Triangle

Course overview

Do you have a passion for translation? Are you looking for a career in translation or interpreting?

This course offers you the opportunity to study one or two languages to degree level and gain practical experience in translation and interpreting. Study one language from post A level and opt to add another either as post A level or beginner.

This course has a strong vocational focus and provides insights into practical and technical translation and interpreting. We model our translation assignments on real-life situations and you will complete at least one translation project for an external organisation.

The exciting experience of the year abroad develops your communication skills, builds your confidence and helps you stand out to future employers. You can teach English in a school or study at one of our partner universities. However, we encourage you to work for a translation company to further develop your practical translation skills.

We offer the following language options:

  • Study one language post-A level: French, German, Spanish or Russian
  • Study two languages post-A level: French, German, Spanish or Russian
  • Study one language post A-level plus one new language from beginners' level:
    • Post-A level language: French, German, Spanish or Russian
    • Beginners': French, German, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese or Serbian/Croatian

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?

Year abroad

Spend a year abroad immersing yourself in your chosen language(s) and culture(s)

Wide module range

Tailor the course to your personal interests or career aspirations through our wide selection of modules

Build a portfolio

Produce a portfolio of translation works to gain a step ahead in the job market

Beginners welcome!

Study a second foreign language from beginner level

Industry insight

Be taught by staff who have practical experience of working in the translation industry

A great track record

100% of our class of 2020 graduated with a 1st or 2:1 degree classification

UoN student outcomes data, Annual Monitoring (QDS) Analyses 2020

Great teaching

92% of students on this course agreed that staff have made the subject interesting

OfS National Student Survey 2021


Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level ABB - including B in one of: French, German, Russian or Spanish
Required subjects

B in one of: French, German, Russian or Spanish

IB score 32, including 5 at Higher Level or 6 at Standard Level (B Programme) in French, German, Russian or Spanish

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.

Foundation progression options

You can also access this course through our Foundation Year. This may be suitable if you have faced educational barriers and are predicted BCC at A level.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

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

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.

Teaching Quality

Our staff know that learning languages can sometimes seem challenging (they've all been where you are!) and take pride in their teaching.

  • 92% of our class of 2019 graduated with a 1st or 2:1 degree classification (read more)
  • Modern Languages academics have been awarded seven Lord Dearing Awards in the last five years. These recognise outstanding student learning and are based on nominations from students and other academics.

Lord Dearing Winners: Erica Brasil, Pierre-Alexis Mével, Heike Bartel, Jose Rino Soares, Tara Webster-Deakin, Marilena Minoia, Manuel Lagares Alonso

If you have worries about your work we won't wait for them to become problems. You'll have a personal tutor who will review your academic progress and help find solutions to any issues.

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Oral classes
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops

How you will be assessed

Following your year abroad your improved language skills and improved cultural understanding shall be assessed through a mix of presentations and written assignments.

Assessment methods

  • Commentary
  • Dissertation
  • Essay
  • In-class test
  • Portfolio (written/digital)
  • Presentation
  • Written exam
  • Oral 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 to 15 hours of classes.

Study 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. We encourage our students to work at a translation company wherever possible to build up relevant experience and skills for a future career in translation.

We’re dedicated to ensuring that your Year Abroad runs as smoothly as possible and have university staff to provide you with support whilst you are overseas.

For more information see; Year abroad options in the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

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:

What is a year abroad like?

Cassie gives us the lowdown on what a year abroad is like for a languages student.

Modules

Our first-year core modules are designed as an introduction. This means that we will build everyone's knowledge to the same level, so you can progress through to year two.

You will take 120 credits worth of modules, 40 credits of which will be core translation modules. These will focus on introducing key concepts in translation and interpreting as well as language and linguistics. You must take these modules in (one of) your post-A level language(s).

Your remaining 80 credits are split as follows:

Pathway 1: One post-A level language
You will take 20 credits of core language modules, 20 credits of core introductory subject specific modules, and an additional 40 credits of optional modules in the appropriate subject area.

Pathway 2: Two post-A level languages
You will take 20 credits of core language modules and 20 credits of core introductory modules in each of your chosen languages subject areas.

Pathway 3: One post-A level and one beginners' language
You will take 20 credits of core language modules and 20 credits of core introductory modules in your post-A level language, and 40 credits of core language modules in your beginners' language.

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

Translation-related core modules

Introduction to Translating and Interpreting Studies
This module tackles myths about translation and interpreting and will also provide an insight into key issues in translation studies by allowing you to reflect on what translation and interpreting activities involve (accuracy, fluency, freedom, machine-translation, ethics). You’ll also be introduced to translation and interpreting issues in relation to different genres/topical matters, such as machine-translation, allowing the introduction of technological tools for translators and careers in translation and interpreting.  The module will involve different collaborative projects as a way of preparing you for work in the translation/interpreting industry.
Exploring Language and Linguistics
The purpose of this module is to introduce students to issues which will give them a better understanding of the study of a foreign language and of translating between languages. It provides an introduction to the design features of language, as well as to basic notions of several subfields of Linguistics, including phonetics and phonology, morphology, syntax, language acquisition and psycholinguistics.
Language Meaning, Variation and Change

This module introduces you to the functional aspects of language. We focus primarily on the relationships between language and society and cover areas such as historical and stylistic change; social and regional diversity; as well as concepts drawn from semantics and linguistic pragmatics.

French and Francophone core modules

You will take core language modules appropriate to your level (either French 1 or French 1 for beginners)

Introduction to French & Francophone Studies

This is the starting point for your French Studies journey at Nottingham. Having studied French at A level you’ll already have a good command of the language but now it’s time to go deeper. Together we’ll explore a variety of topics to help you develop a fuller understanding of the history and cultures of France and the Francophone world. These topics may include linguistics, politics, history, thought, literature, media, visual culture and cinema.

You’ll study a range of different texts, images and film, through which we’ll help you develop the core study skills necessary for studying this subject at degree level, such as close reading, essay writing, commentary writing, bibliographical and referencing skills, and visual analysis.

French 1

Welcome to French at the University of Nottingham — this is where your journey to fluency will really begin to take off!

Designed for students who have completed an A level (or equivalent) in the language, this module will support you to improve in all the key areas of language acquisition: reading, writing, listening and speaking.

We'll support you to continue growing your language abilities, improving your speaking, comprehension and grammar usage through a wide range of source materials and lively classroom conversations.

You'll also become more culturally aware of the countries that make up the Francophone world and get a better understanding of their varying current affairs and culture.

French 1: Beginners

Welcome to French at the University of Nottingham — this is where your journey to fluency shall begin!

Designed for students who have little or no prior knowledge of the language, this intensive study module will support you to develop in all the key areas of language acquisition: reading, writing, listening, speaking and grammatical competence.

We'll use a set text book, but to keep the classes engaging and interesting, we'll also use a variety of contemporary texts which may include literature, newspapers, websites and audio recordings.

You'll also become more culturally aware of the countries that make up the French-speaking world and get a better understanding of their varying current affairs and culture.

French and Francophone optional modules

Contemporary France

On this module, you will focus on a selection of themes that explore the distinctive social and political landscape of contemporary France: French political institutions, with particular emphasis on the presidency; political parties in France; and immigration and questions of identity.

A close analysis of these themes will provide you with a general understanding of contemporary French society and institutions. In more specific terms, you will begin to explore the ways in which France is faced with the challenge of adapting its republican traditions to a changing world.

