English Language and Italian (BA)

The Joint Honours degree in English Language and Italian provides you with the opportunity of specialising in two university honours subjects.

Many students find joint honours both stimulating and rewarding as they are able to observe both similarities and differences in the two subjects.

English Language at Cardiff has a distinctive character. You will be provided with a rigorous grounding in the analysis of the English language, learning such essential linguistic tools as phonetics, grammar and discourse analysis from those who are helping develop those fields. You will also learn how to analyse the types of multimodal (e.g. word+image+sound) texts that predominate in contemporary and new media. We also focus on the intersection of language with culture, society, politics and mind.

In Italian, you develop high-level language skills with the aim of achieving near-native competency along with in-depth knowledge of aspects of the culture, history, politics and society of Italy. Students spend their third year in Italy, practising and developing their language skills. The course will enable you to develop your writing skills through a range of exercises including resumes and essays with your oral and aural skills being practised through a varied pool of audio-video material, websites, films and computer programmes.

It is important to remember that studying languages is not just about the language itself. It involves examining many aspects of a country and its culture, its social structures and institutions, politics, history, literature and cinema. Through the study of such areas you are able to gain a better understanding of Italian culture and of how Italy has evolved over the centuries, becoming what it is today.

As a joint honours student, you will find that often there are complementary issues and perspectives that link subjects, be they critical analysis, historical contexts or recent research. 

Each school involved in delivering the degree offers a challenging programme of modules, supported by a friendly atmosphere and excellent staff-student relationships.

Key facts

Duration4 years
Typical places availableThe School of English, Communication and Philosophy typically has 350 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School of English, Communication and Philosophy typically receives 1450 applications.
Scholarships and bursaries
Typical A level offerABB. Three A-level subjects, generally including a B in a modern foreign language for beginners or B in Italian for the advanced pathway. Exceptions can be made according to personal circumstances. Two AS subjects may be considered in lieu of a third A-level.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerGrade A in the Core plus grades AB at A-Level, including grade B in a Modern European Language.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer33 points including a Modern European Language.
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed admissions and selection criteria for more information.

Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course.
QAA subject benchmark

English Studies, Linguistics, Communication, Language & related studies

Academic School
Admissions tutor(s)

Dr Mercedes Durham , Admissions Tutor

    English Language at Cardiff has a distinctive character. As would be expected of any good programme, you will be provided with a rigorous grounding in the analysis of the English language. Thus you will learn such essential linguistic tools as phonetics, grammar and discourse analysis from those who are helping develop those fields. Since we take a broad approach to language, you will also learn how to analyse the types of multimodal (e.g. word+image+sound) texts that predominate in contemporary and new media.

    Language analysis, though, is just the starting point. What makes Cardiff special is our focus on the intersection of language with culture, society, politics and mind. While arming you with technical skills of analysis, we then expect you to grapple with exciting theories that will enable you to take into account the multifarious aspects of the context of language use and interpret the communication in a complex and meaningful way.

    Year one

    Students of this course can choose to study modules outside of their allocated School(s) core and optional modules. These can be chosen from modules from participating Academic Schools.

    Year two

    Year three: Sandwich year

    You will spend year three studying abroad.

    Year four

    You will take 60 credits in English Language and 60 credits in Italian.

    Module titleModule codeCredits
    Italian Language (BA Languages)ML839720 credits
    The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

    School of English, Communication and Philosophy
    Our programmes foster intellectual skills, such as critical thinking, close analysis, evaluating evidence, constructing arguments, using theory, and the effective deployment of language in writing and in debate. We also help you gain experience in team-working, independent research, and time management. A range of formative and summative assessment methods are used, including essays, examinations, presentations, portfolios, and creative assignments.

    The School of English, Communication and Philosophy offers intellectually stimulating programmes of study, shaped by the latest research. We have a supportive learning environment, where students are enabled to acquire a range of skills and a wealth of specialist knowledge.

    School of Modern Languages
    Lectures provide an overview of the key concepts and frameworks for a topic, equipping students to carry out independent research for the seminars and to develop their own ideas.

    Seminars provide an opportunity for students to explore the ideas outlined in the lecture in a small group environment. Seminars would usually consist of about 15 students and the seminar leader (a member of the teaching team). Seminars may take various formats, including plenary group discussion, small group work and student-led presentations. Seminars offer a rewarding opportunity to engage critically with the key ideas and reading of a topic, and to explore areas of particular interest with an expert in the field. It is vital that students prepare for seminars (undertaking any set reading, developing independent critical thought) in order to gain the maximum benefit from the sessions.

    Lectures and seminars enable students to develop communication and analytical skills, and to develop critical thinking in a supportive environment.

