BA Modern Languages and Arabic

UCAS code RT60
Duration 4 Years
Typical offer AAB–ABB; IB: 34–32; BTEC: DDD–DDM
  • Arab and Islamic Studies
  • Modern Languages
Location Taught in Exeter Streatham (Exeter)


The University of Exeter has one of the leading and most respected centres for Modern Languages in the UK and ranked 4th for overall satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2017. The BA Modern Languages and Arabic course structure is extremely flexible allowing you to study Arabic alongside one other language; French, German, Italian, Spanish or Russian, all ranked in the top 10 in The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019. Your final degree title will reflect your choices and you will divide your time equally between the two languages.

As part of the degree course at Exeter, you will undertake intense practical language training as well as theoretical learning to better understand the rich cultural, social and historical backdrop of Arabic and your other chosen language. You will develop fundamental language skills such as reading, speaking, translating and writing, learning to perfect the delicate nuances of intonation, tone and inflection in your voice to become a skilled linguist. You will also study modules on Arab literature and on Islam and Arab history. Open modules on linguistics, literature, medieval history, visual arts, film and culture will offer you the chance to further customise your programme to suit your specific needs and preferences.

In your second year, you will spend a year abroad in an Arabic-speaking country. Please note that Arabic can only be taken at a beginner level, which means that you must have an A Level or equivalent in your modern language choice. There are opportunities to study at one of our renowned partner universities, teach English as part of a British Council placement or gain valuable employment experience and practical applied learning by working abroad. Recent graduates worked at a number of prestigious firms, commercial organisations and within the administration offices of charities.

This intellectually stimulating degree engages you imaginatively in the process of analysing and understanding language and culture, encouraging you to become a global citizen. By the end of your degree, you will have acquired a diverse and transferable set of skills and intercultural awareness that are highly sought after by employers. Modern Language degrees offer a broad range of career paths in translation, linguistics, teaching and across multiple other industries. Recent graduates are now working in areas such as marketing and communications, project co-ordination, journalism and finance.


Programme variations

Programme structure

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 Modern Languages and Arabic 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 business module, to develop career-related skills or just widen your intellectual horizons.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

ARA1033Elementary Arabic Language 60
One Modern Language module for your chosen language:
MLF1001French Language 30
MLG1001German Language30
MLI1001Italian Language30
MLR1001Contemporary Russian, Written and Oral30
MLS1001Spanish Language30

Optional modules

Select 30 credits of Level 1 optional modules in your chosen Modern Language

MLF1105An Introduction to French Thought15
MLF1119French Cinema from the New Wave to the Present Day15
MLF1121French Visual History15
MLF1014Love and Death in French Culture15
MLF1103The French Language, Present and Past15
MLF1015War and Conflict in French Literature15
MLG1014A Nation Remembers: Issues in German Cultural Memory15
MLG1015Representations of Education in German Literature and Film: Satire, Trauma, Melodrama15
MLG1016War, Passion and Possibly Love: Approaches to Genre in German Literature15
MLG1017Turning Points in German History 1200 - 200015
MLG1018Nature and the City in German Literature, Visual Arts and Film15
MLI1054Contemporary Italian Cinema: an Introduction to Reading Popular Film15
MLI1055Introduction to Italian Linguistics15
MLI1121A Thousand Faces: Cultures and History in 19th-Century Italy15
MLR1005Chekhov's Major Plays15
MLR1023Russia Empire and Identity15
MLR1024Russian Heroes and Heroines15
MLS1012Contemporary Latin America: Culture, Society and Institutions15
MLS1016Gender Perspectives15
MLS1021The Generation of 1898: Imagining Spain15
MLS1022The Outsider in Hispanic Texts15
MLS1023Spain since the Transition: Society, Politics and Culture15
MLS1062Introduction to the History of the Spanish Language15
MLS1064An Introduction to the Hispanic World: Texts in Context15

Year 2

Students will spend the second year of their studies in an Arabic-speaking country.

Compulsory modules

ARA2000Year Abroad120

Year 3

Compulsory modules

ARA2139Intermediate Arabic Language II 30
One Modern Languages Level 2 module for your chosen language
MLF2001French Language, Written and Oral30
MLG2001German Language, Written and Oral30
MLI2001Italian Language, Written and Oral30
MLR2001Contemporary Russian, Written and Oral I30
MLS2001Spanish Language, Written and Oral30

Optional modules

Select 30 credits of Level 2 optional modules in your chosen Modern Language.

