Modern Languages BA


Fact file - 2019 entry

BA Hons Modern Languages
UCAS code
4 years full-time/year 3 out (available part-time)
A level offer
ABB (or BCC via a foundation year)
Required subjects
at least one of French, German, Russian or Spanish
IB score
32; including 5 at Higher Level or 6 at Standard Level (B programme) in at least one of French, German, Russian or Spanish
Course location
University Park Campus
Course places
85 places across all combinations


This course offers you the opportunity to study two modern foreign languages. We offer combinations with French, German, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian/Croatian, and Spanish.
Read full overview

Our Modern Languages course offers you the opportunity to study two modern foreign languages. You can study BA Modern languages in two ways:

  • choose two post-A level languages


  • choose one post-A level language and one beginners’ language.

We offer combinations with French, German, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian/Croatian, and Spanish. All our languages are available from beginners’ level. You may choose to continue with two post-A level or IB languages; or you may study one post-A level/IB language and pair it with a language which is brand new to you, or previously studied at GCSE or AS level. Students taking a beginners’ language benefit from an intensive language programme designed to take them to degree level within four years. Alongside core language modules, we also offer modules in the culture, history, literature and politics of the language and region studied.

You will graduate with a high level of expertise in both your chosen languages and be able to use them with confidence in professional and other contexts. Your international experience will show employers that you are adaptable, independent and that you have acquired in-depth understanding of the language and cultures you have studied. You’ll gain valuable international experience and transferable critical thinking skills by comparing and contrasting two regions and languages throughout your degree course.

Language combinations

The combinations available on this programme are shown in the table below. Only one of your two languages may be taken at beginners’ level, so you must offer one of your languages at A level or equivalent. If you intend to study post-A level Spanish in combination with another post-A level language, you will take Hispanic Studies, which includes the study of Portuguese for at least one year.

We welcome applications from total beginners as well as from students with GCSE or AS level in their beginners’ language. 


Combinations available are indicated by an orange dot.

* incorporates post-A level Spanish throughout with beginners' Portuguese in year one, after which Portuguese is optional.

** Serbian/Croatian and Portuguese are available as beginners' programmes only.

PDF file icon Download table as accessible pdf

Modules will be divided between the two language departments, in most cases equally. 

You'll choose from the same options as those available to single honours students, so you'll still be able to focus on the areas that interest you the most from each region. 

Year three 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. 

Options available to you may depend on the details of the Brexit settlement negotiated by the UK government. For more information, see our Year Abroad page and the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies statement on Brexit and our year abroad provision.

Applying through UCAS

Please specify in your UCAS application which combination you would like to study.

Note: your degree certificate will not specify the level at which you entered the University; for instance, if you study French and German (beginners), your degree on graduation will be French and German.

Entry requirements

A levels: ABB, including at least one of French, German, Russian or Spanish

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

English language requirements

IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

Alternative qualifications

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

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

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

For more information, please see the alternative qualifications page.

Flexible admissions policy

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


The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication 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. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.

Your modules will depend on the language combination that you choose from the table under the ‘Overview’ tab. Post-A level languages offered for this degree are French, German, Russian, and Spanish. Beginners’ languages offered are French, German, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian/Croatian, and Spanish.

Language modules 

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

Optional modules 

For details of your core language modules, please use the links below:

Depending on your chosen beginners' language you may take fewer optional modules in the first two years to enable intensive language acquisition.

Typical year one modules

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, and at 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 students insight into the different areas we teach and also the skills to explore these areas in more depth in subsequent modules.


Introduction to French and Francophone Studies

This year-long module provides an introduction to the range of topics and study skills that students will need and will go on to further develop over the course of their degree study in French and Francophone Studies. Drawing on the expertise of the teaching team, the module will cover the main fields of the discipline, including linguistics, politics, history, thought, French and Francophone literature, media, visual culture and cinema. Through engagement with a range of different text, images and film, students will also be introduced to core study skills, such as reading strategies, awareness of register, close reading, essay writing, commentary writing, bibliographical and referencing skills and visual analysis.


Nation, Myth, Identity: Introduction to Russian and Slavonic Studies

This module introduces students to important areas and topics in Russian and Slavonic Studies, examining important aspects of the histories and cultures of the region, as well as aspects of the languages, cultures and literary traditions. You will learn to analyse a wide range of cultural phenomena, including pictures, music, film, literary texts and other kinds of written sources.


Introduction to Literature in Spanish

You’ll read a series of key texts from Spain and Spanish America. Its purpose is to impart an essential body of literary-historical and cultural knowledge relating to the main periods, genres and conventions of literature in Spanish from the Middle Ages to the modern period. You’ll spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.


