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Religious Studies and Spanish (BA)

Entry year


Religious Studies and Spanish BA (Joint Honours) enables students to combine the study of religion, which has formed part of human life since the beginning of human existence, with one of the most widely-spoken languages in the world.

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Course overview

Our aim at the School of Modern Languages and the School of History, Archaeology and Religious Studies aim to develop and educate our students to become ‘global citizens’.  By combining Spanish and Religious Studies, you will gain a variety 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

Religion has formed part of human experience from the earliest traces of existence up to the present day. It has been the way most cultures have sought to express their understanding of the purpose of life and the foundation of personal and social behaviour.  You will have the opportunity to explore your own and other peoples' religious history and culture, and some of the fundamental questions of existence, in a flourishing centre of research.

Spain is a major actor on the European and world stage, possessing a rich and sophisticated culture. Spanish is one of the official working languages of the European community and still a global language of culture and diplomacy.

In addition to developing high-level language skills, you will gain an in-depth intercultural understanding that encompasses a specific knowledge of Hispanic culture. You will develop high-level communication and critical-thinking skills, and foster resilience and independence through time spent in immersive foreign language contexts.

We offer Spanish for both advanced students and beginners. In your first year, in addition to your language tuition, an introduction to 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 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. 

As a joint honours student, you will find that often there are complementary issues and perspectives that link subjects, be they critical analysis, historical contexts or recent research. 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 Spanish history, culture, literature, politics and contemporary society.   

Distinctive features

  • Research led teaching that allows you to engage with new ideas that are shaping the future of Religious Studies and Spanish studies.
  • High-quality language teaching delivered by native speakers.
  • A vibrant programme of extra-curricular activities to support your language learning and immersion into Hispanic culture.
  • A curriculum with a clear learning arc, drawing on the latest research and providing a thorough understanding of Spanish 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 your chosen language of study
  • 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.
UCAS codeRV46
Next intakeSeptember 2019
Duration4 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School typically has 320 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives 1800 applications.
  1. School of History, Archaeology and Religion

    John Percival Building

    Colum Drive

    Cardiff

    CF10 3EU

  2. School of Modern Languages

    66a Park Place

    Cathays

    Cardiff

    CF10 3AS

Entry requirements

BBB-BBC (excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking). Applicants with a B in Spanish can choose the advanced language pathway.  

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

DMM Extended Diploma in Humanities, Social Science, Applied Science or Computing. Any other BTEC subject may be acceptable if combined with an A-Level (excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking) will also be considered.

Achieve the IB Diploma with 655 in 3 HL subjects.

Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Modern Languages and School of History, Archaeology & Religion admissions criteria pages.

GCSE

Grade C or grade 4 in GCSE English Language.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-score.

TOEFL iBT

At least 90 with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

62 with a minimum of 51 in all communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

GCSE English Language Grade C or 4, IGCSE English First Language grade C, IGCSE English as a Second Language grade C.

Selection

 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 studying will also be assessed.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2019/20)

Tuition feeDeposit
£9,000None

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 (2019/20)

Tuition feeDeposit
£16,950None

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.

Additional costs

Course specific equipment

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.

Accommodation

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

Course structure

BA Religious Studies and Spanish is a four-year degree programme. It is structured in such a way that you will acquire 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, equally split between 60 credits in Religious Studies and 60 credits in Spanish. Your third year will be spent studying or working abroad in Spain or another Spanish-speaking country.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2019/20 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2019.

Year one

You will combine 60 credits of Spanish with 60 credits of Religious Studies.

You may study religion through texts, poetry, art, film, biographies, fieldwork and drama. You will be introduced to key ideas about ritual, gender and place that provide a dynamic foundation for further study across a range of modules offered in your second and third years. You will also have the option to study one of the original languages of religious texts on offer.

In year one we run two language 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. 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 Spain as a nation, exploring what it has symbolised for different groups at different moments in history. It also explores Spain’s exchanges with the world, enabling you to explore Spain’s role beyond the national borders. The module will enable you to develop a good understanding of intercultural awareness, and the highly-prized ability to mediate between cultures.

