Italian and Spanish (BA)

Entry year

2018/19 2019/20

Italian and Spanish BA (joint honours) gives students the opportunity to examine two romance languages at higher education.

Our aim at the School of Modern Languages is to develop and educate our students to become ‘global citizens’.  In addition to developing high-level language skills, our BA Italian and Spanish programme allows you to gain an in-depth intercultural understanding that encompasses a specific knowledge of Italian and Spanish culture. You will develop high-level communication and critical-thinking skills, and foster resilience and independence through time spent in immersive foreign language contexts.

Italy and the Hispanic world are major actors on the European and world stage, possessing rich and sophisticated cultures. Italian and Spanish are both one of the official working languages of the European community and still a global language of culture and diplomacy. By studying Italian combined with Spanish 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 Italian and Spanish language 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 audio-visual materials. In your first year, in addition to your language tuition, an introduction to Italian and Spanish history and culture 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 an Italian-speaking and 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 both Italian and Spanish language, as well as a critical understanding of key aspects of Italian and Spanish history, culture, literature, politics and contemporary society.

Distinctive features

  • High-quality language teaching delivered by native speakers, with blended learning and digital technologies embedded in the teaching and assessments designed to feed forward into future learning
  • A vibrant programme of extra-curricular activities to support your language learning and immersion into Italian and Spanish culture, including extra optional conversation classes with Erasmus students, events at the students’ Italian and Spanish Society and collaboration with the Spanish Education Office.
  • A curriculum with a clear learning arc, drawing on the latest research and providing a thorough understanding of Italian and Japanese culture
  • A structured skills programme which embeds academic, transferable and employability skills into learning from the very beginning
  • The option of taking a credit-bearing work placement
  • The opportunity to spend your third year either studying or working in a country that predominantly operates in Italian and Spanish.
  • An exciting range of opportunities beyond your formal studies to engage with local schools and communities in promoting language learning and develop your own skills and profile.

Key facts

UCAS CodeRR34
Next intakeSeptember 2018
Duration4 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School typically has 185 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives 600 applications.
Contact

Entry requirements

Typical A level offerABB - BBC. You will not need to achieve these from any specific subjects but applicants holding a B in Italian and/or Spanish will have access to the Languages advanced pathways. Please note that General Studies will not be accepted.  
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerThe Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.
Typical International Baccalaureate offerIB 32-30 or 665-655 from 3 HL subjects.
Alternative qualificationsAlternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Modern Languages admissions criteria pages.
English Language requirementsIf you are an overseas applicant and your first language is not English, please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our accepted qualifications.
Other requirementsAny specific GCSE requirements (other than standard Grade C in English): You will require GCSE English or Welsh Language at grade C or grade 4. Alternatively, IGCSE English First Language or English Second Language will be considered at grade C.   Typical offers for other qualifications (inc Scottish Highers, Irish Leaving Certificate, Cambridge Pre-U, etc.): Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Modern Languages admissions criteria pages.   English Language Requirements for non-UK applicants Typical IELTS offer: 6.5 overall with at least 6.0 in each component.

We are currently working with our students to update and improve the content of this course. The information shown below reflects the current curriculum and is likely to change. The review of the course is expected to be completed by August 2018 and this page will be updated by end of October 2018 to reflect the changes.

The BA Italian and Spanish is a four-year degree programme. It is structured in such a way that you will acquire over successive years high-level language competencies and the skills to become an independent and critical thinker, equipped for professional employment.

In each year of the programme you will study 120 credits. Your third year will be spent studying or working abroad, one semester in Italy or an Italian-speaking country and the other semester in Spain or another Hispanic-speaking country.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2018/19 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2018.

Year one

You will combine Italian with Spanish, 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 Italian and Spanish and a beginner’s pathway for students with limited or no knowledge of Italian or Spanish. 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. 

You will also study a non-language module which introduces you to the development of Italy and Hispanic world as a nation, exploring what it has symbolised for different groups at different moments in history. It also explores Italy and Spain’s exchanges with the world, enabling you to explore Italy and the role of the Hispanic world beyond the national borders. Studies in these areas will enable you to develop a good understanding of intercultural awareness, and the highly-prized ability to mediate between cultures. 

Year two

The language elements of year two build on the work undertaken in year one, and prepare you for your year abroad.

In addition to 30 credits Italian and Spanish language, you will study 30 credits looking at Italy and the Hispanic world in a transnational context. This will introduce you to key approaches, methodologies and critical tools which you can apply to an in-depth study of Italy, Spain and the Hispanic world, looking at a range of topics such as culture, history and politics. You will also have the option of studying 30 credits of Business Language and Specialised Translations.

Outside of your formal studies, you will have the opportunity to take part in our highly-praised Student Mentoring Scheme, supported by the Welsh Assembly Government. Pupils in selected secondary schools are mentored by our specially-trained undergraduate students who go into schools to mentor pupils in small groups of two or three over a period of five weeks.

You may also choose to take part in the Student Language Ambassador (SLA) scheme, acting as advocates for language learning. Following specific training, as an SLA you may get the opportunity to speak publicly at events, sharing your personal experience of language learning. You may take part in a range of activities, such as language taster sessions, presenting and promoting the year abroad, supporting School language days and events, or promoting modern languages at career fairs or open days. 

Year three: Sandwich year

Your third year is spent in Italy or another Italian-speaking country and Spain or another Spanish-speaking country. The year will enable you to develop your language skills, deepen your understanding of Italian and Hispanic culture and develop your independence, resourcefulness and resilience.

