English Language and Spanish (BA)

The Joint Honours degree in English Language and Spanish 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 Spanish, 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 Spain. Students spend their third year in Spain or a Spanish speaking country, 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 Spanish culture and of how Spain 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 Year(s)
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, including a B in a modern foreign language for beginners or B in Spanish for the advanced pathway. 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.
Please see detailed information about alternative entry requirements here.
QAA subject benchmark

English Studies, Linguistics, Communication, Language & related studies

Academic School
Admissions tutor(s)

Dr Mercedes Durham , Course Administrator

    English Language

    English Language at Cardiff has a distinctive character. As would be expected of any good English Language 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 studying this course will be able to study modules outside of their allocated School(s) Core and Optional modules from another participating Academic School. An overview of the module collections available can be found here.

    Year two

    Year three: Sandwich year

    You spend year three studying abroad.

    Year four

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

    Module titleModule codeCredits
    Spanish Language (BA Languages)ML038220 credits
    Module titleModule codeCredits
    Communication DisordersSE134720 credits
    Persuasive CommunicationSE137120 credits
    Project in Language and Communication 1SE138120 credits
    Project in Language and Communication 2SE138220 credits
    Forensic LinguisticsSE132420 credits
    Language Learning and TeachingSE132920 credits
    Language, Genre and IdeologySE139720 credits
    DissertationSE138040 credits
    Lifespan CommunicationSE132720 credits
    Politics and Society in SpainML038020 credits
    May 68. Marking Changes in European Politics and CultureML139920 credits
    Catalan Language and Society (Prereq EU0294)ML038120 credits
    Student Language AmbassadorML139820 credits
    Spanish for professional purposesML038320 credits
    Translation as a ProfessionML239320 credits
    The Graphic MemoirSE140920 credits
    Advanced Translation Practice (Spanish)ML038620 credits
    Social InteractionSE133920 credits
    Functions of GrammarSE134020 credits
    Patterns of LanguageSE139620 credits
    Media DiscourseSE140820 credits
    Children, Language & CommunicationSE131220 credits
    Communicating in RelationshipsSE134420 credits
    Sound in ActionSE140720 credits
    International Study Abroad (60 credits) AutumnSE625160 credits
    International Study Abroad (60 credits) SpringSE625260 credits
    Women's Voices in Contemporary SpainML039720 credits
    European Cinema: thinking the real of fictionML230220 credits
    Dissertation (Translation)ML238920 credits
    Dissertation Joint Honours - in SpanishML038920 credits
    Dissertation Joint Honours - in EnglishML039620 credits
    European Cinema DissertationML230320 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 Spanish is a Joint Honours degree programme which enables you to combine the study of English Language and Spanish 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.


    Spanish at Cardiff aims to give students a knowledge both broad and detailed of the languages, literature, cultures, societies, history, and politics of the Spanish speaking world. The language which will be acquired and learned to near-native proficiency is Spanish and the programme also acquaints students with the other languages of Spain and of the Americas. The course comprises both language and content elements: these are mutually reinforcing (i.e. by reading a book in Spanish you acquire more of the language and by acquiring more of the language, you have more access to the diverse cultures which use it). The language work integral to the course develops skills in translation, aural comprehension, written composition, grammar, and spoken fluency. Content modules enable students to pursue their interests in Spanish as it is used across a variety of media and occupations, from film to politics, and from philology to business. Development of professional language skills remains a core element of the programme throughout: students choose content from optional modules (including Catalan language and culture) to complete their studies in years two and four. The third year is spent abroad in a Spanish speaking country. The programme offers exchanges with eight universities in Spain as part of the Erasmus scheme as well as with partner universities in Mexico and Peru. A British Council assistantship or voluntary and paid employment can also fulfil the requirements for the third year. The programme accommodates both post-A level students and ab-initio candidates who follow a more intensive language course in years one and two. The achievement of transferable skills, such as graduate-level vocabulary and writing skills are also important aims of the programme. 