Introduction to Lusophone Societies and Cultures

This module provides you with the opportunity to learn about the diversity of cultural practices and social relations in the different parts of the world where Portuguese is spoken. The module covers the major social and cultural practices from modern Lusophone societies, including aspects of popular culture such as football and soap operas, but also cultural and artistic currents in literature and film. Questions of social relations and identity are also examined through a consideration of religious practice and religious expression, as well as themes of conflict, crisis and revolution through formations of political identity and political mobilisation. For this module you will have a one two-hour lecture each week.   

Typical year two optional modules

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.


Language and Politics in 21st Century French

The module will focus on the interplay between language and politics in 21st-century French. It will address issues of ideology, identity, and power in French-speaking countries from a linguistic perspective. Students will examine the driving forces behind the invention and the preservation of standard French, the role of norms and variation in identity politics, and the role of language choices in current political debates in France. Students will apply the principles and methods of sociolinguistics and cognitive linguistics to a variety of recent textual and audiovisual documents, and digital data. these will range from TV programmes, news broadcasts and interviews to radio podcasts, corpora based on social media and online newspapers.


The Life and Demise of the GDR

This module investigates GDR society over four decades of communist rule and considers social changes in Eastern Germany after the demise of the GDR. We will examine the principles of communist ideology that the Socialist Unity Party attempted to legitimise as the only viable alternative to fascism. We will also look at how people negotiated their lives within officially imposed ideological structures. Finally we will look at how a new kind of “public authority” during the Wende period in the GDR triggered the disintegration of communist power structures.


Linguistic Variation in France 

You’ll explore the different kinds of linguistic variation in France including those across time periods, geographical variation, social groups, class, and disparity between oral and written forms. You’ll also be introduced to the history of the French language and its recent developments, spending around two hours per week in lectures and seminars. 


Introduction to Literary Translation (German)

This module aims to give students an improved critical understanding of the linguistic and cultural differences between English and German, to enhance their translation skills and provide insights into the ways in which literary texts work. Within the module students translate a variety of German literary texts into English. We work on German prose, poetry and drama into English, exploring different strategies and theoretical approaches to translation. You will have one two-hour seminar and one one-hour workshop per week in addition to four hours of private study.


Discoveries, Empires and Colonies in the Lusophone World

This module brings together the histories and cultures of key regions of the world in which Portugal establishes varying degrees of colonial rule between the 16th and 20th centuries. In this module you will examine the historical background to the age of Discoveries against which Portugal emerged as a leader in maritime exploration and European Imperialism. You will also examine the historical and political events of Portuguese colonialism and imperialism in Africa and Brazil, with an emphasis on understanding the political and social significance of cultural production in developing countries. In this module you will have a combination of lectures and seminars totalling two hours per week.


Repression and Resistance: Dissidents and Exiles in Russian Culture

This module provides you with an introduction to the themes of dissidence and exile, central notions in Russian literature, culture and thinking, using the examples of the life and work of four major Russian writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Nabokov, Bulgakov). You will learn the theory of different literary forms such as verse narrative, novel, short story and drama.


Multimedia Russian 

This is an optional language module that allows students to explore the Russian media from the Soviet era to the present day. Different types of media are investigated, via translation, transcription or précis. The module aims to improve linguistic skills and comprehension of a wide range of media sources and give an appreciation of the historical background of the media and insights into style, register and language use. 

History of Yugoslavia from 1941

The aim of this module is to examine developments in the political, social and diplomatic history of Yugoslavia after 1941 leading towards an understanding of the reasons behind the collapse of the country and subsequent violence in the 1990s. You’ll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.

Renaissance and Baroque Culture in Spain in Text and Image

Through a programme of lectures, seminars, film screenings, directed reading, and written work, this course introduces students to Renaissance drama in film. It enables students to place plays by Lope de Vega and Shakespeare in their cultural, social, and historical contexts; and furthers students’ understanding of film adaptations of literary works. On successful completion of the module, students will have demonstrated an ability to discuss the set texts and films critically; a knowledge of the cultural, ideological, and aesthetic features of the period studied; and the ability to compare and contrast plays by two contemporary writers, one Spanish and one English.

Hispanic Visual Culture

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

Year three

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

Options available to you may depend on the details of the Brexit settlement negotiated by the UK government. For more information, see our Year Abroad page and the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies statement on Brexit and our year abroad provision.

