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Modern Languages and Latin BA

New Course for 2018 - Programme Under Development

UCAS code
Year of entry
Course length
4 years full time
Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures »
Classics »

This Joint Honours course combines study of Latin with the opportunity to gain skills in French and knowledge of the culture of France and French speaking countries. Latin provided many of the building blocks of the French language, so studying these subjects together enhances both.

Whether you start at beginners’, advanced or native-speaker level, you will study the core French language components, gaining skills in writing, reading, speaking and listening. All our teaching is led by native speakers.

The remainder of your modern languages study will give you an opportunity to explore literature, art, culture and history, from seventeenth-century French theatre to twentieth-centry cinema and photography. As a modern linguist, you will develop excellent communication and research skills, and combine lingusitic proficiency with cross-cultural perspectives.

In your third year you will have the opportunity to spend a year working, teaching or studying abroad in a French-speaking country, where you will immerse yourself in the language and culture, truly broadening your horizons in the process.

  • On graduation you will have language and analytical skills in French, together with additional knowledge of culture, society, and history, that will give you a valuable competitive edge in an increasingly globalised world.
  • Our research staff are engaged in research at the highest level internationally; we are in the top 10 of UK Modern Language departments for research quality and the top in London (Research Assessment Exercise 2014).

The Latin element of the course is designed to develop your language skills beyond advanced level. Over three years you’ll become a specialist in both the language and literature of the ancient Romans. Studying Latin at Royal Holloway will enable you to delve into a wide range of non-linguistic subjects too, including classical archaeology and ancient philosophy, as well as ancient history and classical literature in translation.

Latin is part of our Classics Department, where the combination of quality of research that informs our teaching, and the friendly, individual approach that shapes the way we guide our students, creates an unbeaten academic experience.

  • A centre for excellence in both teaching and research, 98% of our research is recognized as world-leading, internationally excellent or internationally recognized (REF 2014).
  • A thriving Classics Society that contributes to the friendly and sociable atmosphere of our department.

Core modules

Year 1

All languages we teach have a beginners', post-A Level, and native speaker level pathway, allowing you to study one ab initio (from scratch).

As a Modern Languages student you will take:

Critical Analysis for Linguists

In this module you will develop an understanding of the practice of critical analysis. You will look at examples from literature, film and visual arts, considering a range of cultural and historial contexts, with all passages given in English transalation alongside the original. You will examine techniques and approaches that are required for modern languages study, with an awareness of the cultural specificities of the language areas covered. 

If you speak your chosen language as a native speaker then you will take:

Introduction to Translation - Professional Skills

In this module you will develop an understanding of the terminology and techniques of inter-lingual translation. You will look at the the roles and challenges of the professional translator across different translation scenarios, considering a number of text types, such as literature, journals, reports, manuals, marketing materials, business correpsondence and web content. You will examine the specificities of target language syntax and style, translaton scenarios and strategies, and communicative and sematic translation.

If you choose to study French ab initio (from scratch) you will take Intensive French for Beginners 1. If you have studied the language to A-level (or equivalent) standard you will take Pratique du Français 1. If you are a native speaker then you will take French Language - Culture and Translation.

Intensive French for Beginners I

In this module you will develop your core skills in French without prior knowledge of the language. You will look at the basic French grammatical structures and examine the diversity of culture in Francophone countries. You will gain confidence in conversing everyday matters with clear pronounciation, and read simple written texts in French. You will become familiar with writing short paragraphs in French on everyday matters, or in answer to reading comprehension questions, and enhance your comprehension skills to understand simple recordings and conversations.

Pratique du Français I

In this module you will develop your skills in writing, speaking and comprehending the French language, building a wide and specific vocabulary. In written French, you will look at a range of themes, including French Institutions, the French Revolution, 'Laïcité' and 'La francophonie'. In spoken French, you will discuss and present on a variety of audio-visual materials as well as texts, with topics linked to French current affairs, media, cultural issues in French and other Francophone countries. In the practice seminars, you will gain enhanced listening comprehension skills, oral skills and knowledge of grammatical structure.

French Language - Culture and Translation

In this module you will develop an understanding of both French-English translation and critical analysis of French-language material. You will look at a range of source material, which may include prose fiction, poetry, drama, film, graphic novels, multimedia and web content, and / or newspaper and magazine articles. You will closely examine the syntactical, stylistic, lexical and culturally specific features of a range of French-language text types, and explore published translations of French material to discern the translation strategies adopted. You will consider a range of translation issues, including cultural specificity, untranslatability, intercultural communication, as well as stylistic features, idioms, techniques of linguistic compensation, and word order.