Select two 15-credit Arab and Islamic Studies Level 2 optional modules.

MLF2003Freedom and French Realism15
MLF2012Evolution of the French Language15
MLF2029Varieties of French15
MLF2056Provoking Thoughts: French Literature and Philosophy from the Renaissance to the 20th Century15
MLF2063Crime and Punishment in French Fiction15
MLF2065Contemporary French Film: Issues and Debates15
MLF2066Intimate Spaces of the French Enlightenment15
MLF2067Gender and Resistance: Contemporary Women's Writing in French15
MLF2068 Telling Stories: Narrative Strategies in 19th- and 20th-century Fiction in French15
MLF2069East is East? Cross-Cultural Encounters in Medieval French Literature15
MLG2018Berlin - Culture, History and Politics15
MLG2034Crime and Madness in German Prose Fiction15
MLG2042Ideologies and Identities in German Cinema15
MLG2045Protest, Priests and Princes: Germany in the Early Modern Period15
MLG2047Language in the Goethezeit15
MLI2024Love (and Marriage?)15
MLI2120Alessandro Manzoni's The Betrothed15
MLR2017Monsters, Ghosts and Vampires in Russian Literature15
MLR2018Revolutionary Theatre: 1917-193215
MLR2054Soviet History 1917-199130
MLS2032Introduction to Commercial Spanish15
MLS2045Federico Garcia Lorca: Theatre and Poetry15
MLS2053Franco's Spain: Narratives under Dictatorship15
MLS2060Love and Death in Spanish Drama15
MLS2061The Latin American Short Story15
MLS2067Spain from Democracy to Dictatorship: Republic, Civil War and Francoism, 1931 - 195315
MLS2157The Short Story of the Spanish Golden Age15
Modern Languages
SML2209Music in Medieval Europe15
SML2244Multilingualism in Society15
Arab and Islamic Studies
ARA2118Gender-Identity and Modernity in the Middle East15
ARA2121Themes in the Arabic Short Story15
ARA2131M.E.20C Colonialism Revolution and Beyond15
ARA2132Islamic Law and Society15
ARA2135Conflict and Peace making Palestine/Israel15
ARA2139Intermediate Arabic Language II 30
ARA2141Intermediate Persian15
ARA2144Reading Qur'anic Arabic 15
ARA2146Islamic Theological Traditions15
ARA2148Arabic for Beginners II 30
ARA2150Muslims in Britain15
ARA2151Intermediate Persian II15
ARA2152Persian Literature 15
ARA2160Islamic Movements: From the Muslim Brothers to Al-Qa'ida15
ARA2161The Historiography of the Arab-Israeli Conflict15
ARA2162Political Economy of Development in the Middle East15
ARA2164Intermediate Turkish I15
ARA2165Intermediate Turkish II 15
ARA2166Revolution, Reform or Status Quo15
ARA2222Career Planning Workshops (Level 2)0

Final year

Compulsory modules

Students must take either ARA3106 Dissertation or two 15-credit modules chosen from Arab and Islamic Studies Level 3 optional modules.

MLF3111Advanced French Language Skills30
ARA3103Advanced Arabic Language30
Choose either ARA3106 Dissertation or two 15-credit optional modules

Optional modules

Select 30 credits of French and Modern Languages Level 3 optional modules.

Select two 15-credit Arab and Islamic Studies Level 3 optional modules (if you are NOT taking ARA3106).

