BA English and Modern Languages
|Typical offer||AAB–ABB; IB: 34–32; BTEC: DDD–DDM|
A combined degree in English and Modern Languages is one of the most challenging yet rewarding areas of study, perfect for any student who is passionate about the origin of language and the way in which it has transformed over hundreds of years to what we know and use today. Set over four-years, this stimulating degree course will take you on a journey of exploration through thousands of years of literature whilst giving you the opportunity to study a modern language and take your studies abroad to experience real-world context.
Exeter is one of the top 100 universities to study English in the world. Here, you will be introduced to over 1,500 years of the written word; epic medieval poetry, the colourful, turbulent era of Renaissance and Revolution, through to contemporary authors who have been instrumental in defining the modernist literary movement. Our world-class faculty staff will nurture your natural talents and enthusiasm for English literary studies, but more importantly they will challenge you. Challenge you conceptually, intellectually, creatively, morally and politically, because choosing to study English is choosing to broaden your mind.
To complement your education in English, you will choose from one of the seven modern languages taught at Exeter. These are French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Chinese and Russian. You will develop fundamental language skills such as reading, speaking, translating and writing. You will learn to perfect the delicate nuances of intonation, tone and inflection in your voice to become a skilled linguist and explore the rich cultural backdrop behind your chosen language. In depth study of literature, politics, national and regional identities, film and philosophy will enhance your understanding of the language and let you draw interesting comparisons from your English studies. Exeter has a wealth of expertise in covering the cultures of the major European nations and China as well as those in the postcolonial nations where our core languages are spoken, particularly Latin America, Francophone and Portuguese speaking Africa.
An English degree can lead to an almost limitless number of career opportunities. Recent graduates now hold roles such as copywriter, assistant editor, education officer, journalist and marketing executive to name but a few. Graduates who possess the core transferable skills of a degree in English teamed with proficiency in a second language will further differentiate themselves from other job applicants. We’re proud to say that 95% of our graduates are in employment or further study six month after graduation.
The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.
The English and Modern Languages degree programme is made up of compulsory (core) and optional modules, which are worth 15 or 30 credits each. Full-time undergraduate students need to complete modules worth a total of 120 credits each year.
Depending on your programme you can take up to 30 credits each year in another subject, for instance a language or business module, to develop career-related skills or just widen your intellectual horizons.
There are two forms of entry to the degree programme. Advanced entrants already have a qualification, usually, at A-level, in Spanish. Beginners in Spanish do not. Thus there are two syllabuses, outlined below.
In the second year you will advance your language training. Optional modules enable you to develop specialist knowledge on a range of topics.
The full list of English optional modules can be accessed on our College intranet.
Students spend this stage in a partner university on an Erasmus/Socrates exchange, teaching English or working in other employment.
The centre-point of the final year is the dissertation. This provides you with the opportunity to explore an area of interest and to demonstrate what you have learned over the previous years of your degree. You will also take up to three other specialist modules to create a programme of work fully reflecting your interests.
The dissertation could be in an English, Creative Writing or Modern Language topic. Students are only permitted to write one dissertation.
Full module descriptions
For full module descriptions from previous years, please visit our Humanities student website.
Entry requirements 2020
AAB–ABB; IB: 34–32; BTEC: DDD–DDM
GCE AL English Literature grade A and the required Modern Language grade B; IB English HL6 and MFL HL5.
Modern Language requirements are dependent on your chosen language; see table below.
GCE AL English Literature grade A; IB English HL6.
A level applicants may offer either GCE AL English Literature or English Language and Literature.
BTEC applicants require an additional GCE AL English Literature or English Language and Literature grade A.
Languages and levels for Combined Honours programmes with Modern Languages
Study a new language at Beginners level (excluding programmes with Arabic)
|Available languages||Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish|
|Language requirements||GCSE grade B/grade 5 (or equivalent) in any modern foreign language|
Study your A level language at Advanced level (including programmes with Arabic)
|Available languages||French, German, Italian, Russian or Spanish|
|Language requirements||A level grade B or IB HL 5 (or equivalent) in the language chosen at advanced level|
Completing your UCAS form
In the section named ‘further details’ on your UCAS application form please indicate in the ‘choices’ field the language and route you wish to study using the abbreviations below, separated by a space:
- Grade B at A level is required in any language you intend to study from A level.
- You may only choose one language.
- Students wishing to pursue language study on the basis of a GCSE are normally classed as beginners.
- French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish can be studied either from A level or beginner’s level, with both cohorts reaching degree level in the final year. Portuguese and Chinese can normally only be studied from beginner’s level, not from A Level; students of these two languages reach degree level in final year.
Additional selection criteria
We are looking for well-qualified students with a genuine interest in and enthusiasm for the subject.
