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Course overview

Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. Imagine being able to communicate and connect with people in over 20 countries. Do you want to broaden your horizons professionally, intellectually and culturally?

Through our BA in Hispanic Studies you can immerse yourself in Spanish and Spanish American history and culture through music, literature, film and theatre.

  • If your Spanish is at A-level, you will also learn Portuguese, the gateway to Portugal, Brazil and Lusophone Africa. You can carry on Portuguese to your final year or stop after the second year
  • If you start as a beginner in Spanish or with a GCSE, you can graduate with the same level of fluency as post- A level students

Live the life and culture of Spain and Spanish America (and Portugal and Brazil if you continue with Portuguese) in year three. This exciting experience develops your communication skills, builds your confidence and helps you stand out to future employers. You can teach English in a school or work anywhere in these countries. Or you can study at one of our partner universities. We also have a dedicated Spanish-speaking year abroad officer offering advice and guidance.

Video overview

Dr Jean Andrews and current student Roisin give you an overview of what the course is like and answer questions from applicants. Watch now

Your department

For more information on our teaching, research and what it's like to study with us see the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures website.

Why choose this course?

  • Study as a complete beginner, or from GCSE, and reach degree standard by the end of your course
  • Immerse yourself in the life-changing opportunities of a year abroad, supported by our specialist team
  • Spend your third year studying or working abroad in a Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking country in Europe or Latin America

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level offer ABB
Required subjects

Spanish A level (B minimum) required for the post-A level programme. No Spanish qualification is required for the beginners' pathway

IB score 32; 5 in Spanish at Higher Level or 6 at Standard Level (B Programme) for post-IB pathway

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

If you have already achieved your EPQ at Grade A you will automatically be offered one grade lower in a non-mandatory A level subject.

If you are still studying for your EPQ you will receive the standard course offer, with a condition of one grade lower in a non-mandatory A level subject if you achieve an A grade in your EPQ.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Oral classes
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials

How you will be assessed

This course contains a period of study or work abroad between the third and final year of the degree programme. Students' language skills and cultural understanding are assessed through a mix of presentations and written assignments upon their return to Nottingham.

 

Assessment methods

  • Dissertation
  • Essay
  • In-class test
  • Oral exam
  • Presentation
  • Written exam

Contact time and study hours

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.

Your lecturers will usually be academic staff. Almost all our language teachers are native speakers. Some of our postgraduate students also support teaching after suitable training.

Class sizes vary depending on topic and type. A lecture may have up to 100 students attending with seminar groups of up to 20. Most of your classes will be taught in English, however Language classes and some final year modules will be taught in the target language.

Study abroad

Your third academic year is spent in Spain and/or Spanish America doing one of the following:

  • studying at a university
  • working as a language teaching assistant
  • doing a work placement

Options available to you may depend on the details of the Brexit settlement negotiated by the UK government.

For more information, see:

Placements

Work experience gives you the skills and experience that will allow you to stand out to potential employers and is a crucial part of becoming 'workplace-ready'.

Become 'workplace-ready' with our Work Placement and Employability programme tailor made for students in the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies. It helps you develop skills and experience that allow you to stand out to potential employers.

You also have access to a wide range of work experience and volunteering schemes through the:

Modules

You take Spanish language at beginners or post-A level. Post-A level students also take beginners Portuguese.

Your non-language modules (you choose four) introduce you to the literatures, cultures, history and societies of the Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking worlds. These modules are taught in English and give you an overview Hispanic Studies.

You must successfully complete year 1 but it does not count towards your final degree classification.

You will take 120 credits’ worth of modules as follows:

Core

Either (for the post-A level route):

Spanish 1

This module builds on A level Spanish to consolidate your understanding of grammar, and your ability to comprehend both structures and meanings in a variety of written and aural texts.

You will be guided in using a broader range of discursive strategies in both written and spoken Spanish, and trained in the comprehension of broadcast items, on current affairs and culture, from across the Spanish-speaking world.

Portuguese 1: Beginners

This module aims to introduce you to the basic structures of Portuguese. By the end of the module, you should to be able to comprehend a range of texts on everyday life and current affairs in written Portuguese, conduct effectively a conversation in Portuguese on similar topics, produce written texts covering everyday issues, and understand and respond to spoken Portuguese in a wide variety of situations appropriate for learners at this stage.

