Students and lecturer in interpreting suite
UCAS Code
Q140
Mode of Study
Full-time with language year abroad
Duration
4 years full-time with language year abroad
Start Date
September 2023

Overview

This BA (Hons) Applied Languages degree course will transform your passion for learning languages into professional communication and linguistic skills.

Study how language works, including specialist topics such as linguistics, communication theory and managing across cultures, in preparation for professional roles in areas such as a translation, interpreting, teaching and tourism. 

You can choose to study either:

  • Two languages at advanced level: chosen from French, German, Spanish and/or English as a foreign language
  • Two languages at different levels: one language at advanced level (chosen from French, German, Spanish or English as a foreign language) and one language at beginner level (chosen from French, German, Mandarin Chinese or Spanish)

More than 60% of adults from the European Union can speak a second language, compared to less than half of the UK population (according to Eurostat 2016). When you graduate, you'll stand out in a population where language skills are lagging behind the rest of the world.

Course highlights 

  • Study or work abroad in 2 different countries where your chosen languages are spoken in your third year, immersing yourself in their languages and culture so you can build a career across borders
  • Produce your own translations and build up interpreting experience in simulated work environments, so you can prove your skills to employers
  • Choose to study a 3rd language from Arabic, British Sign Language, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese or Spanish
  • Tailor your course by choosing any optional modules that interest you, or select modules specifically within one of four specialisms:
  • Translation and interpreting
  • Culture and linguistics
  • Business and industry
  • Teaching and education

Options to customise your degree

If you're interested in a career in teaching, you can choose to enhance your degree with additional, widely recognised qualifications.

You can combine your language studies with teacher training and school teaching placements by taking the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) pathway.

If successful, you'll save an extra year of study, get a £9,000 bursary in your final year of study and get Qualified Teacher Status for teaching jobs in England and Wales.

If you’re interested in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) you can upgrade your qualifications with the Trinity College London Certificate – an internationally recognised TESOL qualification.

You’ll need to pass an additional entry test and interview to add the Trinity Certificate to your studies.

I chose to study my course because I love studying languages, and I want to be fluent in French and Spanish. My course also offers an Initial Teacher Training pathway, as part of the 4 year degree so you can graduate and go straight into a teaching job!

Kira Jardine, BA (Hons) Applied Languages student

95% of graduates in work or further study 15 months after this course (HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2018/19)

TEF Gold Teaching Excellence Framework

Entry requirements​

BA (Hons) Applied Languages degree entry requirements

Typical offers
  • A levels – BBB–BBC
  • UCAS points – 112-120 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent, to include 32 points from a Modern Foreign Language (French, German, Spanish, or English as a Foreign Language) (calculate your UCAS points)
  • International Baccalaureate – 26

You may need to have studied specific subjects – see full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept

English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Alternative language courses

Explore all our language undergraduate courses, so you can compare your options and apply for the best course for you.

  
  BA (Hons) Applied Languages BA (Hons) Modern Languages BA (Hons) Language Studies
Languages you'll study 2 (both at advanced level, or 1 at advanced and 1 as a beginner) 1 (at either advanced or beginner level) 1 or 2 (both at advanced level, or 1 at advanced and 1 as a beginner)
Duration 4 years 4 years 3 years
Year abroad  
Language A Level required    
Find out more   Go to course page Go to course page

 I had always wanted to be multilingual, so I started looking at university courses that would give me that opportunity, while learning about culture and languages in real-world contexts. One of the most exciting things to happen since I began university is the doors that my course has opened for me – one of them being the opportunity to work in Madrid as a Business Interpreter. 

Jasmin Winthrop, BA (Hons) Applied Languages student

Facilities and specialist equipment

Facilities for Applied and Modern Languages courses

Develop the skills needed as an interpreter or translator in our Conference Interpreter Suite – equipped with the same technology used in the European Parliament.

Learn more

Carmen, Senior Lecturer in Interpreting and Spanish

Interpreting is a module that we offer in all of our courses at the University of Portsmouth.

As part of this modules tudents get to take their language skills up to the next level.

The interpreting suite actually offers an outstanding opportunity for our students to actually put their interpreting skills into practice in a very real context.

Toby, Bethan and Matias

Qualities a student would need to succeed in this topic: perseverance, communication, preparation, teamwork and passion about interpreting and the interpretation world.

