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Modern Languages

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  1. Royal Holloway's institution code: R72
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    • Modern Languages BA - R900
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Modern Languages

BA

Key information

Duration: 4 years full time

UCAS code: R900

Institution code: R72

Campus: Egham

The course

Modern Languages (BA)

If you want to focus on gaining fluency in one, two or even three modern languages, our BA Modern Languages degree is for you. You will combine language study with translation and cultural modules in a ratio which suits you and your ambitions. Choose to study French, German, Italian and/or Spanish at beginners', advanced or native speaker level, developing your writing, reading, speaking and listening skills. You will be taught by native speakers who will guide you through the core language components for each of the languages you have chosen.

The remainder of your course will give you an opportunity to explore the literature, art, culture and history of the language areas you are studying, from seventeenth-century French theatre to representations of childhood and youth in German culture, and from Italian fashion and design to visual arts from across the Spanish-speaking world. As a modern linguist, you will develop excellent communication and research skills, and combine proficiency in multiple languages with cross-cultural perspectives.

In your third year you will have the opportunity to spend a year working, teaching or studying abroad, where you will immerse yourself in another language and culture, truly broadening your horizons in the process. You also have the choice to combine experiences in up to three different countries.

Regarding funding: Royal Holloway has been successful in every application to the Turing Scheme. We will continue to apply for funding in each cycle to support student mobility

  • Choose beginners’, advanced or native-speaker level French, German, Spanish or Italian.
  • Spend a year abroad working, studying or teaching.
  • Specialise in translation, visual culture or literature.
  • Core language skills alongside cultural options.
  • Gain skills in writing, reading, speaking and listening.

From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.

Core Modules

Year 1

Depending on which languages you have studied prior to starting at Royal Holloway, or are a native speaker of, you may choose to study up to three from French, German, Italian and/or Spanish.

All languages we teach have a beginners', post-A-level, and native speaker-level pathway, allowing you to study one ab initio (from scratch). If you chose to study a language at post-A Level (or equivalent) or native speaker-level, you will be encouraged to take another ab initio in Year 1, which you may then continue in Years 2 and 4.

As a Modern Languages student you will take:

  • This module introduces you to the practice of critical analysis, with an emphasis on developing your skills of critical interpretation and analysis. It will be taught through a combination of lecture-style overviews of specific technical issues, and close engagement with short extracts from a range of examples taken from literature, film and visual arts. This material will be taken from a range of cultural and historical contexts, from the four language areas in which LLC specialises. This material will be provided in advance of each session for you to prepare beforehand; all passages will be given in English translation alongside the original. Alongside the short extracts, you will be expected to read some general introductory works on the specifics of analysing literature, film, and visual images.

If you speak one language (or more) at native-speaker level then you will also take:

  • Recognising that knowledge of the target language is vital to success in professional translation, this module introduces you to the terminology and techniques of inter-lingual translation. It will provide an introduction to the roles and challenges of the professional translator across different translation scenarios and develop skills to respond to challenges identified in a number of text types (such as literature, journals, reports, manuals, marketing materials, business correspondence and web content).

If you choose to study French you will take one of the following according to your language proficiency:

  • This module develops your command of both French-English translation and critical analysis of French-language material by exposing you to a range of source material which might include prose fiction, poetry, drama, film, graphic novels, multimedia and web content, and newspaper and magazine articles. In weekly seminars, you will focus closely on the syntactical, stylistic, lexical and culturally specific features of a range of French-language text types.

  • The module aims to expand students’ ability to express themselves in accurate written French. Major grammatical issues will be taught and/or revised, and students will work on a wide range of authentic material in French to expand their vocabulary and range of expressions. Key linguistic features of the texts will be identified and discussed to improve the student’s language acquisition and analysis skills. The course will be taught and assessed in French.

  • The module aims to expand students’ ability to express themselves in accurate spoken French. Students will work on a wide range of authentic material in French to expand their vocabulary and range of expressions and to introduce them to contemporary issues and culture. The course will be taught and assessed in French.

  • The module aims to develop reading and writing skills in French. Classes use French as much as possible and the course is assessed in French. The module uses a blended approach: it is based on a beginners' coursebook with additional material on Moodle and as weekly hand-outs based on authentic material. Themes studied vary from year to year but are likely to include every-day life in France, an introduction to French-speaking society and culture, regions and traditions.

  • The module aims to develop speaking and listening skills in French. Classes use French as much as possible and the module is assessed in French. The module uses a blended approach: it is based on a beginners' coursebook with additional material on Moodle and as weekly hand-outs based on authentic material.