    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:


    Students are expected to attend all timetabled teaching (lectures, seminars, small group teaching, tutorials) for the modules on which they are enrolled. Students are also expected to stay up to date with communications from their lecturers and tutors through email and/or Learning Central. In the first year, each contact hour should correspond to at least two hours of private study; in the second and fourth years each contact hour should correspond to at least four hours of private study.

    Students are required to undertake a full academic year of study abroad. While they are overseas students are expected to engage fully with the culture and society of the host country in order to further the language learning process.

    Students who fail to engage may be excluded from the University. Students must reference their essays accurately, avoiding plagiarism, which, if proven, can have serious consequences for a student. Advice is provided by tutors and in handbooks on how to avoid plagiarism.

    Full expectations of students are outlined in the Student Charter.

    Students are expected to treat their peers and the staff who teach and administer their courses with dignity and respect.

    Cardiff University is a workplace and campus committed to diversity and equality and students are expected to be mindful of University policy.

    How is this Programme Structured?

    The BA English Language and Spanish 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 Spanish).  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 Spanish Language module.  Students choose the remainder of their second year credits from optional modules available in English Language (20 credits) and Spanish (40 credits).  Year Three is a year spent studying or working abroad in Spain or in a Spanish-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 Spanish for Professional Purposes or Advanced Translation Practice plus 40 further credits from the range of optional modules available in Spanish.  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:

    Many students choose to invest in personal copies of unabridged bilingual dictionaries and reference grammars. While copies of most course materials are available in the library, many students opt to acquire personal copies of set texts.

    What the University will provide:

    The School provides a number of IT and study rooms; students have full borrowing rights across the University libraries; the University also provides email and internet access, including enrolment in the virtual learning spaces used to support contact hours (Learning Central). The School provides enrolment in the Erasmus programme in the third year for students who select this pathway for completion of the compulsory year abroad.

    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.


    You will practise skills which enable you to communicate in Spanish, in writing and also orally. You will develop the ability to express yourself conversationally as well as to speak knowledgeably about the broad range of issues which form the disciplines of Hispanic Studies. Skills in translation, composition, and oral proficiency will be developed through the language elements of the programme; skills in understanding and reflecting critically on a text will be developed in the content modules. Seminar work will allow you to practise and develop public speaking and presentation skills. The year abroad will enhance your independence and problem-solving skills. This set of skills will be transferable to real and workplace environments and the emphasis on written and oral presentation equips you well for communicating and for standing out from the crowd. You will acquire near-native proficiency in Spanish. You will also develop your abilities for forming and critiquing evidence-based arguments. Interpersonal skills are developed through participation in small group teaching and seminars.                                                                                                             

    You will develop your linguistic skills and acquire an appreciation of the culture, literature, and history of the Spanish speaking world. You will gain team work and interpersonal skills through participation in seminars and small group teaching. You will become better at managing your own time, taking initiatives and acting independently. Your studies will also enhance your employability prospects by giving you the challenge of managing a year abroad, and taking up opportunities to act as a staff-student representative, as a teaching assistant, or as a student ambassador teaching Spanish in Cardiff’s catchment area.

    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.


    Language modules are taught in small group format. For the various aspects of language work you will be assigned to a group of between 12 and 15 students and lecturers and tutors will provide you with guided exercises to do in the course of the class, in addition to illustration of syntactical and lexical problems. Oral feedback from tutors is immediate in small group teaching and is also provided through regular submission of assessed written work. In each year of the programme you will have between four and five hours of language classes per week.

    Most content modules are taught through a combination of lectures, private study, seminars and personalised feedback. Weekly lectures provide guidance concerning the issues and bibliography to be followed up in your own reading and writing. Lectures are usually supplemented by seminars throughout the semester. For each seminar you will complete at last four hours of private study, and in the session itself you will use the knowledge thus acquired to present the conclusion of your reading around a particular text or other assignment. In your essays you will combine a range of sources into a coherent argument of your own, supported by evidence of reading and of familiarity with the core text. Students who select the dissertation option in year 4 work closely with a supervisor and teaching takes the form of regular meetings with the tutor.