    Essays and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing students’ capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments. Dedicated essay workshops and individual advice enables students to produce their best work, and written feedback on essays feeds forward into future work, enabling students to develop their strengths and address any weaker areas.

    Dissertation: The optional final-year dissertation provides you with the opportunity to investigate a specific topic of interest to you in depth and thereby to acquire detailed knowledge about a particular field of study; to use your initiative in the collection and presentation of material; and present a clear, cogent argument and draw appropriate conclusions.

    Pastoral Care: You will be allocated a personal tutor for the entire period you are at the University. Personal tutors are members of the academic staff who are available to students seeking advice, guidance and help.

    School of English, Communication and Philosophy
    In 2013/14, 91% of the School's graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.

    School of Modern Languages
    In 2013/14, 95% of the School's graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.

    The destinations from the School are often international in nature, with many graduates enjoying their overseas student experience to such an extent that they opt to take time out to travel further, or go abroad on graduation in the hope of securing employment. 

    Of those who choose to remain in the UK, many start work immediately following their studies. Their employment options are varied and many opt to utilise the language skills that they have developed over their degree, in roles such as Translators, Language Assistants, Export Assistants and Proofreaders, working with their languages in organisations such as Bearmach Ltd, the British Council, Global Response and Inter Global.


    4 Year(s)

    Next intake

    September 2016

    Places available

    Typical places available

    The School of English, Communication and Philosophy admits around 360 students every year to its undergraduate degree programmes.

    The School of European Languages, Translation and Politics admits around 230 students every year to its undergraduate programmes.

    Applications received

    Typical applications received

    The School of English, Communication and Philosophy = 1500

    The School of European Language, Translation and Politics = 1300


    QAA subject benchmark

    QAA subject benchmark

    English Studies, Linguistics, Communication, Language & related studies

    What are the aims of this Programme?

    The BA English Language and Italian is a Joint Honours degree programme which enables you to combine the study of English Language and Italian by choosing from the range of modules offered by each subject.

    English Language

    English Language is concerned with the structure, use and significance of language, with a particular focus on the English language as it is spoken and written across the world in many different social and professional settings. It studies spoken, written and multimodal texts but also how speakers and hearers learn, interpret and evaluate language and communicational contexts. Studying for a degree in English Language develops abilities to analyse and critique the language and communication that surrounds us but also helps develop strong skills in communicating clearly and effectively. English Language graduates are known for their ability to combine the best of social science skills, such as technical analysis and systematic method, with the best of humanities skills, such as flexibility, communication and critique.

    The English Language programme at Cardiff combines a strong foundation in linguistic and communicational analysis with plenty of opportunities for students to pursue specific academic and career-related interests. We offer modules in descriptive traditions of language, such as the study of phonetics, grammar and child language, but also in critical traditions such as the study of discourse and the relation between language and power. We also offer a number of modules that are directly relevant to career areas in education, the media, health, and the legal process.


    Italian at Cardiff can be taken at beginners or advanced level. First and foremost, studying for a degree in Italian involves dedicating yourself to learning the language. At Cardiff, we place great emphasis on strengthening reading, writing, oral and aural skills, which are vital communication skills. As regards the language, there are two routes in the first and second years, one for students who are beginners of Italian, and the other for students who are advanced. Both routes will include option modules in the fields of film, literature, history of art, politics and history. Italian language is a core module throughout your course.

    It is important to remember that studying languages is not just about the language itself. It involves examining many aspects of a country and its culture, its social structures and institutions, politics, history, literature and cinema. Through the study of such areas students are able to gain a better understanding of Italian culture and of how Italy has evolved over the centuries, becoming what it is today. If you study Italian, your career prospects will be enhanced, as the number of jobs for which knowledge of Italian is needed is on the increase. Opportunities exist not only in teaching, museum work and the fine arts, but also in banking, insurance, marketing, publishing, the media, the civil service, all branches of tourism and the higher echelons of the administrative fields. There has been a recent upsurge in career opportunities for graduates in Italian in the commercial and institutional links within the European Union. 

    What is expected of me?

    English Language

    Students are expected to attend and participate in the lectures and seminars for all modules on which they are enrolled. In line with University policy, attendance will be monitored at specific ‘points of engagement’ throughout the year. Students are expected to stay up to date with communications from their lecturers and tutors through email and/or Learning Central. Students with good cause to be absent should inform their module leaders, who will provide the necessary support. Students with extenuating circumstances should submit the Extenuating Circumstances Form in accordance with the School’s procedures.