In addition to the specific requirements listed above, we look for excellent A level* results/predictions and we may also take into account results up to and including GCSEs* and AS Levels* as part of our holistic assessment of an application.
*Equivalent qualifications will be considered. For more information about our equivalencies for specific qualifications please contact our Admissions Office.
International students should check details of our English language requirements
If your academic qualifications or English language skills do not meet our entry requirements our INTO University of Exeter centre offers a range of courses to help you reach the required language and academic standards.
International Foundation programmes
Preparation for entry to Year 1 of an undergraduate degree:
Please read the important information about our Typical offer.
For full and up-to-date information on applying to Exeter and entry requirements, including requirements for other types of qualification, please see the Applying section.
Learning and teaching
The nature of learning at university involves considerable self-guided study and research. You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and small group tutorials, led by internationally respected academics at the forefront of research. You will be encouraged to take the initiative by organising your own study groups, taking advantage of online and traditional learning resources, and managing your personal workload and time.
Most of your work will be done in group and self-directed study: reading or viewing module material, writing essays or preparing for your seminar presentations. We encourage you to present your work because it involves you actively in the teaching and learning process, and develops important transferable skills such as good verbal and visual communication and effective interaction with other people. You will also develop a range of professional skills, such as time management and team working, plus valuable critical, analytical and communication skills.
In your first year, you will receive a minimum of 10 hours of contact with academic staff per week. You will also be expected to attend other activities such as study groups, workshop activities and film screenings. Your total workload should average about 40 hours per week during term time.
We are actively engaged in introducing new methods of learning and teaching, including the increasing use of interactive computer-based approaches to learning through our virtual learning environment, where you can access detailed information about modules and learning outcomes and interact through activities such as discussion forums.
You will also have access to online subscription databases and websites, such as Early English Books Online (EEBO), Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO), MLA FirstSearch and JSTOR. Technical skills will include accurate notetaking from presentations, research and IT skills. You’ll also learn subject-specific skills, such as constructive self-criticism.
Film, audio and other mediaWe use a range of film, video, audio and other media to aid study of printed texts and other forms of cultural production. The Streatham Campus is home to the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, which contains an enormous collection relating to the history of film and visual media and an online virtual exhibition. Our libraries have extensive audio visual collections as well as the Chris Brooks collection, which contains over 10,000 works of primary and secondary source Victorian material.
We provide an exciting range of special lectures and seminars on both campuses by visiting academics and renowned writers, actors and film directors. In addition to your academic work, the student-run English Society organises book and poetry readings, film screenings and social events, providing an opportunity to meet students who share a love of literature, culture and the arts. Students from the English department are always active on the University student newspapers, radio and TV station and in the University’s drama groups.
We believe that every student benefits from being part of a culture that is inspired by research and where modules are taught by experts who contribute to the latest developments in their field. This is particularly important in the final year of your studies, where modules will give you the most up-to-date research ideas and debates in the discipline. The work of our academic staff is of the highest quality with English ranked 4th in the UK for research power in English*.
You will have access to a personal tutor who is available for advice and support throughout your studies. There are also a number of services on campus where you can get advice and information, including the Students’ Guild Advice Unit.
You will be assessed in a variety of ways but primarily through exams and coursework. Coursework includes essays, a dissertation and presentation work. The ratio of formal exam to coursework is on average 40 : 60. Your first year doesn’t count towards your final degree classification, but you do have to pass it in order to progress.
For programmes with French, your third year will normally be spent studying abroad, developing your language skills.
Your year abroad could be spent in a French-speaking country either:
- On a work placement
- Studying at a university
- In a school working as a language assistant
You can find out more at our Study Abroad web pages.
English graduates from the University of Exeter benefit from a degree which is internationally recognised and compete very successfully in the employment market.
Graduating with a degree in English will put you in a great position to succeed in a range of different careers. Oral and written communication is at the heart of our programme and you will learn to present your ideas in a range of formats. You will also develop strong research and analytical skills and the ability to problem solve and make informed decisions. Through a balance of independent study and teamwork you will learn to manage your time and workload effectively.
Our students have progressed to a broad range of work sectors including education, arts management, publishing, journalism, marketing, finance and events management, working for companies such as:
- Palgrave Macmillan
- English Heritage
- Haymarket Media
- Amnesty International
Other recent graduates have progressed to postgraduate courses in:
- MA Cultural Heritage Management
- MA English Literary Studies
- PGCE English primary
- MA Magazine Journalism
- Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Skills
The services offered by the Humanities careers and employability team are complementary to the services offered by our central Career Zone where you can participate in practical sessions to develop your skills; access paid internships and volunteering opportunities; explore postgraduate study options; meet prospective employers; get one-to-one advice and learn how to secure the right job for you.