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Modern Languages and History

Modern Languages and History

BA
  • UCAS code RV91
  • Option 4 years full time
  • Year of entry 2021

The course

This Joint Honours course will enable you to start satisfying your curiosity about the past, enhancing your understanding of specific periods and problems, while giving you the opportunity to gain fluency in the language of your choice - French, German, Italian or Spanish.

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

The remainder of your modern languages study will give you an opportunity to explore the literature, art, culture and history of the language area 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 lingusitic proficiency 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.

  • On graduation you will have language and analytical skills in a modern language 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).

Studying History is exciting and rewarding; it encourages you to appreciate the human experience in other places and at other times. Exploring what people have felt, thought and done in the past expands our self-awareness. It will help to satisfy your curiosity about the past, acquire understanding of specific periods and problems, and make discoveries.

Our internationally renowned academics are developing the very latest thinking on historical problems; this cutting edge knowledge informs the curriculum and will enhance your learning experience. By studying History at one of the largest and most influential departments in the country you will be able to choose from an exceptionally broad range of subjects, enabling you to spread your studies across the medieval and modern worlds, from Ancient Rome through to modern China, from Saladin through to Margaret Thatcher.

  • 96% say that our teaching makes the subject interesting and 94% find the course intellectually stimulating (National Student Survey 2016).
  • World-leading and internationally excellent research which is ranked joint first for its impact on greater society (Research Excellence Framework 2014, 4* and 3* research).

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, we will commit to providing 2019 and 2020 entry students with a subsidy equivalent to current Erasmus+ funding (where this would have previously been funded by the Erasmus+ scheme). To find out more visit the Erasmus+ page.

Core Modules

Year 1
  • 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.

  • History in the Making is Royal Holloway's first year foundation History module. This module covers the broad sweep from antiquity to the modern day, but it is not intended to provide a straightforward narrative. Instead, this module introduces our first-year students to an array of different topics and themes - from the rise of Christianity to the rise of modern nation states - that they will encounter throughout their degree. How have historians discussed themes like Renaissance, Revolution or Gender? What kinds of sources have they used? How do such ideas influence our understanding of historical change? And how has this shaped public debate and public history beyond the academy? Although titled “History in the Making”, this module might easily have been called “Historians in the Making”, providing our students with the skills, methods and critical approach to the past that will prove essential to successfully completing a university History degree.

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

  • 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 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.

     

  • 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.

If you choose to study German you will take one of the following:

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

If you choose to study Italian you will take one of the following:

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

If you choose to study Spanish you will take one of the following:

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

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.

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:

  • 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:

  • 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.

  • German Language II
  • 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:

  • Advanced Italian II for Post Beginners
  • Advanced Italian II
  • Advanced Italian Translation: Skills and Practice

If you choose to study Spanish you will take one of the following:

  • Intensive Spanish II
  • Spanish II
  • Advanced Spanish Translation: Skills and Practice
Year 3
  • You will spend the third year of this degree programme abroad, either studying, working, or both. It is usually expected that you will spend at least 9 months in a country where the native language is the same as the language you are studying. 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.

    In the event of a no-deal Brexit, we will commit to providing 2020 entry students with a subsidy equivalent to current Erasmus+ funding (where this would have previously been funded by the Erasmus+ scheme). To find out more visit the Erasmus+ page.

Year 4

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:

  • German Language III

If you choose to study Italian you will take:

  • Advanced Italian III

If you choose to study Spanish you will take:

  • Spanish III

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

Optional cultural modules in Modern Languages include:

  • 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.

Optional cultural modules in French include:

  • 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.

  • How does French literature differ from other uses of the French language? How do writers of French prose, poetry, and drama, achieve their intellectual and emotional impact on readers? The aim of this module is to introduce you to the basic formal, stylistic and rhetorical elements of French literature. You may have heard of some of these (e.g. metaphor, simile, symbol, irony), while others may be unfamiliar (e.g. focalization, style indirect libre, the unity of action). You will undertake a detailed study of three literary texts “ one work of prose, another of poetry, and a third dramatic work. Each has been selected because it exemplifies some of the more prominent formal features and literary devices of French literature throughout the ages.

  • 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.

Optional cultural modules in German include:

  • The module presents key developments in German history through the lens of literature and the visual arts, in a lively and accessible way. Students will gain an insight into German culture and history from the Middle Ages to the present, and acquire skills and knowledge that will serve them throughout their degree. Works by numerous writers and artists will feature.

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

Optional cultural modules in Italian include:

  • 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).

Optional cultural modules in Spanish include:

  • 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’.

  • Visualising Cuba
Year 2

Optional cultural modules in Modern Languages include:

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

Optional cultural modules in French include:

  • Approaches to Translation Work
  • 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.

Optional cultural modules in German include:

  • 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.

  • Love and Marriage in Major Novels by Theodor Fontane
  • 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.

Optional cultural modules in Italian include:

  • 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.

  • The module will introduce you to the birth and development of Italian crime fiction and analyse the way in which this foreign imported genre was reshaped and appropriated by successive generations of Italian postwar writers. The module aims at familiarising you with the theory—both foreign and Italian—of crime fiction. It also focuses on the way in which the most pressing issues that dominated Italian society in the postwar period were represented by crime writers.

Optional cultural modules in Spanish include:

  • In this module students will study films from the last twenty years in Spain. The films selected will in different ways express representations of identity in Spain. We will explore issues such as national and regional identities, linguistic diversity and national identity, Spanishness, cultural memory, history on screen, urban versus rural experience, cultural diversity, immigration and the portrayal of gender within new family paradigms.