     

If you choose to study German you will take one of the following according to your language proficiency:

  • The module develops students' command of both German-English translation and critical analysis of  German-language material by exposing them to a range of source material which might include prose fiction, poetry, drama, film, graphic novels, multimedia and web content, and newspaper and magazine articles. In weekly seminars, students will focus closely on the syntactical, stylistic, lexical and culturally specific features of a range of German-language text types.

  • The module aims to expand students’ ability to express themselves in accurate written German. Major grammatical issues will be taught and/or revised, and students will work on a wide range of authentic material in German to expand their vocabulary and range of expressions. Key linguistic features of the texts will be identified and discussed to improve the student’s language acquisition and analysis skills. The module will be taught and assessed in German.

  • The module aims to expand students’ ability to express themselves in accurate spoken German. Students will work on a wide range of authentic material in German to expand their vocabulary and range of expressions and to introduce them to contemporary issues and culture. The module will be taught and assessed in German.

  • The module aims to develop reading and writing skills in German. Classes use German as much as possible and the module is assessed in German. The module uses a blended approach: it is based on a beginners' coursebook with additional material on Moodle and as weekly hand-outs based on authentic material. Themes studied vary from year to year but are likely to include every-day life in France, an introduction to German-speaking society and culture, regions and traditions.

  • The module aims to develop speaking and listening skills in German. Classes use German as much as possible and the module is assessed in German. The module uses a blended approach: it is based on a beginners' coursebook with additional material on Moodle and as weekly hand-outs based on authentic material. Themes studied vary from year to year but are likely to include every-day life in German-speaking countries, an introduction to German-speaking society and culture, regions and traditions.

If you choose to study Italian you will take one of the following according to your language proficiency:

  • The module develops students' command of both Italian-English translation and critical analysis of  Italian-language material by exposing them to a range of source material which might include prose fiction, poetry, drama, film, graphic novels, multimedia and web content, and newspaper and magazine articles.

  • The module aims to expand students’ ability to express themselves in accurate written Italian. Major grammatical issues will be taught and/or revised, and students will work on a wide range of authentic material in Italian to expand their vocabulary and range of expressions. Key linguistic features of the texts will be identified and discussed to improve the student’s language acquisition and analysis skills. The module will be taught and assessed in Italian.

     

  • The module aims to expand students’ ability to express themselves in accurate spoken Italian. Students will work on a wide range of authentic material in Italian to expand their vocabulary and range of expressions and to introduce them to contemporary issues and culture. The module will be taught and assessed in Italian.

  • The module aims to develop reading and writing skills in Italian. Classes use Italian as much as possible and the module is assessed in Italian. The module uses a blended approach: it is based on a beginners' coursebook with additional material on Moodle and as weekly hand-outs based on authentic material. Themes studied vary from year to year but are likely to include every-day life in France, an introduction to Italian-speaking society and culture, regions and traditions.

  • The module aims to develop speaking and listening skills in Italian. Classes use Italian as much as possible and the module is assessed in Italian. The module uses a blended approach: it is based on a beginners' coursebook with additional material on Moodle and as weekly hand-outs based on authentic material. Themes studied vary from year to year but are likely to include every-day life in Italian-speaking countries, an introduction to Italian-speaking society and culture, regions and traditions.

If you choose to study Spanish you will take one of the following according to your language proficiency:

  • The module develops students' command of both Spanish-English translation and critical analysis of Spanish-language material by exposing them to a range of source material which might include prose fiction, poetry, drama, film, graphic novels, multimedia and web content, and newspaper and magazine articles.

  • The module aims to expand students’ ability to express themselves in accurate written Spanish. Major grammatical issues will be taught and/or revised, and students will work on a wide range of authentic material in Spanish to expand their vocabulary and range of expressions. Key linguistic features of the texts will be identified and discussed to improve the student’s language acquisition and analysis skills.  The module will be taught and assessed in Spanish.

     

  • The module aims to expand students’ ability to express themselves in accurate spoken Spanish. Students will work on a wide range of authentic material in Spanish to expand their vocabulary and range of expressions and to introduce them to contemporary issues and culture. The module will be taught and assessed in Spanish.

  • The module aims to develop reading and writing skills in Spanish. Classes use Spanish as much as possible and the module is assessed in Spanish. The module uses a blended approach: it is based on a beginners' coursebook with additional material on Moodle and as weekly hand-outs based on authentic material. Themes studied vary from year to year but are likely to include every-day life in France, an introduction to Spanish-speaking society and culture, regions and traditions.

  • The module aims to develop speaking and listening skills in Spanish. Classes use Spanish as much as possible and the module is assessed in Spanish. The module uses a blended approach: it is based on a beginners' coursebook with additional material on Moodle and as weekly hand-outs based on authentic material. Themes studied vary from year to year but are likely to include every-day life in Spanish-speaking countries, an introduction to Spanish-speaking society and culture, regions and traditions.

