BA (Hons) Applied Languages - University of Portsmouth
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BA (Hons)

Applied Languages

UCAS codeQ140

full time4yrs


Become multilingual and study abroad

Course Overview

Why take this course?

If you would like to use your languages in a multilingual professional environment, then this course is for you. You will study at least two languages from French, German, Italian*, Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin)* or English as a Foreign Language. Explore how your language skills can be used in the world of work and spend time abroad to experience your languages firsthand.

* only offered at Beginner's level for new students.

What will I experience?

On this course you will join a vibrant department where students have the chance not only to enhance their language skills, but also to use language in professional settings.  You can study translation and interpreting, develop your professional communication skills and even obtain a TEFL qualification from the Trinity College London. You can also opt to follow a route through your degree that includes Initial Teacher Training (ITT). The ITT route entitles you to a bursary of £9,000 in the final year of your degree.

What opportunities might it lead to?

Language is used in a range of professional contexts including business, tourism, and finance – not just language teaching. Your transferable skills can be used in many careers across the private, public and voluntary sectors. You will have the ability to work across cultures, enhance your graduate employment opportunities through our strong partnerships with organisations across the globe. This course is great preparation for work at home or abroad.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

  • travel and tourism
  • Modern Foreign Language teaching, or Teaching English as a Foreign Language
  • marketing
  • translation
  • the media and international organisations
  • journalism

If you are interested in taking a Modern Languages degree, you might also want to consider our BA (Hons) Modern Languages or MLang Applied Languages, which give you the opportunity to study one, two or three languages.


Will Brookes-Smith, BA (Hons) Applied Languages student 2013

I really like the availability of the teaching staff - they all have set office hours where you can drop by and discuss your progress.

Will Brookes-Smith, BA (Hons) Applied Languages student 2013


Modern Languages and Area Studies

Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • Combining language learning with the study of culture and politics, promoting a deeper understanding of a country/countries of study
  • Fantastic opportunities for spending a year abroad
  • Interactive and practical nature of studying that will prepare you for a wide range of careers

Browse all courses in Modern Languages and Area Studies

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Structure & Teaching

Year one

To begin the course you will choose two languages to study through the four years. You will consolidate the knowledge you have of a first foreign language, and either continue studying a second language, or start the language from the beginning through an intensive course. You will also take units which will provide the foundations for your undergraduate learning. Furthermore, you can start a third language via the Institution-wide Language Programme (IWLP). 

Core units in this year include:

  • Two foreign languages (Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Italian, or Spanish)
  • Language Project
  • Language, Learning & Teaching
  • Studying at University
  • Starting Language Research
  • Option to start a third foreign language via IWLP (Arabic, British Sign Language, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, or Spanish)

Year two

In your second year you'll continue with the study of your languages and are introduced to communication study. You will also have the option of taking units in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and obtain a qualification from Trinity College London.

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Language for Professional Communication 1
  • Analysing Media Discourse
  • Forensic Linguistics
  • Managing Across Cultures
  • A third foreign language via IWLP (Arabic, British Sign Language, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, or Spanish)
  • Trinity Certificate Teaching Practice
  • TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)
  • Intercultural Perspectives on Communication
  • Learning from Experience (LiFE)
  • Text Analysis & Translation
  • Clinical Linguistics
  • Second language acquisition
  • Introduction to teaching

Final year*

In your final year, after returning from your Year Abroad, you will write up your dissertation or Research Project, and choose from a range of units, depending on the pathway you would like to follow. You will continue developing your skills in your main languages, and you will have the option to continue or start a third language via IWLP.

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Language for Professional Communication 2
  • Translation Theory and Practice
  • Learning from Experience (LiFE)
  • Workplace Discourse
  • Communication Theory
  • Creative activities in the Language Classroom
  • Digital Communication
  • Interpreting
  • Writing to Persuade
  • Gender, Language & Sexuality
  • A third foreign language via IWLP ( Arabic, British Sign Language, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, or Spanish)

We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.

*On this programme you will spend your third year in two countries where your target languages are spoken.

Initial Teacher Training route

In your first year, you will have the opportunity to apply for the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) route. If selected, you will complete a number of teaching placements, a professional practice teaching unit and a language research project. You will be entitled to a bursary of £9,000 in the final year of your degree and, on successful completion of the course, will gain Qualified Teacher Status.

The opt-in ITT route is available for French, German and Spanish routes, with training under expert lecturers from the University's PGCE team, and provides the ability to teach Modern Foreign Languages in English and Welsh schools. Throughout the course, you will develop and acquire specialist knowledge and skills in the language(s) you study, as well as professional skills which are central to the role of MFL teacher.  


