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Undergraduate Study

BA Modern Languages

UCAS code R900
Duration 4 years
Entry year 2024
Campus Streatham Campus
Discipline Modern Languages and Cultures
Contact

Web: Enquire online
Phone: 0300 555 6060 (UK callers)
+44 (0)1392 723044 (EU/International callers)

Typical offer

View full entry requirements

A-Level: ABB
IB: 32/655
BTEC: DDM

Contextual offers

A-Level: BBC
IB: 28/554
BTEC: DMM

Overview

  • Highly flexible programme which allows you to structure your studies around your interests or follow a specific career-orientated pathway.
  • Choose from Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
  • Study one, two or three languages from Beginners level or post A-level.
  • Develop practical competency, employability skills and intercultural awareness in the classroom and on your International Placement (work or study).
  • Engage with the culture of the societies where your language is spoken, choosing from options on linguistics, history, politics, literature, philosophy, gender studies, visual culture and film.
  • Broaden your horizons by taking modules in other languages, including Japanese, Korean, British Sign Language or Arabic, or even in TESOL and other disciplines such as Business or International Relations.

Beginners and Advanced languages for BA Modern Languages

Students have the option of studying languages at Beginners and Advanced level, depending on the number of languages they choose to study.

Language combinations available

Number of languages selected Advanced level languages available Beginners level languages available

One language:

One language at Beginners or Advanced* level

French; German; Italian; Russian; Spanish;

Chinese (Mandarin); French; German; Italian; Portuguese; Russian; Spanish

Two languages:

One new language at Beginners level and one at Advanced* level

Or both at Advanced* level

French; German; Italian; Russian; Spanish

Chinese (Mandarin); French; German; Italian; Portuguese; Russian; Spanish

Three languages:

Two languages at Advanced* level and one new language at Beginners level

Or three languages at Advanced* level

French; German; Italian; Russian; Spanish

Chinese (Mandarin); French; German; Italian; Portuguese; Russian; Spanish

*Post-A level or equivalent

Students taking only one language in Year 1 can add a Beginners level language in Year 2. Students taking two languages in Year 1 can add a third (Beginners level) language in Year 2, subject to performance in the first two languages.

Find out more about the various pathways you can take.

Study 1-3 languages with 7 language options to choose from

Top 150 in world subject rankings for Modern Languages and Cultures

QS World University Subject Rankings 2023

Top 10 in the Russell Group for student satisfaction in all seven themes

National Student Survey 2023

Year abroad spent studying at a partner university or in employment

Studying Modern Languages isn’t just about poring over endless grammar notes! Our course is so rich and varied that you will have the fantastic opportunity to develop not only your language skills, but a knowledge and interest in the culture of your chosen languages.

If you ask any student about the course, I very much doubt you will come away without them mentioning the Year Abroad, which for many is the highlight of the four years. I still cannot quite believe that I managed to go from working as a waitress over the summer in France, to studying in Italy, then to working as a marketing assistant in Spain all within the space of a year!

Aside from massively improving my language skills and cultural knowledge, this year definitely opened my eyes to the amazing opportunities out there for language students, and certainly made me realise how well my course and the support at the University of Exeter has prepared me for more exciting opportunities like this in the future.

Read more from Kate

Kate

BA Modern Languages (French, Italian and Spanish)

Entry requirements (typical offer)

Qualification Typical offer Required subjects
A-Level ABB See Language entry requirements below
IB 32/655 See Language entry requirements below
BTEC DDM See Language entry requirements below
GCSE C or 4 English Language
Access to HE 24 L3 Credits at Distinction Grade and 21 L3 credits at Merit Grade Dependent on level chosen the required L3 credits in Modern Foreign Language subject area.
T-Level Distinction Dependent on subjects chosen, GCE AL in a Modern Foreign Language will also be required.
Contextual Offer

A-Level: BBC
IB: 28/554
BTEC: DMM

Specific subject requirements must still be achieved where stated above. Find out more about contextual offers.