France: History and Identity

This module aims to introduce you to the course of French history since the French Revolution through the study of a series of historical figures, including Olympe de Gouges, Toussaint Louverture, Napoleon Bonaparte, George Sand and Charles de Gaulle. You will look at the way in which their 'stories' have been written and woven into the fabric of 'le roman de la nation', and how they have been appropriated to serve a range of different ends. It will also introduce you to the iconography of the French historical landscape. This module is worth 10 credits.

Introduction to French Literature: Representations of Paris

This module aims to introduce you to the comparative study of literature and culture, focusing in particular on how the city of Paris is represented in a range of texts (poetic, narrative and filmic) in the modern period (post-1800). You will learn reading techniques adapted to different genres and media, and representations of the city will be considered within their broader social, historical and political context.

Introduction to French Literature: Landmarks in Narrative

This module aims to introduce you to the comparative study of literature and culture, focusing in particular on how the city of Paris is represented in a range of texts (poetic, narrative and filmic) in the modern period (post-1800).

You will learn reading techniques adapted to different genres and media, and representations of the city will be considered within their broader social, historical and political context.

More French and Francophone optional modules

German core modules

You will take core language modules appropriate to your level (either German 1 or German 1 Beginners)

Introduction to German Studies

This is the core module for first-year students of German. We look at the history of German and introduce you to the linguistic study of the language. We also explore a range of themes and styles in German literature linked to key areas of German and Austrian culture (such as gender relations, migration and race).

Further topics address the study of German film, and German history with a focus on recent history since German reunification in 1990. The module gives you an insight into the different areas we teach and also the skills to explore these areas in more depth in subsequent modules.

German 1

Designed for students with an A level in German, this module will build on the skills you already have and get you started on your exciting journey towards degree-level German.

We'll be using structured course materials and textbooks but believe it's important to use as many 'real life' examples as possible, so we'll be looking at magazines, websites and television programmes as well.

In class you'll work on all the key language skills: reading comprehension, grammar, listening exercises, speaking skills, translation exercises and writing texts such as essays and summaries.

At the end of the module you'll have made significant progress with understanding written and spoken German in a variety of contexts. You'll also be able to write essays on a contemporary social issue and conduct a discussion of an academic topic in German.

German 1: Beginners

This is where it all begins. Designed for absolute beginners (those with GCSE German are also welcome), this module is going to get you started on your exciting journey towards German fluency.

From the very first session, you'll be immersed in the German language. We use a structured course following a textbook but believe it's important to use as much 'real life' material as possible, so we'll be looking at real German articles and websites right from the beginning.

In class you'll work on all the key language skills: reading comprehension, grammar, listening exercises, speaking skills, and writing short texts such as emails and essays.

At the end of the module you'll have made significant progress with understanding written German in a variety of everyday contexts, and you'll also be able to engage in social conversation.

German optional modules

Hitler and the Third Reich

Although the Third Reich is very well researched, it still raises many questions: How could Adolf Hitler gain so much power? How could a whole nation ‘fall’ for the Nazi ideology? Why the Jews? In this module we will discuss and research Nazi politics as well as its society and culture. We will consider propaganda, the press, youth and women’s organisations, as well as the role of films, art and literature. Theoretical writings on fascist ideology will provide us with relevant background knowledge and we will work with original German materials such as documents, newspapers, photos, posters, films and speeches.

Deutschland Heute

This module studies the development of Germany (including the former German Democratic Republic) since the Second World War. We will focus particularly on the political, economic and social changes after reunification; political institutions in contemporary Germany; current debates in German society, education and media; and aspects of German culture.

Reading German History: Nation and Society

This module offers an introduction to the study of German history based on issues surrounding nationhood at key points from the nineteenth to the early twentieth century. We will examine the emergence and development of the great political ideologies of liberalism, conservatism and socialism that shaped German state and society throughout this period.

Through the study of relevant primary sources, the module focuses on the revolutionary changes and constitutional settlements experienced in modern German history at three key stages of national political development: the 1848 Revolution, National Unification in 1871 and the Revolution of 1918/19 that gave birth to the Weimar Republic in 1919.

Reading German Literature II

This module introduces you to three key pieces of theatre in German, all of which challenge prevailing social, political and aesthetic norms.

We will read the following:

  • Georg Büchner, Woyzeck (1837)
  • Frank Wedekind, Frühlings Erwachen (1891);
  • Bertolt Brecht, Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder (1939).

Lectures will provide historical background and outline approaches to interpreting the plays, and essay tutorials will develop your essay writing technique. In seminar classes we will discuss critical approaches to the plays.

Sex, Gender and Society in Modern Germany

This module focuses on three periods in the history of the German-speaking lands: first, the emergence of modern bourgeois gender roles in the nineteenth century & the women’s movement around 1848; second, the fin-de-siècle, with a particular focus on gender and sexuality in Viennese society; finally the Weimar Republic, exploring the myth and reality of the so-called ‘New Woman’. Drawing on a range of political, theoretical and literary texts and visual material, we consider the interrelation between social and economic developments, gender roles and concepts of masculinity and femininity.

More German optional modules

Russian and Slavonic core modules

You will take core language modules appropriate to your level (either Russian 1 or Russian 1: Beginners).

From Tsarism to Communism: Introduction to Russian History and Culture

In the early sixteenth century, Muscovy was a large but precarious state on the fringes of Europe, characterised by absolute monarchy, an official religion, crude economic and administrative systems, disgruntled ethnic minorities and an impoverished peasantry. Four hundred years later, following rapid expansion, enforced westernisation, industrialisation, a world war and a revolution, everything had changed for Russia … or had it?

This year-long module provides an introduction to the forces that have shaped modern Russia, starting with the first tsar, Ivan the Terrible, through the end of the New Economic Policy. In addition to political and social history, there is a significant focus on culture and the study of primary sources.

This module is an option for those who are studying Russian or East European Cultural Studies.

Russian 1

We'll take your A level Russian skills and support you towards becoming fluent by the end of your degree and this module is where it all begins! Designed for students who have an A Level in Russian, we'll identify any gaps in your knowledge and help you improve in that area.

Using examples from newspapers, short stories, websites and television we'll take your studies outside of the textbook and explore 'real' Russian in its natural environment.

Through classroom conversations and written exercises, you'll become more confident in your language skills and gain the ability to start tackling increasingly complex subject areas.

Russian 1: Beginners

This is where it all begins. Designed for absolute beginners (those with GCSE Russian are also welcome!), this module will get you started on your exciting journey towards Russian fluency.

From the very first session, you'll be immersed in the Russian language. We believe it's important to use as much 'real life' material as possible, so we'll be looking at real Russian articles and websites right from the beginning. You'll work on all the key language skills: reading/listening comprehension, grammar, oral, and written.

We'll also explore the culture and society of the Russian-speaking world through a variety of contemporary texts such as newspapers/magazines, websites and video.

At the end of the module you'll have made significant progress and be able to understand Russian in a variety of everyday contexts and you'll feel confident to engage in social conversation.

Russian and Slavonic optional modules

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

This year-long module is an introduction to Balkan history and Balkan cultural studies, covering the cultural history of the South Slavs and the legacy of empires in this region since antiquity – the Hellanistic Empire, the Roman Empire, Byzantium, the Ottoman Empire, the Habsburg Empire, Venice, France and Russia.

By focusing on the visual cultures of the three key religious traditions – Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and Islam – the module explores the common features and differences in alphabet, architecture, sculpture and painting across the region. The topics covered include the imperial border, army structure, types of conquest, capital and peripheries, client states and demographic policies.

The module will develop your understanding of how living under empires informed the self-understanding of Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks and other South Slav nations. This module is an option for those studying Russian or East European Cultural Studies.

