Spanish (BA)

As a Spanish student at Cardiff University, you will be taught by staff who are actively involved in research in a wide range of topics relating to Spain and Latin America.

The School of Modern Languages aims to develop and educate its students to become ‘global citizens’. 

Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world. Spoken by more than 400 million people across more than 20 countries worldwide, it is one of the most useful languages in the world for business and leisure alike. It opens doors to a vibrant and diverse range of cultural experiences.

A degree in Spanish enables you to access, analyse and evaluate current developments across the Hispanic world as well as the cultures and values of the past. Having studied Spanish, you will be ready to take advantage of the wide-ranging opportunities open to language graduates today. 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.          

We offer Spanish 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 Spanish history and culture module seeks to provide a solid foundation for more specialised studies as you progress through your course.   

Your understanding of the language will be further developed and refined during your year abroad, when you will experience life in a Spanish-speaking country at first hand         

In the final year, you have the opportunity to write a dissertation, which stimulates initiative and can serve as a useful preparation for postgraduate study.

It is important to remember that studying languages is not just about the language itself. It involves exploring many aspects of a country and we aspire to offer a genuinely broad course that offers challenging and stimulating modules.  

On completion of this four-year programme, you will have a high level of proficiency in the language, as well as a critical understanding of key aspects of Spanish 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

During my Year Abroad, I spent 6 months teaching at a private school in the heart of the Peruvian capital Lima. I enjoyed the wonderful cuisine, nightlife and friendly people.

James Beckett - BA Spanish

Key facts

UCAS CodeR400
Next intakeSeptember 2017
Duration4 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School typically has 185 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives 600 applications.
Admissions tutor(s)

Entry requirements

For detailed entry requirements see the School of Modern Languages admissions criteria pages.

Typical A level offerABB. Three A-level subjects, including a B in a modern language for the Spanish beginners pathway or B in Spanish for the advanced pathway. General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted. 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 BB at A-level, including Spanish.
Typical International Baccalaureate offerConsidered on individual merit.
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome.

This is a four-year full-time degree, consisting of 120 credits a year. 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

You will combine Spanish with another modern language or translation, allowing you to experience more than one field of study.

In year one we run two pathways for students; an advanced pathway for students with an A-level or equivalent competence in Spanish and a beginner’s pathway for students with limited or no knowledge of Spanish. Our ‘Core’ and ‘Key optional modules’ below indicate the modules you would be required to study depending on your subject specific A-levels. You are then free to choose from the ’further optional modules’ list. 

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

A varied timetable includes oral expression, aural comprehension and writing skills, which are taught in small groups to enhance confidence and active learning.   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 Spanish language and culture.   

To provide a foundation for more specialised studies, you also study modules devoted to relevant history, culture, politics, economics and society.      

Year two

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 Spanish-specific topics, normally include European film, comparative literature and cultural history, as well as translation theory and practice.          

The available option modules may vary from year to year. 

Year three: Sandwich year

Your third year will be spent abroad in a Spanish-speaking country.  Options include studying at one of our partner universities, working as an English assistant in a school, or working for a Spanish 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 links with universities in Barcelona, Caceres, Ciudad Real, Granada, Santiago de Compostela y Valencia. In Spanish America we have exchange agreements with universities in Lima (Peru), Mexico City and Guadalajara (Mexico)

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 guide 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 Spanish-speaking world. 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 Spanish 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 understanding of the language, 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 also 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-centred 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

Spanish no longer distinguishes between beginner and advanced students as all students of Spanish take the same language modules in year four.

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 and engage more deeply with a chosen topic area, as well as extending 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?

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 Spain and Spanish-speaking countries
  • 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 in Translation or a PGCE. Others start work immediately following their studies, and our graduates go on to secure excellent careers in international diplomacy, the Civil Service, teaching, business and journalism. Other employment options include roles as translators, language assistants, export assistants and proof-readers.   

Jobs

  • Interpreter
  • Banking and Finance
  • Teaching

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.

Year three is spent working or studying in a Spanish-speaking country.


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.