Other accepted qualifications

View other accepted qualifications

English language requirements

International students need to show they have the required level of English language to study this course. The required test scores for this course fall under Profile B2. Please visit our English language requirements page to view the required test scores and equivalencies from your country.

NB General Studies is not included in any offer.

Grades advertised on each programme webpage are the typical level at which our offers are made and provide information on any specific subjects an applicant will need to have studied in order to be considered for a place on the programme. However, if we receive a large number of applications for the programme we may not be able to make an offer to all those who are predicted to achieve/have achieved grades which are in line with our typical offer. For more information on how applications are assessed and when decisions are released, please see: After you apply

Language entry requirements

One Advanced language studied in Year 1

A level grade B or IB HL 5 or SL6  (or equivalent) in the language chosen at Advanced level

One Beginners language studied in Year 1

No previous language qualifications required. We strongly recommend that students who want to start a languages degree with no previous linguistic experience should contact us.

Two languages studied in Year 1 (either Advanced or Beginners)

A level grade B or IB HL 5 or SL6 (or equivalent) in the language(s) chosen at advanced level

Three languages studied in Year 1 (either Advanced or Beginners)

A level grade A or IB HL 6 or SL6 (or equivalent) in the languages chosen at advanced level

Completing your UCAS form

When completing your UCAS form for R900 indicate your proposed subjects under ‘Further details’ in the ‘choices’ section of the application using the abbreviations, separated by a space as below.

It may be possible to study further languages to a lower level of proficiency than degree level in the Language Centre, subject to demand: this is arranged on registration at Exeter. For further information on completing your UCAS form, please visit the UCAS website.

When applying to a Combined Honours degree with a modern language you will need to indicate, under ‘further details’ in the ‘choices’ section of the application, the language and route you wish to study using the codes above. Please note that you may choose only one language. For further information on completing your UCAS form, please visit the UCAS site. For more information on language requirements for our Combined Honours degrees, visit the individual pages for these programmes in the degrees list on the Modern Languages and Cultures page.

French Fren
Chinese (Mandarin) Chin
German Germ
Italian Ital
Portuguese Port
Russian Russ
Spanish Span

Find out more about the various pathways you can take.

Read more

Course content

The Modern Languages degree programme is made up of compulsory (core) and optional modules, which are worth 15 or 30 credits each, worth a total of 120 credits each year. Take up to 30 credits outside the department through modularity.

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.

Pathways

The sample pathways below show the possible routes you could take for your BA Modern Languages. It is only possible to study one language ab initio. Mandarin Chinese and Portuguese are currently only available ab initio.

Pathway A - One language

Study one language and graduate with BA (Hons) in one language, e.g. BA (Hons) French.

Students can choose to study one Beginners or one Advanced language in Year 1. Please see the Overview above for details of languages available.

Year 1

You will study 1st year core language modules, plus you can select from a variety of modules covering areas such as cultural, literary and linguistics topics. You can also study modules from other disciplines outside of Modern Languages such as Politics and History.

Year 2

You will study 2nd year core language modules, plus you can select from a variety of modules covering areas such as cultural, literary and linguistics topics. You can also study modules from other disciplines outside of Modern Languages such as Politics and History.

Year 3 - International Placement 

Your International Placement (work or study) will be spent in a country of the language either:

  • on a work placement
  • studying at a university
  • a combination of the above
  • in a school working as a British Council Language assistant (for French, German, Italian and Spanish only) 

If you are studying a Beginners language from Year 1, you must spend your third year in the country of that language. 

Year 4

You will study final year core language modules, plus you can select from a variety of modules covering cultural, literary and linguistic aspects of the language. You can also study modules from other disciplines outside of Modern Languages such as Politics and History.

Pathway B - Two equal languages

Study two languages and graduate with BA (Hons) in two languages, e.g. BA (Hons) Italian and Spanish.

Year 1

Your study will be divided 50/50 between two languages and will include 1st year core language modules for both. You can also select from a variety of modules covering cultural, literary and linguistic aspects of the languages.