Or (for the beginners route):

Spanish 1: Beginners

This module is designed to take you from absolute beginners to a level of written and aural comprehension, writing and speaking skills roughly commensurate with A-level. At the end of the course, you should be able to comprehend and respond to written and aural texts over a comprehensive range of current affairs, cultural and every day topics, and be able to engage in everyday social conversation.

And:

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

This module will introduce you to the cultures and societies of the portuguese-speaking world.

Modern Latin American History

This module aims to introduce you to the main patterns of Latin American political, economic and social history, between Independence in the 1820s and the end of the twentieth century, through a combination of lectures and guided reading and research.

We focus on specific concepts, terminology, events and people, so as to develop an understanding of different perspectives and interpretations of the history in question, and to appreciate the interaction between the ‘political history’ of major events and protagonists in official positions of power, and the ‘social history’ of populations who both contributed to, and were affected by, political change.

You will learn to develop a critical approach to the study of history through a variety of materials; gain an ability to distinguish critically between the particular and the general and to develop the tools for comparative analysis. You will also learn how to research historical sources, and to develop and sustain coherent intellectual argument.

Introduction to Literature in Spanish

This module is designed as a foundation for all later modules covering Spanish and Portuguese literatures.

Its main aims are to:

  • give a general introduction to literature and to the study of literature
  • provide a partial overview of literary writing in the Spanish language
  • introduce some of the key theoretical issues of literary study
  • instil good reading and critical habits.

The main skills tested on this module are:

  • close reading
  • textual analysis
  • seminar participation
  • the ability to write cogent and convincing commentaries and essays.
The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules may change or be updated over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for the latest information on available modules.

In this year, your language classes in Spanish (and Portuguese for post-A level students) are dedicated to giving you the fluency and confidence for work or study during the year abroad. Your non-language modules deepen your awareness of Hispanic and Lusophone cultures and societies.

You have to successfully pass year 2 and is weighted at 33% of your final degree classification.

You will take 120 credits’ worth of modules as follows:

Core

Either (for the post-A level route):

Spanish 2

This module builds on grammatical knowledge and communication skills developed in Spanish 1, and aims to prepare you to function effectively in a university or work situation in a Spanish-speaking country.

Written classes focus on developing essay writing skills in Spanish, using a range of texts from Spanish and Spanish American sources as stimuli. Special attention is given to developing complex sentence structures and rhetorical devices. Laboratory classes use a full range of contemporary audio-visual materials to develop aural comprehension and conversational ability in Spanish.

Portuguese 2: Beginners
This module aims to consolidate the achievements of Portuguese 1 – Beginners, and to prepare students to be able to function effectively in a university or work situation in a Portuguese-speaking country. On completion of the module, awareness of grammar and sentence structure is improved, and vocabulary broadened. Listening comprehension exercises develop the ability to comprehend Portuguese spoken at authentic speed, and oral classes enable students to build up fluency and confidence in spoken communication. There is also an emphasis on learning the language through the study of Portuguese and Brazilian cultures.

Or (for the beginners route):

Spanish 2: Beginners
This module builds on knowledge and skills developed in Beginners’ Spanish. It aims to consolidate students' understanding of grammar, and their ability to comprehend both structures and meanings in a variety of written texts, journalistic and otherwise, in preparation for university or work on their Year Abroad. The written, oral and laboratory classes all combine revision of grammar with intensive exposure to a variety of types and registers of written and spoken Spanish, concentrating on  appropriate thematic areas. Students are encouraged to broaden their range of discursive strategies in both written and spoken Spanish and are trained in the comprehension of broadcast items on current affairs.
Portuguese 1: Beginners

This module aims to introduce you to the basic structures of Portuguese. By the end of the module, you should to be able to comprehend a range of texts on everyday life and current affairs in written Portuguese, conduct effectively a conversation in Portuguese on similar topics, produce written texts covering everyday issues, and understand and respond to spoken Portuguese in a wide variety of situations appropriate for learners at this stage.

