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International Development and Languages BA (Hons)

Examine the role and purpose of international development and develop fluency in your chosen languages on this International Development and Languages degree.

Key information

UCAS code:


Typical offer:

96-112 UCAS points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent

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Work towards fluency in a foreign language (or two) while exploring solutions to global social challenges such as poverty and hunger, environmental sustainability, universal education and health care.

On this BA (Hons) International Development and Languages degree course, you'll study one language from beginner's level (French, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese) or post-A level (French, Spanish). As of 2021, these three languages are spoken as first or second languages by 1,930 billion people worldwide. You'll also get the chance to learn a second language: French, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, German or British Sign Language (BSL). 

You'll get full support to build your language skills to fluency alongside opportunities to apply your learning to work with not-for-profit organisations in developing countries on placement. You'll graduate prepared for a career in organisations around the globe, in roles such as in government, teaching and working with non-government organisations (NGOs).

Course highlights

  • Explore fields of economics, human geography, politics and international relations to engage in processes of policy change at international and local levels, campaign on issues of social justice and inequality, and contribute toward the achievement of sustainable development
  • Use our professional-grade conference interpreting suite and language labs, where you can work with video, sound, text and internet sources
  • Immerse yourself in the cultures of the countries where your chosen languages are spoken – in the classroom, in our Global Café and on your work or study placement abroad
  • Gain on-the-ground experience of community development and protected area management on an optional field trip to Uganda
  • Be taught by staff who are committed to their research in the field, such as Professor Tamsin Bradley whose research is informing schemes to help support women across South Asia in their search for equality
  • Learn from professionals working in the sector – recent academic enrichment events include a guest lecture from the Senior Strategic Advisor to Oxfam, a visit from an NGO based in Peru, a series of training events with RedR UK and sessions led by our colleagues and graduates working in the sector
  • Be a diplomat for a day at our Model United Nations event, in collaboration with fellow students from International Development and International Relations
  • Choose to learn an additional foreign language for free as part of your degree, from a selection of Arabic, British Sign Language, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin or Spanish

I love how I was able to study a language from beginner alongside International Development. Also the range of options meant that I have been able to grow and develop in areas that I am particularly interested in

Ellie Bromley, BA (Hons) International Development and Languages student

Contact information


+44 (0) 23 9284 5566

Contact Admissions

Entry requirements

BA (Hons) International Development and Languages degree entry requirements

Typical offers

  • A levels - BBC-CCC
  • UCAS points - 96-112 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent (calculate your UCAS points)
  • T-levels - Merit
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) - DMM-MMM
  • International Baccalaureate - 25

You may need to have studied specific subjects – find 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.

We look at more than just your grades

While we consider your grades when making an offer, we also carefully look at your circumstances and other factors to assess your potential. These include whether you live and work in the region and your personal and family circumstances which we assess using established data.

Explore more about how we make your offer

Careers and opportunities

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). Along with the language skills you develop on this course, you'll graduate with a confidence in analysis, criticism and argument, communication and problem-solving – skills you can use in your future role advocating for and creating pathways to positive change.

"We must improve language abilities worldwide if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted in 2015 by 193 countries to "end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all."

The Salzburg Statement for a Multilingual World (2017)

You could also continue your studies at postgraduate level with a Master’s, or take the next step into research that could inform policy with a PhD. Discover the areas you could make a difference in by exploring the research taking place at Portsmouth around Global Governance and Languages and Applied Linguistics.

No matter what route you take, the skills and knowledge you develop on this course will prepare you for a rewarding role making a difference in the lives of others.

What can you do with an international development and languages degree?

This course gives you the skills for careers in areas such as:

  • international community development
  • civil service
  • fundraising, campaigning and advocacy
  • policy development
  • social enterprise
  • corporate social responsibility
  • public affairs
  • project management

What jobs can you do with an international development and languages degree?

Our graduates have gone on to roles such as:

  • programme management, support and evaluation roles for international agencies and non-governmental organisations
  • fundraising development coordinator
  • human rights advocacy
  • media and digital content lead
  • social researcher
  • community development practitioner
  • sustainable sourcing specialist for multinational corporations
  • teacher

Graduate destinations

Our graduates have worked for non-governmental organisations (NGOs), government departments and companies such as:

  • Save the Children
  • Street Doctors
  • the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • the Department or International Development
  • Shelterbox
  • British Chamber of Commerce
  • Universal Music Group

Ongoing career support - up to 5 years after you graduate

Get experience while you study with support to find part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities and work experience. Towards the end of your degree and after graduation, you'll get 1-to-1 support from our Graduate Recruitment Consultancy to find your perfect role.
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Futureproof your career

I have learnt about the impact a language can have in development and how important it is to be able to communicate locally, especially with community development projects.

Alexander Sykes, BA Hons International Development student

Placement year

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 work experience in international development.

We'll give you all the support you need to find a work or study abroad placement that prepares you for your career, and we'll continue to mentor you throughout your placement.