Year 2

Your study will be divided 50/50 between two languages and will include core language modules for both. You can also select from a variety of modules covering cultural, literary and linguistic aspects of the languages.

Year 3 - International Placement 

Your International Placement (work or study) will be spent in a country of the language either:

  • on a work placement
  • studying at a university
  • a combination of the above
  • in a school working as a British Council Language assistant (for French, German, Italian and Spanish only) 

If you are studying a Beginners language from Year 1, you must spend your third year in the country of that language. 

Year 4

Your study will be divided 50/50 between two languages and will include core language modules for both. You can also select from a variety of modules covering cultural, literary and linguistic aspects of the languages.

Pathway C - Three equal languages

Study three languages and graduate with a BA (Hons) in three languages, e.g. BA (Hons) Italian, Russian and Spanish.

Year 1

Your study will include 1st year core language modules for the three languages. Plus you can select two option modules, covering cultural, literary and linguistic aspects, from any of the three languages.

Year 2

Your study will include 2nd year core language modules for the three languages. Plus you can select two option modules, covering cultural, literary and linguistic aspects, from any of the three languages.

Year 3 - International Placement 

Your International Placement (work or study) will be spent in a country of the language either:

  • on a work placement
  • studying at a university
  • a combination of the above
  • in a school working as a British Council Language assistant (for French, German, Italian and Spanish only) 

If you are studying a Beginners language from Year 1, you must spend your third year in the country of that language. 

Year 4

Your study will include final year core language modules for the three languages. Plus you can select two option modules, covering cultural, literary and linguistic aspects, from any of the three languages.

Pathway D - Two equal languages from Year 1 with a third taken up in Year 2

Start by studying two languages, then take up a third language in Year 2. Graduate with a BA (Hons) in three languages, e.g. BA (Hons) French with Russian and Spanish.

Year 1

Your study will be divided 50/50 between two languages and will include 1st year core language modules for both. You can also select from a variety of option modules covering cultural, literary and linguistic aspects of the languages.

Year 2

Having achieved good grades in the core language modules in Year 1, you decide to start a third language in Year 2.

For language 1 you will study core written and oral modules, plus you can select from a variety of option modules. For the 2nd and 3rd languages you will study the core written and oral modules.

Year 3 - International Placement 

Your International Placement (work or study) will be spent in a country of the language either:

  • on a work placement
  • studying at a university
  • a combination of the above
  • in a school working as a British Council Language assistant (for French, German, Italian and Spanish only) 

If you are studying a Beginners language from Year 1, you must spend your third year in the country of that language. 

Year 4

Your study will include final year core language modules for your three languages, plus you can select from a variety of option modules for two languages.

Pathway E - A main language and a secondary language

Start with the study of two languages, then in Year 2 take up modules in another discipline, e.g. Business Studies. Graduate with BA (Hons) in language 1 with language 2, e.g. BA (Hons) German with Russian.

Year 1

Your study will be divided 50/50 between two languages and will include 1st year core language modules for both languages. You can also select from a variety of modules covering cultural, literary and linguistic aspects of the languages.

Year 2

You decide to expand the focus of your study by including modules from another discipline, such as the Business School, to enhance your employability.

For language 1 you study core language modules, plus you can select from a variety of option modules. For language 2 you study core language modules. You also study a 1st year core module from your other discipline, e.g. Business Studies.

Year 3 - International Placement 

Your International Placement (work or study) will be spent in a country of language 1 or 2 either:

  • on a work placement
  • studying at a university
  • a combination of the above
  • in a school working as a British Council Language assistant (for French, German, Italian and Spanish only) 

If you are studying a Beginners language from Year 1, you must spend your third year in the country of that language. 

Year 4

You will study final year core language modules for both languages, plus you can select from a variety of option modules covering cultural, literary and linguistic aspects of the languages. Additionally, you can study 2nd year core modules from your other discipline.