The Soviet Experiment

Understanding the impact of the Soviet era is vital in order to understand 21st century Russia and the other former Soviet states. This short and turbulent period of history brought about profound transformations in culture and society.

In this module you will uncover the politics, society and culture of the Soviet Union from the 1917 October Revolution up to its fall in 1991. In lectures, we look at the political and social changes that led to the development of institutions, environment and culture that even today we recognise as ‘Soviet’. Topic-based seminars will focus on texts, visual culture, films and other sources and give you insights into the experiences and thoughts of those who lived through this time, including revolutionaries and writers, collective farm workers and cosmonauts, Communist Party loyalists and dissidents.

If you are studying Russian or East European Cultural Studies, this module is available as a year-long option.

From Tsarism to Communism: Introduction to Russian History and Culture

In the early sixteenth century, Muscovy was a large but precarious state on the fringes of Europe, characterised by absolute monarchy, an official religion, crude economic and administrative systems, disgruntled ethnic minorities and an impoverished peasantry. Four hundred years later, following rapid expansion, enforced westernisation, industrialisation, a world war and a revolution, everything had changed for Russia … or had it?

This year-long module provides an introduction to the forces that have shaped modern Russia, starting with the first tsar, Ivan the Terrible, through the end of the New Economic Policy. In addition to political and social history, there is a significant focus on culture and the study of primary sources.

This module is an option for those who are studying Russian or East European Cultural Studies.

Serbian / Croatian 1: Beginners

Welcome to learning Serbian/Croatian. This course is designed for absolute beginners (we also welcome those with a little knowledge) and will take you to intermediate level by the end of the year.

In class you'll cover different points of grammar and vocabulary through everyday situations. We'll guide you through basic case and verb patterns, building up to more complex grammatical points like modal verbs and verbal aspect.

But we won't only be looking at grammar! Once you have the foundations of the language in place, we'll use your new skills to explore aspects of daily and cultural life. We'll be using structured course materials and textbooks, but we'll also learn how to use everyday language to ensure you have the skills to use Serbian/Croatian in real life.

More Russian and Slavonic optional modules

Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American core modules

You will take core language modules appropriate to your level (either Spanish 1 or Spanish 1: Beginners)

Literature in Spanish

This module is designed as a foundation for all later modules covering Spanish and Portuguese literatures. The main aims of this module are to give you a general introduction to literature and the study of literature, while providing you with a partial overview of literary writing in the Spanish language. As well as to introduce some of the key theoretical issues of literary study and instil good reading and critical habits. Through this you will be tested on your skills in close reading, textual analysis, seminar participation and the ability to write cogent and convincing commentaries and essays. This module is worth 20 credits.

Spanish 1

Welcome to Spanish at the University of Nottingham — this is where your journey to Spanish fluency shall really begin to take off!

Designed for students who have completed an A level in the language, this module will support you to improve in all the key areas of language acquisition: reading, writing, listening and speaking. To keep the classes interesting and relevant we'll use a wide range of source material from newspapers, audio-visual content and websites.

Through this, not only will your speaking and comprehension skills improve, but also your grammar usage and ability to understand the language in different contexts.

You'll also become more culturally aware of the countries that make up the Spanish-speaking world and get a better understanding of their varying current affairs and cultures.

Spanish 1: Beginners

Welcome to Spanish at the University of Nottingham — this is where your journey to Spanish fluency begins!

Designed for students who have little or no prior experience of the language, this module will support you as you develop all the key areas of language acquisition: reading, writing, listening and speaking. To keep the classes interesting and relevant we'll use a wide range of source material from newspapers, audio-visual content and websites.

Through this, not only will your speaking and comprehension skills improve, but also your grammar usage and ability to understand the language in different contexts. By the end of this module, you'll be able to read basic texts, follow everyday conversations and engage in social conversation.

You'll also become more culturally aware of the countries that make up the Spanish-speaking world and get a better understanding of their varying current affairs and cultures.

Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American optional modules

Modern Latin American History

Through a combination of lectures, guided reading and research you'll explore the main patterns of Latin American political, economic and social history, between independence in the 1820s and the end of the twentieth century.

We'll focus on specific concepts, terminology, events and people, so as to develop an understanding of different perspectives and interpretations of the history in question. We'll also encourage you 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 between the particular and the general and to develop the tools for comparative analysis.

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.

Portuguese 1: Beginners

Aimed at total beginners (or those with a little knowledge) this lively module will lay the foundations for your Portuguese language skills. Right from the first class we'll help you feel confident in gaining the key skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking.

We appreciate the importance of using interesting, relevant materials to aid your learning and will make use of a range of texts covering subjects from everyday life to current affairs. This way you will not only learn the Portuguese language, but also cultures from the lusophone world.

By the end of the module you will have the ability to understand spoken Portuguese, produce written texts and participate in conversations.

Literature in Spanish

This module is designed as a foundation for all later modules covering Spanish and Portuguese literatures. The main aims of this module are to give you a general introduction to literature and the study of literature, while providing you with a partial overview of literary writing in the Spanish language. As well as to introduce some of the key theoretical issues of literary study and instil good reading and critical habits. Through this you will be tested on your skills in close reading, textual analysis, seminar participation and the ability to write cogent and convincing commentaries and essays. This module is worth 20 credits.

More Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American optional modules

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 (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, 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 information on available modules. This content was last updated on Saturday 18 December 2021.

You will take 120 credits worth of modules, 40 credits of which will be core translation modules. You must take these modules in (one of) your post-A level language(s).

Your remaining 80 credits are split as follows:

Pathway 1: One post-A level language
You will take 20 credits of core language modules and an additional 60 credits of optional modules in the appropriate subject area.

Pathway 2: Two post-A level languages
You will take 20 credits of core language modules and 20 credits of optional modules in each of your chosen languages' subject areas.

Pathway 3: One post-A level and one beginners' language
You will take 20 credits of core language modules and 20 credits of optional modules in your post-A level and beginners' language.

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

Translation-related core modules

Contemporary Translation Studies

Explore possible career avenues and gain practical experience in this interesting module which will show you how to apply your language learning to translation.

You'll gain a good understanding of the key concepts of translation theory, including equivalence, text type and skopos alongside linguistic theories such as register and relevance.

With these theories under your belt, you'll be guided through their application to your own translations. We'll work on the translation of a variety of texts to help you strengthen and embed your new skills.

Translation Portfolio
In this module you will be required to build up a portfolio of translations of different text types, including technical/scientific, legal and journalistic texts. Through the practices of translation and editing, you’ll improve your language skills, gain a better understanding of the cultural and linguistic complexities of the translation process, and learn how to research terminology in specialist subject domains. Where possible, one or more of the assignments will be a real-life pro bono assignment or linked to an internship. You will have a 2-hour introductory session for each part of the portfolio and will be supervised individually or in small groups for the remainder of the module.

French and Francophone core modules

You will take core language modules appropriate to your level (either French 2 or French 2: Beginners).

French 2 (Beginners)

This module will build on the language and cultural skills developed in last year's beginners' classes. Over the year we'll take you to the next level so that by the end of the module you'll be ready to spend time living in a French-speaking country.

We'll further develop your reading, listening, summary, translation and communication skills, building your confidence so that you feel happy working or studying abroad during year three.

French 2

This module will build on the French language and cultural skills you developed in year one and get you started on your exciting journey towards degree-level French. We're going to take your language skills to the next level and by the end of this module you'll be ready to spend time living in a French-speaking country.

We'll push you to improve your confidence in reading comprehension, listening comprehension and oral skills. In addition to this you'll get the opportunity to develop your French writing skills through a variety of tasks such as creative writing, summary writing and even resume writing. You'll also practice translation activities, allowing you to prepare for being immersed into the language next year.