Previous students have completed a variety of activities on their year abroad including:

  • Work placement with Ashinaga Africa Initiative (Senegal)
  • Work placement with Otra Cosa Network (Peru)
  • Study at Wuhan University (China)

Internship opportunities

As part of your core course programme, you’ll take part in a 'mini' internship connected to an ongoing research project at the University. You’ll choose from a number of internships that have been carefully selected by your lecturers to further develop your skills in areas critical to a career in international development, such as communication and project management.

A previous student interned in a communications role for Gender Focus, a research team involved in areas such as gender-based violence and cultural practices that harm women and girls. Their responsibilities included social media management of the Instagram account and organising research webinars.

Volunteering opportunities

Volunteering for local, national and international charities is a great way to build up work experience before graduating into the world of international development. Taking on a role with a local charity, or interning over the summer for a non-governmental organisation (NGO) shows future employers you have a passion for making a difference and an independent drive to develop your skills in the industry.

To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you identify internships, voluntary roles and opportunities to match your ambitions.

Our Volunteering Team in the Careers and Employability Service supports around 100 local and national charities and not-for-profit organisations. Each year, our students volunteer more than 60,000 hours at organisations including Motiv8, the Mary Rose Museum, Citizens Advice Havant, Portsmouth Football Club and Portsmouth Mediation Service. In 2019/20 student volunteers alone contributed £493,700 to the local economy.

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Get credit towards your degree for work, volunteer and research placements

You have the option to take the Learning From Experience (LiFE) module – getting credit from paid/unpaid work, volunteering, research placements, internships and other work related learning, including self-employment. You'll have the freedom to arrange your own activities, and we'll support your achievements through workshops, events and tutorials.


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

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

What you'll study

Core modules in this year include:

  • Introduction to Development Studies: Policy and Practice – 20 credits
  • Professional Practice: Skills for Academic and Professional Success – 40 credits
  • The Making of The Global South – 20 credits

Optional modules in this year include:

  • French General Language Grade 3 – 20 credits
  • French Grade 1 and 2 – General Language – 20 credits
  • French Grade 1 and 2 – Language in Use – 20 credits
  • Language Project (Spanish) – 20 credits
  • Language Project (French) – 20 credits
  • Mandarin Grade 1 and 2 – General Language – 20 credits
  • Mandarin Grade 1 and 2 – Language in Use – 20 credits
  • Spanish General Language Grade 3 – 20 credits
  • Spanish Grade 1 and 2 – General Language – 20 credits
  • Spanish Grade 1 and 2 – Language in Use – 20 credits

Core modules in this year include:

  • Economics and Politics of Development – 20 credits
  • Global Environmental Issues and Concerns – 20 credits

Optional modules in this year include:

  • Analysing Foreign Policy – 20 credits
  • Development and Democracy in Latin America – 20 credits
  • Development Economics L5 – 20 credits
  • East Asian States and Societies – 20 credits
  • Empire and Its Afterlives in Britain, Europe, and Africa – 20 credits
  • Engaged Citizenship in Humanities and Social Sciences - 20 credits
  • French General Language Grade 3 and 4 (Part 1) – 20 credits
  • French General Language Grade 3 and 4 (Part 2) – 20 credits
  • French General Language Grade 4 – 20 credits
  • Gender and Social Justice – 20 credits
  • Global Security - 20 credits
  • Intercultural Perspectives on Communication - 20 credits
  • Introduction to Teaching – 20 credits
  • Introduction to Translation – 20 credits
  • Language for Professional Communication (French) – 20 credits
  • Language for Professional Communication (Spanish) – 20 credits
  • Managing Across Cultures (FHEQ5) – 20 credits
  • Mandarin General Language Grade 3 and 4 (Part 1) – 20 credits
  • Mandarin General Language Grade 3 and 4 (Part 2) – 20 credits
  • Marketing and Communication - 20 credits
  • Modern Foreign Language – 20 credits
  • Modernity and Globalisation - 20 credits
  • Nationalism and Migration: Chaos, Crisis and the Everyday - 20 credits
  • News, Discourse and Media - 20 credits
  • Principles of Economic Crime Investigation - 20 credits
  • Professional Experience L5 – 20 credits
  • Social Enterprise and Entrepreneurship - 20 credits
  • Space, Place and Being - 20 credits
  • Spanish General Language Grade 3 and 4 (Part 1) – 20 credits
  • Spanish General Language Grade 3 and 4 (Part 2) – 20 credits
  • Spanish General Language Grade 4 – 20 credits
  • Transitional Justice and Human Rights - 20 credits
  • Wildlife Crime: Threats and Response - 20 credits

In your third year, you'll spend a year in a country where the main language you're studying is spoken.

On your year abroad, you can study at a university or organise a work placement, depending on your chosen language. In some cases, you may be able to do a combination of study and work.

We'll help you secure a study or work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You'll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

There are no core modules in this year.

