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, you will gain a wealth of transferable skills and knowledge beneficial to the world of employment, making you competitive and attractive in an increasingly global workforce and opening the doors to a variety of career paths.     

From Roman times the Italian contribution to world culture has been enormous as it is obvious to anyone who steps foot in the country, however briefly. But Italy is not just a country of singular cultural importance. It is a major political partner in the European Union, and it is a leading force in fields such as engineering and architecture. It is the home of the design and fashion industries. 

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

We offer Italian and Japanese for both advanced students and beginners. In terms of language acquisition, 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. In your first year, in addition to your language tuition, an introduction to Italian and Japanese history and culture seeks to provide a solid foundation for more specialised studies as you progress through your course     

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 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 both Italian and Japanese culture and how it has evolved over the centuries, becoming what it is today.

On completion of this four-year programme, you will have a high level of language proficiency, as well as a critical understanding of key aspects of Italian and Japanese history, culture, literature, politics and contemporary society.   

Distinctive features

  • the option to begin your study at either beginner or advanced level (meaning an A-level in your chosen language may not be required)  
  • optional modules in film, literature, history of art, politics and history
  • emphasis on strengthening reading, writing, oral and aural skills through regular classwork exercises, written work, use of video and audio material, and interaction with native speakers (including Erasmus students hosted by the department)   
  • core language modules delivered by native speakers
  • the chance to spend your third year either studying or working in a country that predominantly operates in your chosen language of study

Key facts

UCAS CodeTR23
Next intakeSeptember 2017
Duration4 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School of Modern Languages typically has 185 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School of Modern Languages typically receives 600 applications.
Typical A level offerGrades AAB including a B in Italian. General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted.
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. Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course
Admissions tutor(s)

This full-time course lasts for four years with two semesters per year. There are 120 credits a year split equally between your two language choices. Most modules are worth 20 credits. The third year is spent abroad.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2017/18 academic year. The final modules will be published by July 2017.

Year one

In year one, you will take 60 credits in Italian and 60 credits in Japanese, including language modules at either advanced or beginner’s level.

The first year of this programme provides a thorough foundation in the grammar of the language for those students on the beginners pathway, and develops the linguistic skills for post A-level students on the advanced pathway.

In addition to your language tuition, an introduction to Italian and Japanese history and culture modules seek to provide a solid foundation for more specialised studies.  

Module titleModule codeCredits
Elementary Japanese (Autumn)ML158220 credits
Elementary Japanese (Spring)ML168220 credits
Japanese HistoryML158120 credits
Modern Italy: Birth of a Nation?ML810320 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Advanced Italian Language Year 1ML818840 credits
Beginners Italian Language Year 1ML818940 credits

Year two

In year two, you will take 60 credits in Italian and 60 credits in Japanese.

The language elements of year two focus on preparation for the year abroad.  This is complemented by a variety of optional modules which, as a supplement to Italian and Japanese specific topics, normally include modules on comparative literature and cultural history, as well as Business langauge and translation theory and practice. 

The available optional modules may vary from year to year. 

Year three: Sandwich year

In year three you will spend one semester in Italy and one in Japan, immersed in the languages. Your options include studying at one of our partner universities, working as an English assistant in a school through the British Council Scheme, or working for an organisation or company. No matter what you choose, the year abroad is a great opportunity for you to improve your understanding of the language, immerse yourself in another culture, and gain international study or work experience.

If you choose the study option, we have established academic links with universities in Milan, Pavia, Parma, Pisa, Verona, Trento, Venice, Florence and Catania.  In Japan we have exchange programmes in cities which include Toyko, Soka, Kobe, Hiroshima and Kyoto.

Placements for teaching assistants on a scheme run by the British Council can take you to either a major city or a small rural town. This option provides first-hand teaching experience and allows you to earn a salary sufficient to live on, although you only work on a part time basis. Prior to the start of your placement, the British Council provides a training weekend in the destination country. In addition, the school you have been assigned to should also gide you in your role as a teacher and help you to find a place to live.

The third option consists of a work placement with an organisation or company in the Italian or Japanese speaking world. You also have the possibility of taking a placement in an organisation or company. The necessary arrangements can be made through personal contacts you may have or by approaching organisations directly. In order to ensure that your work placement affords you plenty of opportunity to speak Italian/Japanese and provides you with a beneficial experience, such arrangements will require prior approval by the School.

Any student who undertakes a study placement or a traineeship/work placement in Europe is eligible to apply for an Erasmus grant.

The year abroad is a great opportunity for you to improve your Italian and Japanese, immerse yourself in another culture, and gain international study or work experience.

While you are away from Cardiff, you will be assigned a year abroad coordinator, who will keep in touch with you and monitor your progress. You may even get a visit from one of your lecturers who will be keen to find out how you are getting on.

Final year students are usually happy to help with our regular year abroad briefings and have contributed to our extensive ‘year abroad module’ on Learning Central which provides you with student-centered advice throughout your year abroad.