The core module in Latin is:

Intermediate Latin

This module seeks to help you transition from elementary language study to an independent reading knowledge of the language, to improve knowledge of Latin grammar and vocabulary, and to encourage an analytical approach to Latin texts in the original in preparation for more advanced study.

Year 2

If you speak your chosen language at native speaker level you will take:

Questions of Translation and Transcultural Communication

In this module you will develop an understanding of the theories of communication and translation, and the key trends and tendencies within these fields. You will look intercultural cummincation and its political, economic and social implications, considering how meaning are carried between and affect different cultural contexts, undergoing shifts in the process. You will also examine broader questions of language and representaton in the globalised world.

If you are stuyding French ab initio (from scratch) you will take Intensive French for Beginners 2. If you have taken the subject to A-level (or equivalent) standard you will take Pratique du Français 2. If you are a native speaker then you will take Advanced French Translation - Skills and Practice

Intensive French for Beginners 2

In this module you will further develop your ability to communicate effectively in French, in writing or orally, with good grammatical and lexical accuracy. You will look at texts from a variety of sources and examine authentic recordings from a range of subjects. Much of the content is delivered in French, with the exception of grammar classes, which are taught in English.

Pratique du Français 2

In this module you will further develop your ability to communicate effectively in French, enhancing your linguistic and analytical skills. You will learn to write concisely, accurately and effectively, paying particular attention to style and register as well as to specific methods of analysis. You will study key themes, such as ‘Le travail en France’, ‘le malaise social’, and ‘les jeunes et la société’, gaining an enhanced understanding of contemporary French cultural and social issues. You will read and analyse texts from a variety of sources, ranging from literature to journalism, with particular focus on how to structure an argument. You will also look at the techniques of film analysis.

Advanced French Translation - Skills and Practice

In this module you will develop an understanding of translation from French to English through sustained translation practice. You will look at the syntactical, stylistic, lexical and culturally specific problems generated when translating from French source text to English target text in a range of translation scenarios and across range of text types. You will consider common translation challenges, such as conversion, transfer, compensation, gloss, exoticism, deceptive cognates, lexical gaps and cultural specificities, as well as examining the constraints of character count and house style.

The core module in Latin is:

Latin Language and Reading

This module aims to extend your knowledge of classical Latin and develop your skills in the detailed interpretation of Latin texts. You will study two set texts in Latin, one prose and one verse, to be selected annually. One text will be studied in each teaching term. The focus is on translation, context and understanding of grammar. You will also gain practice in unprepared translation from texts of similar genres to the prepared texts, and will cover selected topics in Latin grammar and syntax.

Year 3

The third year of this degree programme will be spent abroad, either studying or working or both. It is usually expected that students will spend at least 9 months overseas, in countries where the native langauges match the languages the student is studying. Students studying two langauges will be expected to divide their time between two relevant countries, i.e. one for each langauge. The School of Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures will support students in finding a suitable study or work placement, but students are also expected to explore opportunities independently and the ultimate responsibility for securing such a placement lies with the student. Alternatively students may choose to enrol for courses at a partner university in the relevant country. This year forms an integral part of the degree programme; students on placement will be asked to complete assessed work which will be credited towards their degree, while in the case of those studying at a university, marks obtained for courses taken will be credited towards their degree. The same applies to the assessment of spoken language on return to Royal Holloway from the period of residence abroad.

Year 4

If you are stuyding French then you will take Pratique du Français 3.

Pratique du Français 3

In this module you will enhance your ability to analyse and compare written material from different sources. You will develop competence in accurate and discursive French, and extend your oral presentation skills, with particular emphasis on the formal spoken register. You will look at extracts from French documentaries and feature films, and listen to recordings and podcasts, such as the France Inter and France Culture programmes. You will also look at a range of of cultural questions and examine the key features of French culture and society.