Your options this year 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 Italian or 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 exchange programmes which provide opportunities to study in institutions in cities that have included Venice, Verona, Milan, Pavia, Parma, Ferrara, Florence, Pisa, Barcelona, Valencia and Seville.

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 Italian and 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 Italian and 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 currently eligible to apply for an Erasmus grant.

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

When we welcome you back to Cardiff in your final year, you will continue to develop your language skills, studying 30 credits of Italian and 30 credits of Spanish language, in addition to 60 credits of optional modules. You will have the opportunity to build on the broad base of knowledge and skills you have developed to study an area of research expertise in the School, through taught modules and/or a dissertation. You will also have the opportunity to take part in our very popular teaching module, an accredited module where you will build on study and workshops at the University to undertake a teaching placement at one of our partner schools in the area. 

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. The teaching covers all the key competencies, and is enhanced by the inclusion of digital learning.

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.

Independent study forms a key part of your learning, and our independent learning portfolios have been developed to provide you with online resources to support your independent language learning.

How will I spend my time? (2017/18 data)

Year 1

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

25%

Guided independent study

75%

Placements

0%

Year 2

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

44%

Guided independent study

56%

Placements

0%

Year 3

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

0%

Guided independent study

0%

Placements

100%

Year 4

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

33%

Guided independent study

67%

Placements

0%

How will I be supported?

Our BA in Italian and Spanish programme is team-taught, with the programme as a whole overseen by the Programme Director. You will be supported by a number of different staff, some focussing on academic performance in a particular area and some looking at learning and progress more holistically.

All academic staff have designated hours where they are available to meet with you to offer advice and feedback on the subjects that they teach.

You will also be allocated a personal tutor, who will meet with you regularly to reflect on your progress and development across your studies, and to think about how to build on your achievements and advance further. The personal tutor can also guide you if you are experiencing difficulties towards appropriate support.

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.

A skills development 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 to relevant learning resources, 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.

How will I be assessed?

Feedback and assessment is a priority area for the School of Modern Languages, with a dedicated assessment and feedback lead tasked with ensuring you have the best experience.

The focus of assessment is in supporting you to develop your ideas, skills and competencies, with the feedback you receive feeding forward into future work. We use traditional assessment formats (such as essays, class tests, exams and dissertation) as well as more innovative forms of assessment, (such as vlogs, participation in radio shows, video and audio projects, interviews, portfolios, and so forth). Assessments include formative assessments (which enable you to develop your skills and do not count towards your final degree classification) and summative assessments (which do count towards your final classification).

As part of your skills training in year one, you will be supported in understanding how the assessments work, what is expected of you, how you will be marked and how to make the most of your feedback.

Assessment methods (2017/18 data)

Year 1

Written exams

57%

Practical exams

7%

Coursework

37%

Year 2

Written exams

62%

Practical exams

13%

Coursework

26%

Year 3

Written exams

40%

Practical exams

0%

Coursework

60%

Year 4

Written exams

70%

Practical exams

10%

Coursework

20%

What skills will I practise and develop?

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you. 

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme can be found below:

Knowledge & Understanding:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • The ability to speak, write, and understand one or more foreign languages to a high level of competency.
  • An in-depth intercultural understanding including specific knowledge of other cultures, allied to the ability to navigate and mediate between more than one culture.

Intellectual Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • The ability to communicate clearly, concisely and persuasively in writing and speech, in English, Italian and Spanish.
  • Applying a range of strategies to initiate and undertake analysis of information.
  • Reaching conclusions about the strengths and weaknesses of views and arguments, justifying these with sound reasoning and detailed interpretations of source material.
  • Relevant and effective research techniques to plan and write an academic essay, using the correct referencing conventions.
  • Critical evaluation of ideas and arguments, through the coherent presentation of information and ideas using a plethora of written and oral skills.

Professional Practical Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • Using a range of IT programmes and digital media, where appropriate.
  • Resilience and independence through time spent in immersive foreign language contexts.
  • Communication and critical-thinking skills.
  • Working to deadlines and priorities, managing a range of tasks at the same time.

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • The ability to grasp complex issues with confidence.
  • The ability to analyse complex texts.
  • The ability to interpret and apply relevant data.
  • Practical research skills.
  • Imaginative solutions of your own that are rooted in evidence.
  • Learning from constructive criticism and incorporate its insights.
  • Enhanced linguistic skills, as well as a broad appreciation of the culture and literature of Italy and Spain.
  • Taking responsibility for your own learning programme and professional development.
  • Critical skills (reasoning, evaluating evidence, problem-solving, relating theory to practice).
  • Creativity and innovative thinking.
  • Leadership, teamwork and self-management skills.
  • Identifying, recording and communicating your relevant career attainments.

In 2015/16, 94% 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 Postgraduate Taught degrees 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. 

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2018/19)

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£9,000None

The University reserves the right to increase tuition fees in the second and subsequent years of a course as permitted by law or Welsh Government policy. Where applicable we will notify you of any change in tuition fee by the end of June in the academic year before the one in which the fee will increase.

Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Students from outside the EU (2018/19)

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£16,350None

Tuition fees for international students are fixed for the majority of three year undergraduate courses. This means the price you pay in year one will be the same in years two and three. Some courses are exempt, including four and five year programmes and Medical and Dental courses. Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

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

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.

Accomodation

We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Each candidate's profile is considered as a complete picture, taking into account your interest in and suitability for the degree, as shown in your personal statement and referee's report, as well as achieved and predicted grades. Your ability to present an argument, evidence of intellectual curiosity and your enthusiasm for and commitment to studing will also be assessed.

If you are interested in teaching may have the possibility of completing an internship teaching language in a UK secondary school in your final year.

Discover more courses