Why study this course
Spend a year abroad
Adventure into a new culture; open your mind to new ideas and experiences while applying and developing your language skills.
Tailored to your ability
All our languages can be studied at beginner or advanced level and do not require an A Level.
Portuguese and Spanish in context
Explore Portuguese and Spanish cultures and language in society including: history, literature and politics.
Our aim at the School of Modern Languages is to enable our students to become ‘global citizens’. Our graduates are highly skilled linguists with a comprehensive skillset which prepares them to work in a host of careers and professions nationally and internationally.
Our BA Portuguese and Spanish programme (which has both beginner and post-A-level entry points) allows you to gain very high level language skills and an in-depth understanding of Hispanic and Lusophone culture. A year abroad spent working, studying or teaching in the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking world hones your language, your intercultural awareness and builds a valuable skill set in a job market thirsty for strong foreign language capability.
Portuguese is a language with global importance, from Portugal and Brazil to several countries and regions in Africa and Asia. The British Council has identified Portuguese as one of the most vital languages for the future of the UK in the next 20 years and it is one of the most widely spoken community languages in the UK. 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.
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 and Portuguese history, culture, literature, politics and contemporary society, depending on your areas of specialisation.
We accept a combination of A-levels and other qualifications, as well as equivalent international qualifications subject to entry requirements. Typical offers are as follows:
ABB-BBB. If you have grade B in the relevant language A-level you will have access to the languages advanced pathways.
Extended/International Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ/IPQ 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.
We carefully consider your contextual data (the circumstances in which you've been studying) upon application. Where a grade range is advertised this reflects our typical standard and contextual offers. Eligible students will be given an offer at the lower end of the advertised grade range. Where there is no grade range advertised you will usually receive additional points in the selection process. Learn about eligible courses and how contextual data is applied.
32-31 overall or 665 in 3 HL subjects. If you have grade 6 in the relevant language at HL you will have access to the languages advanced pathways.
From September 2023, there will be a new qualification called the Advanced Skills Baccalaureate Wales (level 3). This qualification will replace the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate (Welsh Baccalaureate). The qualification will continue to be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.
Other qualifications from inside the UK
DDM in a BTEC Extended Diploma in Arts, Humanities, Science and Social Science subjects.
If you have grade B in the relevant language A-level in addition to or in combination with a BTEC you will have access to the languages advanced pathways.
M in a T Level in any subject.
Additional entry requirements
Please see our admissions policies for more information about the application process.
Interview or selection process
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 for 2023 entry
Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.
Fees for home status
|Year three (sandwich year)||£1,350||None|
Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland
If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2023/24 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.
Fees for island status
Learn more about the undergraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
Fees for overseas status
|Year three (sandwich year)||£3,068||None|
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.
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.
We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.
We're based in one of the UK's most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.
This full-time course lasts for four years with two semesters per year. There are 120 credits a year split equally between your two language choices. Most modules are worth 20 credits. The third year is spent abroad.
The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2023/2024 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2023.
You will combine Portuguese with Spanish, allowing you to experience more than one field of study.
In year one we run two pathways for students; an advanced pathway aimed at students with an A-level and heritage learners who wish to deepen their existing knowledge of the language, history and cultures of the Portuguese/Spanish-speaking worlds, and a beginner’s pathway for students with limited or no knowledge of Portuguese 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 the Portuguese-speaking and the Hispanic world, exploring how what both cultures and languages have symbolised for different groups at different moments in history. It also explores Portugal and Spain’s exchanges with the world, enabling you to explore Portugal 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.
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 Portuguese and Spanish language, you will study 30 credits looking at the Portuguese-speaking world 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, 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, which is supported by Welsh Government. The scheme places undergraduates into local schools to mentor pupils and encourage them to consider modern foreign languages when choosing their GCSE options.
