Italian and Japanese (BA)

Italian and Japanese BA (joint honours) gives students the opportunity to combine the study of two important world languages.

The School of Modern Languages aims to develop and educate its students to become 'global citizens'. With in depth study of both Italian and Japanese, two major world languages, graduates will be competitive and attractive within an increasingly global workforce. You will develop high-level language skills in both languages, and achieve near-native competency, along with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of aspects of the culture, literature, history, politics and society of Italy and Japan.

Italy possesses one of the major cultural, artistic and historical traditions in Europe and has played a unique role in the development of fine art, architecture, film and music.

Japan is one of the most powerful economies in the world, with Japanese businesses and organisations continuing to be in need of English-speaking graduates who can understand Japanese and who are knowledgeable of Japanese culture and society. 

This course will enable you to develop your writing, oral and aural skills through a range of learning activities, and using a variety of audio-visual materials including websites, films and new learning technologies.

It is important to remember that studying languages is not just about the language itself. It involves exploring many aspects of a country and its cultures, literature and cinema, history, social structures, politics and institutions.

The third year of your course will be spent abroad: one full semester in Italy, followed by an approximately three-month placement in Japan. These placements abroad will provide you with the opportunity to truly immerse yourself into the language and culture of both countries.

Key facts

Duration4 Year(s)
Typical places availableThe School of Modern Languages typically has 185 places available
Typical applications receivedThe School of Modern Languages typically receives 600 applications
Scholarships and bursaries
Typical A level offerAAB including a modern foreign language.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerGrade A in the Core plus grades AB at A Level (incl A in Italian)
Typical International Baccalaureate offerConsidered on individual merit
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed information about alternative entry requirements here.
Please see detailed information about alternative entry requirements here.
QAA subject benchmark

Languages and related studies

Academic School
Admissions tutor(s)

Professor Fabio Vighi , Course Administrator

    This is a four year degree of which the third year is spent in Japan and Italy.

    Year one

    The remainder of your modules will be taken from modules covering the Italian language as well as cultural modules relating to Italy.

    Year two

    In the second year you will take further modules in Japanese, which are designed to increase the facility with which you can comprehend and use more advanced Japanese. At the same time, your knowledge of Japan and Japanese society is increased through lectures and seminars on modern Japanese society. The remainder of your modules will be taken from modules covering the Italian language as well as cultural modules relating to Italy.

    Year three: Sandwich year

    In the third year of study, you will spend approximately half the year in the relevant European country and half in Japan. The time in Japan is spent studying in a Japanese university with which the Centre has an exchange agreement. By this stage you should have a sufficient command of the spoken language to operate comfortably in Japan and gain the maximum benefit from your period of study there.

    Year four

    You will then return to Cardiff for the final year to take a further modules in Japanese. More advanced study of the Japanese language during this year is accompanied by study of a key aspect of modern Japan.

    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.

    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.

    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.


    • Translator
    • Teaching
    • Finance and Banking


    4 Year(s)

    Next intake

    September 2016

    Places available

    Typical places available

    Typical Spaces

    Applications received

    Typical applications received

    Typical Applications


    QAA subject benchmark

    QAA subject benchmark

    Languages and related studies

    What are the aims of this Programme?

    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?

    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 Joint Honours in 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. In Year 1, 40 credits are studied in Italian. In Year 2 and 4, 60 credits are studied in Italian. The third Year is a year spent studying or working abroad in Italy and it is compulsory, and it is 120 credits. Year 1, 2 and 4 each contain a 20-credit core Italian language module. In Year 4, students must also choose 20 credits in either Italian for Professional Purposes or Advanced Translation Practice.

    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?

    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?

    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?


    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.


    Students will receive written feedback on written assessments, and oral feedback on assessed presentations and their contributions to seminars. The opportunity to understand and use feedback constructively will also be provided through regular meetings with Personal Tutors at key moments every year. 

    How will I be supported?

    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?

    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
    • have the knowledge to be able converse in Japanese in both social and working environments.
    • have an understanding of modern Japanese society and its history and culture.
    • have the skills to be able to read and translate from English into Japanese, and vice versa, contemporary information such as newspaper articles and academic writings.
    • be able to identify key parts of sentences in both Japanese and English so that they can be translated in the appropriate order;
    • be able to produce both an understandable English version of the Japanese text, and also explain the reasons why words or grammatical structure were altered in translation to make it more understandable;
    • summarise key events in Japanese history so that it can be explained to a non-specialist;
    • highlight the key events in Japanese post-war economic, political, educational and social development and change so that they can be explained to a non-specialist;

    Other information

    Students taking the Single  Honours Italian programme 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

    Professor Fabio Vighi , 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.