    The total number of hours which students are expected to devote to each 20-credit module is 200. Of these, 30 hours will be contact hours with staff (lectures and seminars); the remaining 170 hours should be spent on self-directed learning for that module (reading, preparation for seminars, research, reflection, formative writing, assessed work, exam revision).  There are also additional seminars and workshops that students are able to attend.

    Students are expected to adhere to the Cardiff University policy on Dignity at Work and Study, which can be found here:


    The teaching sessions on the Italian programme are interactive. Students are expected to attend all of their classes (whether lectures, seminars or other sessions). The Italian modules are each worth 20 credits. Each 20-credit module will require at least two hundred hours of study, including the hours spent attending classes, individual study, preparing assessments and/or taking exams and tests. It is essential that students complement the class activities with extensive reading outside the classroom, following both their tutors’ leads and their own specific interest in the topics studied.

    Students and staff alike are expected to adhere to Cardiff University's Dignity at Work and Study Policy. You should develop a professional attitude to your work, including attending personal tutoring sessions, checking your e-mails regularly, and responding to them as required, being punctual in attending classes, and informing the School when you are absent. The School of European Languages, Translation and Politics is committed to assisting you throughout your studies, so if anything concerns you, remember to let us know. We will respect confidentiality at all times.

    How is this Programme Structured?

    The BA English Language and Italian is a four-year degree programme.  It is structured so that students acquire in successive years near-native language competency and the skills to become independent researchers, equipped for high-level professional employment.

    The programme is offered in full-time mode over four academic years.  The first year consists of 80 core credits (40 credits from English Language and 40 credits from Italian).  A further 40 credits are chosen from either English Language, one of the other modern languages or from another Humanities subject.   Students in their second year take 40 compulsory credits in Discourse and Sound, Structure and Meaning for English Language and a compulsory 20 credit Italian Language module.  Students choose the remainder of their second year credits from optional modules available in English Language (20 credits) and Italian (40 credits).  Year Three is a year spent studying or working abroad in Spain or in a Italian-speaking country and is compulsory.  The Year Abroad attracts 120 credits.  Students in their final year must choose 60 credits from the range of optional modules available in English Language, plus a 20 credit module in either Italian for Professional Purposes or Advanced Translation Practice plus 40 further credits from the range of optional modules available in Italian.  Students must pass each academic year before being allowed to proceed.

    Will I need any specific equipment to study this Programme?

    What the student should provide:

    Bilingual and monolingual Dictionaries, course texts and set texts (details provided in the relevant course kits).

    What the University will provide:

    Library resources, computers, linguistic software.

    What skills will I practise and develop?

    English Language

    Students will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are discipline specific and more generic ‘employability skills’.

    Many of the learning outcomes listed above involve practising skills that are transferable to numerous areas of employment.  Students who engage with the programme will practice and develop the ability to:

    • Communicate effectively with others
    • Use a variety of sources in a comprehensive and well-documented manner
    • Use electronic sources and other information effectively and as appropriate
    • Take responsibility for their own learning programme and professional development.


    The Italian degree programme will allow you to develop a number of valuable skills, both specific to Italian and relevant to your future workplace. These include the following skills: communicate and present information, thoughts and arguments (both spoken and written, individually or as part of a team); use of information technology (linguistic software, word processors, databases, the web); analyse and present numeric information; working in a group and developing interpersonal skills; identifying, recording and communicating relevant attainments for career purposes; managing your own learning (including time management); demonstrating a commitment to continuous learning and development. Through the medium of the dissertation option you will gain confidence when working on your own and experience a wide range of practical research skills. Sessions with a supervisor will allow you to develop discussion skills in detail and to develop original ideas.

    How will I be taught?

    English Language

    A diverse range of teaching and learning styles is used throughout the programme. Students attend lectures, participate in seminars and carry out independent research in preparation for each session. Modules usually last one semester and mostly consist in 2 lectures and 1 seminar per week, as well as independent study.

    A few of the modules on the programme are core but most of the modules are optional. Students may take a project or dissertation in Year 3 if they meet the entry requirements as indicated in the Course Guide.

    The learning activities will vary from module to module as appropriate, but may include such activities as: interactive lectures, seminar discussions of prepared texts/topics, student presentations or group presentations and small-group work within seminars. Students are expected to do the reading and other relevant preparation to enable them to take a full part in these activities and are encouraged to explore the resources of the library as appropriate.

    In the final year of the degree students have the option of choosing to write a dissertation on a topic of particular interest to them.


    Delivery will be via lectures, seminar preparation and participation, independent and guided study, independent reading, preparation of essays and presentations, feedback on essays and presentations, and revision sessions for examinations.

    Students will also benefit from regular feedback from their Personal Tutor at key moments of their language degree.

    How will I be assessed?