You may also choose to take part in the Student Language Ambassador (SLA) scheme, acting as an advocate 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.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Ex-Advanced Language Year 2 Spanish||ML0279||30 credits|
|Ex-Beginners Language Year 2 Spanish||ML0280||30 credits|
|Ex-Beginners Language Year 2 Portuguese||ML4280||30 credits|
|Ex-Advanced Language Year 2 Portuguese||ML4281||30 credits|
|The World & Language of Business (Spanish Ex-Beginners)||ML0268||30 credits|
|Introduction to Catalan Language & Culture||ML0269||30 credits|
|Cultures in Context (Spanish)||ML0282||30 credits|
|The World & Language of Business (Spanish)||ML0283||30 credits|
|Introduction to Specialised Translation||ML2201||30 credits|
Year three: Sandwich year
In year three you will spend one semester in a Portuguese speaking country and one in Spanish speaking country, immersed in the languages.
Your options include studying at one of our partner universities, working as an English assistant in a school, or working for an 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.
We have Erasmus exchanges in Lisbon, Coimbra, Braga and strong links with universities in Brazil. Students have also organised professional internships in cities such as São Paulo. In Spain we have links 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).
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Intercalary Semester Abroad: Study Abroad (Spanish, Spring)||ML0090||60 credits|
|Intercalary Semester Abroad: Work Placement (Spanish, Spring)||ML0093||60 credits|
|Intercalary Semester Abroad: Work Placement||ML0097||60 credits|
|Intercalary Semester Abroad: Study Abroad||ML0099||60 credits|
|Sandwich Year Project (Autumn Semester)||ML1240||60 credits|
|Sandwich Year Project (Spring Semester)||ML1241||60 credits|
|Intercalary Semester Abroad: Work Placement (Portuguese, Spring)||ML4094||60 credits|
|Intercalary Semester Abroad: Study Abroad (Portuguese, Spring)||ML4095||60 credits|
|Intercalary Semester Abroad: Work Placement (Portuguese)||ML4097||60 credits|
|Intercalary Semester Abroad: Study Abroad (Portuguese)||ML4099||60 credits|
When we welcome you back to Cardiff in your final year, you will continue to develop your language skills, studying 30 credits of Portuguese and 30 credits of Spanish language, in addition to 60 credits of optional modules.
You will also 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 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.
You will also have the opportunity to take part in our very popular Student 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 module allows you to go into local secondary schools and teach pupils who are learning foreign languages. You will have the opportunity to observe teaching by professionals, take part in classroom activities and generate new learning materials. This in turn enhances your ICT, presentation, preparatory and organisational skills and, ultimately, your employability. Those students who wish to go onto a career in teaching gain valuable experience which can be used to feed into their PGSE application. These students also have the opportunity to take a dedicated (optional) training session for PGSE applications with an expert in the field.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Final Year Dissertation - Spanish (in Spanish)||ML0360||30 credits|
|Final Year Dissertation - Spanish (in English/Welsh)||ML0361||30 credits|
|Catalan Language & Society||ML0362||30 credits|
|Hispanic Cultures at the Margins||ML0363||30 credits|
|Crime and Punishment in Latin American History and Culture||ML0367||30 credits|
|Culture, Political Protest & Dissent in the 1960s||ML1360||30 credits|
|European Cinema: Thinking the Real of Fiction||ML1362||30 credits|
|Slavery, Abolitionism and the Black Atlantic: A Transnational Perspective||ML1364||30 credits|
|Final Year Dissertation - Portuguese (in Portuguese)||ML4363||30 credits|
|Final Year Dissertation - Portuguese (in English/Welsh)||ML4364||30 credits|
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
Most of our modules consist of a mixture of lectures, seminars and language classes that enable you to develop communication and analytical skills, and to develop critical thinking in a supportive environment.
Lectures provide an overview of the key concepts and frameworks for a topic, equipping you to carry out independent research for the seminars and to develop your own ideas.
Seminars provide an opportunity for you to engage critically with key ideas and explore the ideas outlined in lectures in a small group environment, usually consisting of around 15 students and the seminar leader (a member of the teaching team). Seminars may take various formats, including plenary group discussion, small group work and student-led presentations.