Year 2

You may continue with one, two, or three languages, depending on those taken in Year 1.

If you speak one (or more language) at native speaker-level then you will take:

  • This module draws on theories of both communication and translation, outlining key trends and tendencies within these fields. It explores the question of intercultural communication and its political, economic, and social implications. The aim throughout is to consider how meanings are carried between and affect different cultural contexts, undergoing shifts in the process, and broader questions of language and representation in a globalised world.

If you choose to study French you will take one of the following according to your language proficiency:

  • 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.

  • In written French, the module builds on techniques acquired in first-year language modules through a particular focus on techniques of analysis, writing and rewriting, in particular on learning to construct arguments and exposés in authentic, accurate and appropriate French. Themes studied help as preparation for the year abroad (themes may vary, examples include : Le travail en France, être jeune en France, la contestation sociale).

  • 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 a 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.

If you choose to study German you will take one of the following according to your language proficiency:

  • This module is designed to follow on from and to build on the knowledge and skills established in the first year. It will establish, through intensive practice and through the use of a range of learning materials, more advanced comprehension skills in written and spoken German. The emphasis throughout will be on everyday language and day-to-day situations.

  • In this module you’ll maintain and develop a broad intermediate vocabulary in German; revise the basics of German grammar and syntax and learn more complex language structures; be able to understand natural, idiomatic as well as formal spoken German as delivered by a native speaker, present information in written and spoken German; and discuss topical issues critically in written and spoken German.

  • The module enhances understanding of and skills in translation from German to English through sustained translation practice as well as through commentary on and discussion of translations. In weekly seminars, students will discuss the syntactical, stylistic, lexical and culturally specific problems generated in the module of translating from German source text to English target text in a range of translation scenarios and a range of text types.

If you choose to study Italian you will take one of the following according to your language proficiency:

  • This module includes a written and oral component, with five weekly seminars in Italian using a communicative approach. The written part emphasises reading comprehension and essay writing, involving analysis of Italian articles and podcasts on contemporary social, cultural, and political issues. Students will paraphrase and learn relevant vocabulary. They'll also strengthen their grasp of Italian through grammar and vocabulary exercises. The oral component involves structuring presentations and participating in informal debates to practice expressing opinions in Italian. The fortnightly grammar lecture covers specific topics for understanding complex sentence structures in context.

  • This module is conducted in Italian, adopting a communicative approach. In the Written component, you’ll focus on reading comprehension and essay writing, and in the oral component, you’ll have the opportunity to structure oral presentations as well as take part in informal discussions in order to learn to express your opinions in Italian.

  • Advanced Italian Translation: Skills and Practice

If you choose to study Spanish you will take one of the following according to your language proficiency:

  • This module offers four hours of weekly contact time each term and an additional hour for oral practice. The first two hours focus on reading, writing, and oral skills, combining in-class exercises with homework review based on a journalistic text. The third hour is dedicated to listening comprehension, occasionally held in language labs. The final hour features a grammar lecture introducing new verb tenses and structures, which are then practised in the following week. Weekly lesson content, tutor-prepared material, and audio-visual resources like podcasts, TV, and radio programs are provided. Classes incorporate a flexible approach, ranging from formal exposition to communicative activities in pairs and small groups. Spanish is used predominantly in the classroom, and multimedia resources are encouraged for independent study. Regular homework assignments are assigned.

  • In this module you’ll learn to demonstrate good lexical and grammatical competence in the four skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing in Spanish. You’ll learn to understand and communicate effectively in Spanish across a complete range of tenses and will participate competently in conversation with a native speaker.

  • Advanced Spanish Translation: Skills and Practice
Year 3
  • You will spend the third year of your degree programme abroad, either studying, working, or both, based on your own learning preferences as well as your professional goals and interests. It is usually expected that you will spend at least nine months in a country where the native language is the same as the language you are studying. The Year Abroad allows you to expand and refine your existing linguistic competencies in the relevant target language alongside the development of intercultural competency and employability skills. The Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures will support you in finding a suitable study or work placement, or you may explore opportunities independently. This year forms an integral part of your degree programme and will be formally assessed.

Year 4

You may continue with one, two, or three languages, depending on those taken in Year 2.

If you choose to study French you will take:

  • 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 cultural questions and examine the key features of French culture and society.