We'll keep your studies interesting and relevant by using a variety of contemporary texts including journalistic articles and audio-visual clips.

French and Francophone optional modules

French Cinema: The New Wave

The module is designed to introduce you to this particular period of French cinema by offering a detailed study of the New Wave of the late 1950s and early 1960s, focusing in particular on the films of Godard, Truffaut, Resnais and Chabrol.

As the module will show, New Wave film-makers often employed a variety of new and challenging formal techniques in order to make films that reflected an emergent, modern, iconoclastic sensibility in post-war France. For these reasons, the module combines a contextual approach with introductory teaching in film analysis.

Contemporary Francophone Cinema and Social Issues

This module engages in a detailed analysis of four recent Francophone films that deal with contemporary social issues and institutions: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, L’Enfant (2005); Jacques Audiard, Un prophète (2009); Thomas Lilti, Hippocrate (2014); Stéphane Brizé, La loi du marché (2015). It focuses on the way in which the films present characters in a social context. The module looks at the ways in which these characters are subject to economic forces, interact with institutions, and function as members of social groups. The films are analysed from a formal perspective, considering the ways in which they all draw on the resources of cinematic realism in order to provide a representation of contemporary life that is both compelling and challenging for viewers.

Art and Contemporary Visual Culture in France

This module explores contemporary art and media production in France and beyond, looking at how recent French art and ideas feature in and contribute to a cultural world-system. We will be looking at pioneering artworks from the late 20th century and the 21st century, examining work in film, visual art of many genres, photography, music and also media technology.

Beginning with key foundational artists from the 1960s and 1970s, we move on to consider works across artistic media, mostly from the 21st century, and this will form the principal course content.

We will be looking at the work of individual artists in detail, both for the value of the work, but also to explore how contemporary cultural production reflects and reacts to the world in which it is made. Visual art is particularly useful in this context as it necessarily contains a reflective element, and this is often critical of existing situations. We will also incorporate key readings by theorists who have reflected on the themes, media, technology and politics of both art and culture in the broader sense.

On Location: Cinematic Explorations of Contemporary France

This module offers students an opportunity to explore actual cultural, economic and social differences within modern France through its representations in contemporary filmmaking. Beyond narrative themes, students will gain an understanding of how filmmakers engage the formal resources of cinema, both fiction and documentary, to capture the specificities of diverse spaces and places and to invite reflection on larger questions of identity and community, nation and citizenship, mobility and belonging.

Literature and Politics in Modern France

What better way is there to truly understand a nation than by studying its literature and politics?

 

We’ll examine the various ways in which French writers have engaged with the political struggles of their time. By looking at ‘committed’ literature (which is literature that defends an ethical, political, religious or social view) produced by key authors you’ll learn how to unpick the tension between literature and politics that has shaped modern France.

Introduction to Contemporary Science Fiction

Focusing on texts ranging from the novels of Jules Verne through to Élisabeth Vonarburg, this module will engage with key themes in French science fiction writing. Whether it deals with the discoveries of new worlds or the confrontation with new technologies, science fiction as a genre expresses the anxieties and hopes specific to the contemporary era. Science fiction is political in that it deals with questions of power, ecology and science. It is also philosophical, since it calls into question boundaries between cultures, times, genres and species. Drawing on these political and philosophical dimensions, the module will look in particular at how science fiction explores the ways in which identity is constructed and reconfigured by material and technological forces.

Sociolinguistics: An Introduction

This module provides you with an introduction to the rich field of study known as sociolinguistics, which investigates the relationship between language and society through an exploration of the social contexts of language use.

Particular areas of focus in any one year of the module could include:

  • intercultural communication
  • politeness and face
  • linguistic determinism
  • power and solidarity
  • language choice
  • speech act theory
  • the ethnography of communication
  • language and gender
  • approaches to the study of discourse/talk
Enlightenment Literature: An Introduction

This module is an introduction to the study of 18th century French literature, through a variety of texts chosen to offer an accessible approach to the period’s main literary genres and movements of thought. Alongside an investigation of how literature developed during this era, you will consider key questions that thinkers and writers grappled with:

  • What is like to fall in love?
  • What is happiness and how do we find it?
  • How important is personal freedom?
  • Are people naturally good?
  • How do we live well with others?
  • How do we learn about the world and make sense of our experiences?
Huit Tableaux: Art and Politics in Nineteenth-Century France (1799-1871)

You may wonder why 19th Century French art is relevant to a student wanting to better understand today’s Francophone communities. To answer this let us take you back to a time pre-internet, pre-television, pre-photography to when historical art was a key communication tool for any society.

Together, we’ll examine eight French paintings from the key historical period of the Consulate (1799) to the Paris Commune (1871). By discovering what French citizens gained from ‘reading’ these images you will better understand their relationship with national identity, religion and political culture. It is these historical ideologies that laid the foundation for contemporary French society and your understanding of this will help you form a more thorough and nuanced appreciation of contemporary France and the Francophone world.

Among the huit tableaux to be discussed are David's Sacre de Napoléon, Delacroix's La Liberté guidant le peuple, and Meissonier's Le Siège de Paris.

Hear Dr Paul Smith give a brief overview of this module.

Post-War French Theatre

This module focuses on developments in French theatre in the mid-twentieth century. This includes plays that dramatise existentialist issues, as well as examples of what was known as the Theatre of the Absurd: a new, experimental approach to theatre, which flourished in France in the 1950s and 1960s. Authors studied will include Sartre, Beckett and Ionesco, and the module will analyse dramatic technique and theory, along with performance. The module will explore the various ways in which these plays challenged dramatic conventions and how they engaged with fundamental questions relating to meaning, causality, language and society.

More French and Francophone optional modules

German core modules

You will take core language modules appropriate to your level (either German 2 or German 2: Beginners).

German 2

This module will build on the German language and cultural skills you developed in year one and get you started on your exciting journey towards degree-level German. We're going to take you to the next level and by the end of this module you'll be ready to spend time living in a German-speaking country.

We'll focus on getting you confident in your German reading, writing, listening and speaking abilities. In addition, we will develop translation skills into and out of the target language. In class we'll keep your studies interesting and relevant by using a variety of contemporary texts, including journalistic articles, videos, clips from TV programmes and news items.

German 2 - Beginners

Now that you've gained good German language skills by completing Beginners' German, we're going to take you to the next level. By the end of this course, you'll be ready to spend time living in a German-speaking country.

Working at a steady pace, we'll focus on getting you confident in your German reading, writing, listening and speaking abilities, encouraging you to push yourselves to gain the best German skills possible.

In class we'll keep your studies interesting and relevant by using a variety of contemporary texts, including journalistic articles, poems and short stories, videos, clips from TV programmes and news items.

German optional modules

Introduction to Literary Translation
The module provides an introduction to literary translation from German into English. We will analyse key issues of cultural difference and historical distance by comparing different translations of the same original text. As part of the assessment for the module you will compose your own translation of a literary text of your choice and summarise your translation strategy. Class discussions and the translation work you undertake for this module will help you to improve your understanding of the linguistic and cultural differences between English and German, develop enhanced translation skills, and gain insights into literary texts.
Media in Germany

This module explores the history of print and broadcasting in Germany from 1933 to the 1990s, and investigates the relationship between media content and culture. You will develop a foundation in the key concepts of media studies and gain insight into the connection between media and ideology. You will also have the opportunity to undertake research into primary sources from our extensive newspaper archive.