Optional modules in this year include:

  • French General Language Grade 6 – 20 credits
  • Global Capitalism: Past, Present and Future – 20 credits
  • Global Health – 20 credits
  • Independent Project (International Development) – 20 credits
  • Interpreting 1 – 20 credits
  • Interpreting 2 – 20 credits
  • Mandarin General Language Grade 6 – 20 credits
  • NGOs and Social Movements – 20 credits
  • Professional Development: Recruiters and Candidates – 20 credits
  • Professional Experience L6 – 20 credits
  • Religion and Politics in Global Perspective - 20 credits
  • Research Project (SLAL) – 20 credits
  • Rethinking Aid and Development – 20 credits
  • Spanish General Language Grade 6 – 20 credits
  • Translation Theory and Practice (UG) – 20 credits
  • Translation Theory and Practice (UG) (Chinese) – 20 credits

Changes to course content

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. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

Optional pathways

Not quite sure this course is right for you? Take a look at our other international development courses to compare your options.

How you're assessed

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: 30% by exams and 70% by coursework
  • Year 2 students: 10% by exams and 90% by coursework
  • Year 3 students: 100% by coursework
  • Year 4 students: 10% by exams and 90% by coursework

Your coursework may include:

  • case studies
  • projects
  • presentations
  • book reviews
  • assignments

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.


Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • workshops
  • seminars
  • one-on-one tutorials

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


Ben Garner Course Leader

Ben is the Course Leader for BA International Development and BA International Development and Languages. His research interests are in exploring the role of culture within the political economy of development, leading to work on subjects including the relationship between culture and trade liberalisation, the work of international organisations such as UNESCO, the World Bank and WTO, and the political economy of knowledge and creativity.

He teaches on the following modules: Introduction to Development Studies: Policy & Practice; Economics and Politics of Development; Democratisation in Latin America; Democracy and Democratisation; Ethnicity, Class & Culture in the Developing World.

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Dr Isabelle Cheng Senior Lecturer

Isabelle is a specialist in East Asian development and international relations. Her research focuses on labour and marriage migration in East Asia with reference to migrant spouses' political participation and workers' rights under the 'gest worker' system. She is also conducting research on the Cold War in East Asia, to understand how the impact of the Cold War trickled down to people's everyday lives, including through culture and heritage.

She currently serves on the Executive Board of the European Association of Taiwan Studies as Secretary-General. She is also a Research Associate of the Centre for Taiwan Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London.
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Professor Tamsin Bradley Professor of International Development Studies

Tamsin is a social anthropologist who for nearly 20 years has conducted research into violence against women and girls in Asia and Africa. Her projects have explored intergenerational change and the practice of female genital mutilation in Sudan; art heritage and resilience in South Sudan; rape in India; violence and displacement in Nepal and Myanmar; and the link between women's economic engagement and violence in Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan.

She teaches the following modules: Gender and Development; Anthropology of Development, and International Community Development.

Hear Tamsin speak about her research on our podcast Life Solved: Voices against violence.
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Professor Andy Thorpe Associate Dean

Andy is Professor of Development Economics, and Associate Dean of Research in the Faculty of Business and Law. He has worked on national development strategies and poverty reduction programmes for the Food and Agriculture Organisation for the United Nations. His publications include three books on the political economy of Central American agriculture and a widely-reported 2009 paper on enteric fermentation (‘cow burps’), which highlighted the extent of methane production of cattle.

He is interested in research that has a meaningful and positive impact on people’s lives. His research is primarily in the arena of fisheries, in particular the policy-making processes and reduction of poverty in the small-scale artisanal sector.

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Dr Ottis Mubaiwa Teaching Fellow

Ottis is a Social Anthropologist who researches violence against women and girls, gender inclusion, social justice and the intersections of culture and development. Ottis has particular interest in harmful cultural practices such as female genital mutilation, forced marriage and bride price. He teaches the following modules: Gender and Development, International Community Development and Global Health.
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Dr Lana Chikhungu Senior Lecturer

Lana leads on MSc International Development and teaches on the modules Theory and Practice of Development, Applied Research Methods for Development and Population Health and Development. Lana has experience working with the Malawi Ministry of Finance and brings expertise in areas relating to child, maternal and reproductive health as well as socio-economic development policy issues related to poverty alleviation in developing countries.
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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 use a blended learning approach to teaching, which means you’ll take part in both face-to-face and online activities during your studies.  As well as attending your timetabled classes you'll study independently in your free time, supported by staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle.

A typical week

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your BA Hons International Development and Languages degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and workshops for about 12 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.

Term dates

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

See term dates

Supporting you

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 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.

Student group discussion

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 writing

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.


How to apply

To start this course in 2024, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – LR90
  • our institution code – P80

Apply now through UCAS


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.

Applying from outside the UK

As an international student you'll apply using the same process as UK students, but you’ll need to consider a few extra things. 

You can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

Find out what additional information you need in 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.