Optional

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 (eg Pablo Picasso). It is structured around key literary and artistic movements from Spain and Spanish America from the early 19th century to the late 20th century, such as Romanticism, Realism, Symbolism, the Avant-garde, and Modernism.

We focus on reading literary and visual texts of the period in relation to the socio-economic and political context of Spain’s and Spanish America’s rapid, but hugely uneven, modernisation. Individual novels, plays, films, paintings or poems are used to exemplify and explore particular movements and historical moments.

You will develop skills in close analysis of complex texts, an understanding of some of the major directions of Spain and Spanish American literature in the 20th century, and the ability to relate texts studied to historico-cultural contexts.

Nation Building and National Identities in the Lusophone World

If you are studying Portuguese, this modules gives you an introduction to some of the major texts of the Portuguese-speaking world. The commonality of language derives from the colonial experiences of the Portuguese Empire, which resonate through the cultures from the sixteenth century to the twentieth century.

We will examine the ways in which ideas of nationhood and national identity have been expressed and constructed through the cultures of the Lusophone world. The texts studied explore the ways in which cultural production (through the arts) is embedded in the formation of nationhood and ideas about national identity. Culture is therefore examined through and in its political and historical context. The module will address questions of nationalism and identity as expressed through language, race and place, as well as issues relating to globalisation.

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

This module provides an introduction to art and culture in early modern Spain, Portugal and their Empires. It looks at painting from the mid-fifteenth century, beginning in Portugal where voyages of ‘discovery’ were well under way, and ending in late eighteenth-century Mexico.

The module also balances historical study of key events and developments with readings of political writings, travelogues, literature, and visual culture so as to broaden your understanding both of the history of political and cultural relations across the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking worlds, and of the context of these in global geo-politics and the economy.

Hispanic Cinemas

This module will provide a general introduction to cinema in the Hispanic and Lusophone world. The first semester will examine contemporary cinema from Spain and Latin America addressing questions of style, form, socio-historical context and narrative content. The films will be available with English subtitles. The second semester will examine Lusophone cinema from Portugal, Brazil and Africa.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules may change or be updated over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for the latest information on available modules.

Your third academic year is spent in Spain and/or Spanish America doing one of the following:

  • studying at a university
  • working as a language teaching assistant
  • doing a work placement

If you intend to carry on with Portuguese after year two you may also spend the year in Portugal and/or Brazil.

Options available to you may depend on the details of the Brexit settlement negotiated by the UK government.

For more information, see:

We do not assess you while you are on the year abroad. You will have assessments in Spanish (and Portuguese) language at the beginning of the Year Four. These count as part of your Year Four assessment.

This year is your opportunity to develop the language skills you built up on the Year Abroad. Beginners can reach the same degree standard as non-beginners. In addition, you can take specialist modules based on the research we are currently doing. These modules are taught in small groups in English.

Your assessment results in year 4 is weighted at 67% of your final degree classification.

Core

Spanish 3

This module capitalises on the progress made in colloquial and informal language skills during your year abroad, and trains you in a more formal, sophisticated register of spoken and written Spanish.

It uses stimulus texts from a broad range of authentic sources to impart understanding of how texts are put together, and to build up your knowledge of, and confidence in, this register, thus enabling production of written and spoken Spanish of maximum clarity and strength of argumentation.

And for students who carry on with Portuguese into year four:

Portuguese 3
This module, like Spanish 3, capitalizes on the progress achieved during the Year Abroad. It enhances and reinforces grammatical competence, and emphasises use of a more formal and sophisticated register of vocabulary and idiom, and more advanced syntax. Students are expected to discuss a range of topics in written and spoken Portuguese employing complex sentence structure, vocabulary and intellectual content.

Optional

Literature and Film under Franco

This module aims to further develop your knowledge of 20th century Spanish history, literature and film gained at levels 1 and 2. It familiarizes you with the context and circumstances in which filmic and literary texts were produced under Franco, thereby developing awareness of generic conventions in both literature and film, and perfecting skills in close textual analysis.

The module imparts a solid knowledge of the Francoist régime and of the literature and film produced at this time, plus an understanding of the conditions for cultural production under the Dictatorship.

