Our BA Language Studies (including foundation year) is open to Home and EU students. It will be suitable for you if your academic qualifications do not yet meet our entrance requirements for the three-year version of this course and you want a programme that increases your subject knowledge as well as improves your academic skills.
This four-year course includes a foundation year (Year Zero), followed by a further three years of study. During your Year Zero, you study four academic subjects relevant to your chosen course as well as a compulsory academic skills module.
You are an Essex student from day one, a member of our global community based at the most internationally diverse campus university in the UK.
After successful completion of Year Zero in our Essex Pathways Department, you progress to complete your course with the Department of Language and Linguistics. On this course, you become proficient in one or more of the modern languages taught at Essex; French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese. These languages can be studied alongside the language expert modules which cover a range of cultural and professional skills.
For most of our languages, we offer modules in all six different levels recognised by the Common European Framework, enabling you to study from almost any level of expertise. Of the four modules you take in your final year, two must be taken up to at least Proficiency level (C1), and the other two must be taken up to at least Intermediate level (B1).
Each of these languages is widely used in the business world, and so many of our graduates are recruited by international firms looking for language specialists, and go on to develop successful global careers. Others join a teacher-training programme after leaving, and become expert teachers of the language they studied at Essex.
A year abroad is not compulsory on this course; however, you are encouraged to achieve an even higher level of attainment (C2) by taking a summer vacation course in a country where the language is spoken.
We also offer a month-long summer course with fees paid for by us if you start a language from scratch via the intensive route.
If you want a global outlook, are interested in human communication, and want to study for a degree with real-world practical value in a world-class department, welcome to Essex.
Our expert staff
We have some of the best teachers across the University in our Essex Pathways Department, all of whom have strong subject backgrounds and are highly skilled in their areas.
Our staff are internationally renowned. Their books dominate the reading lists at other universities. All our language teachers are native or bilingual speakers, we maintain excellent student-staff ratios, and we integrate language learning with linguistics wherever there is synergy.
In addition to helping you acquire practical foreign language skills, our staff share their expertise with you in the areas of professional translation, interpreting and subtitling, film and art, business, and culture.
By studying within our Essex Pathways Department for your foundation year, you will have access to all of the facilities that the University of Essex has to offer, as well as those provided by our department to support you:
- We provide computer labs for internet research; classrooms with access to PowerPoint facilities for student presentations; AV facilities for teaching and access to web-based learning materials
- Our new Student Services Hub will support you and provide information for all your needs as a student
- Our social space is stocked with hot magazines and newspapers, and provides an informal setting to meet with your lecturers, tutors and friends
In our Department of Language and Linguistics you also have access to:
- Two multimedia language teaching labs which are equipped with state-of-the-art Melissi Digital Classroom software, and fitted with computers integrating audio-visual projectors and large screens
- Our Languages for All programme offers you the opportunity to study an additional language alongside your course at no extra cost
- An exciting programme of research seminars and other events
- Our Albert Sloman Library houses a strong collection of books, journals, electronic resources and major archives
Companies and organisations in the UK and abroad are struggling to find university graduates who are fluent in at least one other language, apart from English.
Being an Essex modern languages graduate places you in a very advantageous position. You will be able to speak and write fluently, or to a very competent standard, in up to four languages. Language skills are in scarce supply and can be used in almost any job.
Our graduates become teachers, translators, administrators and journalists. Their valued language skills have enabled them to work in diverse fields including banking, entertainment, media, education and tourism, as well as for a host of UK and international companies.
For example, one of our recent graduates is now a newspaper editor in Spain, while another teaches modern languages in Southampton.
We also work with the University’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
Why we’re great
- Great flexibility and choice: You can study up to four languages choosing between French, German, Italian and Spanish from beginner or post-A level standard. Mandarin Chinese is available at beginner’s level.
- You’ll have the opportunity to study a certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language as part of your degree.
- Our study abroad opportunities include studying at a partner university, an overseas work placement or undertaking a British Council Language Assistantship.
We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.
Teaching and learning disclaimer
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.
- Teaching is arranged to allow freedom in how you organise your learning experience
- Other teaching methods include lectures, demonstrations and learning by teaching others
- You’re assessed through a combination of coursework (assignments, essays and tests) and end-of-year examinations.
- Other assessment methods include quizzes, presentations, portfolios, group work, and projects.