Reason and its Rivals from Kant to Freud

In this module we will examine a selection of approaches to modernity, beginning with Kant’s assertion of individual reason as the founding stone of enlightened social organisation. We will move on to examine how Marx and Engels, Nietzsche and Freud all interrogated Kant’s position in their work. Our discussions will touch on the nature of the individual subject, the role of culture, as well as competing ideas of the status of reality as based in social conditions, or the product of the will, drives, or ideology.

National Socialist Germany

This module focuses on the social, economic and political-ideological structures which shaped domestic and foreign policy between 1933 and 1945. We will begin by examining the process through which Weimar democracy was overthrown and the structures of dictatorship imposed. We will then turn to the social, economic and ideological factors which shaped the transformation of Germany into a Volks-gemeinschaft before examining the development of Nazi foreign policy and the genesis of the Holocaust. Throughout the module we will consider political, social, economic and ideological factors in shaping Nazi policy at home and abroad.

Life and Demise of the GDR

This module investigates social developments in German Democratic Republic (GDR) society over four decades of communist rule and social changes in Eastern Germany after the demise of the GDR. You will be introduced to the ideological principles which the Socialist Unity Party attempted to legitimize in the GDR as the only viable alternative to fascism for a modern society. You will then look at how this ideology was enforced through state authority in every domain of society.

Based on contemporary texts (e.g. GDR propaganda, GDR writers and other intellectuals), you will further examine how people negotiated their lives within these officially imposed ideological structures, exploring a range of individual responses from conformism to non-conformism and opposition.

Finally you will look at a new kind of “public authority” during the Wende period in the GDR, which triggered the disintegration of communist power structures, and the subsequent changes in East German society. 

Teaching and Learning Foreign Languages

This module introduces you to some major theories of how languages are learned and to some approaches to how languages can be taught. We will consider:

  • the differences between first and second language acquisition
  • whether there is a best age to learn a foreign language
  • factors affecting language learning
  • the role of technology in language learning and teaching
  • the role of culture in language classroom

Students will have the opportunity to investigate one or more of these questions in their assessed essays.

The Language of German Media - Linguistic and Journalistic Perspectives

This module investigates the specific language used by the German media from linguistic and journalistic perspectives. You will learn about the distinctive pragmatic and semantic features of the language used on radio, on television and in the print media. This linguistic analysis then enables us to explore how journalists attract their target audience.

We will look at various text types and media genres including news and advertisements, as well as analyse the differences between media-specific language and the language used in society at large. In this context you will not only learn how journalists write for different media and genres, but also about the ethics of journalistic writing and how ethical concerns affect the language of the media.

The Fairy Tale in German Culture

This module explores key moments in the history of the fairy tale in German culture, from their 19th century appropriation to underpin notions of a national folk culture to critical reworkings of fairy tales. We use a number of different approaches in analysing the tales and investigating their cultural significance, including Marxism, feminism and psychoanalysis.

Primary material includes folk tales, literary fairy tales and fairy tale films such as the Brothers Grimm Kinder- und Hausmärchen collection, East German fairy tale films, Weimar proletarian tales, Lotte Reiniger’s silhouette animations, and Wolfgang Petersen’s film The Neverending Story.

More German optional modules

Russian and Slavonic core modules

You will take core language modules appropriate to your level (either Russian 2 or Russian 2: Beginners).

Russian and Slavonic optional modules

Repression and Resistance: Dissidents and Exiles in Russian Culture

The relationship between the state and the intellectual in Russia has traditionally been a problematic one, marked by repression, persecution, forced and voluntary exile and censorship. Political concern and resistance to an authoritarian state are central themes in the Russian cultural and literary tradition as well as a defining feature in the lives and works of numerous Russian writers and intellectuals.

We will explore the cultural tradition and identity of the literary intelligentsia in Russian and Soviet history. We'll also examine different responses to the experience of state persecution in the work of writers and artists.

Covering an extensive period of Russian history we will look at examples of writers and artists who have defied the state.

Wider questions which will be discussed include the role of the artist and the intellectual in Russian culture, the myth of the persecuted writer and the complex relationship between the intellectual and the masses.

The History and Culture of Early Rus' c.800-1400

This module introduces you to the medieval period in the history of the East Slavs, covering pre-Christian times to the Mongol conquests and beyond.

Through lectures and workshops, we will explore political, cultural and social developments, with a particular emphasis on working with primary sources in various media (including texts, painting and architecture).

The module draws on a selection of primary sources in translation, which you learn to assess as historical evidence. It also focuses on basic trends in the historiography of this period and how it has been manipulated for various political purposes in modern times.

History of Yugoslavia and Successor States since 1941

This module covers the history of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, formed after WWII. We will discuss key economic and political factors of the state’s creation and disintegration, as well as Yugoslavia’s individuality during the Cold War.

Other topics for discussion include gender and social inequalities, nationalism and its rise, and circumstances surrounding the state’s collapse into the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s.

Media in Russia

This module aims to develop understanding of Russian-language media from the Soviet era to the present day.

You will explore the use of Russian on different media platforms, including print, broadcast, television, and online media, and will cover such topics as advertising, internet, music, television, radio, journalism and the freedom of the press.

The module aims to develop translation and comprehension skills when dealing with Russian media. You will widen your vocabulary and gain experience in dealing with more complex grammatical structures, taking into consideration style and register.

Screening Russia: Film and Society from the Tsars to Putin

 If you are studying Russian or East European Cultural Studies, this is an optional year-long module. It examines Russian society and culture as reflected in popular and influential films from 1900 to the present day, covering a variety of genres (including melodramas, biopics, youth films and musical comedies).

Lectures and seminars examine Russian and Soviet cinema’s historical contexts and reception, as well as how films are constructed technically. You develop skills in analysing cinema in its historical and social contexts, from the products of the burgeoning industry of late imperial Russia to post-Soviet arthouse films and blockbusters – via the extraordinary legacy of Soviet cinema. All the films covered are available with subtitles, and this module does not require any prior study of film.

Serbian / Croatian 1: Beginners

Welcome to learning Serbian/Croatian. This course is designed for absolute beginners (we also welcome those with a little knowledge) and will take you to intermediate level by the end of the year.

In class you'll cover different points of grammar and vocabulary through everyday situations. We'll guide you through basic case and verb patterns, building up to more complex grammatical points like modal verbs and verbal aspect.

But we won't only be looking at grammar! Once you have the foundations of the language in place, we'll use your new skills to explore aspects of daily and cultural life. We'll be using structured course materials and textbooks, but we'll also learn how to use everyday language to ensure you have the skills to use Serbian/Croatian in real life.

Serbian / Croatian 2

This year-long module builds on the skills acquired in Serbian/Croatian 1 with more emphasis on independent learning and preparation.

The module develops abilities to break down complex linguistic structures in order to facilitate comprehension and communication skills.

Teaching uses materials from written, audio and video sources, and includes grammar classes. There are exercises in comprehension, translation, guided composition writing, and presentations in the target language.

More Russian and Slavonic optional modules

Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American core modules

You will take core language modules appropriate to your level (either Spanish 2 or Spanish 2: Beginners).

Spanish 2: Beginners

This module will build on the language and cultural skills developed in last year's beginners' classes and will get you started on your exciting journey towards degree-level Spanish. Over the year, we're going to take you to the next level so by the end of the module you'll be ready to spend time living in a Spanish-speaking country.

We'll further develop your grammar and communication skills, building your confidence so that you feel happy working or studying abroad during year three. We know the thought of essay writing in another language may feel daunting, but we will help you develop these skills to competence.

To prepare you for participating in conversation with fluency we'll pay special attention to developing your ability to use complex sentence structures and rhetoric. You'll get plenty of speaking and writing practice during classes, collaborative projects and on your own time through a wide range of online and in-person interactive activities.