By the module’s conclusion, you will have gained a good command of the concepts and vocabulary required to analyse literary and filmic texts, a capacity for close reading and textual analysis, as well as seminar-presentation skills and research and essay-writing skills.

Thinking the Revolution: Ideology, Education and Culture in Cuba Since 1959

This module assesses Cuba’s revolutionary change since 1959, through an examination of its evolving ideology. The module is structured both chronologically and thematically so as to review the critical factors – nationalism, dependency, radicalism and leadership – shaping developments from the original rebellion up to the present day.

We focus on the role of education policies, and the ways in which a ‘cultural revolution’ was fundamental to the socialisation process of, and popular participation in (or dissent from) the Revolution. This study will inform conclusions about both the meaning of ‘ideology’ within the context of the Revolution, and the international geo-political significance of Cuba's self-definition and evolution.

Brazilian Slave Society

This module aims to provide you with an understanding of the centrality of the history of slavery in the study of Brazil, and of the significance of Brazilian slavery in both the transatlantic slave systems, and slave societies across the Americas.

In the process, you will learn to recognise and use the different historical approaches, tools and skills employed in the historiography of slavery studies, and in social history in general, and to incorporate them into their own analyses of aspects of Brazilian slave society.

Business and Society in Spain

In this module you will learn to devise and develop projects and teaching methods appropriate to engage the age and ability group they are working with. The module enables you to gain confidence in communicating your subject, develop strong organisational and interpersonal skills, and to understand how to address the needs of individuals.

Dissertation in Hispanic Studies

This module aims to provide you with the training necessary to be able to engage independently, under the guidance of a supervisor, in self-directed research on a topic that the student selects on the basis of an aspect of your Year Abroad experience.

Through a series of one-on-one tutorials, and the submission of a proposal, a literary review, and chapter draft, the student is advised on how to sustain an argument over up to 7,000 words, and how to underpin this argument with appropriate and innovative research.

Politics and Literature in Contemporary Spain

The module aims to impart understanding of the interfaces between literature and politics, by studying the articulation of key social and political issues and aesthetics in contemporary Spanish cultural artefacts.

We discuss the status of literary writing in late capitalism, concentrating on how contemporary ‘Hispanic’ authors have dealt with issues of language, identity, culture, society, nationhood, gender, class, memory, time and writing.

We also explore debates regarding the consistency of the categories of ‘Spain’ and ‘Spanishness’ when analysing cultural production in contemporary Iberia, and assesses the competing discursive practices involved in remapping the notion of Spanish canonical literature at the beginning of the new millennium.

Spanish American Narrative and Film

This module looks at key 20th-century Spanish American novels and short stories and considers issues such as race, gender, sexuality and the conflict of cultures. You will be trained in using a broad range of tools of narrative and rhetorical analysis so as to engage in debates about literary representation and aesthetics, and will hone their use of these through a programme of research tasks, seminar presentations, group discussions, and written assignments.

Communicating and Teaching Languages for Undergraduate Ambassadors

In this module students learn to devise and develop projects and teaching methods appropriate to engage the age and ability group they are working with. The module enables students to gain confidence in communicating their subject, develop strong organisational and interpersonal skills, and to understand how to address the needs of individuals.

Painting in Spain

This module will offer a panorama of painting in Spain from the late 16th century to the late 19th century taking in four themes: portraiture, history and genre painting, religion, and mythology and myths.

Artists covered will include Domenikos Theotocópoulos, Diego de Silva y Velázquez, Jusepe de Ribera and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo from the Spanish Golden Age and Francisco de Goya, Vicente López, Martín Rico and Marià Fortuny from the 19th century.

You will have the opportunity to study other painters in the preparation of assessments throughout the year. There will be an emphasis on designing exhibitions and on understanding the paintings both within the context of art history and the history and cultures of Spain.

Literature and Films, Conflict and Post-Conflicts

We will address the way in which film and literature have reflected, resisted, interrogated, and remembered the socio-political violence and conflicts that have shaped the 20th and 21st centuries so far in Europe (emphasis on the Iberian Peninsula) and Latin America (including Brazil).