MLF3034Sociolinguistics of French15
MLF3046Dialectology in France15
MLF3050Music, Poetry, and Society At the Late Medieval French Court15
MLF3053Looking Awry: Exploring the Unorthodox in Early Modern France15
MLF3056Cultural Observation in the Ancien Regime15
MLF3066Contemporary French Visual Culture15
MLF3069Writing Women and Strange Monsters15
MLF3070Diasporic Cinemas15
MLF3072Sex and the Text: Gender and Authority in Late Medieval France15
MLF3073Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu15
MLG3022The Foundation of Modern Germany 1860-190015
MLG3026Pamphlets and Propaganda in German and Austrian History15
MLG3028Violence, Gender and Nationhood in the Work of Heinrich von Kleist15
MLG3035Violence and Vanitas: The German Baroque15
MLG3036Dictatorships on Display: History Exhibitions in Germany and Austria15
MLG3037Coping with Catastrophe: German Culture, Literature and Politics in the Interwar Years15
MLI3028Italian Varieties and Dialects15
MLI3052Representing Immigration in Contemporary Italian Cinema15
MLI3053Liaison Interpreting and Report Writing between English and Italian15
MLI3199Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend15
MLS3027Commercial Spanish15
MLS3031The Varieties of Modern Spanish15
MLS3037Women and Feminism in 20th Century Spain15
MLS3045Spanish Romantic Drama15
MLS3048Memory and Autobiographical Writing in 20th Century Spain15
MLS3054Advanced Portuguese30
MLS3057Cross Currents: Memory, Myth and Modernity in Latin America15
MLS3060The Amorous Lyric of the Spanish Golden Age15
MLS3061Religion, Revolution and Counterrevolution15
MLS3062Spain and the fin de siecle: from Disaster to Modernity15
Modern Languages
SML3012Law in Fiction15
SML3017Language Contact15
SML3030Extended Dissertation30
SML3031Advanced Translation Skills15
SML3035The Fantastic in 19th and 20th Century Literature15
SML3036Beyond Sex and the City: Becoming a Woman in Contemporary Western Cinema15
SML3037Longing for an Audience: Medieval Troubadour Lyric15
Arab and Islamic Studies
ARA3103Advanced Arabic Language 30
ARA3107Politics of Semi-democratic and Authoritarian Countries30
ARA3129Nationalisms in the Middle East15
ARA3136The History and Political Development of Iraq15
ARA3138Foundational Islamic Texts: Qur'an and Hadith15
ARA3144Advanced Persian Language I15
ARA3145Advanced Persian Language II15
ARA3146Iranian History, 1500 - the Present15
ARA3149Ethno-Politics: Theoretical Considerations and Case Studies15
ARA3152Folklore and Identity in the Middle East15
ARA3158Armed Islamist Movements: Jihadism and Beyond15
ARA3159The Orientalist Debate15
ARA3160Intermediate Arabic Language I30
ARA3161Islamic Art and Architecture15
ARA3162Britain in the Middle East, 1798-197715
ARA3163Politics and Reform in the Gulf15
ARA3185EU and US Democracy Promotion in the Middle East and North Africa30
ARA3186The History and Political Development of Iraq30

Full module descriptions

For full module descriptions from previous years, please visit our Humanities student website.

Entry requirements 2020

Typical offer


Required subjects

GCE AL grade B in the modern foreign language to be studied; IB HL5 in the modern foreign language to be studied.

Completing your UCAS form

When completing your UCAS form for RT60 indicate the modern language and route you wish to study under ‘Further details’ in the ‘choices’ section of the application using the abbreviations below. Please note that you may choose only one language. It may be possible to study further languages to a lower level of proficiency than degree level in the Foreign 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.

CodeSubjectRequired subjects
Fren French For the Beginners' route: GCSE in a Modern Foreign Language grade B
For the Advanced route: GCE AL French Grade B; IB French HL5
Germ German For the Beginners' route: GCSE in a Modern Foreign Language grade B
For the Advanced route: GCE AL German Grade B; IB German HL5
Ital Italian For the Beginners' route: GCSE in a Modern Foreign Language grade B
For the Advanced route: GCE AL Italian Grade B; IB Italian HL5
Russ Russian For the Beginners' route: GCSE in a Modern Foreign Language grade B
For the Advanced route: GCE AL Russian Grade B; IB Russian HL5
Span Spanish For the Beginners' route: GCSE in a Modern Foreign Language grade B
For the Advanced route: GCE AL Spanish Grade B; IB Spanish HL5

Language requirements

  • Please note that Arabic can only be taken at a beginner level, which means that you must have an A Level or equivalent in your modern language choice.

We are only able to guarantee a place on the relevant language programme(s) if this information is included on your UCAS form. However, we understand that you may change your mind about the language you want to continue with or take up, so if you wish to change the choice of language(s) given on your UCAS application at any stage please contact either our Admissions Office who will be able to confirm whether or not you are eligible for consideration for a different language. If you do wish to be considered for an alternative language please make your request as early as possible, as capacity and planning constraints may limit our ability to allow late changes to your language choice.

International students

International students should check details of our English language requirements, and may be interested in our Foundation programmes and English Language programmes offered by the INTO University of Exeter centre.

