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Modern Languages degrees | course guide

Modern Languages combines the study of French, German, Spanish, Italian and more, where you learn how to interpret different languages and cultures.

Modern languages students working around table with laptops


  1. What’s Modern Languages?

  2. What Modern Languages degrees can you study?

  3. What do you need to get onto a Modern Languages degree?

  4. What topics does a Modern Languages degree cover?

  5. How will you be assessed?

  6. Why study Modern Languages?

  7. What do Modern Languages graduates earn?

  8. What jobs can you get as a Modern Languages graduate?

  9. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  10. Similar subjects to Modern Languages

  11. Have any questions?

What’s Modern Languages?

Modern Languages is the study of two or more languages and their histories, societies, politics and cultures. You'll develop your speaking, reading, listening and writing skills and may even have the chance to learn another language like Arabic or Mandarin at beginner level.

Degrees prepare you for an international career in a translating- or interpreting-related field. However, foreign language skills open the doors to many different careers.

What Modern Languages degrees can you study?

Undergraduate Modern Languages degrees on offer in the UK include:

  • Applied Modern Languages and Translating MA
  • Modern Languages BA
  • Modern Languages and Cultures BA
  • Modern Languages and Cultures MLang
  • Modern and Medieval Languages BA

Most options include an integrated foundation year or year abroad as part of the course.

  1. GO TO
  2. Find a Modern Languages degree
  3. Types of undergraduate degrees

What do you need to get onto a Modern Languages degree?

Most undergraduate Modern Languages courses ask for around 104–152 UCAS points. Not every university will base an offer on UCAS points, and some courses may have lower or higher requirements.

  • A Levels: ABB–BCC
  • Scottish Highers: AABB–BBBB
  • International Baccalaureate: 33–28
  • Universities will usually ask that you have studied French, German or Spanish

Other good subjects to have studied include:

  • Any foreign language
  • English language
  • English literature
  • History
  • Politics
  • Sociology

Experiences that would look good on your application:

  • Volunteering, work experience or time spent in a country that speaks the language you’re learning
  • Shadowing or work experience at a translation company
  • Membership of a language club or society

Other requirements for this subject include:

  • Demonstrated interest in other languages
  1. GO TO
  2. Entry requirements
  3. About UCAS points
  4. Alternatives to A Levels

What topics does a Modern Languages degree cover?

Typical modules for courses in this subject include:

  • French studies
  • German studies
  • Russian studies
  • Spanish studies
  • Written and oral skills
  • History, politics, culture and society
  • Intercultural communication

How will you be assessed?

Depending on your modules, you could be assessed through:

  • Written exams
  • Oral exams
  • Essays
  • Coursework
  • Commentaries
  • Dissertations
  • Portfolios

Why study Modern Languages?

Most Modern Languages courses will include a study year abroad where you deeply enhance your language skills while studying or working overseas.

Career-specific skills: 

  • Communication in a foreign language
  • Cultural sensitivity
  • Gathering and interpreting information

Transferable skills:

  • Written and oral communication
  • Time management
  • Independent working
  • Flexibility
  • Problem-solving
  • Memory
  • Critical thinking
  • Presentation
  • Attention to detail

Professional accreditations:

  • Chartered Institute of Linguists

What do Modern Languages graduates earn?

When starting as a graduate translator, you can expect an entry-level salary of around £18,000.

The average salary for a translator in the UK is around £25,000. Salaries can be higher than £40,000 for those with lots of experience in high-level positions.

What jobs can you get as a Modern Languages graduate?

Modern Languages graduates go into professional jobs in fields like media, finance, government, commerce and education in companies all over the world, such as PwC, Sony and ASOS. Examples of roles that graduates go into:

  • Translator
  • Interpreter
  • Teacher
  • Researcher
  • Journalist
  • Human resources officer
  • Travel agent
  • Editor
  • Hotel manager

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Examples of postgraduate courses available at universities in the UK:

  • Modern Languages MPhil
  • Modern Languages MRes
  • Modern Languages and Cultures MA
  • Modern Languages and Translation Studies PhD

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