    For some optional modules, such as the Student Ambassador scheme, teaching will also involve practical work in schools and in pairs or tandem arrangements where students enrolled at Cardiff work in collaboration with an incoming Erasmus student from one of the partner universities in Spain.

    The programme is not currently available through the medium of Welsh although students can opt to complete assessed work (including exams) not intended to be in the target language in either Welsh or English.

    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.


    Modules are assessed by submission of essays and other work (for example, assigned translations or self-study units), preparation of written or oral reports, dissertation, and examination (written and oral). The weighting of feedback varies and as a rough guide examinations comprise 70% of assessment and classwork 30%. During the year abroad, students on the Erasmus programme submit work and attend exams in Spain and the partner universities transmit the grades to Cardiff. Students in Mexico or Peru also sit local exams at the universities where they are enrolled.  Those doing British Council placements or voluntary and paid work, are assessed by projects written in Spanish which are submitted to staff in Cardiff in the course of the year abroad. Students may receive an oral proficiency mark for grades above 70% in the year 4 oral exam.


    Students receive feedback both on formally assessed pieces of work and through the teaching and learning process more generally. Marginal comments and a completed assessment sheet form the feedback for written work, with further discussion and guidance on improvement available during a tutor’s office hours; oral assessment will convey feedback about presentations and reports delivered in seminars. Elements of language work will provide assessment through exercises embedded in Learning Central, the virtual study environment.

    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.


    All students are allocated a Personal Tutor, for help and support with academic and pastoral needs. He or she will schedule regular meetings to discuss progress and to provide advice and guidance. Students communicate with their lecturers and tutors outside contact lectures and seminars by visiting them during advertised office hours and/or by email.

    Modules make use of Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment, Learning Central, on which students will find course kits, links to related materials, and instructions for the submission of course work. Opportunities for students to reflect on their abilities and performance are made available through the Learning Central ‘Personal Development Planning’ module and through scheduled meetings with personal tutors.

    Half way through each semester one week is set aside for reading and private study: this allows students the opportunity to apply themselves to the preparation necessary for the completion of their coursework and exams. During this time, tutors visit exchange universities in Spain to offer guidance and support to students on their year abroad.

    The assessment framework is able to incorporate reasonable adjustments for dyslexic and disabled students. Where students with sensory impairments are able to produce and understand written and spoken English or Welsh (or another first language), reasonable adjustments can be made to facilitate the acquisition and use of a second language (for example, the provision of adaptive software for students with impaired vision or the use of induction loops for students with hearing impairment). The year abroad is an essential requirement of the programme and students who are not able to travel overseas would therefore not be able to complete the course.

    Applicants with dyslexia and/or disabilities may find useful the information published by the University’s Disability and Dyslexia Service for prospective students.

    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 Spanish
    • Express ideas and concepts clearly in written and spoken Spanish and English
    • Demonstrate proficiency in the core language competencies
    • 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
    • Demonstrate and defend reasoned and evidence-based arguments
    • Appreciate how language and culture are interlinked in the production of meaning and understanding
    • Evaluate and critically discuss texts, concepts and theories relevant to the fields of Hispanic Studies
    • Demonstrate an understanding of a range of texts (including film) from different historical periods, from different genres, and from different areas of the Spanish speaking parts of the world
    • Demonstrate a good understanding of the position and importance of Spanish as a global language in the modern world
    • Use information technology to present and analyse materials in an effective manner, including the use of software to check and improve language
    • Achieve skills in self-motivation and self-directed study

    Other information

    Cardiff University is one of the primary users of the Erasmus mobility scheme in the UK; in addition to offering students a convenient (and financially supportive) means of studying in Spain, EUROP’s engagement with the scheme means that our students are working alongside peers from Spain (and other European countries) throughout their time at the university.

    Students taking this course may be particularly interested in the following features that are likely to increase their employability:

    --The possibility of working with the British Council as an assistant during the year abroad.

    --The opportunity for all students to organise, on their own initiative, a suitable work placement abroad in one or both semesters of the intercalary year.

    --The possibility of gaining practical work experience by taking part in the Student Ambassador Scheme

    Admissions tutors

    Dr Mercedes Durham , Course Administrator

      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.