The module adopts a comparative approach which focuses on the formal experiments and common preoccupations of filmmakers and writers across different national cultures and historical contexts (translations and subtitles will be provided when required). It will discuss questions on authoritarianism, confronting colonial and neo-colonial practices, racial and class inequality and social injustice, gender and sexuality, living on with the legacies of past traumas.

You may expect to discuss works by writers such as Roberto Bolaño, Ruben Fonseca, Alejandro Zambra, Mariana Enríquez, Clarice Lispector and Fernando Pessoa. Feature films and documentaries by Alfonso Cuarón, Pedro Almodóvar, Kleber Mendonça Filho, Claudia Llosa, Patricio Guzmán and Susana de Sousa Dias will also be discussed.

Culture and Society across the Portuguese-speaking World

This module uses a 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 cultures in the long 20th century (roughly, from 1880 to the present). Approaches to these set texts will introduce, and equip you to evaluate, a history of changing conceptions both of racial, ethnic, sexual, and class identity.

The module will explore how shifts in social taxonomies and conceptions of community and difference relate both to scientific and philosophical discoveries and innovations and to the changing political and socio-economic structures of Portugal and the African territories formerly subject to Portuguese colonial rule. It will also provide an introduction to the study of the concept of identity itself, and of the interrogation, by psychoanalysis and post-structuralist thinking, of preconceptions of either individual or collective identities as stable and unitary. 

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules may change or be updated over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for the latest information on available modules.

Fees and funding

UK students

£9,250
Per year

International students

£19,000*
Per year
*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2021/22 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

Fees and funding

There are no extra compulsory fees to be paid beyond your standard tuition fees. You'll be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to buy your own copies of core texts.

For voluntary placements (such as work experience or teaching in schools) you will need to pay your own travel and subsistence.

Year Abroad

Reduced fees (subject to change)

As a Year Abroad student, you will pay reduced fees, currently set at:

  • Home/EU students: £1,385
  • International: 50% of the relevant international fee

Costs incurred during the year abroad

These vary from country to country, but always include:

  • travel
  • accommodation
  • subsistence
  • insurance

Depending on the country visited you may also have to pay for:

  • visa
  • vaccinations
  • self-funded language courses
  • additional administration fees and study supplies in the host country or organisation

There are a number of sources of funding:

  • Student Finance Loan
  • Means-tested travel grant
  • University of Nottingham bursaries and scholarships

Your access to funding depends on:

  • the course you are taking
  • your residency status
  • where you live in term time
  • your household income

You may be able to work or teach during your year abroad. This will be dependent on your course and country-specific regulations. Often students receive a small salary or stipend for these work placements. Working or teaching is not permitted in all countries.

For more information please contact our Year Abroad Officers.

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 £1,000 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

We offer a range of Undergraduate Excellence Awards for high-achieving international and EU scholars from countries around the world, who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers. This includes our European Union Undergraduate Excellence Award for EU students and our UK International Undergraduate Excellence Award for international students based in the UK.

These scholarships cover a contribution towards tuition fees in the first year of your course. Candidates must apply for an undergraduate degree course and receive an offer before applying for scholarships. Check the links above for full scholarship details, application deadlines and how to apply.

Careers

You will have acquired a high level of competence in Spanish and Portuguese (if applicable) and will have the ability to use them in complex contexts. You will have a broad knowledge of Hispanic and Portuguese-speaking cultures, and an in-depth understanding of the topics you have chosen to focus on. Your year abroad will have shown you are adaptable and independent.

Find out more about skills gained and career destinations of modern language students.

Average starting salary and career progression

76.7% of undergraduates from the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary was £22,668*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived 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).

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" Aside from the absolutely stunning campus here at Nottingham, my decision to study Modern Foreign Languages here was made easy by the calibre of the academic staff that make up the department, the wide range of modules that I would be studying, and the stellar feedback from the students before me – which I am delighted to now be able to contribute towards. The level of support they are willing to give is outstanding, both academically and personally, and this extends beyond the department to the other teams dedicated to our wellbeing, including our year abroad team. "
Kirsty Horsfall, BA Hispanic Studies

Related courses

The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2017-18

Disclaimer

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.