Subject Guide

Modern Foreign Languages Degree

Uni Compare  · Dec 7th 2023

Studying a language isn’t solely about impressing the locals when on holiday, or the ability to talk fluently – although that is part of the process – it also involves sinking yourself into another culture and history of that country.


Candidates will gain understanding about the society, literature, politics and history about the country whose language they are studying while improving verbal and written skills in the subject.

Communication is a vital part of embracing the world around us and constructing strong relationships internationally with other countries, which is dependent on our ability to engage in verbal and written conversations. Therefore, it is significant for the UK, and graduates to hold qualifications in different languages, from Spanish and German, to Hebrew and Mandarin.

Modern Foreign Languages Degree

What A Levels do I need?

Most prospective students will need to obtain an A-level in the language that they are hoping to study, such as a French A-level degree is helpful as a prerequisite for a French degree course at university. Typically, a modern language, and/or humanities A-level will prove helpful for a Modern Foreign Languages degree UK.

Universities require varying entry requirements, with some institutions asking for AAB grades, while others may wish their students to hold BBC.

Students are advised to check with their chosen universities and degree courses to understand what UCAS tariff points in particular subjects they need to gain admission to the course, as the university’s Modern Foreign Languages policy may be different than elsewhere.

J. K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, studied a French and Classics degree at the University of Exeter.

What are my study options?

Individuals that choose to study a language degree will receive the best of both worlds, including a taught aspect of the course involving the study of grammar, etymology, structure, culture and literature of that language and country, with the opportunity to gain experience by working or studying abroad.

Students tend to be taught in lectures, seminars and tutorials in a classroom atmosphere for the majority of the course, with some courses offering practical assessment and learning through presentations and oral examinations.

Students may have language tuition alongside the study of the culture and history of the native country, and students can expect a lot of exposure to their chosen foreign language. The course may be very integrated and hold contemporary focus, which provides individuals with current, and useful insights.

The course curriculum will change depending on which university you study at, but for the most part, your university will follow the Modern Foreign Languages national curriculum, as it does whenever you see a lesson in Modern Foreign Languages in primary schools.

Modern Foreign Languages Degree

What should I expect from studying Language Studies?

Language courses will differ depending on the degree course and the university, however, the majority last four years as opposed to the standard three in length.

Generally due to the third year involving a year spent abroad, with the option of working or studying at a foreign university during this placement year. The time spent abroad will also look promising and impressive on a student’s CV, as well as offering young individuals the chance to live, work and study abroad which they may not acquire typically.

Spanish is the second most-spoken languages in the world, with more than four hundred million people speaking the language, and it is estimated that around sixty million people speak Spanish as a second language, and approximately twenty million individuals learning the language at any given time.

Spanish is derived from Latin, like Italian or French, meaning that there will be similarities in their syntax and Lexis that will aid the learning of the language itself. Therefore, studying a Spanish degree is not only a useful and practical tool for individuals, but it may be easier than initially thought if students studied French, Italian or Latin previously.

How will I be assessed?

The assessment methods will differ between modules and degree courses. However, the majority of courses will expect students to be able to listen, read, write and speak in their chosen language – and to a high standard – as well as gain an understanding of the culture and history of its main speakers.

Students, therefore, will be assessed through a mixture of examinations, written assignments and oral presentations.

Most language graduates choose to continue their studies and obtain a postgraduate qualification, specialising their training in international relations, development or politics.

What skills will I learn from studying Language Studies?

Individuals will acquire and review the information provided to them and then demonstrate it through independent research, essay writing, analytical thought and presentation skills.

Students who choose to study at university will gain a list of transferable skills that they are able to take with them through to employment and all areas of their life thereafter, from organisations and time management skills, from planning the undergraduate workload to social skills gained from working with others in group projects and presentations.

Why study Language Studies?

Studying a second language provides candidates with an insight into a different culture and perspective, as well as equipping them with a skill that is useful, valued, and highly sought after by many employers.

Any language course chosen will give individuals the unique opportunity to live and/or work in another country for a year during their course, also offer chances to meet new people and experience a different way of life.

Modern Foreign Languages Degree

What happens after I graduate?

Obtaining the ability to speak another language opens up employment opportunities, and one great aspect of having a qualification in a language is that it provides individuals with career opportunities on an international scale.

Many graduates can study a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) qualification and teach English abroad after they graduate, or others choose to find work internationally.

Will it help me get a job?

Individual companies search for graduates with the ability to speak more than one language, to ensure they can complete job roles that require them to work for national and international departments/clients. Having graduates that can work in multiple departments to help businesses communicate with their client base.

Students may find work within the business or finance sector; others may choose to enter translation and interpretation, or even marketing and communications.

What types of jobs can I get from Language Studies?

There are plenty of Modern Foreign Languages jobs available for students.

Most prospective students will need to obtain an A-level in the language that they are hoping to study as a prerequisite for a course at university.

A small proportion of language graduates choose to enter specialist careers, such as an interpreter, teacher, or translator, whereas most students enter into an array of careers where their language skills are an asset, but not necessarily a key skill, such as; administration, management, or retail.

Many students do look to become a teacher of Modern Foreign Languages and providing the youth of tomorrow with a helping hand towards understanding other cultures and languages. The teaching of Modern Foreign Languages in the primary school is a great way to get a leg up in the world of teaching and many find themselves teaching in universities, high schools or colleges soon afterwards.

What can I study after Language Studies?

Most language graduates choose to continue their studies and obtain a postgraduate qualification, specialising their training in international relations, development or politics. Students may even wish to gain a PGCE Modern Foreign Languages degree and enter teaching, or enter the world of law.

Famous Language Studies alumni

J. K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, studied a French and Classics degree at the University of Exeter, before creating a story that captured the hearts of millions. Bear Grylls, Britain’s favourite survivalist, studied Spanish at Birkbeck, University of London!

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