We provide a varied, creative and stimulating learning environment. Teaching is via lectures and seminars which are supported by the University’s interactive learning facilities. Classes may also take the form of hands-on skills development sessions where you learn how to access electronic resources in our Sony Virtuoso multimedia digital classrooms (they are much more than language laboratories!) or via small oral practice classes with Language Assistants.

The time you spend in teaching activities may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:

  • Year one students: 24% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 76% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year two students: 28% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 72% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year three students: 0% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 0% studying independently and 100% on work placement
  • Year four students: 14% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 86% studying independently and 0% on work placement


Our assessment methods are varied, with relatively few formal examinations. Here’s how we assess your work:

  • written essays and reports
  • case studies
  • book reviews
  • group and individual projects
  • oral presentations
  • language portfolio

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year one students: 23% by written exams, 16% by practical exams and 61% by coursework
  • Year two students: 38% by written exams, 7% by practical exams and 55% by coursework
  • Year three students: 0% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 100% by coursework
  • Year four students: 7% by written exams, 3% by practical exams and 90% by coursework

Tutor's view


Carmen Pasamar Márquez
Applied Languages

Applied Languages is an extremely successful programme in which students can learn up to three languages. The course develops students' language and communication skills, enabling them to explore a wide range of professional contexts including TEFL, translation and interpreting, business, finance and tourism, to name but a few.

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Facilities & Features

Year Abroad

On this programme you will spend your third year in a country where your target languages are spoken. You may take advantage of our well-established links with universities in China, France, Germany, Spain, West Africa and Latin America, should you wish to spend this period studying; alternatively, with University approval, you may be able to arrange a work placement abroad.

Language resources

You will have access to our state-of-the-art Language Laboratories, where you can manipulate video, sound, text and Internet sources in a rich, multimedia language-learning environment, and our recently refurbished Learning Resource Centre, with texts, study rooms, and IT facilities to augment your learning and support your assignment work. 

ITT route

Our opt-in Initial Teacher Training route offers the certification needed to become an inspiring and professional Modern Foreign Languages teacher in English and Welsh schools. On this route, you will study with experts from the University's PGCE team.

Opportunities in Dakar (Senegal)

We have a unique and prestigious partnership with the British Senegalese Institute offering opportunities to graduates and students on their year abroad. In addition, there are opportunities to take up a post as an English language assistant or to work in development organisations in Dakar during the year abroad.

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

Other costs to consider

For the study abroad or overseas placement, you will be required to pay all additional costs. These will be in the region of £1000.

You will also be required to meet any extra tuition costs for units of study that are taken outside of your agreed study abroad programme. These costs will be in the region of £200. The Trinity College London Certificate in TESOL can be taken as an additional unit for £320.

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Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Career prospects
Where next?

Language graduates are highly sought after and the transferable skills you will possess are extremely valuable to employers. While translation and interpreting are careers that people traditionally associate with languages, this is not all you are limited to. You also can expect to find work in areas as diverse as management, banking, marketing and sales, commerce, export, tourism and the media, among others.

Roles our graduates have taken on include:

  • bilingual consultant
  • multilingual project coordinator
  • translator
  • market analyst
  • contracts representative

Work experience

Work experience
Employment boosting opportunites

Your year abroad may be spent working in cities related to the language(s) you are studying, either as a teacher or (with University agreement) through an arranged work placement. This allows you to develop your transferable workplace skills as an integral part of your studies.

The course also allows you to take the Learning From Experience (LiFE) option, which lets you earn credits toward your degree for work/research placements, volunteer roles or internships undertaken alongside your studies. This option gives you the opportunity to enhance your employability skills, to reflect on the ways in which you've done so, and to learn to express this to potential employers. You also have the option of following a route that includes Initial Teacher Training (ITT), required for teaching in English and Welsh schools.

The University has a unique and prestigious partnership in place with the British Senegalese Institute. The Institute, along with other partners in Dakar offers different opportunities to our graduating students each year. We also have a range of partners that offer teaching and work experience opportunites with NGOs and other voluntary organisations to students on their year abroad.

Career planning

Career planning

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

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Apply now or visit us

Apply for 2018 entry

To apply, you'll need this course's UCAS code, which is at the top of this page, and the University of Portsmouth institution code – P80.

Apply now

After you apply, we'll invite you to an Applicant Experience Day where you’ll get to speak to lecturers and meet your future classmates.

Open Days for courses starting in 2019

Come to an Open Day and explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

Book your Open Day

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

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