Pathway F and G - Start with two equal languages and specialise in the Final Year

Start with the study of two languages and decide to focus mainly on one after your international placement (work or study). Graduate with BA (Hons) in ‘language 1’ with ‘language 2’ e.g. BA (Hons) Russian with French.

Year 1

Your study will be divided 50/50 between two languages and will include 1st year core modules for both. You can also select from a variety of modules covering cultural, literary and linguistic aspects of the languages.

Year 2

Your study will be divided 50/50 between two languages and will include 2nd year core modules for both. You can also select from a variety of modules covering cultural, literary and linguistic aspects of the languages.

Year 3 - International Placement 

Your International Placement (work or study) will be spent in a country of language 1 or 2, either:

  • on a work placement
  • studying at a university
  • a combination of the above
  • in a school working as a British Council Language assistant (for French, German, Italian and Spanish only) 

If you are studying a Beginners language from Year 1, you must spend your third year in the country of that language. 

Year 4 - Choose either pathway F or G.

Pathway F

During your year abroad you become increasingly interested in one language but still want to continue with the study of language 2. For Language 1 you study core language modules, plus you can select option modules. And for language 2 you only study final year core written and oral modules.

Pathway G

During your year abroad you become increasingly interested in one language. You decide to drop the core language modules for language 2; however you want to maintain your interest in the modules covering cultural, literary and linguistic aspects of the language. So, you study the final year core language modules of language 1, plus you can select from a variety of option modules covering cultural, literary and linguistic aspects of both languages.

Pathway H and I - Start with two equal languages and specialise after the First Year

Start by studying two subjects, then decide after your first year to focus more on one language.

On Pathway H you graduate with BA (Hons) language 1 with language 2, e.g. BA (Hons) German with Russian.

On Pathway I you graduate with BA (Hons) language 1 with language 2 Studies, e.g. BA (Hons) German with Russian Studies.

Pathway H

Year 1

Your study will be divided 50/50 between two languages and will include 1st year core language modules for both languages. You can also select from a variety of modules covering cultural, literary and linguistic aspects of the languages.

Year 2

After Year 1 you decide you want to concentrate more on language 1 but want to keep up the study of language 2.

For language 1 you study core 2nd year written and oral modules, plus you can select from a variety of option modules covering cultural, literary and linguistic aspects of the language. And for language 2 you study core 2nd year written and oral modules.

Year 3 - International Placement

Your International Placement (work or study) will be spent in a country of language 1 either:

  • on a work placement
  • studying at a university
  • a combination of the above
  • in a school working as a British Council Language assistant (for French, German, Italian and Spanish only) 

If you are studying a Beginners language from Year 1, you must spend your third year in the country of that language. 

Year 4

For language 1 you study core final year written and oral modules, plus you can select from a variety of option modules covering cultural, literary and linguistic aspects of the language. And for language 2 you study core final year written and oral modules.

or

Pathway I

Year 1

Your study will be divided 50/50 between two languages and will include 1st year core language modules for both. You can also select from a variety of modules covering cultural, literary and linguistic aspects of the languages.

Year 2

After Year 1 you decide you want to concentrate more on language 1 and drop core modules for language 2.

For language 1 you study core written and oral modules, plus you can select from a variety of option modules. And for language 2 you select from a variety of 2nd year option modules covering cultural, literary and linguistic aspects of the language.

Year 3 - International Placement 

Your International Placement (work or study) will be spent in a country of language 1 either:

  • on a work placement
  • studying at a university
  • a combination of the above
  • in a school working as a British Council Language assistant (for French, German, Italian and Spanish only) 

If you are studying a Beginners language from Year 1, you must spend your third year in the country of that language. 

Year 4

Your focus is on language 1 only and you study core language modules, plus you can select from a variety of option modules.

Language options

As part of the four-year Modern Languages course, you will choose from one of seven languages taught at Exeter. These are Chinese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. The exact languages you study can be tailored to your interests and needs once you get here. View our sample pathways above for more details.