    English Language

    The taught modules within the programme are assessed through a variety of methods:

    • Traditional academic essays
    • Data-based essays
    • Projects involving data collection and transcription
    • Formal exams
    • Oral presentations
    • Practical creative projects

    The form(s) of assessment for individual modules are set out in the relevant Module Description. Most modules are assessed by assessed essay and/or examination, but some include other forms of assessment such as design tasks or presentations. The assessment strategy is structured to lead students from specimen question papers towards the production of an informed answer. Emphasis in assessment is placed on the writing of clear, persuasive and scholarly essays presented in a professional manner and submitted on time. Details of any academic or competence standards which may limit the availability of adjustments or alternative assessments for disabled students are noted in the Module Descriptions.


    Students will receive individual written feedback on written coursework and group written feedback on exams. Students are encouraged to discuss their ideas with module tutors in seminars and, where appropriate, on a one-to-one basis in office hours.


    While studying for a BA Joint Honour degree you will be assessed through each of the following methods:

    ·         class tests (continuous assessment)

    ·         essays

    ·         written exams

    ·         oral exams

    ·         oral presentations

    ·         dissertation

    There will also be opportunities to prepare formative tasks. These are tasks that are not counted in determining your final mark, but give you an opportunity to have feedback on your progress. These tasks can be oral presentations in seminars, essay plans, short written pieces or computer tasks.

    How will I be supported?

    English Language

    Every student is assigned a personal tutor and will meet him/her for regular Academic Progress Meetings (one per semester). There is a form to fill in before each Academic Progress meeting which is designed to help you reflect on the written feedback and the reasons for the marks you have received from the previous round of assessment. You will discuss this feedback and your reflections on it with your personal tutor.

    In addition, all staff have weekly office hours during teaching weeks and students may make appointments to see their personal tutor or module leaders on a one-to-one basis about any issues. Staff may also be contacted by email. Details of the office hours and email addresses of staff are provided in the Module Guide for each module.

    Use of Learning Central, the University’s Virtual Learning Environment, will vary from module to module as the module leader feels appropriate for the specific contents of the module but will normally at least include making lecture handouts available online.


    We support students in several ways. Initially, you will be assigned a personal tutor who will meet with you whenever needed to discuss your progress and any other matters arising. You will receive prompt feedback on all your assessments (including exams), and your personal tutor will be able to help you to use that feedback effectively in order to improve your work for the future. Many modules also include formative assessments. You will receive feedback on these assessments, but they will not count towards your final degree. Each module uses the Learning Central website, a virtual learning environment at Cardiff University. Through the Learning Central site you will have access to relevant materials for the module, such as multimedia materials, presentations, lecture hand-outs, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises, etc. There will be an opportunity for you to reflect on your progress and on the skills that you will develop through a section on the Learning Central site called Personal Development Plan. There, with the help of your personal tutor, you will be able to record your attainments in various fields (whether they are part of the curriculum or not). Furthermore, centrally the University has a range of services to support you, including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.

    What are the Learning Outcomes of this Programme?

    English Language

    Graduates from this programme will be able to:

    • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of core areas of English language studies, including phonetics, grammar, semantics, pragmatics and discourse analysis
    • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a range of empirical linguistic phenomena and of the relevant descriptive terminology so as to have a practical understanding of what language is and how it works in actual use
    • Demonstrate responsiveness to the central role of language in the creation of meaning and a sensitivity to the affective power of language
    • Demonstrate awareness of how different social and cultural contexts affect the nature of language and meaning
    • Critically evaluate ideas, arguments and empirical research
    • Collect, evaluate, synthesise and interpret qualitative and/or quantitative data


    Graduates from this Programme will be able to:

    • produce a high level of fluency in oral and written Italian
    • assess the central role of language in the process of creating meaning and knowledge
    • demonstrate intellectual skills which allow detailed reading, assessment, and production of texts of different types
    • appreciate how language and culture feed into each other to generate meaning and understanding
    • evaluate and critically discuss texts, concepts and theories relevant to the field of Italian Studies
    • demonstrate an understanding of a range of texts (including film) from different historical periods and from different genres
    • demonstrate a good understanding of the position and importance of Italian language and culture in the modern world
    • use information technology to present and analyse materials in an effective and polished manner, including using software to check and improve language

    Other information

    Students taking the Joint Honours programme with Italian at Cardiff may be particularly interested in the following features that are likely to increase their employability:

    ·         the chance for students interested in teaching to undertake a British Council internship teaching English in an Italian secondary school

    ·         the opportunity for all students of Italian to organise, on their own initiative, a suitable work placement in an Italy.

    Admissions tutors

    Dr Mercedes Durham , Admissions Tutor

      Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.