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1

Optional cultural modules in Modern Languages include:

International Film 1 - Contexts and Practices


Reading Texts - Criticism for Comparative Literature


Tales of the City - Introduction to Thematic Analysis


The Birth of Film


Visual Arts 1 - An Introduction to Visual Media


Optional cultural modules in French include:

The Visual Image in French Culture and Society


Introduction to French Literature - Critical Skills


The Individual and Society - Key Works


French History Through Film


Optional modules in Latin and Classical Studies include:

Greek Literature


Roman Literature of the Republic


Individual and Community


Greek History and the City State


Key Themes in Roman History


Introduction to Greek Archaeology


Introduction to Roman Archaeology


Introduction to Ancient Philosophy


Year 2

Optional cultural modules in Modern Languages include:

International Film 2 - Readings and Representations


A Special Theme in the Novel - Transgressions


Histories of Representation


Critical and Comparative Approaches


Visual Arts 2 - Genres and Movements


Deviance, Defiance and Disorder in Early Modern Spanish and French Literature


Gender and Clothing in Twentieth-Century Literature and Culture


Optional modules in Latin and Classical Studies include:

The Built Environment in Classical Antiquity


Pompeii and Herculaneum


Gender in Classical Antiquity


Greek History to 322BC


Greek Law And Lawcourts


Augustus - Propaganda and Power


The Roman Republic - A Social and Economic History


The Rise of the Roman Empire - An Economic and Social History


Homer (in Translation)


Virgil (In Translation)


Ovid’s Metamorphoses - Art and Power in Augustan Rome


Virgil’s Aeneid - The Empire in the Literary Imagination


Aspects of Modern Greek Language and Culture


Catullus and Horace


The Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic


The Roman Empire from Augustus to Commodus


The Later Roman Empire


Optional cultural modules in French include:

Approaches to Translation Work


Socio-Political Issues of Contemporary France in Fiction and Translation


Writing Romance and Desire


Cinema in France


Year 4

Optional cultural modules in Modern Languages include:

From Aestheticism to the Avant-Garde


The Gothic Mode in Spanish and English Literature


Transnationalism, Diaspora and Globalisation in Contemporary Film


Humans and Other Animals in Twenty-First Century Fiction and Thought


Comparative Literature and Culture Dissertation


Visual Arts Dissertation


International Film Dissertation


Optional cultural modules in French include:

French Advanced Translating Skills


Image, Identity and Consumer Culture in Post-war French Fiction and Film


Text and Image in France - From Cubism to the Present


Ethics and Violence - Murder, Suicide and Genocide in Literature and Film


Artists and Writers of the French Avant-Garde


Blindness and Vision in French Culture


Villains and Villainy in Seventeenth Century France


French Dissertation


Optional modules in Latin and Classical Studies include:

Greek Erotic Poetry (in Greek)


Hadrian's Wall


Archaeology of Athens and Attica


Roman Oratory


Gender in Classical Antiquity


Alexander the Great


Greek Law and Lawcourts


Roman Army


The City From Augustus To Charlemagne


Religion and the Ancient Greeks


Greek Lyric, Eros and Social Order


Tacitus - The Making of History


The Philosophy of Aristotle


Philosophy under the Roman Empire


Further Aspects of Modern Greek Language and Culture


The Later Roman Empire


Christians and Pagans from Constantine to Augustine (AD 306 to 430)


The course has a modular structure, whereby you will take 14 modules at the rate of four per year in years 1, 2 and 4, and two during your year abroad. Some modules are compulsory while others are optional, thereby offering you flexibility and choice. Your first year results don't count towards your final degree award, but those achieved in your second, third and fourth years will.

You will be taught through a mixture of lectures, seminars and individual tutorials, depending on the subjects studied. Outside classes, you will undertake group projects and wide-ranging, but guided independent study, including completing language exercises and reading prescribed and open material. Private study is essential, and you will have access to many online resources and the University’s comprehensive e-learning facility, Moodle. When you start with us, you will be assigned a Personal Tutor to support your academic and personal development.

In your final year the Classics department offers ongoing support for your dissertation work, if appropriate, which usually includes:

  • Lectures and practical sessions on Dissertation Research Methods e.g. planning your topics, carrying out research, using specialist resources, finding information in print and online, and managing your search results and references. These sessions are run in conjunction with the Library Service and are generally also open to second year students.
  • Short departmental writing ‘surgeries’, in which academic staff offer general writing support if you are experiencing problems and/or if you have specific queries.

Assessment is by a mixture of coursework and end-of-year examinations. Coursework includes essays, language exercises, translations and reports. Oral presentations and computer-based tests are used in some Modern Languages modules to assess grammar and comprehension skills. You can, to some extent, choose modules which suit your own assessment preferences.

You will also take a study skills course during your first year, designed to equip you with the writing skills you will need to be successful in your degree. This module does not count towards your final degree award but you are required to pass it to progress to your second year.