If you choose to study German you will take:

  • In this module you’ll learn to understand natural, idiomatic spoken German as delivered by a native speaker or on radio/TV designed for native speakers. You’ll learn to discuss German current affairs using a wide range of appropriate vocabulary and read and get to understand complex passages of authentic, elevated German, including literary, academic, journalistic and other types of texts and will finally be able to produce written translations in fluent, accurate and idiomatic English and German.

If you choose to study Italian you will take:

  • In this module there is a close correlation between the material selected for use in the written and oral classes. In the written class you’ll be asked to structure cohesive and informed written commentaries on set Italian texts as well as practise reading comprehension and paraphrasing skills. You will be asked to prepare and deliver short oral presentations as well as debate issues related to Italian current affairs, and in grammar lectures, you’ll revise complex features and refine their use in context and complete a series of grammar exercises specifically devised for final year students.

If you choose to study Spanish you will take:

  • This module is taught entirely in Spanish and provides a variety of formal grammar lectures, written and oral classes. You’ll demonstrate lexical and grammatical competence in the four skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing in Spanish and will learn to understand and communicate fluently in Spanish across a complete range of tenses. You’ll participate in conversation with a native speaker and will learn awareness of key cultural aspects of the Hispanic world.

Optional Modules

There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules 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
  • This module examines images of French society through a selection of key literary texts and concentrates on how questions of social change, social mobility, success and failure, ambition and honour, oppression and alienation have been portrayed. Delivered by the appropriate specialist in the School of Modern Languages, the classes will offer a taste of the literature of the relevant periods, along with a discussion of its distinguishing stylistic features, and an overview of its intellectual, social, and historical background. Terms that often confuse or put off students new to literature (such as Romanticism, Realism, or Existentialism) will be explained and briefly contextualised. By the end of the module, students will have acquired an insight into a range of representative texts from a variety of periods and an understanding of the ideas and social structures they portray.

  • The visual image has always played an important role in society, as a source of enjoyment and pleasure, and also as a means of communicating values, celebrating beauty, shaping thought and challenging assumptions. This module aims to develop understanding of the ways the visual image functions and the concepts and techniques needed to analyse it.

  • This module develops your command of both French-English translation and critical analysis of French-language material by exposing you to a range of source material which might include prose fiction, poetry, drama, film, graphic novels, multimedia and web content, and newspaper and magazine articles. In weekly seminars, you will focus closely on the syntactical, stylistic, lexical and culturally specific features of a range of French-language text types.

  • This module will introduce students to key areas of interest in contemporary German Studies, including literature, film, and history.

  • The module develops students' command of both German-English translation and critical analysis of  German-language material by exposing them to a range of source material which might include prose fiction, poetry, drama, film, graphic novels, multimedia and web content, and newspaper and magazine articles. In weekly seminars, students will focus closely on the syntactical, stylistic, lexical and culturally specific features of a range of German-language text types.

  • The first term begins with an introduction to themes and ideas in the literature of the Middle Ages – autobiography, love, writers and readers – to provide a firm basis for the study of the three great writers of the Italian Middle Ages. The module then continues with a brief introduction to Dante’s writings, and a close, detailed reading of his earliest work, the Vita Nuova in which he tells the story of his love for Beatrice. In the second term the module covers a selection of the stories from Boccaccio’s most famous work, the Decameron, and a selection of the poems Petrarch wrote for his lady, Laura, which later inspired lyric poetry all over Europe. Visual and dramatic interpretations of the work of these three authors will also be included in the module.

  • Students will learn about the causes and consequence of the Fascist rule in Italy between 1922 and 1945, and study the political and cultural developments of the period. Topics include: ideas of Fascism, Futurism and Fascism, the Cult of Mussolini, and popular culture.

  • The module aims to focus on some of the symbolic passages in the process of nation-building in Italy in the 19th and 20th centuries, as Italy reached its unity only in 1861. Through the study of Foscolo’s Last Letters of Jacopo Ortis (1798), Collodi’s Pinocchio (1880), Calvino’s The Path to the Nest of Spiders (1947), and Tomasi di Lampedusa’s The Leopard (1958) the module aims to give students an understanding of how and why Italy was born so late as a political entity. By focussing on the different stages of the process of Nation building in Italy, the module also aims to make students aware of how Italy’s national identity developed: two books (Foscolo’s and Collodi’s) were written in the 19th century, and will help students to understand the pre-Risorgimento (the making of Italy), and the post-Risorgimento (the making of the Italians); whereas the other two books (Calvino’s and Tomasi’s) come from the 20th century, and will help students to understand the Resistenza (the making of the Republic), and the post-war Italy (the crisis of nationhood).

  • The module develops students' command of both Italian-English translation and critical analysis of  Italian-language material by exposing them to a range of source material which might include prose fiction, poetry, drama, film, graphic novels, multimedia and web content, and newspaper and magazine articles.