Language classes are taught in groups to enhance confidence and active learning. A varied timetable includes oral expression, aural comprehension and writing skills, which are taught in small groups to enhance confidence and active learning. These vital communication skills are practiced and developed through regular classwork exercises and written work. Our teaching methods allow you to engage with a range of language-learning technologies. Materials including textbooks, videos, films, novels, audio files and websites are supported by online resources that compliment classroom activities and promote and enable independent learning. Class materials include a range from literary and historical to contemporary journalistic texts, providing a broad insight into language and culture.
How will I be supported?
You will be allocated a personal tutor when you arrive. Personal tutors are members of the academic staff who will be on hand to provide advice, guidance, help and feedback.
A reading week each semester allows for guided study and a chance to catch up on assessed work, reading and revision. These weeks are also used by staff to visit students on their year abroad.
You will have access through the Learning Central website to relevant multimedia material, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion circles.
Our undergraduate Professional Services Team provides academic and student support for all programmes. The team are located in a dedicated ‘student hub’ within the school and provide information and guidance in response to any queries you may have. We also have a dedicated Student Support Administrative Officer within the School, who can provide you with the necessary advice and guidance in a supportive, caring and confidential environment.
We pride ourselves on the level of engagement we have with our student body, giving you the opportunity to express your opinions and be partners in School decision-making where possible. We survey students regularly to make sure we are always working in your best interests.
Beyond the School, the University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, the Academic Skills Development Centre and excellent libraries and resource centres.
We’ll provide you with frequent feedback on your work. This comes in a variety of formats including oral feedback, personalised feedback on written work and general feedback in relation to examinations. You will also be able to discuss your overall performance with your personal tutor.
How will I be assessed?
Essays, written examinations and oral presentations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing your capability to gather, organise, evaluate and communicate relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments.
Dedicated essay workshops and individual advice enable you to produce your best work for submission, while written feedback on submitted work feeds forward into future work, enabling you to develop your strengths and address any weaker areas. You may also be provided with additional oral feedback.
The optional final-year dissertation provides you with the opportunity to investigate a specific topic in depth and to acquire detailed knowledge about a particular field of study. You will develop your research skills by collecting and presenting material, and your evaluative skills by formulating a clear, cogent argument and drawing appropriate conclusions.
What skills will I practise and develop?
As a result of engaging fully with this course, you will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are discipline specific and more generic ‘employability skills’. These will allow you to:
- develop your linguistic skills as well as a broad appreciation of the culture, literature and history of Portuguese and Spanish speaking countries
- grasp complex issues with confidence
- ask the right questions of complex texts
- have an imaginative appreciation of different views and options and analyse these critically
- identify and apply relevant data
- develop practical research skills
- propose imaginative solutions of your own that are rooted in evidence
- communicate clearly, concisely and persuasively in writing and speech
- work to deadlines and priorities, managing a range of tasks at the same time
- learn from constructive criticism and incorporate its insights
- work as part of a team, developing a collaborative approach to problem-solving
- use IT programmes and digital media, where appropriate
- take responsibility for your own learning programme and professional development.
What do employers think about this programme?
As part of the curriculum design, the School consulted with employers’ organisations about the attributes they look for in graduates. Employers highlighted the importance of intercultural awareness and the ability to write well in English, both of which are key learning outcomes for the programme, in addition to developing super language skills and the ability to think critically analytically.
Careers and placements
In 2016/17, 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 after graduation they take time out to continue travelling or they go abroad to work.
Our graduates flourish in the job market as our employment statistics underline. Their language degrees lead them into a diverse and exciting range of careers which have included finance, international sport liaison roles, business consultancy, education, health, the media, politics, diplomacy, interpreting, translation, law and teaching.
Year three is spent working or studying in a Portuguese speaking country, or a Spanish speaking country.
HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.