Typical offers

Typical offers

How we assess your application:  predicted grades lower than our typical offers are considered.  Read more about what we look for here.

The offer given will take into consideration:

  • Where an applicant is taking the EPQ alongside A-levels, the EPQ will be taken into consideration and result in lower A-level grades being required.
  • Socio-economic factors which may have impacted an applicant’s education will be taken into consideration and alternative offers may be made to these applicants.
Required/preferred subjects


  • GCSE grade A (grade 7) in  Latin.
  • Grade B at A-level in the appropriate language(s) for the advanced level language pathway.  For the beginner pathway there is no language requirement but only one language can be studied at beginner level.
  • Please note that if you choose to apply for this programme you will need to provide details of which languages you wish to study on your UCAS application form.  For further details on how to do this this please visit our How to Apply page.

We also require at least five GCSEs at grade A*-C or 9 - 4 including English and Mathematics.

Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate

5,5,5 at Higher Level with a minimum of 32 points overall, including the appropriate language if taken at a Higher Level and Standard Level 5 in Latin.

BTEC Extended Diploma

Distinction,Distinction,Distinction in a relevant subject and GCSE Latin grade A (grade 7). A-level grade B in the appropriate language if the advanced level pathway is required.There is no language requirement for beginner level.

BTEC National Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction and A-level grade B plus GCSE Latin grade A (grade 7).
BTEC National Extended Certificate Distinction plus grades BB at A-level and GCSE Latin grade A (grade 7).
Welsh Baccalaureate Requirements are as for A-levels where one non-subject-specified A-level can be replaced by the same grade in the Welsh Baccalaureate - Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate
Scottish Advanced Highers ABB-BBB including Latin and the appropriate language if the advanced level language pathway is required. There is no language requirement for beginner level.
Scottish Highers AABBB including Latin and the appropriate language if the advanced level language pathway is required. There is no language requirement for beginner level.
Irish Leaving Certificate H2,H2,H3,H3,H3 at Higher Level including Latin and the appropriate language if the advanced level language pathway is required. There is no language requirement for beginner level.
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass with at least 15 level 3 credits at Distinction and the remaining level 3 credits at Merit plus GCSE Latin grade A. Please note that the Access to Higher Education Diploma will only be acceptable if the applicant has had a considerable break from education.

Other UK qualifications

Please select your UK qualification from the drop-down list below

Please select a qualification

Please select a qualification

International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below

English language

IELTS 6.5 overall with 7.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in each remaining subscore.

For equivalencies please see here.

For more information about entry requirements for your country please visit our International pages. For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer an International Foundation Year, run by Study Group at the Royal Holloway International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, students can progress on to selected undergraduate degree programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London.

When you graduate with this intellectually demanding joint degree not only will you be a modern linguist, an analytical and critical thinker with impressive communication and leadership skills, you will also have a wide range of additional transferable skills which can be applied in almost any area of employment from consulting to the arts.

Having spent a year abroad you’ll also have developed the kind of sensitivity to different cultures that is highly prized in the workplace.

  • Full time employment or further study achieved by 90% of Modern Language graduates within six months of graduation (Unistats 2015). 
  • Graduates have entered a wide range of careers including many language-related fields, such as: international management, consultancy, sales and marketing, media and publishing, banking, the arts, politics, the Civil Service, teaching, travel and tourism, translating and interpreting.  Philosophy graduates have gone into areas, such as: law, public affairs, journalism, civil service, marketing and public relations, business analysis, museums/heritage, writing, accountancy and charity fundraising.  Other graduates have gone onto postgraduate study.

Home and EU students tuition fee per year*: £9,250

International students tuition fee per year**: £16,500

Other essential costs***: The cost of your year abroad will vary by country. Typical living costs to consider will be accommodation, food and household items, entertainment, travel, books and bills (including your mobile phone). You'll also need to budget for travel to and from your country of study. Additional costs compared to studying in the UK will also depend on personal choices and it is important to research the cost of living before the year commences.

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

*Tuition fees for UK and EU nationals starting a degree in the academic year 2017/18 will be £9,250 for that year, and is shown for reference purposes only. The tuition fee for UK and EU undergraduates starting their degrees in 2018 is controlled by Government regulations, and details are not yet known. The UK Government has also announced that EU students starting an undergraduate degree in 2018/19 will pay the same level of fee as a UK student for the duration of their degree.

**Fees for international students may increase year-on-year in line with the rate of inflation. The policy at Royal Holloway is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see fees and funding and our terms and conditions.

These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

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