Welcome from Dr Guy Baron, Head of Department
There has never been a more exciting time to study languages. With other languages competing with English to be the main language of global communication, there are more reasons than ever to become bilingual or even multilingual.
Studying languages is a chance to acquire the knowledge and skills that are needed to take full advantage of opportunities in the 21st century. In addition, studying languages fosters enhanced communication and adaptability skills and a deeper cultural awareness, and these are attributes that are highly valued by employers at home and abroad.
Here in the Department of Modern Languages at Aberystwyth University, we offer a range of courses in the study of French, Spanish, German and Italian, either as single or joint honours degree programmes in the case of Spanish and French, or joint honours in the case of German and Italian. We are one of a handful of universities in the UK that offers you the opportunity to combine the study of three languages, two of which can be taught from beginners’ level. You can also combine your language study with a wide range of other subjects including History, International Relations, English, Education and Drama.
Studying Modern Languages at Aberystwyth will allow you to develop as a linguist across four years of BA study so that you graduate with high-level proficiency in your language(s) of choice. We place particularly strong emphasis on employability and the value of developing language skills for professional life. Combined with specialised language study, here at Aberystwyth you will also follow courses that develop your understanding of national societies and cultures and the place of these in the world. As you progress in your studies, you will have the choice to follow a number of specialist modules that will deepen your knowledge of national and transnational topics in society and culture.
Our teaching is informed by high-quality research and innovative ways to engage and excite students in learning languages in the classroom. The Department of Modern Languages was 7th in the UK in the 2021 Guardian University League Table for Modern Languages and top in the UK for students being 'Satisfied with Teaching'. We also consistently perform well in the annual National Student Survey. In the NSS 2021 we achieved 96% overall student satisfaction for the Department of Modern Languages, with 100% agreeing that staff are good at explaining things, and 100% agreeing that the course had challenged them to produce their best work.
As well as being surrounded by the language in the Department, the year abroad in your third year of study will ensure that you’ll also be fully immersed in the culture of your chosen language(s), providing you with cultural and social insights, and enhancing your knowledge and confidence.
The experiences our students gain during their year abroad (which they may spend studying at a partner university, as language teachers with the British Council, or on a range of work placements) are a central feature of our modern languages degrees. The flexibility, independence and problem-solving skills that are developed during this year are often cited by employers as a major attraction for hiring language students after graduation. The year abroad is a transformational experience that will equip you very effectively for a global future.
As a department, we are confident we can support your passion for modern languages whilst equipping you for a bright future. Come and visit us to see for yourself and find out more about what we can offer you. We would be delighted to welcome you to our Department, to tell you more about our degrees and to introduce you to our vibrant community of teachers, scholars and students.
Our community and our teaching
Here in the Department of Modern Languages at Aberystwyth University, we pride ourselves on our close-knit, diverse and cosmopolitan community of students and staff. In the department you will hear a range of languages, including French, German, Italian and Spanish, and students have often described the environment here as having a friendly, family atmosphere. All students in our department thrive in our multilingual environment.
We offer innovative learning with extensive use of our virtual learning platform, and through our wide variety of module choices you will remain stimulated throughout your studies and go from strength to strength. Chenay McKnight, a former student says: 'The variety of learning was what stood out to me when choosing Aberystwyth and is what has kept me motivated throughout my course. I visited many universities when I applied, but the friendliness of the staff at Aberystwyth was a huge part of my decision to come here. It felt like people had all the time in the world for me.' Here in the department of Modern Languages, we are confident we can unlock your potential.
We cater to all abilities and offer pathways from complete Beginners’ level or from Advanced (post A-Level or equivalent), so you can study languages even if you haven't had the chance to study a language at A-Level or equivalent.
What sets us apart?
- As a student in our department, you will be taught by native speakers and experts in the respective languages. This will ensure that you get maximum exposure to your chosen language during your time at Aberystwyth.
- You will have excellent career prospects, as evidenced by the figure of 95% of our graduates being in work or further study within 6 months of graduating; 1% more than Language graduates nationally (HESA* 2018).
- We were ranked 7th overall in the UK in the recent Guardian League Tables 2021; we regularly obtain fantastic National Student Survey (NSS) scores: 96% for student satisfaction 2021; we scored well for 'student satisfaction' in the Complete University Guide 2022: 3rd in the UK in Iberian Studies, 4th in German Studies and joint 5th in French Studies.
- Our study schemes are flexible: in many cases, you will have the opportunity to add another language, or drop a language you do not wish to study further.