In addition, there is also the possibility to take modules in the Language Centre or the Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies as a second or third language through modularity, subject to approval. 

Please note that you can only start a new language in years one and two.

Chinese

China’s cultural importance in the world is at an all-time high and understanding the country and its language is of increasing strategic importance. The BA Modern Languages: Chinese (Mandarin) course at Exeter offers a complete pathway for you to become a proficient speaker, understand China’s fascinating culture and history, and develop your capacity to analyse its past, present and future through its diverse cultural forms.

In your third year, you will spend a year abroad in China studying at one of our renowned partner universities such as Peking (PKU) or Fudan.

Please note that Chinese is currently only available ab initio rather than at Advanced level.

You can study Chinese through four pathways:

  • choose to focus on Chinese and graduate with a BA in Chinese  
  • with one or two other languages (eg, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish) as part of our BA Modern Languages degree (providing no more than one language is studied from beginners’ level)
  • with Art History & Visual Culture, Classical Studies, English, Film Studies, History, International Relations, Politics, Philosophy or Sociology as part of one of our Combined Honours Programmes
  • or with a bespoke selection of subjects as part of our Flexible Combined Honours programme 

French

At the University of Exeter, we provide a lively and friendly learning community in which to learn French, offering an inspiring teaching programme driven by internationally renowned researchers. Our basic philosophy is to ensure broad academic coverage with maximum choice, allowing you to study one or two additional languages alongside French should you wish to.

As part of the BA Modern Languages: French course you can select from a wide variety of modules in most areas of French Studies: cultural studies from the Middle Ages to the present; literature and the visual arts; film; linguistics; gender studies and philosophy. You can decide to pursue a broad programme of study that includes modules taken from several of the areas mentioned above, or you can specialise in one or two of these areas.

In your third year, you will undertake an International Placement (work or study) in a Francophone country either studying at one of our renowned partner universities such as Paris Sorbonne, Libre Bruxelles and Geneva, teaching English as part of a British Council placement, or gaining valuable employment experience and practical applied learning by working abroad.

You can study French through four pathways:

  • choose to focus on French and graduate with a BA in French
  • with one or two other languages (eg, Chinese, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish) as part of our BA Modern Languages degree
  • with Arabic, Art History & Visual Culture, Classical Studies, English, Film Studies, History, International Relations, Latin, Politics, Philosophy or Sociology as part of one of our Combined Honours Programmes
  • or with a bespoke selection of subjects as part of our Flexible Combined honours programme 

German

At the University of Exeter, the BA Modern Languages and German course is characterised by a wide-ranging approach to the society, literature and culture of the German-speaking world, in particular Germany and Austria. These countries have a rich cultural past and play a crucial role at the heart of today’s Europe. The German language, which can be studied both at post A-level and beginners’ level, is a passport to a diverse community of 200 million speakers worldwide, to a treasure-house of European culture and to a major economy whose political and diplomatic influence reaches across the world.

German at Exeter is small enough for us to know our students well, yet our teaching and research have a very broad reach. Our research interests feed directly into your undergraduate degree programme, ensuring that you have access to the latest knowledge and ideas. Our teaching includes classics of literature, film and thought but also the study of museums and exhibitions, cultural memory and urban culture.

In your third year, you have the opportunity to spend a year abroad studying at one of the top universities in Germany and Austria, including Vienna, Tübingen and Humboldt University in Berlin. You can also choose to teach English as part of a British Council placement or gain valuable employment experience and practical applied learning by working abroad. Whatever you choose, immersing yourself in a German-speaking country will enrich your understanding of German and giving you an unparalleled experience.

