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BA (Hons) Languages & Cultures (Italian and Spanish) (with a year abroad)

Immerse yourself in languages through the study of society and cultures.

Year of entry: 2023/24

UCAS code

R3R4

Institution code

Y50

Length

4 years full-time

Typical offer

AAB (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2023(semester dates)

UK (home) fees

£9,250 per year

International and EU fees

£21,950 per year

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for 'Academic Support' in Iberian studies (Spanish)

out of the Russell Group universities included in the latest National Student Survey (2022)

in the UK for Iberian Languages (Spanish)

Complete University Guide 2023

in the UK for Italian

Complete University Guide 2023

Learn Italian and Spanish languages, uncover the science behind communication, and spend a year abroad immersing yourself into the rich cultures and heritage of Italian-speaking or Spanish-speaking countries.

At York, we have a unique approach to studying languages. From the start, you'll be taught and assessed in Italian and Spanish by expert staff, many of whom are native-speakers, so you'll develop your fluency and communication skills rapidly. 

Combine an in-depth study of languages with analysis of cultural and social phenomena. Learn key skills in intercultural communication, such as observing, discovering, comparing, planning and creating across many different cultural contexts. Our transcultural and decolonised approach to language learning allows for deeper reflection on the values, attitudes, and practices of different cultures. York is one of the highest-ranked centres for research in linguistics in the UK, and the strength and diversity of our research is reflected in our teaching.

Spending a year abroad will give you confidence in your Italian and Spanish, and allow you to have valuable first hand experiences of transcultural encounters.

Get a head start in Teaching English as a Foreign Language at York

At York, you'll benefit from being able to take TEFL modules in-house, as part of your degree. You can count the work you complete in your TEFL modules towards a CertTESOL qualification. This teacher training programme (also offered in-house) can qualify you to teach English to non-native speakers, including on your year abroad.

At York we have an amazing choice of societies that you can get involved in. In my second year, I joined the Latin American Society and attended their end of term party. We learned some bachata and salsa moves and it was a real laugh!
Caitlin, BA French and Spanish (with a year abroad)

University of the Year shortlisted

We're proud to announce that we've been shortlisted for two prestigious University of the Year awards.

  • Times Higher Education Awards 2021
  • The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022

Find out more about our nominations

Course content

During your degree, you'll study modules in Italian, Spanish, and Linguistics.

Your language modules will explore the society and culture of Italian- and Spanish-speaking societies and you'll be taught almost exclusively in Italian and Spanish. These modules will help you to develop the cultural and linguistic knowledge you'll need to become a high-level communicator in each language.

Your linguistics modules will help you understand the nature of language itself: how it is structured, how it has evolved, and how we use and understand it within our society. These modules will enable you to think critically and approach your studies from an analytical point of view.

Throughout your programme, you can tailor your degree to your interests. You can:

  • study Italian, Spanish, and linguistics modules equally throughout your degree.
  • focus on studying Italian and Spanish in equal terms in Years 2 and 3.
  • choose to study either Italian or Spanish predominantly in Years 2 and/or 3.

Study Italian or Spanish from scratch

You can choose to study either Italian or Spanish ab initio, meaning you don't need to have any knowledge of the language before you arrive. You'll study with other ab initio students during your first year, and will focus on improving your language skills, before joining the post-A level students during your second year.

Year 1

  • If you have studied Italian and Spanish to A level, you'll take the post-A level route.
  • If you are taking either Italian or Spanish ab initio (from scratch), you'll take the ab initio route.

Core modules

Post-A level core modules:

  • Italian Language and Cultures: Upper Intermediate
  • Spanish Language and Cultures: Upper Intermediate
  • Understanding Language in the Real World
  • Understanding Italian-speaking Cultures and Societies (post-A level)
  • Understanding Spanish-speaking Cultures and Societies (post-A level)

Ab initio core modules:

  • Intensive Italian Language and Cultures: Beginner
  • Intensive Spanish Language and Cultures: Beginner
  • Understanding Language in the Real World
  • Understanding Italian-speaking Cultures and Societies (ab initio)
  • Understanding Spanish-speaking Cultures and Societies (ab initio)

Option modules

You will also study one option module.

The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For further information please get in touch.

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 2

Core modules

  • Italian Language and Cultures: Advanced
  • Spanish Language and Cultures: Advanced

Option modules

You will also study four option modules, including at least one option in Spanish and one option in Italian. Examples may include:

Your studies will focus on issues of cultures and society in the Italian- and Spanish-speaking worlds. You will develop skills in critical analysis of sources and communicate your findings using Italian and Spanish in different registers. You'll tackle questions such as:

  • Why does regional cultural diversity play such an important role in modern Italian society?
  • Why is there still a broad economic divide between Northern and Southern Italy?
  • Why is the Spanish Civil War still a difficult topic in Spain?
  • What is the relationship between the human rights movement and democratisation in Latin America?