What I love about interpreting is how much it’s challenging my language skills. I want to be able to facilitate people to integrate into a culture, to make friends, to be able to work, to be able to socialise.

It’s a really safe introduction to interpreting.

This module really pushes me to actually use my Spanish very spontaneously. It encourages the learning of new vocabulary and just to think a little bit outside. You have to think on your feet. It forces you to become good, it keeps you on top!

The interpreting module was one of the main reasons why I came to Portsmouth. I think it really defines well the concept of communication.

You’ll be pushed so much, you’ll learn so much and at the end of the day you’ll have fun! Just trust your command of the language and roll with it!

Students talking in language labs room at computers

Digital Language Laboratories

Perfect your listening and comprehension skills in a rich, multi-media language learning environment. Find out how to integrate and manipulate video, sound, text and internet sources in different languages.

Explore the laboratories

Careers and opportunities

You’ll graduate as a skilled multi-linguist, ready to take on roles across a range of fields.

There’s a growing demand for high quality translators and interpreters – the Association of Translation Companies advised that interpreters be added to the UK government's Shortage Occupation List while Wolfestone has called the UK's foreign language skills shortage 'an unspeakable disaster'. 

There's also a growing need for intercultural awareness and communication skills in business. The British Council has stated that "an understanding of other cultures and languages will continue to be important for successful international relationships at all levels" (Languages for the Future, 2017).

 

"72% of respondents believe Brexit will make recruitment of candidates with language skills more difficult (24% a lot more difficult, 48% a bit more difficult)."

Wolfestone

An unspeakable disaster? The UK’s foreign language skills shortage (2021)

What areas can you work in with an applied languages degree?

As the world becomes more closely connected through trade, entertainment, tourism and communications, organisations need employees who can communicate effectively in two or more languages.

You might specialise in a field such as law, finance or medicine, or in environments such as courtrooms, councils and police centres.

This degree broadens your options so you can pursue almost any career. Being multilingual is useful in all sectors, including:

  • journalism and the media
  • international management
  • translation and interpreting
  • teaching
  • tourism
  • finance
  • marketing

You could also continue your studies at postgraduate level with a Master's in a subject such as Translation Studies or Applied Linguistics and TESOL.

Year abroad

After your second year, you'll do a work or study abroad placement based in two countries where your chosen language is spoken. The experience abroad will help you build linguistic and cultural fluency that will help you stand out to employers when you graduate.

We'll give you all the support you need before your year abroad to find a work or study abroad placement fits your aspirations. You can take advantage of our links with universities and employers worldwide, including Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, China, Taiwan, Latin America and Senegal.

You could also become an English Language Assistant abroad, with the British Council.

You'll continue to get mentoring and support from us throughout your year abroad, to help you get the most out of your experience.

I lived and studied in France and Spain during my third year of the course. An amazing experience allowing me to put my language skills into practice, meet lots of people and experience a different culture. I grew as a person, improved my language skills – and now I'm putting my skills to work.

Sonny Tuke, BA Hons Applied Languages student

What you'll study on this BA (Hons) Applied Languages degree

Each module on this Applied Languages degree course is worth a certain number of credits.

In years 1, 2 and 4, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 modules worth 20 credits and 1 module worth 40 credits.

Modules

Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Year 4

Core modules in this year include:

  • 2 foreign languages (from Mandarin Chinese, French, German, Spanish, or English as a Foreign Language) – 20 credits
  • Language Project – 20 credits
  • Language, Learning and Teaching – 20 credits
  • Researching Language And Professional Practice – 40 credits
  • Academic Enrichment Programme – 20 credits
  • Option to start a 3rd foreign language via the Institution-Wide Language Programme (IWLP), in Arabic, British Sign Language, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, or Spanish – 20 credits

Core modules in this year include:

  • Languages
  • Year Abroad preparation
  • Academic Enrichment Programme

Optional modules in this year currently include:

  • Analysing Media Discourse – 20 credits
  • Clinical Linguistics – 20 credits
  • Forensic Linguistics – 20 credits
  • Intercultural Perspectives On Communication – 20 credits
  • Introduction To Teaching – 20 credits
  • Introduction To Translation – 20 credits
  • A third foreign language via IWLP (Arabic, British Sign Language, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, or Spanish) – 20 credits
  • Language For Professional Communication 1 – 20 credits
  • Learning From Experience / Teaching Placement – 20 credits
  • Managing Across Cultures – 20 credits
  • Second Language Acquisition – 20 credits
  • TESOL (Teaching English To Speakers Of Other Languages) – 20 credits
  • Trinity Certificate Teaching Practice – 20 credits
On this degree course, you'll spend your third year in 2 countries where your chosen languages are spoken.

