought after by employers such as confident communication skills, strict attention to detail and the ability to work within different cultures and organisational styles.


“My [language] studies have helped me to develop excellent communication skills, as well as helping me to hone my reading, writing, listening and speaking skills for both my target languages.  I have also become a much more resilient learner, being able to persevere when things start to get tough and independently solve issues where possible.” Charlotte Allwood , French and Contemporary Chinese Studies BA.


Find out more about careers of Modern Language students

Average starting salary and career progression

78.8% of undergraduates from the Faculty of Arts secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual starting salary for these graduates was £23,974.

HESA Graduate Outcomes (2017 to 2021 cohorts). The Graduate Outcomes % is calculated using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

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.


The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

Undergradute student studying in the George Green library, University Park. November 5th 2021.

Studying more than one language is challenging, but it’s definitely rewarding. The workload is quite heavy, but manageable, and I have plenty of time for extracurriculars. I would say that beginners’ languages require a lot of work, but the pace at which you learn means that you are always engaged and kept interested. I really enjoy splitting my time between the two – I never get bored and there’s always variety in what I’m studying. 

Lucy Cooper

Modern Languages BA (French and Spanish)

Course data