  • Passion and Betrayal on the Spanish Stage
  • Students on this module will be introduced to some of the most important literary, visual and cinematic works from twentieth century Latin America. The works from selected writers pertaining to the Latin American Literary Boom will feature on this module, as well as some of the Nobel Prize winning poets from Latin America. Students on this module will be provided with samples of the artistic wealth (both in styles and techniques) from artists across the Latin American continent. Attention will be paid to the question of identity as reflected in the cinemas of Cuba and Mexico; two of the most important film industries from Spanish speaking America.

  • The module provides a selective but wide-ranging introduction to culture in the Hispanic world from the 15th to the 21st century. It explores a broad range of cultural manifestations from different socio-historical contexts both independently and comparatively from a topic-based perspective. Materials may include plays, narratives, poems, paintings, sculptures, musical compositions and architectural works, while topics may be drawn from (but not be limited to) the following: ‘Discovery’, ‘Destruction’, ‘Subversion’, ‘Self-fashioning’, ‘Power’ and ‘the Body’.

  • The module develops students' command of both Spanish-English translation and critical analysis of Spanish-language material by exposing them to a range of source material which might include prose fiction, poetry, drama, film, graphic novels, multimedia and web content, and newspaper and magazine articles.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the key tenets of film theory and learn to apply these to a selection of important pre- and post-war European and international films. You will look at aspects of film style, genre and national and international contexts.You will consider canonical works from a century of cinema history by filmmakers such as Joseph von Sternberg, Alfred Hitchcock and Pedro Almodovar, and examine significant examples of technique and style.

  • This module introduces students to the theories and practices of textual analysis and comparative textual analysis as well as to the major debates about theories and practices of comparative literature in a transnational context. Students will read a small number of core literary texts - influential within comparatism and diverse in cultural, temporal and linguistic origin - alongside a range of historically, geographically, culturally, generically and stylistically varied textual extracts. The core literary texts will be read in their entirety, with particular attention to: the construction and interpretation of genre; transnationalism and translation; cultural and historical context; and questions of authorship, influence and canonicity.

  • This module introduces students to a range of literary and filmic texts depicting different aspects of the city. The focus on a common thematic ground allows students to develop skills of comparison and analysis, while also exposing them to, and encouraging them to reflect on, wider questions of urban space, public and private spheres, and alterity. The works to be studied on the city explicitly engage with three periods and aspects of the modern city: early twentieth-century modernity, urban development and planning, modernist architecture; post-war industrialisation and urbanisation; and the contemporary transnational metropolis and multiculturalism. In all the periods, the focus will be on how the films articulate the following themes: money/poverty, technology, migration, crime, gender and sexuality.

  • The purpose of this module is to provide students with an introduction to the early phase of film history. Broadly speaking, the module will be concerned with the period between 1895 and the early 1930s, from the invention of motion pictures to the establishment of sound cinema. During this phase, film-making was largely national but the absence of the spoken word gave film a truly cosmopolitan dimension, with directors, actors and technical personnel moving freely across national boundaries. Nonetheless distinctive national film cultures emerged, with Italy specialising in dramas set in the ancient world, France making ample use of theatre and popular literature, Germany developing the new medium within broader artistic phenomena such as Expressionism, the Soviets pioneering political montage, and, of module, Hollywood, and its studio system, popularising stars and genres across the world.

  • This module will introduce students to a number of different media encountered in the study of visual culture. By understanding the technical characteristics of a range of art works students will be able to assess the expressive and stylistic possibilities of offered by different media. Students will study a rich variety of visual cultures in Europe and Latin America from the Middle Ages to the present day. Mediaeval illuminated manuscripts, mural decorations in Renaissance Italy, sculpture, photography and fashion and textiles will be among the media that will be the object of our analysis this year.

Year 2
  • This module will focus on four texts dealing with love and desire taken from French literature; these will be studied in the light of their common themes and will be used to explore issues around the representation and understanding of passion and romance in the literary text.

  • This year-long module examines key examples of French cinema from its beginnings to the present day, focusing on the avant-garde and surrealist films of the 1920s, social realist films of the 1930s, the New Wave which began in the late 1950s, and its ‘postmodern’ legacy in the 1980s followed by a return to realism in the new millennium. The module entails close, critical analysis of film style, though no prior knowledge of film theory is required.

  • 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 a 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.

  • This module introduces students of German and CLC to two key figures in twentieth-century German literature, Thomas Mann and Franz Kafka. Through an examination of the work of these writers, it explores such issues as the individual vs society, the role of the artist, and the nature of desire. Mann’s work evinces a fascination with disorder and decadence even as it remains bound to bourgeois ideals of respectability and sobriety. In Kafka’s work, the everyday world of bureaucracy and officialdom is invaded by fantastical and bizarre elements. The module focuses on the unsettling and disruptive elements of these writers’ works, asking what they tell us about life in the twentieth century.

