Language is fundamental to our thoughts, our relationships, and our civilisations. Through language, we transmit knowledge, from inviting someone for coffee, to promoting the latest scientific theory, to settling global political disputes.
If you’re a high achiever with an A-level grade B in a major language, this four-year course is for you. You integrate your undergraduate and postgraduate studies into one course, graduating with an Integrated Masters in Modern Languages in four years, rather than five if the courses are taken separately.
You specialise in at least two modern languages, becoming highly proficient in at least one language. Language study is combined from the third year with translation skills. Your progress will depend on reaching target grades with work expected in the upper 2.1 range.
In your first and second years, you study practical language modules to develop your language skills. French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish can be studied, reaching Proficiency level in the major language by the end of year 2, with Mandarin Chinese taken as an option. These languages are all widely used in the business world and many of our graduates have developed successful global careers with international firms.
Your third year is spent studying abroad with modules taken in language and translation. You carry out research relating to translation for your year abroad project, supported by your supervisor. This independent research project develops your ability to conduct research, work with complex sources of information in your chosen language and employ research methods. You also develop your analytical thinking and problem-solving skills and expand your linguistic and translation skills and communication proficiency in your chosen language. The project is the culmination of both your undergraduate studies and preparation for your final year where you take postgraduate modules.
In addition to the language skills you develop, you explore themes relating to global cultures, history, and politics to gain in-depth knowledge of the countries where the languages you’re studying are spoken.
In your final year you return to Essex to study modules in translation and subtitling at postgraduate level.
Unique to this course is your third year abroad project, which you carry out under supervision from an Essex academic.
During this year, you study abroad at one of the prestigious universities with which we have a link relating to the study of translation, learning your chosen language in a country where the language is spoken. You continue to study translation modules relevant to your course while conducting your own research for a translation studies project.
You can also undertake a placement year abroad in which you will gain real world experience of living and working in another country, fully immersed in its language and culture. You will be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and our Employability and Careers Centre.
Our expert staff
Our lecturers are skilled interpreters and translators, experienced in training students with the necessary skills for professional practice. We maintain excellent student-staff ratios with capped language-specific seminars.
Our lecturers come from around the world including France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Spain, Cuba, China, and the UK. They will share their expertise with you in the areas of professional translation.
- Our state-of-the-art interpreting lab provides you with simultaneous interpreting booths in a professional business setting for both classwork and practice
- You also have access to LTB 6, a conference facility for up to 350 people with simultaneous interpreting booths, for interpreting live conferences and lectures
- 24-hour self-access to our translation lab dedicated to translation students
- Use specialist software such as SDL Trados Studio 2019 and MemoQ for technical translation, Televic and Brähler equipment for Interpreting and WinCaps Qu4ntum for Subtitling
- Use our professional recording studios to video record a small audience or for presentations
- Weekly multilingual interpreting conferences, field trips and workshops led by internationally renowned experts from the industry
- Extra-curricular activities are available through student societies
- Our Albert Sloman Library houses a strong collection of books, journals, electronic resources and major archives
- Languages for All offers you the opportunity to study an additional language alongside your course at no extra cost
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.
Alongside skills in translation and subtitling, you also gain key employability skills such as researching and writing for specific purposes.
Our graduates are successful in a wide variety of career paths. They leave Essex with a unique set of skills and experience that are in demand by employers. Some become teachers, translators, administrators and journalists. Their valued language, interpreting and subtitling 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, this degree lends itself to a career in education, translation, interpretation, trade, PR, communications, immigration or diplomacy.
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
- Gain an undergraduate and postgraduate degree in four years, including one year studying abroad
- We are a leading UK university for language and linguistics research (REF 2014).
- We’re Top 10 in the UK for our research quality – be part of our thriving research culture.
We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of compulsory and optional modules chosen from lists. The nature of this course is such that your individual programme will differ depending upon your pre-existing language qualifications/ the language(s) you choose to study during your course.
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.