Spanish 2

This module will build on the language and cultural skills developed in year one and get you started on your exciting journey towards degree-level Spanish. Over the year, we're going to take you to the next level so by the end of the module you'll be ready to spend time living in a Spanish-speaking country.

We'll further develop your grammar and communication skills, building your confidence so that you feel happy working or studying abroad during year 3. We know the thought of essay writing in another language may feel daunting, but we will help you develop these skills to competence.

To prepare you for participating in conversation with fluency we'll pay special attention to developing your ability to use complex sentence structures and rhetoric. You'll get plenty of practice during laboratory classes where you'll have access to a wide range of contemporary audio-visual materials.

Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American optional modules

Modern Spanish and Spanish American Literature and Film

In this module you will explore 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, and Modernism. A large part of your focus will be 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 will also be 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 Spanish and Spanish American literature in the 20th century, and the ability to relate texts studied to historico-cultural contexts. This module is worth 20 credits.

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

Explore relations between early modern Spain, Portugal and their empires through art, cinema and historical documents to better understand the Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries in Latin America today.

Together we’ll study paintings starting from the mid-15th century in Portugal where voyages of ‘discovery’ were well under way, to Mexico and Brazil in the late eighteenth century.

To explore the political and cultural relations between the old countries in Europe and the new lands in the Americas we’ll read travelogues, testimonies and political discussion about the New World and look at modern cinematic and theoretical responses to the conquest and colonisation of the Americas.

These complementary areas of history and culture are perfectly balanced to help you understand how the Portuguese and Spanish empires are so relevant to contemporary global geo-politics.

Hispanic Cinemas

Take your understanding of Spanish and Portuguese further by delving into the rich history of cinema in Spain, Portugal, Latin America and Portuguese-speaking Africa. This will assist your language skills and also deepen your knowledge of a diversity of global cultures.

In the first semester we'll examine cinema from Spanish America since the 1960s, then, in the second semester, cinema from Brazil, Portugal and Africa. In so doing, we'll address questions of cinematic style and technique, socio-historical contexts and the politics of film-making.

Don't worry if you're just starting out on your language journey, the films will be available with English subtitles.

Portuguese 2: Beginners

Building on the foundations laid in Portuguese 1 Beginners (MLAC1049), this module will improve not only your language skills but also your confidence. By the end of the module you will be ready to spend time living in a Portuguese-speaking country.

We'll continue using relevant contemporary materials such as websites, newspapers, magazines and video content to improve your understanding, but we'll also dive deeper into grammar awareness and sentence structure.

You'll grow your vocabulary and focus on areas you may need whilst working or studying in a lusophone country. Listening comprehension skills will be further developed to ensure you feel comfortable taking part in authentic speed conversations.

Also, Portuguese and Brazilian culture will remain central to our learning, increasing not only your language skills but also knowledge of the societies you will be living in.

More Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American optional modules

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 (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, 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 information on available modules. This content was last updated on

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
  • undertake a work placement with a company

We encourage our students to work at a translation company wherever possible to build up relevant experience and skills for a future career in translation.

For more information, see School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies Year Abroad options

You will develop 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.

You will take a core module in interpreting and carry out an extended translation project.

If you have followed a beginners' language programme, you may opt to focus on this language instead of your post-A level/IB language for some or all of the practical translation tasks.

Your assessment results in year four are weighted at 67% of your final degree classification.

Translation-related core modules

Introduction to Interpreting

We’ll introduce you to a variety of different techniques and help you start building the key skills required to ​begin your exciting journey of becoming a successful interpreter. You’ll explore simultaneous and consecutive interpretation, putting your findings into practice with your classmates. We’ll also explore some of the obstacles interpreters face and teach you how to navigate around them.

Through lectures, skills-based classes and time spent practising your newly-acquired skills (using the online platform for interpreters and/or in the interpreter’s booth) you ​should see an improvement to your listening, concentration and memory skills.

By the end of the module you’ll have gained a solid ​introductory understanding of interpreting skills and will feel confident and capable when putting them into practice in the easy level interpreting tasks. ​This module could become a first step towards your further training to become a professional interpreter!

Translation Project

This module offers the opportunity to apply the detailed knowledge of different areas of translation theory that you acquired during years one and two. Working independently under expert supervision, you will produce an extended translation into English of an approved text of your choice together with a commentary in English outlining your overall translation strategy and discussing translation difficulties and solutions. Completing this module will help you to demonstrate relevant experience when applying for jobs in the translation sector. 

French and Francophone core modules

You will take core language modules appropriate to your level.

French 3

Following your time spent living in a French-speaking country this advanced module will be your final step towards fluency. We'll help you continue to improve your oral and written skills using a wide variety of texts.

Your grammar expertise and vocabulary shall be deepened through the production of linguistic commentary and summaries. In addition, we'll help you develop translation skills. Your French writing skills will improve immeasurably as we translate into and out of French creative writing in different registers.

French and Francophone optional modules

Translation into French
This module is a practical course which aims to develop advanced skills of comprehension and analysis of a variety of English texts (fiction and non-fiction) and of translating accurately and fluently into French. It aims to enhance accuracy and fluency of written French through attention to the grammar, syntax, vocabulary and register of both languages and to develop a self-conscious translation practice.
Dissertation in French Studies
This year-long module is based on guided independent study of a chosen topic in the field of French and Francophone Studies for which supervision can be offered by the Department. Topics typically relate to a module taken in the second year, or to a module to be taken in the final year, and it is expected that students have some familiarity with the chosen field.

Dissertation topics in past years have included:
  • The feminist and humanist aspects of Christine de Pizan's work.
  • How Albert Memmi's philosophy of colonised identity is prefigured in his literary work.
  • The representation of women in three novels by Dany Laferrière.
  • The representation of women in the films of Jean-Luc Godard.
  • The definition of malaise in the context of contemporary socio-economic and political issues in France.
  • Presidential Power in the Fifth Republic.
  • The urban landscape in surrealism.
  • Translating humour from English to French.
Teaching takes place in the form of regular individual meetings with the allocated supervisor, and group meetings with the module convenor, centred more generally on research and writing skills.

Semester 1 is devoted to research, reading and planning, leading to the submission of a dissertation abstract, chapter outline and preliminary bibliography, as well as the presentation of posters. In the second semester, students write up and complete the dissertation under the continued guidance of the supervisor.
La République Gaullienne: 1958 to 1969

This module explores how the Fifth Republic came into being and examines the problems of bedding in a regime that revolutionised French political culture without jettisoning the key features of the 'modèle républicain'.

We follow a chronological narrative of French politics between 1958 and 1969, and will also examine themes such as the ‘écriture de la constitution’, the clash of political visions and bipolarisation and its tensions. We conclude with de Gaulle's apparent act of 'political suicide' in 1969.

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.

Individual and Society

On this module we will look at the changing relationship between individuals and society in a French context. Key sociological concepts relating to the social construction of the individual are explored in order to analyse fiction and non-fiction texts that deal with work and social organisation in contemporary France.

The theoretical starting point of the module is Michel Foucault’s analysis of the emergence of ‘disciplinary’ societies.

Key fictional works include Laurent Cantet’s film L’emploi du temps and Thierry Beinstingel’s novel Retour aux mots sauvages.

The Everyday in Contemporary Literature and Thought

This module looks at the various ways in which the novel has evolved and adapted to “the contemporary” by responding to the “everyday”. Giving an overview of the various approaches to the everyday in the contemporary novel from the 60s to the present, this module will explore how key authors negotiate, through their writing, the everyday’s indeterminacy and the unstable space it occupies between the social and the individual.