- Our department is a small, friendly community which means that we get to know each other well. We are able to offer personalised academic and pastoral support that will ensure that you thrive, develop, and excel in your chosen subjects.
- We work closely using the BlackBoard virtual learning environment meaning that information and materials are at your fingertips, at home and on your mobile phone.
- We offer outstanding facilities - see the 'Our facilities' tab.
- Aberystwyth is a small town with a big heart and a cosmopolitan outlook. As a vibrant and friendly University, we attract students from all corners of the world, and the intimate atmosphere makes it a great place to get to know people. You are also sure to be inspired by the stunning surroundings.
*Our employability figures are taken from the Destination of Leavers in Higher Education 2016-17 survey published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) in June 2018.
Our facilities include:
- a sophisticated virtual learning environment
- foreign language newspapers and magazines
- dedicated 'graded readers' section in the university library
- active student union societies for each language
- dedicated study spaces
- computer assisted learning
- Aberystwyth Arts Centre - one of the largest arts centre in Wales - is situated on the university campus and regularly screens foreign films
- The National Library of Wales - one of only five copyright libraries in the UK and an excellent resource for students - that is a short walk from our department.
Many of our staff members are active researchers on the international stage, and this research feeds into their teaching. They are all passionate about their subject and keen to share their enthusiasm and research-based knowledge, with their expertise spanning a wide range of subjects. This means that you, our students, benefit from the very latest ideas in the field of modern languages and have the flexibility to specialise or mix and match optional modules. Many of our teaching staff are also native speakers, giving you a first-class all round cultural and linguistic education.
See our Staff Profiles for more information.
Teaching Structure / Language Areas
Our classes are small and foster a hands-on approach to learning through lectures, seminars and regular oral and listening classes with a wide range of audio-visual material.
A degree from the Department of Modern Languages will allow you to focus on three broad aims of development:
- high-level proficiency in the language(s) studied
- an in-depth understanding of the culture, society, politics, economics, history and literature of the countries of the languages being studied
- exceptional transferable skills that include problem solving, written and oral communication, and analytical skills that will make you highly attractive to prospective employers.
Our modules are taught using a combination of lectures, seminars and practical workshop sessions, providing you with core knowledge and relevant, up-to-date information.
Our seminars are an opportunity for you to ask key questions and discuss important ideas in a small group environment. Our language classes are separated into the following areas:
The language classes are intensive and are taught in small groups, designed to maximise linguistic development during the four years of your degree scheme.
Our Language Assistants provide a valuable resource for further oral practice, and there are also opportunities to join one of our language societies.
Our flagship courses (Single Honours)
Modern Languages (R990)
An opportunity to combine the study of three languages, two of which will not require prior knowledge. You can choose from among French, German, Italian and Spanish depending on the pathways you wish to take.
An opportunity not only to pursue French language to an advanced level, but also to gain an in-depth knowledge of French and Francophone society, literature and culture.
Spanish and Latin American Studies R401
An opportunity to develop a thorough practical knowledge of the Spanish language and to learn about past and contemporary literature, society, cinema, translation and politics both in Spain and Latin America.
We also offer many Joint Honours courses where you can combine a language with another subject, such as English, Creative Writing, History, Drama, Business, Law and International Relations.
Take a look at the 'Study with us' tab for more information about all our courses.
A Modern Languages degree gives you a significant advantage over other graduates for your future job prospects as you will undertake a year studying and/or working abroad in your third year. If you are studying two or more languages, your time can be split between different countries. This gives you a great advantage after university because you will have gained independence in a different culture, acquired work experience and used your linguistic skills in the home of your chosen language or languages. We are confident you will grow your expertise and that a prosperous future will await you after you graduate.
Here is what one of our current students has to say about studying with us:
"I chose Aberystwyth because there were many international people here and the university was very welcoming. Moreover, it is a small university and therefore tutors and lecturers treat everyone individually and have time to help and support their students with anything, whether academic or personal.
The course was sometimes very intense - the Spanish language part of the degree for example - but in a good way. I did not feel that I was wasting my time. Rather, I was acquiring a lot of knowledge in a short amount of time. In contrast to that, the tourism part of the course was a bit less intense and gave me the opportunity to enjoy my university time thanks to various trips around the UK as well as internationally, such as a trip to Malta. Moreover, I liked the study areas and the wide range of supporting materials that the university offers.
Studying at Aberystwyth University is a combination of being in a peaceful, safe, and small town with a diverse range of international people around and good quality teaching!"
Tourism Management with Spanish