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
Duration4 years
Typical places availableThe School typically has 185 places available
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives 600 applications
Scholarships and bursaries
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

Languages and related studies

Academic School
Admissions tutor(s)

Dr Carlos Sanz-mingo , Admissions Tutor

    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.

    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.


    • Interpreter
    • Banking and Finance
    • Teaching


    4 Year(s)

    Next intake

    September 2016

    Places available

    Typical places available

    10 For Single honours students; 70 for students studying Spanish as half of a joint honours programme.


    Applications received

    Typical applications received

    Between 300 and 400


    QAA subject benchmark

    QAA subject benchmark

    Languages and related studies

    What are the aims of this Programme?

    The aim of the BA in Spanish is 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, oral and aural comprehension, written composition, grammar, and spoken fluency. Content modules enable students to pursue their interests in Spanish as it 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?

    Students are expected to attend all timetabled teaching (lectures, seminars, small groups 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.

    While they are on their year abroad students are expected to engage fully with the culture and society of the host country in order to further the language learning process.

    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 programme is offered as a full-time course of study over four years (including year three which is spent abroad). In year one students follow core courses in language (20 credits) as well as introductory module on Hispanic cultures and societies (20 credits). In years two and four students also have a core language course (20) credits) and make up the remainder of the 100 credits by choosing five optional modules (five each year, 20 credits each). Optional modules are semestersied with the 3exception of Catalan, which is a double semester option. The year abroad …..

    Typical range of option modules available in year 2: Spanish-American Poetry, Landmark Films from Spain and Latin America, Memory and Textuality in Contemporary Spain, Teaching Spanish as a Second Language, Business Spanish 1, Introduction to Specialised Translation, Principles of Translation Theory, Innovations in European Literature, Borders and Identities in Post-War European Cinema, Introduction to Catalan Language and Culture.

    Typical Range of option modules available in year 4: Catalan Language and Catalan Society, Stories from the Edge: Minority Voices in Spanish and Latin American Cultures, Spanish for professional purposes, Politics and Society in Spain, Women's Voices in Contemporary Spain, Student Languages Ambassador Placement, Dissertation, From East to West :at the roots of European Culture, Advanced Translation Practice, Translation as Profession, The Politics of Language and Translation, May '68: Marking Changes in European Culture and Politics.

    Students must reach the bar for passing each year before being able to proceed. The award of the BA is conditional on successful completion of each phase of the programme.

    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 whose preferred option this is.

    What skills will I practise and develop?

    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 discipline 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.

    How will I be taught?

    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.

    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 give hours of language classes per week.

    Students opting for the dissertation option in year 4 work closely with a supervisor and teaching takes the form of regular meetings with the supervisor.

    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 assessment regime is able to make reasonable adjustments for dyslexic students n that tutors are advised to take into account orthographical and compositional features which reflect a student’s dyslexia. Where students with other disabilities 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 sue 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.

    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?


    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 tend to 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, and 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; oral assessment will convey feedback about presentation 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?

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

    Modules make use Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment Learning Central, on which students will find course materials, links to related materials, and instructions for the submission of course work., and give written feedback on a draft. 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.

    What are the Learning Outcomes of this Programme?

    Graduates from this programme will be able to:

    Express ideas and concepts clearly in written and spoken Spanish as well as in English

    Demonstrate proficiency  in the core language competencies in Spanish

    Demonstrate and defend a reasoned and evidence-based argument about a text or issue

    Demonstrate knowledge of the diversity of cultures and societies found in the Spanish speaking world

    identify patterns of change and to locate detailed examination of particular themes, episodes and events within them;

    Develop a reasoned, coherent, argument about specific subjects, deploying appropriate evidence, and demonstrating awareness of the limits of their knowledge;

    Achieve the above objectives both independently and as part of a team.

    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.

    Admissions tutors

    Dr Carlos Sanz-mingo , Admissions Tutor

      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.