Year two

In year two you will again take 60 credits in Religious Studies and 60 credits in Spanish.

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

In addition to language, you will study 30 credits looking at Spain in a transnational context. This will introduce you to key approaches, methodologies and critical tools which you can apply to an in-depth study, looking at a range of topics such as culture, history and politics, in addition to 60 credits in Religious Studies modules.

In Religious Studies you will have the opportunity to develop a more advanced knowledge of a range of religious traditions, building on introductory modules undertaken in year one, and will develop your awareness of the role of religion in shaping the cultural, intellectual, and ethical concerns of contemporary societies. 

Year three: Sandwich year

Year three is spent in Spain or another Spanish-speaking country. The year will enable you to develop your language skills, deepen your understanding of the target culture and develop your independence, resourcefulness and resilience.

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 a Spanish organisation or company. 

If you choose the study option, we have established exchange programmes which provide opportunities to study in institutions in in cities that have included Valencia, Barcelona 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 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.

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. 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.

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

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 language and 30 credits of Spanish option modules, in addition to 60 credits from Religious Studies option modules.

You will have the opportunity to deepen your understanding of religious themes and topics with a range of specialised modules. You may also acquire skills in qualitative and quantitative research into religion(s) in contemporary societies, depending on your module choices.

You will refine your linguistic skills in terms of expression and translation, and specialise in your areas of interest by choosing specialised module options. 

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 on the area.

The 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 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.

Learning and assessment

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.

Year 1

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

24%

Guided independent study

76%

Placements

0%

Year 2

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

null%

Guided independent study

null%

Placements

null%

Year 3

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

0%

Guided independent study

0%

Placements

100%

Year 4

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

null%

Guided independent study

null%

Placements

null%

How will I be supported?

Our BA programme in Religious Studies and Spanish 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 students 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. Your 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 (the University virtual learning environment) 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. 

The School of History, Archaeology and Religion has a dedicated Work Placements Officer who supports you with work experience opportunities both in and out of term time. 

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?

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. The programme offers a range of 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

58%

Practical exams

3%

Coursework

38%

Year 2

Written exams

null%

Practical exams

null%

Coursework

null%

Year 3

Written exams

0%

Practical exams

0%

Coursework

100%

Year 4

Written exams

null%

Practical exams

null%

Coursework

null%

What skills will I practise and develop?

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.
  • The ability to compose a conclusion to a scholarly argument that summarises what has been shown and relate this to broader issues in the study of religion and society.
  • Reason from evidence, whilst being tolerant of other interpretations of the evidence.

Intellectual Skills:

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

  • Enhanced linguistic skills, as well as a broad appreciation of the culture, literature, and history of Spain and Spanish speaking countries.
  • The ability to communicate clearly, concisely and persuasively in writing and speech, in English and Spanish.
  • The ability to develop hypotheses on the basis of a thorough examination of primary and secondary source materials.
  • A scholarly hypothesis and the evidence upon which it is based.
  • The ability to compose a scholarly argument that supports contentions with primary and secondary source materials.

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.
  • Working as part of a team, developing a collaborative approach to problem-solving.

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.
  • 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.

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Careers and placements

Career prospects

School of Modern Languages

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 graduating.

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 graduation, 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.  

School of History, Archaeology and Religion

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 graduating. Some of our graduates enter professions which make direct use of their academic expertise, while others compete very successfully in a wide range of other fields. 

We organise interactive workshops with the Careers Service to help students identify their skills and attributes and have our own, in-School Workplace Placements and employability officer.

Religious and Theological Studies students may choose to study the module ‘Religion in the Workplace’ which focusses specifically on developing employability and enterprise skills.

We organise interactive workshops with the Careers Service to help students identify their skills and attributes. Religious Studies graduates find work in a wide range of related and non-related professional employment. Some choose to undertake postgraduate study at Cardiff or elsewhere, and some have become internationally reputed historians.

Placements

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

Both Schools offer credit-bearing work placement opportunities.

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