  • Childhood and youth - the formative periods in our lives - are obviously crucial for individuals, society and culture. They are also contested and controversial concepts. Children and adolescents have long been the subject of social, familial and educational pressures against which they have often rebelled in an attempt to assert their individuality and develop their own identities. This module introduces you to a range of literary and cinematic responses to the lives of children and young people in the context of the German speaking countries from the late nineteenth century to the present day. Drawing on a range of classic and recent texts and films, it explores the historical contexts of the theme and considers the social, political and ethical issues involved in the representation of young people and of institutions such as the school and the military.

  • The module enhances understanding of and skills in translation from German to English through sustained translation practice as well as through commentary on and discussion of translations. In weekly seminars, students will discuss the syntactical, stylistic, lexical and culturally specific problems generated in the module of translating from German source text to English target text in a range of translation scenarios and a range of text types.

  • Postwar Italian Cinema: the Auteur Tradition
  • Florence in the 15th century was one of the most vibrant and innovative artistic and cultural centres in Italy and Europe. The cultural, philosophical and artistic life of Renaissance Florence is the focus of this module which combines the analysis of Renaissance painting, mural decoration and sculpture with that of writings on art from the time. We look in detail at a number of works of world famous Italian Renaissance artists such a Masaccio, Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Michelangelo. We also take a close look at texts discussing the role of the arts and artists, and the comparison between the arts by theorists such as Leon Battista Alberti, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti and Giorgio Vasari.

  • Advanced Italian Translation: Skills and Practice
  • On this module students will examine the ways in which critical historical moments in Latin America have been represented visually in a global context. We will explore how political unrest in Latin America has been memorialised by both filmmakers and photographers, with the aim of re-thinking how global imaginaries concerning the rebel and revolution have been constructed in film and photography.

  • Advanced Spanish Translation: Skills and Practice
  • The module is divided into two parts, the first exploring crucial issues of filmmaking, film studies and the ‘transnational’ from the perspective of largely contemporary Latin American cinema, the second focusing on a range of European films from the 1970s to the present. The introductory two weeks of the module will introduce students to these concerns; the final two weeks of the module will bring both parts together and establish some conclusions (for example, what, if anything, constitutes a ‘European’ or ‘Latin American’ or ‘transnational’ film).

  • This module will focus on six novels dealing with the theme of transgression. It will also look at the genre of the novel and at whether the novels studied transgress its formal parameters. The module will be comparative in focus, studying the set texts not only individually, but also looking at thematic and formal convergences and divergences between them. The books to be studied will be: DH Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover; Alain Robbe-Grillet, La Jalousie/Jealousy; Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita; Esther Tusquets, Stranded; Emile Zola, Thérèse Raquin; Juan Rulfo, ‘Talpa’.

  • Comparing short stories from different periods and geographical areas is a great way of exploring how literature evolves structurally and thematically in response to different ideas and contexts. In this module we read short stories – and look at examples of visual art - from the eighteenth century to the present day to discover what structural and symbolic elements characterize major movements of Western art including the Enlightenment, Romanticism, Realism, Modernism and Postmodernism. All non-English-language texts are in English translation. These are explored both individually and in comparison, developing skills in close reading and comparative critical analysis and the ability to recognize and contrast different features of fiction and to situate evolving literary aesthetics in their historical context.

  • This module provides an account of some of the major theoretical trends and currents which inform our thinking and practice of Comparative Literature and Culture. Reading canonical and contemporary texts alongside each other, students will ask questions such as: How should we understand and respond to art in the twenty-first century? Who counts as a subject and how should we understand racial, sexual and species difference? And, how should we conceptualise culture in a globalised world?

  • Visual Arts II: Genre and Movements
  • This module involves an examination of gender as it is expressed, maintained, or challenged by clothing. It investigates a variety of Anglophone, Francophone, and German-language twentieth-century texts, including novels, fine art, and film, in which clothing and gender are closely linked. The module introduces a range of experimental and challenging texts, encouraging critical and comparative thinking about the place of fashion and clothing in culture and society.

Year 3
  • The module examines in depth, and in relation to each other, artistic and literary movements prevalent in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century Italy and France. On this module you will analyse the contribution of the Decadentists and Symbolists, Futurists and Cubists to a variety of artistic disciplines in France, Italy and Europe.