You can study German through four pathways:

  • choose to focus on German and graduate with a BA in German
  • with one or two other languages (eg, Chinese, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish) as part of our BA Modern Languages degree
  • with Arabic, Art History & Visual Culture, Classical Studies, English, Film Studies, History, International Relations, Politics, Philosophy or Sociology as part of one of our Combined Honours Programmes
  • or with a bespoke selection of subjects as part of our Flexible Combined honours programme

Italian

Studying Italian at the University of Exeter brings you into contact with one of the most fascinating cultures in the world. Our research interests will give you access to a wide range of aspects of Italian culture that we are passionate about and you can study a broad range of topics or follow particular pathways that interest you most, such as Italian film, literature, linguistics including dialectology, or history. You can also pick up a number of open modules on linguistics, literature, medieval history, visual arts, film and culture offering you the chance to further customise the programme to suit you.

We value our extensive contacts with universities and other institutions in Italy; thanks to these exchanges there is a constant presence of Italian students in our team, which creates a distinctive atmosphere. In your third year, you will undertake an International Placement (work or study) in Italy: either studying at one of our renowned partner universities such as Bologna-Forlì, Padova and Ca' Foscari Venice, teaching English as part of a British Council placement, or gaining valuable employment experience and practical applied learning by working abroad. 

You can study Italian through four pathways:

  • choose to focus on Italian and graduate with a BA in Italian  
  • with one or two other languages (eg, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish) as part of our BA Modern Languages degree
  • with Arabic, Art History and/or Visual Culture, Classical Studies, English, Film Studies, History, International Relations, Politics, Philosophy or Sociology as part of one of our Combined Honours Programmes
  • or with a bespoke selection of subjects as part of our Flexible Combined honours programme

Portuguese

Portuguese is one of the six most widely spoken world languages, with over 200 million speakers in Portugal, Brazil, and African countries such as Angola and Mozambique. Studying Portuguese at the University of Exeter brings you into contact with one of the most diverse cultures in the world and its literary, linguistic and artistic manifestations.

You will study in an engaging research-active environment, examining not only the cultures and literatures of the Portuguese-speaking world, but also Portuguese linguistics: this includes the established and emerging dialects of Portuguese, as well as the current sociolinguistic situation in Lusophone Africa and Creole societies, among other topics. You can also can pick up a number of open modules on linguistics, literature, medieval history, visual arts, film and culture offering you the chance to further customise the programme to suit you.

In your third year, you will undertake an International Placement (work or study) in Portugal or Brazil: either studying at one of our renowned partner universities such as Coimbra and Porto in Portugal and Santa Catarina in Brazil, or gaining valuable employment experience and practical applied learning by working abroad. 

You can study Portuguese through four pathways:

  • choose to focus on Portuguese and graduate with a BA in Portuguese 
  • with one or two other languages (eg, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian or Spanish) as part of our BA Modern Languages degree 
  • with Art History & Visual Culture, Classical Studies, English, Film Studies, History, International Relations, Politics, Philosophy or Sociology as part of one of our Combined Honours Programmes
  • or with a bespoke selection of subjects as part of our Flexible Combined honours programme 

Russian

Russia has long been a significant cultural and political force and will undoubtedly continue to play a major role in 21st century culture, history and politics. Russian currently ranks fifth in the number of speakers worldwide and is one of the six official languages of the UN. Studying Russian at the University of Exeter gives you the opportunity to learn about a centuries-old culture which has had an enormous influence on our own view of the world. You will be able to experience some of the great works of literature and art, as well as exciting, lesser-known novels and poems that make up much of Russian cultural life. You will also be able to study Russia’s past, with modules specialising in the tumultuous history of the country.

In your third year, you will spend time in Russia or another country where Russian is spoken, to gain greater competence in the Russian language, further your knowledge of Russian culture and society, and develop your capacity for independent learning. Choose to study at one of our renowned partner universities in Moscow, St Petersburg and other areas across Russia including Siberia and Tatarstan.