People and Propaganda: Representing the French Revolution

This module is designed to introduce you to the study of various forms of artistic work in relation to the political and social background of the French Revolutionary decade (1789 - 1799). A variety of works will be studied (theatre, opera, song, iconography, painting) in order to consider the reflection of contemporary events, the notion of politically engaged arts, and questions of cultural administration (theatrical repertory, representation, censorship and privilege).

Citizenship, Ethnicity and National Identity in Post-War France

You'll examine the range of social, political and philosophical questions raised by mass immigration to France in the post-war period. These questions will be tackled through historical analysis of patterns of migration and changing immigration policies, as well as through the study of relevant films, novels and theoretical texts which engage with questions of citizenship, identity and ethnicity.

Contemporary Representations of Travel

This module will study the different ways travel has been used and represented in contemporary French and Francophone texts, arts and films. From tourism to exploration, from exile to migration, from pilgrimage to business travel, we will question the tacit ideologies found in contemporary travel discourses. We will study more specifically how contemporary discourses of travel have been, or not, adapting themselves to a post-colonial awareness and how it has enabled travellers to represent travel differently. The importance of this field has been steadily growing in between disciplines that range from literary studies to ethnography. The module will use these cross-cultural influences to create an arena in which to develop connections between key disciplines and different forms of arts (literature, ethnography, films and photography).

French Documentary Cinema

This module aims to introduce you to key aspects of French documentary cinema by considering a range of documentary cinematic techniques, and by looking at the ways in which documentary form has developed over time. The module examines the work of a range of filmmakers and explores the theoretical, socio-cultural and ethical questions raised by documentary cinema.

You will develop analytical tools that can be used to understand the different ways in which documentaries attempt to engage audiences and deal in sophisticated and often challenging ways with a range of issues.

Language Contact and French

This module looks at various issues relating to the field of language contact, including bilingualism, multilingualism and diglossia.

The module also explores the outcomes of such language contact:

  • linguistic borrowing
  • code-switching
  • language maintenance
  • language shift and language death
  • the emergence of pidgins and creoles
  • the development of language policy and planning
  • the shaping of attitudes towards language

These topics will be explored by using examples from several different languages, and by looking at the French language in contact with other languages in France and further afield.

Translation from French
This module aims to develop the skills of comprehension of written French and of translating accurately and elegantly into English. In addition to the above, it aims to develop a self-conscious translation practice.

More French and Francophone optional modules

German core modules

You will take core language modules appropriate to your level.

German 3

Following your time spent working or studying in Germany or Austria this advanced module will be your final step towards fluency.

We'll continue to improve your four key language skills of reading, listening, writing and speaking through class discussions and the use of relevant texts such as complex newspaper articles, detailed radio and TV programmes and increasingly sophisticated fiction.

You'll also study translation and work towards professional standards giving you a solid grounding for a career or further studies in translation.

German optional modules

Mythology in German Literature

Literature uses ancient mythology as a rich source to describe powerful emotions, cunning politics or psychological drama. This module will explore how selected German writers engage with the myth of Medea, the powerful wife of Jason, who - according to the Classical myth - kills the sons she loves to hurt Jason.

We will look at how the myth is used, changed and reinvented in texts written between 1926 and 1998. We will consider theoretical writings on mythology and also look at the the Medea myth in paintings, film, theatre and music.

Vergangenheitsbewältigung und Nationale Identität: Geschichte und Gedächtnis nach dem Holocaust

This module will examine historical, political and philosophical approaches to the concept of national identity between divided and post-unification Germany, concentrating on the changing relationships between the articulation of conventional patriotism and self-critical reflection on National Socialism.

German Colonialism: History, Literature, Memory

Although Germany only had overseas colonies between 1884 and 1918, German, Austrian and Swiss involvement in European colonial history permeates literature and culture to the present day.

This module uses short novels, stories and poems written between 1800 and the present to look at a range of themes in German postcolonial studies: for example, the exotic fascination with Africa; slavery and Afro-German history; anti-colonialism and nostalgia for Germany’s lost empire; political anti-imperialism and anti-racism; the German writing of African immigrants; and the rise since the 1990s of a critical postcolonial memory of Germany’s often forgotten colonial history.

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.

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

This module looks at how German-language theatre has responded to the challenge of new forms of media. We will draw on theoretical writings on the theatre and will reflect on such issues as agency and identity, the nature of historical material, the status of the audience and the challenge of new technologies. We will read five formally innovative plays from 1927 to 2000 - one called ‘Offending the Audience’, another in which 10,000 feet of film footage were used in the premiere, one a harrowing portrayal of the events of Holocaust, and one a reality TV-style live soap opera, put on over seven weeks in its premiere.

Translating Culture: Cultural Issues in Translating between English and German

This module examines the problems inherent in translating source-culturally significant materials. Cultural transfer is considered in both directions (English-German and German-English).

The module focuses on two areas of cultural transfer: in literature and in TV and film scripts. The module is assessed in English.

German Studies Dissertation

This module involves in-depth study of a topic in German Studies, and will normally relate to a second year German module. Teaching will consist of regular individual consultations with a designated tutor. Possible topics could include linguistics (for example, the use of Anglicisms in German), German cinema, German history, theatre, literature, gender studies, Heimat.

The dissertation may be 10 or 20 credits, depending on what is most appropriate for your individual programme of study. A 10-credit dissertation is 4,000 words in length, and a 20-credit dissertation is 7,000 words. Dissertations may be written in English or in German.

More German optional modules

Russian and Slavonic core modules

You will take core language modules appropriate to your level.

Russian 3

Following your time spent living in a Russian-speaking country this advanced module will be your final step towards fluency.

We'll continue to improve your five key language skills of reading/comprehension, listening, writing, speaking, and cultural awareness through translation and writing workshops, class discussions and the use of relevant texts such as authentic newspaper articles, radio and TV programmes and sophisticated fiction.

We'll give you the opportunity to develop translation skills (with emphasis on Russian-English) and gain creative writing experience, demonstrating your advanced Russian capabilities and helping you build a potential portfolio to assist you in either finding employment or postgraduate study.

Russian and Slavonic optional modules

Interpreting
Russian Popular Music in the 20th and 21st Centuries

This module covers popular music in Russia during the late tsarist, Soviet and post-Soviet eras as an area of culture that affects ordinary people in many different ways – in Russia, songs have often brought people together, sometimes in celebration, sometimes to challenge authority, and they have also offered individuals fun or solace.

In the module you learn how to examine all this, applying concepts such as authorship, performance, technology and ideology, and learning how to evaluate the relationship Russian music has to popular music in the UK, USA and elsewhere. The examples studied include pre-revolutionary popular songs and gramophone culture, the assimilation of jazz, patriotic and propaganda songs, rock and pop-rock.

With guidance you will develop your own essay question focusing on a topic within Russian popular musical culture of their choice. No prior study of music is required for this module but you must also be taking Russian 3, or to be at an equivalent level in Russian, in order to choose this module.

The World of Orthodox Sainthood

You'll gain an understanding of the growth and development of the cult of saints in the Eastern Christian world in the context of the history and culture of late antiquity and the middle ages.

We focus on the interpretation of original written sources and icons, allowing you to master the basic tools for conducting research in the field.

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.

Serbian / Croatian 2

This year-long module builds on the skills acquired in Serbian/Croatian 1 with more emphasis on independent learning and preparation.

The module develops abilities to break down complex linguistic structures in order to facilitate comprehension and communication skills.

Teaching uses materials from written, audio and video sources, and includes grammar classes. There are exercises in comprehension, translation, guided composition writing, and presentations in the target language.