  • This module explores cinematic representations of the transnational encounter between people, cultures and institutions interconnected by the forces of globalization. The topics covered range from (anti-)colonialism and revolution to neo-colonialism, postcoloniality and migration. Attention is paid to the ways in which the films deal with the themes of emancipation, hybridity, displacement, global capitalism and politics, and cosmopolitanism. The module covers the development of transnational cinema from its origins with Third Cinema and then goes on to explore postcolonial and migration cinema covering areas ranging from South America and Africa to Europe.

  • In this module, we will examine representations of human and animal life in twenty-first century fiction and thought. We will consider the ways in which the human-animal relation informs ideas of human identity, and explore the different literary techniques employed to represent animal life. We will ask questions such as: what does it mean to be human? What is the difference between animals and humans? And how can we understand and represent animal experience?

  • Final-Year International Film Dissertation
  • Modern Languages Dissertation
  • Text and Image in France: from Cubism to the Present
  • Blindness and Vision in French Culture
  • In theory at least, early modern French theatre had little time for villains. Genuine wickedness, vice and evil were regarded as too serious a subject matter for comedy, while theorists of tragedy insisted that a wicked character – whether ultimately defeated or triumphant – could not produce pity, one of the key tragic emotions. And yet, as this module demonstrates, wicked and villainous characters recur throughout ‘classical’ French theatre. Indeed, by refusing to present villainous characters who are simply outright monsters – a straightforward ‘other’ to the social and moral norm – playwrights sometimes suggest that the most troubling characters are those in whom we might recognise elements of ourselves.

  • This module will explore the idea of the self as it is defined and expressed in literary works in German. From Goethe's canonical Werther via Schnitzler, Hesse, Bachmann and Handke, right up to contemporary writings by Karen Duve and Birgit Vanderbeke, German literature is always bound up with notions of identity.

  • This module will introduce you to one of the most crucial and controversial subjects in modern German history, society and culture. You will study a broad range of examples of the visual representation of National Socialism as an ideology, a political movement and a 'national' phenomenon, from the 1930s to the present day. You will think about the changing ways in which Germany has sought to deal with the legacy and memory of Hitler's regime.

  • Florence in the 15th century was one of the most vibrant and innovative artistic and cultural centres in Italy and Europe. The cultural, philosophical and artistic life of Renaissance Florence is the focus of this module which combines the analysis of Renaissance painting, mural decoration and sculpture with that of writings on art from the time. We look in detail at a number of works of world famous Italian Renaissance artists such a Masaccio, Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Michelangelo. We also take a close look at texts discussing the role of the arts and artists, and the comparison between the arts by theorists such as Leon Battista Alberti, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti and Giorgio Vasari.

  • The module explores the role of fashion and design in Italy in the period 1945-1994. We look at the ways in which design and fashion interacted with major economic, cultural and societal trends. The first part of this module focuses on Italian design in the postwar period, with particular emphasis on the development of furniture, interior, and industrial design. The work of a number of architects/designers such as Gio Ponti, the Castiglioni brothers, Ettore Sottsass and Alessandro Mendini are analysed in detail. The analysis of Italian fashion focuses on the creation of the so-called ‘Italian style’ and on the passage from couture fashion to the ready-to-wear industry of the late 20th century with a particular focus on the work of Emilio Pucci, Gianni Versace and Giorgio Armani.

     

  • Seducing the Nation: Spanish Film 1940s to 1980s
  • This module introduces students to a range of important texts and authors, both canonical and non-canonical, from early modern Spain and France. Yet it does so through a selection of outsider figures – characters whose aberrant or idiosyncratic identity, outlook, or behaviour sets them at odds with their society. The characters on this module thus challenge some of society’s most deeply entrenched but often unwritten codes – of reason, gender, decorum, sexuality, class, and religion – and can thus offer important insights into the workings and values of the society whose norms they transgress. As we shall see, though, the treatment of such figures can vary widely. Whereas the outsider’s departure from the norm is often apparently ridiculed or censured, it can sometimes be celebrated or rehabilitated – whether by other characters within the fiction or by the literary work itself. Indeed, the period’s fascination with marginal or transgressive characters and behaviour betrays throughout a deep unease about the validity of its own norms and standards.

  • On this module students will explore the horror genre by exploring a broad range of films made in Spain and Latin America. Following an introduction to horror filmmaking, we will analyse texts in relation to horror’s numerous subgenres (gothic, physiological, psychological, science fiction, zombie etc.) and will learn both how to identify different types of horror film as well as to situate them in the history of horror filmmaking.