Optional modules in this year currently include:

  • Communication Theory – 20 credits
  • Creative Activities in the Language Classroom – 20 credits
  • Gender, Language and Sexuality – 20 credits
  • Interpreting – 20 credits
  • Language and Social Media – 20 credits
  • Learning from Experience – 20 credits
  • Professional Development: Recruiters and Candidates – 20 credits
  • Professional Practice in MFL Teaching & Research Project – 40 credits
  • Research Project – 20 credits
  • Translation Theory & Practice – 20 credits
  • Workplace Discourse – 20 credits
  • Writing to Persuade – 20 credits

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 modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

Teaching

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • one-on-one tutorials
  • a year abroad studying or a work placement

You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.

For more about the teaching activities for specific modules, see the module list above.

How you're assessed

You’ll be assessed through:

  • oral presentations
  • language portfolio
  • written essays and reports
  • case studies
  • book reviews
  • blogs
  • translations
  • commentaries
  • interviews
  • magazine production
  • group and individual projects

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

How you'll spend your time

One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.

We're planning for most of your learning to be supported by timetabled face-to-face teaching with some elements of online provision. Please be aware, the balance between face-to-face teaching and online provision may change depending on Government restrictions. You'll also do lots of independent study with support from staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle. Find out more about how our teaching has transformed to best support your learning.

A typical week

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your BA Hons Applied Languages degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and workshops for about 10 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.

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

Term dates

The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.

See term dates

Supporting your learning

The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next scheduled meeting.

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning development tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • Improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • Delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • Understanding and using assignment feedback
  • Managing your time and workload
  • Revision and exam techniques

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University's Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • Academic writing
  • Note taking
  • Time management
  • Critical thinking
  • Presentation skills
  • Referencing
  • Working in groups
  • Revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.


Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to:

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

International students in a cafe

Global Café

You can meet students from all over the world at the Global Café on Wednesday afternoons. Learn about other's cultures and practise speaking in each other's languages while making new friends and getting to share your own culture.

Student in a tutor meeting

Language Corner

Meet with a language tutor, get help with specific challenges and practise your skills with proficient speakers of your chosen language in this optional weekly drop-in session.

​Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (2022 start)

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students –  £9,250 a year (including Transition Scholarship – may be subject to annual increase)
  • International (non-EU) students – £16,200 per year (subject to annual increase)

Funding your studies

Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

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

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.

In your third year for your placement abroad, you’ll need to fund the costs of travel, transport and accommodation. The exact costs will depend on the destination. If you're studying at one of our partner universities, you won't need to pay fees at your host institution, but there may be other costs such as visa, insurance or extra tuition. If you choose to work abroad, can help you find an internship, which may be paid or unpaid.

During your placement year, you’ll be eligible for a discounted rate on your tuition fees. Currently, this discount amounts to 90% of the year’s fees. Placement year tuition fees are as follows:

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £925 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £925 a year, including Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £1,800 a year (subject to annual increase)

The costs associated with your specific destination will be discussed during your second year, as well as possible sources of additional funding.

Enhance your degree with an internationally recognised qualification in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages: the Trinity College London Cert TESOL. This opportunity is conditional on a successful performance in an entry test and interview in order to fulfil professional requirements.

There's no cost if you take the Trinity College London Teaching Practice module as one of your options.

If you choose to take this module outside your planned curriculum, there's a fee of £355.

If you take a placement year or study abroad year, tuition fees for that year are as follows:

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £925 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £925 a year, including Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £1,800 a year (subject to annual increase)

Apply

How to apply

To start this course in 2023, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – Q140
  • our institution code – P80

If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:

  • Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • Speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

How to apply from outside the UK

See the 'How to apply' section above for details of how to apply. You can also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section. 

If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.