Our BA Spanish, Portuguese and Brazilian 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 five-year course includes a foundation year (Year Zero), followed by a further four 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. Taking this course will enable you to communicate with more than 500 million speakers of Spanish and Portuguese, and do business in a great number of countries, most importantly the rapidly rising Brazil. In addition to mastering both Spanish and Portuguese at a high level of proficiency, you gain practical skills in the use of these languages professionally (such as in translating and interpreting), as well as developing a thorough understanding of some of the world’s most vibrant societies. We house the internationally important collection of Latin American art, ESCALA.
Topics may include:
- Translating, Interpreting and Subtitling
- Spanish and Latin American Art, Film and Music
- From the Caves to Modern Graffiti: A Visual History of the Spanish Language
- Brazil in Focus: Business, Culture and Society
We are one of the largest and most prestigious language and linguistics departments in the world, a place where talented students become part of an academic community in which the majority of research is rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, placing us firmly within the top 10 departments in the UK and ranked among the top 150 departments on the planet according to the QS World [University] Rankings  for linguistics.
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.
To give you a chance to enjoy the famously warm and welcoming Latin culture for yourself, your third year is spent either in Spain, Portugal, or countries in South and Central America.
Our course offers two possibilities for your year abroad. The first allows you to study at one of the prestigious universities with which we have exchange links. You continue to study modules relevant to your course, learning your chosen languages within a country that speaks them, and you pay no tuition fees for your time overseas.
The second allows you to work as a language assistant, thereby acquiring valuable professional experience in an international context in addition to earning money.
Whichever option you choose, studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.
If you spend a full year abroad you’ll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won’t pay any tuition fees to your host university
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
- A new 20-position Interpreting Lab
- Extra-curricular activities are available through student societies
- 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
As the second most spoken native language in the world, proficiency in Spanish makes you a particularly valuable asset to employers wishing to trade with Spain and Latin America, whilst the emergence of Brazil as one of the world’s largest economies has made Portuguese equally sought-after.
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 Each of the languages we teach are 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.
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. In particular, a degree in modern languages lends itself to a career in education, translation, interpretation, trade, PR, communications, immigration or diplomacy.
For example, one of our recent graduates now teaches English for the British Council, whilst another works internationally with NATO.
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, Spanish and Portuguese from beginner or post-A level standard. Mandarin Chinese is available at beginner’s level.
- We specialise in developing translation, interpreting and subtitling skills at undergraduate level using the latest technology in our multimedia labs.
- Our study abroad opportunities include studying at a partner university, combining study and work experience, or taking up a British council 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.
On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.
- Teaching takes the form of lectures and seminar sessions or discussion classes
- State-of-the-art technologies and materials create an ideal learning environment
- Activities designed to develop your practical language skills, such as role-play and class presentations
- Cultural and social themes are explored through film, music, the internet, theatre and literature
- You’re assessed through a combination of coursework (assignments, essays and tests) and end-of-year examinations.
- Weighted 50% coursework and 50% exams depending on which modules you choose.
- Other assessment methods include quizzes, presentations, portfolios, group work, and projects.