The course has a modular structure. You will take 120 credits’ worth of modules each year in years 1, 2 and 4, and 60 during your year abroad. Some modules are compulsory while others are elective thereby offering flexibility and choice.  You will take a core module in critical analysis and theory, with translation modules being offered in all languages at all levels. You will also take some cultural modules focusing on aspects such as visual cultures, literature, society or history of your chosen languages. The number of these modules you can take will vary depending on the number of languages you choose to study.

Our teaching combines a majority of seminars and small group work as well as role play and conversational activities, with some lectures. Private study and preparation are essential parts of every module, and you will have access to many online resources such as Powerpoint slideshows, copies of selected primary and secondary texts, audiovisual materials, class and seminar preparation aids, links to relevant external sites, quizzes and grammar and essay writing guidance, and the University’s comprehensive e-learning facility, Moodle. When you start with us, you will be assigned a Personal Tutor who will support you both academically and personally, and will be available for appointments during their regular surgery hours which take place at least twice weekly.

Each module is assessed using a varied range of methods such as coursework and end of year examinations. Coursework includes essays, language exercises, translations and reports. Oral presentations and computer-based tests are used in some modules to assess grammar and comprehension skills. You can, to some extent, choose modules which suit your own assessment preferences. In your final year, you will have the option of writing a dissertation or submitting a portfolio of essays, and you will attend individual tutorials to support this work.

You will also take a study skills module during your first year, designed to equip you with and enhance 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.

A Levels: BBB-BBC

Required subjects:

  • A-level in the appropriate language(s) at grade B for the advanced level language pathway
  • There is no language requirement for the beginners' language pathway, but only one language can be studied at this level
  • At least five GCSES at grade A*-C or 9-4 including English and Mathematics.

Please note that if you choose to apply for this course 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 please visit our How to apply page.

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. For students who are from backgrounds or personal circumstances that mean they are generally less likely to go to university, you may be eligible for an alternative lower offer. Follow the link to learn more about our contextual offers.

T-levels

We accept T-levels for admission to our undergraduate courses, with the following grades regarded as equivalent to our standard A-level requirements:

  • AAA* – Distinction (A* on the core and distinction in the occupational specialism)
  • AAA – Distinction
  • BBB – Merit
  • CCC – Pass (C or above on the core)
  • DDD – Pass (D or E on the core)

Where a course specifies subject-specific requirements at A-level, T-level applicants are likely to be asked to offer this A-level alongside their T-level studies.

English language requirements

All teaching at Royal Holloway (apart from some language courses) is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.

The scores we require
  • IELTS: 6.5 overall. Writing 7.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
  • Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 69. No other subscore lower than 51.
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.

Country-specific requirements

For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please visit here.

Undergraduate preparation programme

For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, for this undergraduate degree, the Royal Holloway International Study Centre offers an International Foundation Year programme designed to develop your academic and English language skills.

Upon successful completion, you can progress to this degree at Royal Holloway, University of London.

As a modern linguist you will have excellent communication, analytical and research skills combined with the proven ability to communicate fluently, alongside practical skills such as translation and interpretation. You will have developed the kind of sensitivity to different cultures that is highly prized in the workplace. This experience and the skills gained will make you highly employable and ready to pursue a career in international business, finance, media and communications, the arts, law translation, travel, consultancy and teaching, both in Britain and abroad.

Graduates have entered a wide range of careers including many language-related fields, such as: international management, consultancy, media and publishing, banking, the arts, politics, the Civil Service, sales and marketing, teaching, travel and tourism, translating and interpreting. Other graduates have gone on to advanced study in a variety of fields.

Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £9,250

The fee for your year abroad will be 15% of the tuition fee for that academic year if you study or complete work-based placement as part of the Erasmus exchange programme, or study at a university outside of Europe. The fee will be 20% of the tuition fee for that academic year if you complete a work-based placement in a non-European country.

EU and international students tuition fee per year**: £23,800

The fee for your year abroad will be 20% of the tuition fee for that academic year.

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, scholarships and bursaries. UK students who have already taken out a tuition fee loan for undergraduate study should check their eligibility for additional funding directly with the relevant awards body.

*The tuition fee for UK undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations. For students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25, the fee is £9,250 for that year.

**This figure is the fee for EU and international students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25

Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees annually for overseas fee-paying students. Please be aware that tuition fees can rise during your degree. The upper limit of any such annual rise has not yet been set for courses starting in 2024 but will advertised here once confirmed.  For further information see fees and funding and our terms and conditions.

***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2024/25 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures Undergraduate Admissions

 

 

 

Professor Joseph Harris - joseph.harris@royalholloway.ac.uk

Top 10

in the UK for research quality in French, German, Italian and Hispanic studies

Source: Complete University Guide, 2024

5th

in the UK for overall research

Source: THE REF; 2021, Subject Ranking by Grade Point Average

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