Typical year four optional modules

Communicating and Teaching Languages for Undergraduate Ambassadors

This module is part of the nationwide Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme (UAS) which works with universities to provide academic modules that enable students to go into local schools as teaching assistants and to act as role-models (for more information please check Students split their time between the university-based support seminar and their allocated school, where they will work in the language department as an assistant. This may involve one-to-one tuition, small group teaching or extra-curricular activities in the context of the school’s language provision. Students will develop a special teaching project and will be supported in their activities by the module convenor, the education specialist on campus, and their contact teacher at the school. Typically there will be a fortnightly seminar on campus and seven half-days spent at school. This module is especially suitable for students with prior experience as a language assistant during the year abroad.


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. You’ll spend two hours each week in lectures and seminars studying this module.


Subtitling and Dubbing from French into English

This module focuses on the theory and practice of two modes of audio-visual translation: subtitling and dubbing. The linguistic, technical, and cultural theoretical underpinnings of subtitling and dubbing from French into English will be examined in detail, and students will be able to put the theory into practice using professional dedicated software. 


French Documentary Cinema

This module introduces students to French documentary cinema, by examining the work of a range of filmmakers and exploring the theoretical, socio-cultural and ethical questions raised by documentary cinema. You will spend two hours a week in lectures and seminars on this module.


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 Medea myth in paintings, film, theatre and music.


Culture and Society in the Weimar Republic

The Weimar Republic (1919-1933) was one of the most fascinating and culturally productive periods of German history, but it was equally plagued by crises and violent conflicts. This module aims to introduce central issues in the literary and social developments of Weimar Germany. You will study a wide range of materials such as literary texts, film, aesthetic and political programmes to analyse key features of the period. Topics will include the impact of the Great War, developments in the press and the cinema, political confrontations, cabaret, and unemployment. You will have one two-hour and one one-hour seminar per week in addition to extensive independent study.


 Translation and Linguistic Exchange

This optional module offers in-depth discussion of grammatical, lexical and idiomatic aspects of German and English as well as issues of translation, register and cultural difference. Regular practical work on translation from and into German in small groups of native speakers of both target languages will not only instigate an intellectual discussion of linguistic and translation issues but will also offer an opportunity to explore each language from at least two cultural perspectives. Nottingham students will work with exchange students from Germany and/or Austria in this module.


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

This module introduces you to the construction of national and collective memory of the Second World War in Soviet and Russian culture and society. You’ll focus on contemporary and subsequent artistic and social responses to the experience of war, but also look at individual acts of remembering such as diaries, reports and letters in the context of a wider cultural memory. The module is conducted in English and you’ll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars.


Nabokov’s Fiction

This module examines the life and work of Vladimir Nabokov, one of the most important writers of twentieth-century Russian literature. The main focus is on Nabokov’s works from his Russian-language period (1919-40), but examples of his later work written in English (1940-77) are also studied.


Russian Interpreting

Introducing you to Russian-English interpreting, topics covered include evaluating interpreting, differences between English and Russian and problems of interpreting arising from these, reference sources, equivalence at and above word level and strategies for dealing with non-equivalence, collocation and idiom, cultural factors, and language variety. You’ll spend around two hours per week in practical classes and lectures.

Serbian and Croatian Cinema

This module focuses on the representation of Balkan Roma in Serbian and Croatian cinema. It examines the ways in which the themes, motifs and narrative structures of films combine in complex ways and reflect the cultural circumstances of their production. The films examined include feature films and documentaries. Students learn to apply theories from film studies (montage, framing and acting) and cultural theory (including postcolonialism and trauma studies) and also learn about Romani life and culture. 

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

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

Spanish American Narrative

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

Brazilian Slave Society

This module aims to provide students 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, students 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.

Exotic Iberia

This module will look at representations of Spain and Portugal in European literature, opera and painting from the nineteenth century onwards. It will examine the construction of an "exotic", romanticised, "other" Iberia in works of art, music and literature, many of which remain as popular today as over a century ago and still, to some extent, inform popular perceptions of Spain and Portugal. Students will be trained to compare and contrast cultural production over a range of genres - including opera, painting, and literature - and to inform their discussion with reference to cultural and historical contexts. They will be guided in how to analyse the manipulation of cultural stereotypes and how to assess critically the source and impact of these manipulations.


Year abroad

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

Options available to you may depend on the details of the Brexit settlement negotiated by the UK government. For more information, see our Year Abroad page and the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies statement on Brexit and our year abroad provision.



Modern language graduates are well-equipped for careers in management and administration, banking, business, the civil service and the Foreign Office, HR, journalism, marketing, public relations and journalism, international agencies, publishing, teaching, translating, postgraduate training in law and accountancy and for further study.

Average starting salary

In 2016, 94.2% of undergraduates in the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £21,336 with the highest being £31,000.* 

Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Careers support and advice

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

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


Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

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

Home students*

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

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

International/EU students

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 38 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.


Key Information Sets (KIS)

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


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

This course includes one or more pieces of formative assessment.

How to use the data

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


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