Serbian / Croatian 3

This is an advanced language module designed for students who have taken Serbian/Croatian 2 and spent some time in Serbia or Croatia during their year abroad.

You develop expertise in summarising texts in the target language, comprehension of both written and spoken material, translation, guided composition writing and oral presentations in the target language.

The module includes study of the different cultural, social and historical factors which influence language use.

Brotherhood and Unity: Yugoslavia on Film

This module offers a detailed study of selected films from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and its successor states, with a particular focus on films from Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia.

You will examine films in terms of their aesthetic and cinematic meaning and also considers the historical and social factors relevant to understanding Yugoslav and post-Yugoslav cinema. Students do not require knowledge of Serbian/Croatian language or prior study of the history of Yugoslavia or cinema in order to choose this module, and all films are available with subtitles.

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

This module introduces the construction of national and collective memory of the Second World War in Soviet and Russian culture and society. The lectures and seminars focus on contemporary and subsequent artistic and social responses to the experience of war, but also examine individual acts of remembering (diaries, reports, letters) in the context of a wider cultural memory.

The module equips you with the skills to analyse, evaluate and discuss Russian and Soviet commemorations of the Second World War and the construction of a collective memory; to identify and contrast different strands of narratives of war experiences which unite individual and collective responses to the Second World War; to analyse and apply relevant theories of memory to Russian and Soviet strategies of commemorating the war; to discuss some of the central problems related to Russian and Soviet memories of the Second World War, including the relationship between memory and forgetting, narratives of suffering and sacrifice and the relationship between acts and rituals of commemoration and the construction of national identity/identities.

Language Project in Russian and Slavonic Studies

This module aims to equip you with the skills required of linguists in the modern, digital workplace and may be taken by those studying Russian or Serbian/Croatian.

The project gives you the opportunity to combine your achievements in language and non-language modules studied over the course of their degree. You work in a group on a topic agreed with the module convenor to create a final Language Project, in the form of a translation, blogpost, podcast, short film or public performance.

More Russian and Slavonic optional modules

Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American core modules

You will take core language modules appropriate to your level.

Spanish 3

Following your time spent living in a Spanish-speaking country this advanced module will be your final step towards fluency, training you in a more formal, sophisticated register of spoken and written Spanish.

We'll continue to use a wide range of authentic Spanish texts to further deepen your knowledge and confidence at this advanced level. We'll look at how the texts are put together so that you may use these skills within your written and spoken Spanish, taking you to the highest level of proficiency.

Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American optional modules

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 your use of these through a programme of research tasks, seminar presentations, group discussions, and written assignments.

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.

Literature and Films, Conflict and Post-Conflicts

Explore how literature and film can give us a deeper insight into the experiences of conflict in 20th and 21st-century Latin American and Iberian societies.

Together we’ll investigate 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 (with a particular emphasis on the Iberian Peninsula) and Latin America (including Brazil).

Your Spanish and Portuguese language skills (along with translations or subtitles where needed) will help you adopt a comparative approach focussing on the formal experiments and common preoccupations of filmmakers and writers across different national cultures and historical contexts.

You will discuss questions around a range of themes which may include; authoritarianism, confronting colonial and neo-colonial practices, racial and class inequality, social injustice, gender and sexuality, and living on with the legacies of past traumas.

You can expect to discuss works by writers such as Roberto Bolaño, Ruben Fonseca, Alejandro Zambra, Mariana Enríquez, Clarice Lispector and Liliana Heker. 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.

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.

Portuguese 3

Following your time spent living in a Portuguese-speaking country and completing earlier modules, Portuguese 1 - Beginners and Portuguese 2 - Beginners, this advanced module will be your final step towards fluency.

We'll build on your grammatical competence and assist you to develop a more sophisticated and formal register of vocabulary, idiom and advanced syntax.

During class you'll gain the ability to discuss a wide range of topics in written and spoken Portuguese, giving you the confidence to converse articulately upon complex and intellectual subjects.

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.

Politics and Literature in Contemporary Spain

You may believe that politics and literature are two distinct fields of study, but this module will help you understand the complex but integral relationship between the two.

We’ll explore the representation of key social and political issues within contemporary Spanish literature. You’ll discover how literature in late capitalism, and contemporary ‘Hispanic’ authors in particular, 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. This shall lead us to assess the competing discursive practices involved in remapping the notion of Spanish canonical literature at the beginning of the new millennium.

Business and Society in Spain

Taught in Spanish, this module will allow you to examine Spanish business from both an historical and contemporary perspective.

Main themes include: the economic legacy of dictatorship, changes in the global and European regulatory environment, the influence of neoliberal thinking, the role of entrepreneurship, the relationship between state and business, and the response by Spanish business to the spread of the knowledge economy and rapid technological change.

We’ll also consider recent challenges to business in Spain. In particular, the impact of the 2008-2013 economic crisis on the private sector, the criticism of business involvement in a number of high-profile corruption scandals and proposals by new political formations (such as Podemos) aimed at increasing state regulation of the private sector. Finally, the module includes in-depth case studies of the Spanish fashion and tourism industries.

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

Free education from cradle to grave has been central to modern Cuba’s cultural and ideological identity. This module will encourage you to explore Cuba’s revolutionary change since 1959, through an examination of its evolving ideologies. You’ll review the critical factors of nationalism, dependency, radicalism and leadership which shaped developments from the original rebellion up to the present day.

 

Together we’ll discover 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 help you form 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.

Literature and Film under Franco

One of the best ways to truly understand a nation is to study its culture. Together we’ll explore a key moment in 20th century Spanish history, literature and film-making. By looking at the context and circumstances in which filmic and literary texts were produced under Franco you’ll develop awareness of generic conventions in both literature and film and perfect your skills in close textual analysis. 

You will gain a solid knowledge of the Franco 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 end of the module, you will have developed 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 presentation skills and research and essay-writing skills.

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. 

More Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American optional modules

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 (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, 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 information on available modules. This content was last updated on

Fees and funding

UK students

£9,250
Per year

International students

£20,000*
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 2022/23 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

Books

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. A limited number of modules have compulsory texts which you are required to buy. We recommend that you budget £100 per year for books, but this figure will vary according to which modules you take. The Blackwell's bookshop on campus offers a year-round price match against any of the main retailers (e.g. Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith). They also offer second-hand books, as students from previous years sell their copies back to the bookshop.

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. More information on your third year abroad.

Volunteering and placements:

For volunteering and placements e.g. work experience and teaching in schools, you will need to pay for transport and refreshments.

Optional field trips:

Field trips allow you to engage with source materials on a personal level and to develop different perspectives. They are optional and costs to you vary according to the trip; some require you to arrange your own travel, refreshments and entry fees, while some are some are wholly subsidised.

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 students

We offer a range of international undergraduate scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

International scholarships

Careers

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.

Combining language studies with translation studies develops your practical skills in addition to a portfolio of work which will be invaluable when seeking employment. 

“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

72.2% of undergraduates from the Department of Cultural, Media and Visual Studies secured employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary was £21,539.*

*Data from UoN graduates, 2017-2019. HESA Graduate Outcomes. Sample sizes vary.

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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" I find so many aspects of translation interesting, particularly when it comes to literature and marketing. Language is such a powerful and persuasive tool and the prospect of converting these meanings to be shared in other languages is very inspiring. There’s also the more practical purposes of translation and interpretation, which, simply put, can be used to help people. I think that the right to defend oneself is very basic, and language differences shouldn’t be such a barrier. "
Jesney Swift, Modern Languages with Translation BA (Spanish and Russian)

Related courses

Important information

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.