The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For further information please get in touch.

Year 3

You can divide the year abroad between two locations (an Italian-speaking country and a Spanish-speaking country), or you can choose to spend the whole year in one location. We assist you in setting up overseas university study, teaching or work placements, and offer guidance on all aspects of the year. You can even get a CertTESOL qualification to teach English to non-native speakers before you go. See our current year abroad pages for more information.

You'll complete two assignments while on your year abroad. These are assessed on a pass/fail basis and do not contribute to your final degree grade. 

Year 4

Core modules

You'll study core language modules in your final year. These are designed to consolidate your critical skills through in-depth research and analysis. By this stage in your degree, you'll be able to demonstrate oral and written fluency, as well as accurate language use in its social and cultural contexts.

  • Italian Language and Cultures: Proficient
  • Spanish Language and Cultures: Proficient

Option modules

You will also study four option modules, including at least one option in Spanish and one option in Italian. Examples may include:

Language modules:

Linguistics modules:

The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For further information please get in touch.

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
Our course structures are changing in September 2023. Find out more about how this course may be affected.

Learning by design

Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Understand key aspects of the societies and cultures of the studied languages based on effective research and critical evaluation of key positions, viewpoints and perspectives. (Knowledgeable researcher)
  • Apply creatively and critically your understanding of languages and cultures in their transnational context in order to help negotiate and solve problems arising from social, cultural and linguistic diversity. (Creative problem solver
  • Communicate effectively orally and in writing in your language(s) of study to provide evidenced, structured and well-supported information, arguments and advice to mono- as well as multilingual audiences. (Multilingual communicator)
  • Mediate concepts and texts in a range of settings using your full repertoire of languages to facilitate the achievement of collective aims in trans- and intercultural contexts (Effective mediator)
  • Design, manage, and contribute efficiently and effectively to individual and collaborative projects using your knowledge and expertise, as well as leadership and negotiation skills. (Resourceful team worker)
  • Develop your expertise in the languages, cultures and societies as well as your language repertoire by recording, reflecting upon and evaluating your practices and identifying appropriate resources for your personal and professional learning needs. (Reflective practitioner)
  • Engage with confidence in multilingual and transcultural encounters based on your acquired awareness of, and sensitivity to, the relativity of social, cultural and linguistic norms. (Transcultural agent)

Learn directly in your language of study

At York, we are unique in teaching all of our core language modules in their language of study. Our students develop fluency and confidence quickly, benefiting wholly from this approach.

Study abroad

Observe different transcultural practices and values first-hand, and gain valuable experience speaking in your language of study.

The thing that really sets Languages at York apart from other universities is that they teach the languages in the language. Of course, if you really just can’t wrap your head around something, they will explain it in English if need be.
Hannah, BA French and German (with a year abroad)

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

UK (home) International and EU
£9,250 £21,950

UK (home) or international fees?

The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK (home) fees may increase within the government fee cap in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International fees are subject to increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

More information

For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.

Additional costs

Set texts are available from the Library or online, but you may wish to buy your own copy for some modules. These typically cost between £10 and £30. For ab-initio languages you may need to buy books with a total cost of £50 to £60. Second hand books are often available more cheaply.

Funding

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2023/24 throughout the year.

Departmental funding

Find out more about funding specific to Languages and Linguistics.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Doing two languages can keep you quite busy but there is still plenty of time to explore other hobbies of yours. Here at York, we have societies for many different languages. Some of the exciting socials you can look forward to include movie nights, cooking classes and quizzes!
Lucy, BA Italian and Spanish (with a year abroad)

Teaching and assessment

You’ll study and learn with academics who are active researchers, experts in their field and have a passion for their subjects. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

We offer you extra study support in several ways. Our Peer Assisted Learning programme gives you the opportunity to work with other students.

Italian and Spanish

Our focus at York is on effective communication in Italian and Spanish. That is why:

  • we are unique in teaching our core modules in their language of study
  • we teach mainly in small seminars
  • classroom interactions and assessments are in Italian and Spanish
  • we emphasise issues of cultures and society, allowing you to develop a high level of transcultural awareness to underpin your language skills
  • many of our staff are native-speakers of the languages we teach

Linguistics

Core linguistics modules are taught through lectures, accompanied by sessions in smaller groups. With more advanced linguistics modules, you'll have interactive classroom activities, such as group presentations or practical sessions, in addition to lectures. In final-year linguistics modules, most teaching is in smaller groups.

Contact hours

In first and second year of the degree, you will typically spend 1-3 hours per week in lectures, 11 hours per week in seminars, and 2 hours per week in workshops. Contact hours in the final year vary depending on individual module choices.

In the UK, full-time students are expected to spend 1,200 hours a year learning. That's about 40 hours of classes and independent study each week during term time. Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours you spend on independent study will be different to other students on your course.