You can study Russian through four pathways:

  • choose to focus on Russian and graduate with a BA in Russian  
  • with one or two other languages (eg, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish) as part of our BA Modern Languages degree
  • with Arabic, Art History & Visual Culture, Classical Studies, English, Film Studies, History, International Relations, Politics, Philosophy or Sociology as part of one of our Combined Honours Programmes
  • or with a bespoke selection of subjects as part of our Flexible Combined honours programme 

Spanish

Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world, with speakers in 21 countries across Europe and the Americas. Spanish is therefore one of the most valuable and exciting languages you can learn, owing to its commercial and cultural importance on both sides of the Atlantic. Studying Spanish at the University of Exeter, you will understand the historical development of Spain and the Hispanic world and be introduced to some of the most inspiring and famous works of art and literature, including the visual arts, painting and cinema. You’ll learn about the disciplines of linguistics, history and literary criticism, while gaining an insight into the life of Spain and Latin America.

In your third year, you will undertake an International Placement (work or study) in a Spanish-speaking country. Choose from studying at one of our renowned partner universities such as Córdoba or Valencia in Spain and UDLAP in Mexico. Alternatively, you might apply for a job teaching English under the scheme run by the British Council. Other students apply for work placements, either in Spain or Latin America. 

You can study Spanish through four pathways:

  • choose to focus on Spanish and graduate with a BA in Spanish
  • with one or two other languages (eg, Chinese, French, German Italian, Portuguese or Russian) as part of our BA Modern Languages degree
  • with Arabic, Art History & Visual Culture, Classical Studies, English, Film Studies, History, International Relations, Politics, Philosophy or Sociology as part of one of our Combined Honours Programmes
  • or with a bespoke selection of subjects as part of our Flexible Combined honours programme 

Your International Placement (work or study)

Study/Work Abroad in Year 3

A pivotal part of all Modern Language programmes is the International Placement (work or study), either studying at one of our prestigious partner universities, teaching on a British Council placement, or working in other employment.

By immersing yourself in the culture you study, you will not only enhance your language skills, but cultivate skills which are highly valued by employers, such as:

  • strong intercultural understanding
  • improved communication skills
  • the ability to think and study in different ways
  • resilience and confidence
  • analytical skills and the ability to make cross-cultural comparisons
  • adaptability, independence and valuable life experience.

During your third year, you will still be registered as an Exeter student and therefore supported in several ways. You will retain your personal tutor and be expected to keep in contact with them. You will also have the support of the Exeter Global Opportunities and Placements teams for advice on any matter.

You will need to decide how to spend your International Placement (work or study) during the first half of your second year. We will help you in the process. During your first year you will be invited to an introductory presentation about the different options available to you. In your second year, there is an extensive orientation programme to help you prepare for your placement and time abroad. 

Ways to spend the Year Abroad

  • You must spend 7-15 months abroad, maximising the opportunities available to you
  • You can work, study, or split the year on two or more placements
  • Students going to China or Russia can currently only study (work abroad is not available)
  • If you study Portuguese, the only options available are study or work abroad (not a British Council assistantship)

Study Abroad

Studying abroad offers a range of possibilities, with over 40 different partner universities worldwide available to Modern Languages students. This can provide you with the opportunity to experience a different academic environment with local and other international students broadening your knowledge of the language and culture you study.

Work Placements

Internships are very rewarding in that they can offer you valuable workplace experience. Placements can be sourced via our Global Placements webpages, but you can also source your own internship externally, though it must be approved by the Global Placements team. Our students have spent their Year Abroad working in translation, tourism, marketing, fashion, commerce, journalism, heritage and many other sectors.

British Council English Language Assistantship

Becoming an English Language Assistant with the British Council is a brilliant opportunity to explore both the world of working and, more specifically, the idea of working as a teacher. An academic year is spent supporting teachers in a primary or secondary school in the country of the language you are studying.

Does it count towards my degree?

Yes: the third year, with its International Placement (work or study), is an assessed year and the marks obtained count towards your final degree classification.

Where do I go on my Year Abroad if I start a language as a beginner in Year 1?

If you begin a language in your first year at Exeter and intend to take that language in your final year, you must spend at least the minimum 7 months in a country where that language is spoken.

How does it affect my tuition fee and funding?

For your Year Abroad you will pay a significantly reduced tuition fee to Exeter – for more information visit our fees pages. You will also continue to receive any Student Finance support for which you are eligible. Other financial support may also be available for certain students.

