Skip to main content

Studying Modern Languages at Royal Holloway

Studying Modern Languages at Royal Holloway

Languages - an advantage for life!

Whether you are continuing your language study from A-Level (or equivalent) or starting a new language as a complete beginner, studying a language at Royal Holloway will give you an advantage for life. Graduates with language skills are highly sought after, with a lack of language skills estimated to cost the UK 3.5 per cent of GDP.

At Royal Holloway we equip our Modern Languages students with practical language skills that will enhance your employability, and with cultural awareness, confidence and flexibility. We pride ourselves on our world-class teaching and research, our welcoming and friendly atmosphere and our wide range of degree programmes.

Find out more below about what we offer. We look forward to welcoming you into the thriving and friendly community that is the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures.

What can you expect from a Modern Languages degree at Royal Holloway?

A degree in Modern Langauges allows you to study one, two or even three languages. The languages we teach to degree level are French, German, Italian and Spanish, and all are available to complete beginners as well as to students at a more advanced level. You can also choose to specialise in Translation Studies.

Alternatively you can combine your language study in a Joint Honours programme with a range of other subjects including Comparative Literature and Culture, History of Art and Visual Culture, English, History, Classics, Philsophy, Business and Management, Music, Drama, Politics and International Relations.

You can also combine a Minor in Modern Languages with a Major in subjects such as Law, Music, Mathematics and Economics.

We also co-ordinate Liberal Arts, our most flexible course which allows you to study a language alongside modules chosen from many other departments and disciplines.

At Royal Holloway we pride ourselves on our high quality research-led teaching, our welcoming and friendly atmosphere and our wide range of degree programmes.

In the recent national assessment of research excellence, (REF 2021), the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Royal Holloway was ranked 5th in the UK in the subject ranking published by the Times Higher Education Supplement, based on overall research (calculated by Grade Point Average).

According to the lates National Student Survey, 98% of our students found their degree course intellectually stimulating, and 98% agreed that teaching staff support their learning well.


You will receive expert tuition in your chosen language(s) from our team of experienced language tutors. You will develop your grammar, comprehension and writing skills, and practice your speaking skills in small, supportive groups led by native speakers in the languages you are studying.

Beginners' language is taught intensively (5 hours per week) for the first two years, ensuring that you make rapid progress in a supportive environment.

In addition to language-focused modules you will have the chance to choose from a wide range of up-to-date optional modules with a cultural focus, reflecting our expertise and research interests. You might choose modules in some of the following fields:

  • literature from the middle ages to the present;
  • film, television and digital media studies;
  • visual cultures;
  • philosophy and critical theory
  • translation theory and practice.

Modern Languages (including Joing Honours courses involving Modern Languages) are four-year programmes. Your third year will be spent abroad in either one or two countries, where you will have the chance to develop your language skills in an immersive, authentic environment.

The Year Abroad is a fantastic, exciting and often transformative opportunity. Our students can choose how they spend the year - either as a student at one of our partner universities in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Spain (or in Latin America); or in a work placement, for example as an English teaching assistant through the British Council, or in an internship in a business environment.

You can expect to receive plenty of advice and support both before and during you Year Abroad.

A degree in Modern Languages from Royal Holloway will set you apart from other graduates, because our graduates not only develop excellent communication, analytical and research skills but often achieve native or near-native spoken and written fluency in one or more major foreign languages.

Your modules will also help you develop cross-cultural awareness and understanding, which helps equip you with the skills needed to be a high flyer in an increasingly globalised world.

If you complete a Year Abroad you will also have the chance to develop the intellectual maturity and cultural sensitivity that are highly prized in the workplace.

Explore Royal Holloway

Get help paying for your studies at Royal Holloway through a range of scholarships and bursaries.

There are lots of exciting ways to get involved at Royal Holloway. Discover new interests and enjoy existing ones.

Heading to university is exciting. Finding the right place to live will get you off to a good start.

Whether you need support with your health or practical advice on budgeting or finding part-time work, we can help.

Discover more about our 21 departments and schools.

Find out why Royal Holloway is in the top 25% of UK universities for research rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

Royal Holloway is a research intensive university and our academics collaborate across disciplines to achieve excellence.

Discover world-class research at Royal Holloway.

Discover more about who we are today, and our vision for the future.

Royal Holloway began as two pioneering colleges for the education of women in the 19th century, and their spirit lives on today.

We’ve played a role in thousands of careers, some of them particularly remarkable.

Find about our decision-making processes and the people who lead and manage Royal Holloway today.