Facilities

We have our own e-Lab for teaching. Here, you'll have access to a variety of resources, including specialist linguistics software and online language-learning materials.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Language and Linguistic Science buildings on Campus West.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You'll be assessed in a variety of ways, including essays, projects, written, oral and listening exams. Assessments include formative work which will help you practice or develop skills, but will not count towards your final degree mark. 

Instructors provide you with feedback in a variety of forms, for example: written feedback, in-class discussion of common problems, model answers, one-on-one discussion of research projects, or online responses to questions posted on the module discussion board.

Your year abroad is assessed. All students must complete two assessments in their language of study. If you are studying at a university, you must attend courses and sit the exams. If you are on a work or teaching placement, you must satisfactorily complete the duties set out in the placement agreement. However, your marks on the year abroad assessments do not contribute towards your overall degree mark.

Disability information

We can make reasonable adjustments to assessment procedures for students with disabilities. However, if you have dyslexia please note that it is not possible to make adjustments in the marking of work written in a closed language exam. This is because accurate spelling is one of the assessment objectives for language exams. Closed exams make up only a proportion of the assessment types used for languages. There are other assessment types such as coursework and oral presentations which are also used. As a student with dyslexia you could apply for extra time in closed exams, if this would be of assistance. See the University's disability support pages for further details.

Seminar on syntax
Language seminar

Careers and skills

  • The study of language and linguistics at York equips you with effective communication, critical thinking, and project management skills, which translate readily into any work context.
  • The combination of the analytic, transcultural, and communicative competencies you'll learn during your degree ensures that you are a highly sought-after graduate. You'll become proficient in all aspects of managing small-scale linguistic analysis projects, from identifying the research questions, to communicating the findings. This skill set will open the door to many different careers.
  • Our graduates have an excellent record of pursuing fulfilling paths after graduation. Learn more about graduate career destinations.

Career opportunities

  • Marketing and communications
  • Publishing
  • Broadcasting and journalism
  • Local government and public service
  • Business, finance and accountancy
  • Teaching
  • Translation and interpreting
  • IT and software development

Transferable skills

  • Effective communication skills
  • Intercultural awareness
  • Critical thinking
  • Project management
  • Independent learning
  • Data analysis
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork

Entry requirements

Typical offer
A levels

AAB including at least one of Italian or Spanish

Access to Higher Education Diploma Obtain Access to HE Diploma with 36 credits at Distinction and 9 credits at Merit or higher. An A level or equivalent qualification in eith Italian or Spanish will be required.
BTEC National Extended Diploma DDD. An A level or equivalent qualification in either Italian or Spanish will be required.
Cambridge Pre-U D3, D3, M2 including at least one of Italian or Spanish
European Baccalaureate 80% overall average including 80% in at least one of Italian or Spanish
International Baccalaureate 35 points including 6 in at least one of Italian or Spanish at Higher Level
T levels We are currently not accepting T Levels for this course unless an additional A Level (or equivalent qualification) in either Italian or Spanish has been taken.
International foundation programme Foundation Certificate from our International Pathway College or an appropriate alternative.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

Additional requirements

Ab initio and/or post-A level routes

You can study both of your languages on the post-A level route. Alternatively, you can study one of your languages ab initio (from scratch, or with a qualification at AS Level or below).

To study one language ab initio, you must have an A level (or equivalent) in your other language. If you don't have a formal qualification but do have additional language experience (for example, if you took a GCSE or AS level and then spent considerable time in a country where the language is spoken), we may conduct an informal interview to assess whether you can join the post-A level route.

Our language programmes are designed to develop fluency. For this reason we do not normally offer places to native or near-native speakers who wish to study their own language.

Alternative offers

Meeting the following additional criteria may qualify you for an alternative offer.

Criteria Adjustment
Widening participation If you successfully complete one of the following programmes, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to three A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer: Black Access Programme, Next Step York, Realising Opportunities, YESS. More about widening participation.
Contextual offers If you have experience of local authority care or live in an area with low progression to university, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to two A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer. More about contextual offers.
EPQ If you achieve C or higher at EPQ, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer.
Core Maths If you achieve B or higher in Core Maths, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer.
MOOCs If you successfully complete our online course Accents, attitudes and identity, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer. More about MOOCs.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS (Academic and Indicator) 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, with a minimum of 169 in each component
Duolingo 110 overall, with a minimum of 100 in each component
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C
LanguageCert International ESOL SELT B2 Communicator High Pass with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component
PTE Academic 61, with a minimum of 55 in each component
TOEFL 87 overall, with a minimum of 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all components

For more information see our undergraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.

Applying

To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Dr Dominic Watt, Dr Angela O'Flaherty, Dr Ellie Rye, James Chantry

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Department of Language and Linguistic Science

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