What happens if I can’t do my International Placement (work or study)? 

If you are studying a language at advanced level and cannot undertake your International Placement (work or study), you may be exempted from the requirement and moved to the three-year Modern Languages degree programme, subject to academic approval.

If you are studying a beginners language and cannot undertake your International Placement (work or study), you will not be able to continue with the core language module for that language in final year. If you are only studying a beginners language, you will be moved to the three-year Global Cultural Studies exit programme to finish your degree. 

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Fees

Tuition fees for 2024 entry

UK students: £9,250 per year
International students: £23,700 per year

Scholarships

The University of Exeter has many different scholarships available to support your education, including £5 million in scholarships for international students, such as our Global Excellence Scholarships*. Financial support is also available for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, lower income households and other under-represented groups to help them access, succeed and progress through higher education.

* Terms and conditions apply. See online for details.

Find out more about tuition fees and scholarships

Learning and teaching

How will I learn?

Written language is taught through weekly classes, with teams of tutors, including native speakers who contribute to a programme aimed at grammar improvement and the development of advanced writing and translating skills. You’ll also have weekly oral practice in classes of eight to 10 students with native speakers of the language(s) that you are studying.

Modules

Teaching on our culture modules is varied: a class about linguistics takes a rather different form than a class about theatre or film, for instance. Most cultural modules involve a combination of lectures and seminars, backed up by smaller group work and web-based learning, via the University’s online learning environment. Between classes you prepare material, evidence and arguments, individually or in groups. Seminars are your chance to try out ideas, present material to other members of the group, and respond to new material based on the critical skills you’ve been taught.

How will I be assessed?

Coursework and exams (essays, source commentaries, research exercises, oral presentations), online assessment (for language and culture modules). ​

Where else can I study?

All language students have access to the language-learning facilities provided by the Language Centre.

Optional modules outside of this course

Each year, if you have optional modules available, you can take up to 30 credits in a subject outside of your course. This can increase your employability and widen your intellectual horizons.

Proficiency in a second subject

If you complete 60 credits of modules in one of the subjects below, you may have the words 'with proficiency in [e.g. Social Data Science]' added to your degree title when you graduate.

  • A Foreign Language
  • Law
  • Social Data Science
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership

Find out more about proficiency options

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Your future

Employer-valued skills this course develops

Modern Languages graduates from the University of Exeter have an excellent reputation with graduate recruiters and compete very successfully in the employment market. You will develop skills that are attractive to employers and relevant for a wide range of careers. Alongside written and verbal fluency in your chosen language(s), you’ll develop skills in:

  • Managing and analysing information
  • Articulating ideas and arguments
  • Problem solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Cultural awareness and adaptability

In an increasingly globalised world, language skills are highly sought after by employers, and can help you stand out from the crowd.

Employer visits

We have a dedicated, award-winning Careers Service, with offices at our Streatham Campus, ensuring you have access to careers advisors, mentors and the tools you need to succeed in finding employment in your chosen field on graduation.

We offer the Exeter Award and the Exeter Leaders Award which include employability-related workshops, skills events, volunteering and employment which will contribute to your career decision-making skills and success in the employment market. Our graduates compete very successfully in the employment market, with many employers targeting the University when recruiting new graduates. For further information please visit our Careers Service.

Career paths

Example destinations for our students include:

  • Education 
  • Finance 
  • Government/Civil Service 
  • Media 
  • Law 
  • Translation 
  • Charities 
  • Hospitality 
  • Arts 
  • Retail 
  • Consultancy

Further study

A Modern Languages degree is also excellent preparation for postgraduate study, and recent graduates have progressed to a range of courses, including:

  • MA Translation Studies
  • MA Global Literatures and Cultures
  • MA European Politics
  • Graduate Diploma in Law
  • PGCE Secondary French
  • MA International Relations
  • MSc Globalisation and Latin American Development
  • Professional Language Skills

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