Studying or working abroad is excellent preparation for your final year and gives you a level of self-confidence and maturity that has proven popular with employers.                  

Year four

In your final year you will take 60 credits in Italian and 60 credits in Japanese.

We no longer distinguish between beginner and advanced students in the final year and all students take the same language modules. You will refine your linguistic skills in terms of expression and translation, and specialise in your areas of interest by choosing specialised module options.  

Our final year dissertation module gives you the option to write a dissertation to specialise in an area of your choice and extend your research and analytical skills.

The availability of option modules may vary from year to year.  

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.

How will I be taught?

Most of our modules consist of a mixture of lectures, seminars and language classes that enable you to develop communication and analytical skills, and to develop critical thinking in a supportive environment.

Lectures provide an overview of the key concepts and frameworks for a topic, equipping you to carry out independent research for the seminars and to develop your own ideas.

Seminars provide an opportunity for you to engage critically with key ideas and explore the ideas outlined in lectures in a small group environment, usually consisting of around 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.

Language classes are taught in groups to enhance confidence and active learning.   A varied timetable includes oral expression, aural comprehension and writing skills, which are taught in small groups to enhance confidence and active learning.  These vital communication skills are practiced and developed through regular classwork exercises and written work.  Our teaching methods allow you to engage with a range of language-learning technologies. Materials including textbooks, videos, films, novels, audio files and websites are supported by online resources that compliment classroom activities and promote and enable independent learning.   Class materials include a range from literary and historical to contemporary journalistic texts, providing a broad insight into language and culture.    

How will I be supported?

You will be allocated a personal tutor when you arrive. Personal tutors are members of the academic staff who will be on hand to provide advice, guidance, help and feedback.

A reading week each semester allows for guided study and a chance to catch up on assessed work, reading and revision. These weeks are also used by staff to visit students on their year abroad. 

You will have access through the Learning Central website to relevant multimedia material, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion circles.

Our undergraduate Professional Services Team provides academic and student support for all programmes. The team are located in a dedicated ‘student hub’ within the school and provide information and guidance in response to any queries you may have. We also have a dedicated Student Support Administrative Officer within the School, who can provide you with the necessary advice and guidance in a supportive, caring and confidential environment.

We pride ourselves on the level of engagement we have with our student body, giving you the opportunity to express your opinions and be partners in School decision-making where possible. We survey students regularly to make sure we are always working in your best interests.   

Beyond the School, the University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, the Academic Skills Development Centre and excellent libraries and resource centres.

Feedback 

We’ll provide you with frequent feedback on your work. This comes in a variety of formats including oral feedback, personalised feedback on written work and general feedback in relation to examinations. You will also be able to discuss your overall performance with your personal tutor.

How will I be assessed?

Essays, written examinations and oral presentations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing your capability to gather, organise, evaluate and communicate relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments.

Dedicated essay workshops and individual advice enable you to produce your best work for submission, while written feedback on submitted work feeds forward into future work, enabling you to develop your strengths and address any weaker areas.  You may also be provided with additional oral feedback. 

The optional final-year dissertation provides you with the opportunity to investigate a specific topic in depth and to acquire detailed knowledge about a particular field of study. You will develop your research skills by collecting and presenting material, and your evaluative skills by formulating a clear, cogent argument and drawing appropriate conclusions.

What skills will I practise and develop?

As a result of engaging fully with this course, you will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are discipline specific and more generic ‘employability skills’. These will allow you to:

  • develop your linguistic skills as well as a broad appreciation of the culture, literature and history of Italy and Japan
  • grasp complex issues with confidence
  • ask the right questions of complex texts
  • have an imaginative appreciation of different views and options and analyse these critically
  • identify and apply relevant data
  • develop practical research skills
  • propose imaginative solutions of your own that are rooted in evidence
  • communicate clearly, concisely and persuasively in writing and speech
  • work to deadlines and priorities, managing a range of tasks at the same time
  • learn from constructive criticism and incorporate its insights
  • work as part of a team, developing a collaborative approach to problem-solving
  • use IT programmes and digital media, where appropriate
  • take responsibility for your own learning programme and professional development.

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.

Many graduates enjoy their year overseas so much that they take time out for more travel, or go abroad on graduation in search of employment. 

Of those who choose to remain in the UK, many pursue postgraduate studies such as one of the School’s MA degrees in European Studies or Translation or a PGCE. Others start work immediately following their graduation, and their employment options include roles as translators, language assistants, export assistants and proof-readers, working with their languages in organisations such as Bearmach Ltd, the British Council, Global Response and Inter Global.

Jobs

  • Translator
  • Teaching
  • Finance and Banking

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2017/18)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Students from outside the EU (2017/18)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

You will not need any specific equipment.

Year three is spent working or studying in Italy and Japan.  


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.