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.

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.

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. You will also benefit from a flexible range of optional modules dealing with the literature, film and history of modern Spain and Latin America, including Catalan language and culture. The Year Abroad provides a great opportunity for you to further improve your Spanish and to fully immerse yourself in another culture.

A degree in Spanish at Cardiff University enables students to access, analyse and evaluate current developments across the Hispanic world as well as the cultures and values of the past. Having studied Spanish, students will be ready to take advantage of the wide-ranging opportunities open to language graduates today. Spanish at Cardiff can be taken by students who have an A level (or equivalent) in the subject, as well as by students who have no prior knowledge of Spanish. Studying for a degree in Spanish involves immersing yourself in both the language and the culture of the Hispanic world. At Cardiff, we place great emphasis on reading, writing, oral and aural skills, which are vital for communication. In language classes, you will be taught by native speakers of Spanish. What makes a degree in Spanish at Cardiff University different is the dedicated staff, international environment, breadth of research-led teaching and the extensive range of institutional links for the Year Abroad, which have been built up over many years.

Key facts

UCAS CodeR400
Entry pointSeptember 2016
Duration4 years
Typical places availableThe School typically has 185 places available
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives 600 applications
Typical A level offerABB including a modern foreign language. (General Studies is not accepted)
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. Please see detailed information about alternative entry requirements here.

Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course.
QAA subject benchmark
Admissions tutor(s)

Ms Anna Carrasco, Course Administrator

Ms Anna Carrasco, Admissions Tutor

Important Legal Information: The programme information currently being published in Course Finder is under review and may be subject to change. The final programme information is due to be published by May 2016 and will be the definitive programme outline which the University intends to offer. Applicants are advised to check the definitive programme information after the update, to ensure that the programme meets their needs.

The structure of the degree is based around modules with a specific number of credits, which are awarded after successful completion. The credits earned count towards the total number of credits required for the degree. While some of the modules at each stage are compulsory, the degree structure also leaves room for individual choice.

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

Year one

As well as students with A-level Spanish, we also welcome students who have no previous knowledge of Spanish. Such applicants will generally require an A-level in another modern foreign language. We run two pathways for Spanish students: one for students with an A-level or equivalent competence in Spanish; the other for students beginning Spanish afresh.

Our ‘Key optional modules’ indicate the modules you would be required to study, either beginners or advanced, depending on your subject specific A-levels. You are then free to choose from the ’further optional modules’ list.

Year two

Year three: Sandwich year

You spend the third year of your Spanish degree in Spain or in another Hispanic country. You have a range of options, which include studying at one of our partner universities, working as an English assistant in a school, or working for a company or organisation in a Spanish-speaking country.

While you are away from Cardiff, you will be assigned to the Year Abroad coordinator, who will keep in touch with you and monitor your progress.

Year four

Spanish no longer distinguishes between Beginners and Post A-level students by your final year. All students of Spanish take the language module.

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.

Jobs

  • Interpreter
  • Banking and Finance
  • Teaching

Duration

4 Year(s)

Next intake

September 2016

Places available

Typical places available

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.   

Applications received

Typical applications received

Accreditations

QAA subject benchmark

QAA subject benchmark

Overview and aims of this course/programme

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.     

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.         

What should I know about year five?

How is this course/programme structured?

This is a four-year full-time degree, consisting of 120 credits a year. The third year is spent abroad.

What should I know about 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. 

What should I know about year three?

 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.

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.

What should I know about the preliminary year?

What should I know about 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 the history and culture of modern Spain as well as Spanish politics, economics and society.   

Other information

Distinctive features

The BA in Spanish conforms to the standards set out in the Credit and Qualification Framework for Wales and the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) benchmarks.

The distinctive features of the course include:

  • entry option for applicants who do not have Spanish A-level (such applicants will generally require an A-level in another modern foreign language). Spanish at Cardiff is therefore studied at beginner or advanced level in years one and two
  • both beginners and advanced routes include optional modules covering the literature, film and history of modern Spain and Latin America, including Catalan language and culture
  • teaching by staff who are actively involved in research relating to Spain and Latin America
  • we place great emphasis on strengthening reading, writing, oral and aural skills. These vital communication skills are practiced and developed through regular classwork exercises, written work, use of video and audio material, and interaction with native speakers (including Spanish Erasmus students hosted by the department)   
  • Spanish language is a core module throughout your course, taught by native speakers
  • year three is spent abroad, either studying at a university in Spain, Mexico or Peru or working in Spain, with a chance to teach in a Spanish school or following a work placement in another organisation or company. 

How will I be taught?

Language classes are taught in groups to enhance confidence and active learning.   We place great emphasis on strengthening reading, writing, oral and aural skills.  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 materials including videos, films, websites as well as interactive learning tools.

Most of the optional modules consist of a mixture of lectures and seminars 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 explore the ideas outlined in the lecture in a small group environment. Seminars usually consist 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. 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 you prepare for seminars (undertaking any set reading, developing independent critical thought) in order to gain the maximum benefit from the sessions.  

Admissions tutors

Ms Anna Carrasco, Course Administrator

Ms Anna Carrasco, Admissions Tutor


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