International Development Studies and Languages BA (Hons)
BA Hons International Development Studies and Languages
On this BA (Hons) International Development with Languages degree course, you’ll learn 1 or 2 languages and combine this with the skills, knowledge and experience to make a difference to societies across the globe. You can pick up a language from beginner's level (French, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese) or post-A level (French, Spanish).
You’ll explore the role and purpose of international development, build your understanding of world affairs, and work towards fluency in your chosen languages. You’ll also have opportunities put your knowledge to work with not-for-profit organisations in developing countries.
This course is ideal for a career working in organisations around the globe in roles such as in government, teaching and working with non-government organisations (NGOs).
What you'll experience
On this degree course, you’ll:
- Study multiple disciplines including economics, human geography, politics and international relations
- Choose a language from French, Spanish or Chinese (Mandarin) and study it to degree level
- Have the chance to study a second language from Italian, German, Arabic, Japanese or British Sign Language
- Be taught by staff who are currently doing research in the field, keeping you abreast of latest theories and knowledge
- Get experience with an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) during your studies or as part of an optional work placement year
- Learn from professionals working in the sector – recent events include a guest lecture from the Senior Strategic Advisor to Oxfam, a study day examining the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo and a visit from an NGO based in Peru
- Develop skills in analysis, criticism and argument, communication and problem-solving
To make sure your training is of the highest professional standard, we've developed this course with the England Standards Board for Community Development.
Work experience and career planning
To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course.
We can help you identify placements, internships, voluntary roles and opportunities that will complement your studies and match your ambitions.
This course allows you to take the Learning From Experience (LiFE) option. This means you can earn credits towards your degree for work, volunteer and research placements that you do alongside your study.
After your second year, you'll do a year abroad based in one or more countries where your chosen language is spoken. This enables you to build linguistic and cultural fluency, and also provides an opportunity to study abroad and/or gain valuable longer-term experience in international development.
On their year abroad, students have completed a variety of activities, including:
- Work placement with Ashinaga Africa Initiative (Senegal)
- Work placement with Otra Cosa Network (Peru)
- Study at Wuhan University (China)
We'll help you organise and secure your year abroad activities. You'll get mentoring and support throughout the year.
Careers and opportunities
When you finish the course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the field.
This course give you the skills for careers in areas such as:
- local, national or international government
- teaching, lecturing or research
- voluntary organisations and NGOs
- advertising, marketing and PR
- banking and financial services
Our graduates have gone on to roles such as:
- politician’s assistant
- project manager
- public affairs consultant
- social researcher
- information officer
- conference producer
- local government administrator
You could also continue your studies at postgraduate level.
After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.
- UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £13,200 per year (subject to annual increase)
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.
Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.
You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.
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.
If you do any placements outside of the EU/EEA, you’ll need to cover the travel costs. These costs are usually around £1000. You’ll also need to cover the living costs, which will vary depending on the duration and location of the placement.
You’ll also need to meet any additional tuition costs for units of study you take outside of your agreed study abroad programme. This normally costs around £200.
What you'll study
Each unit on this course is worth a certain number of credits.
In each year, you need to study units worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 units worth 20 credits and 1 unit worth 40 credits.
Core units in this year include:
- Either General Language 1 & 2 (Beginner) OR General Language 3 (Intermediate) + Language Project
- Introduction to Development Studies: Policy and Practice
- Introduction to the Developing World
There are no optional units on this year.
Core units in this year currently include:
- Either General Language 3 & 4 or General Language 4 & Language for Professional Communication
- Economics and Politics of Development
- Global Environmental Issues and Concerns
Options to choose from in this year currently include:
- International Community Development
- Analysing Foreign Policy
- Democratisation in Latin America
- Guns, Glory Hunters and Greed: British and French colonisation in Africa
- Managing Across Cultures
- State and Society in East Asia
- Gender in the Developing World
- The Language Project (focusing on current affairs, social and cultural aspects related to the countries or regions of study)
- LiFE (work placement)
You will spend your third year on a placement.
Core units in this year currently include:
- General Language 6
- Translation Theory & Practice
Options to choose from in this year currently include:
- Rethinking Aid & Development
- The Anthropology of Development
- Ethnicity, Class & Culture in the Developing World
- Transitional Justice and Human Rights
- Africa Revisited: Nation Building and State Fragility in Postcolonial Africa
- China and East Asian Economies
- NGOs and Social Movements
- Global Capitalism: Past, Present and Future
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.
As well as support by faculty teaching 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
- working in groups
- revision, memory and exam techniques
If you have a mental or physical disability, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) can give you help, support and advice so you can reach your potential.
Teaching methods on this course include:
- one-on-one tutorials
How you'll spend your time
Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and an assessment period:
- Autumn teaching block – September to December
- Spring teaching block – January to Easter
- Assessment period – Easter to June
Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. There’s no teaching on Wednesday afternoons. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.
The time you spend in teaching activities such as lectures and seminars varies year on year and will depend on which optional units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:
- Year 1 students: 22% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, and 78% studying independently
- Year 2 students: 21% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, and 79% studying independently
- Year 3 students: 100% on work placement
- Year 4 students: 15% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, and 85% studying independently
How you're assessed
You’ll be assessed through:
- case studies
- book reviews
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.
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 1 students: 17% by written exams, 18% by practical exams and 65% by coursework
- Year 2 students: 25% by written exams, 7% by practical exams and 68% by coursework
- Year 3 students: 100% by coursework
- Year 4 students: 7% by written exams, 20% by practical exams and 73% by coursework
Admissions terms and conditionsWhen 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.
Want to start this course in 2019?
To start in 2019 you need to apply through UCAS. You can start your application now and submit it from 5 September. You’ll need:
- the UCAS course code – LR90 (note this is different to the 2018 UCAS code)
- our institution code – P80
Not quite ready to apply?
Come to an Open Day to explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.
If you’re new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.