Further information

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

Our teaching methods make full use of seminars, study groups and web-based learning. Language modules take place in small interactive classes of about 15-20 students, using the language laboratory, satellite TV, the internet and computer-assisted language learning. Non-language modules are delivered through small group lectures, seminars and textual study, tutorials and discussion. 

You’ll get on average ten contact hours per week with tutors (teaching time) in language-based programmes. You are also expected to invest a lot of time in independent study outside of these contact hours; this involves individual study, contact with your study-group (for example, in preparation for seminars), and contact with your personal tutor. The exact amount of time spent working independently varies from module to module, but you should expect your total workload to average 40 hours per week during term time. 

A flexible system of module choice allows you to tailor your programme to your particular interests as you progress. We'll teach you to work independently, to research, analyse and synthesise new and unfamiliar material and to communicate clearly using both the written and spoken word. In seminar presentations you’ll acquire the skill of confidently delivering coherent and precise arguments to an audience, as well as learning how to receive comments and criticism and develop the ability to lead in a team/group situation. 

We’re actively engaged in introducing new methods of learning and teaching, including increasing use of interactive computer-based approaches to learning through our virtual learning environment, where the details of all modules are stored in an easily navigable website. You can access detailed information about modules and learning outcomes and interact through activities such as the discussion forums.

Research-inspired teaching

Research-inspired teaching ensures lectures are up-to-date and relevant so that you will benefit from access to the latest thinking, equipment and resources. All staff teach third year options which are linked to their own interests, which include the study of history and social sciences in the Middle East and Muslim world, Islamic studies, and language and literature including studies in Persian.


You will be assessed by exam and coursework, including essay writing and a dissertation (in the last year of study). An informal element of continuous assessment is also in place so you can gain on-going feedback on your progress. You must pass your first year assessment in order to progress to the second year, but the results do not count towards your degree classification. For three-year programmes, the assessments in the second and third years contribute to your final degree classification. For four-year programmes the assessments in the second, third and fourth years all contribute to your final degree classification.

Full details of the assessment criteria for each module can be found on our module pages.

Study abroad

All undergraduate Arabic language students on a four-year programme spend their second year at one of our accredited Arabic language study centres.

The year abroad is an integral part of the study of Arabic, advancing your knowledge of grammar and syntax as well as reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. It provides an excellent opportunity for students of Arabic to become immersed in Arabic society and culture, and to gain fluency in a spoken dialect of the Arabic Language.

Year abroad destinations can obviously vary from year to year dependent on current events in the Middle East and North Africa. Previous destinations have included:

  • Arabic Language Centre, University of Damascus, Syria
  • Language Centre, University of Jordan
  • International Language Institute (ILI), Cairo, Egypt
  • Institut Francais Du Proche-Orient, Damas, Syria
  • The Arabic Language Institute in Fez, Morocco

During your year abroad you will follow a course of study at your host institution, focusing on Standard Arabic, Media Arabic and the Colloquial Arabic of the place you choose to study in. Typically there is a great deal of opportunity for travel and many institutions organise study trips for you; for example the ILI in Cairo organises trips to the Oases and to the Red Sea.

Many students take the opportunity to travel further within the region, often visiting Lebanon and Turkey, and some are reluctant to come back to Exeter when the year is over! On returning, you’ll be encouraged to enter any photographs you’ve taken during time away in the Year Abroad Photography Competition, the winner of which receives a cash prize.

Further information can be found on our  Study Abroad pages .


A degree in Modern Languages and Arabic gives you an appreciation and understanding of the culture, history and language of the Middle East and French-speaking countries. You will develop analytical and research skills as well as an awareness of different interpretations of issues and events, develop opinions and use effective communication skills to put forward your ideas and conclusions. You will also develop your time-management skills.

All these skills are valued by employers from many different fields and can open up career paths in a wide variety of areas from academic research and government work to more commercially-based careers in law and business.

Many students take part in the Exeter Award and the Exeter Leaders Award . These schemes encourage you to participate in employability related workshops, skills events, volunteering and employment which will contribute to your career decision-making skills and success in the employment market.

Exeter has an excellent reputation with graduate recruiters and our students and graduates compete very successfully in the employment market. Many employers target the University when recruiting new graduates.

Find out more about the destinations of Arab and Islamic Studies graduates on our Employability site.

Contact us


For general Modern Languages enquiries:

WebEnquire online 
Phone: +44 (0)1392 724202
Visit the Department of Modern Languages website

Contacts for each individual language are provided with the details for each programme.