  • During the module attention will be devoted to analysing samples from early Twentieth century Mexican visual arts. Students will study the Mexican Mural Movement and will analyse the work of its most prominent members. Attention will be paid to the works of Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and José Clemente Orozco. The first part of this module will also cover the photographic works of Edward Weston, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Tina Modotti, Mariana Yampolski, Araceli Herrera and Graciela Iturbide. During the second part of this module students will be introduced to some of the most significant cinematic works from Mexico’s century of filmmaking. Students will analyse some of the most important filmic genres from a wide range of directors and periods in Mexican cinematic history. On this module students will be introduced to some areas of film theory and will learn how to apply theoretical concepts to a reading of Mexican visual arts and films.

  • 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.

Year 4

Optional cultural modules in Modern Languages include:

  • 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?

  • Comparative Dissertation
  • Visual Arts Dissertation
  • Final-Year International Film Dissertation

Optional cultural modules in French include:

  • Advanced Translating Skills
  • This module explores how French novels and films of different genres and decades reflect, perpetuate and challenge the effects of fast-developing consumer capitalism and globalization on conceptions of identity between writers and artists over a century of experimentation.

  • Text and Image in France: from Cubism to the Present
  • The module examines murder and political uses of violence in twentieth-century French literary works and films, considering how far they can be explained or ever judged to be legitimate. The second half of the module studies some of the specific problems involved in understanding and representing the Holocaust.

  • This module highlights the interventions of women writers and artists in Dada and Surrealism during the early decades of the 20th Century in France. The first half of the module introduces ideas around feminism, women in art, and women’s writing, with an aim to equip you with a foundation in theory. Selected key readings, available on Moodle, provide a basis for class discussions. In the second half of the module, you look in detail at work by individual artists and writers, including literary texts (poems, narratives and manifestos) and artworks (collages, paintings and photographs). Because it draws on recent and ongoing scholarship and curation, and because many of these women are little-known, the topic leaves considerable scope for original comment and research.

  • 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.

  • French Final Year Dissertation

Optional cultural modules in German include:

  • 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.

  • In this module we want to focus on German Romanticism's fascination with what was perceived as the "night side" of (human) nature. In response to the Enlightenment's belief in rationality and objectivity Romantic writers tended to explore the more subjective and irrational aspects of life, like emotions and imagination, but also more unsettling psychological phenomena like dreams, hallucinations and mental illness.

  • 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.

  • German Dissertation

Optional cultural modules in Italian include:

  • Though considered for long less attractive than Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso are the two canticles where Dante's design of the afterlife comes to completion. The Divine Comedy cannot be comprehended but through a close reading of the poem as a whole. This module aims to explore Dante's full vision of the otherworld.

  • The module brings together the study of the topics of fascism, organised crime and post-war and contemporary terrorism in Italy through film narrative. Students will be presented with the key ideological, social and political issues to be explored in films, that is, violence as a means to both assert and undermine State authority through dictatorial, criminal, and terroristic power. Students will study films such as Bertolucci’s Il conformista (The Conformist,1970), Bellochio’s Buongiorno notte (Good Morning, Night, 2003), Giordana’s I cento passi (The Hundred Steps, 2000), Garrone’s Gomorra (2008), Sorrentino’s Il divo (2008).

  • The Postmodern in Italian Literature: Pioneers, Practitioners and Critics

Optional cultural modules in Spanish include:

  • On this module students will learn how to identify some of the traits of contemporary Mexican cinema, a period of filmmaking which has been recognised as one of the most fruitful in cinematic history. The films selected for analysis on this module will be examined within the context of contemporary Mexico: an era rife with socio-political unrest. We will learn how political corruption, social violence and the recent Drug Wars have shaped the narratives of the films we will explore, and how these issues have dictated the emergence of new filmic genres. Students will learn about how youth culture and its manifestations are explored in film and will be able to place the films studied in their socio-historic contexts.

  • Spanish American Literature: An Overview
  • 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.

  • Spanish Dissertation
  • This module explores, compares and contrasts representations of social and political conflict in a range of 20th-century Latin American literary texts. It considers conflict in literature critically with regards to and in the context of some of the following: revolution, racial difference, social inequality, economic exploitation, exile, urban violence and historical memory. It provides students with a basic understanding of the historical background and trajectory of some of the most relevant socio-political movements and events in the continent in the module of the century.

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.

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 course, 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 are assigned a Personal Tutor to support you academically and personally and who holds regular surgery hours at least twice weekly.

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.  In the final year you will complete a 10,000 word dissertation for History. 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.

A Levels: AAB-ABB

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.

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.

Country-specific requirements

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

Undergraduate Pathways

For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, the International Study Centre offers the following pathway programmes:

International Foundation Year - for progression to the first year of an undergraduate degree.

International Year One - for progression to the second year of an undergraduate degree. You can join the International Year One in January 2021 and progress to degree study in September 2021.

Choosing a joint honours degree which combines Modern Languages and History gives you the best of both worlds through an increased skillset and access to a wide variety of employment opportunities.

Having spent a year abroad 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 your chosen career, whether that be in Britain or abroad.

Modern Language graduates have entered a wide range of careers including international management, consultancy, sales and marketing, media and publishing, banking, the arts, politics, teaching, travel and tourism, as well as translating and interpreting.

Recent employers include:

  • Mazda Motors Europe
  • The British Council
  • Oxfam Head Office
  • Merlin Entertainments Group
  • Ralph Lauren

As well as gaining practical skills in translation and interpretation, your degree will also demonstrate that you enjoy being challenged, are able to think through issues and problems in a logical and consistent way and have a understanding other values and cultures, which equips you to operate successfully in a fast-changing and increasingly globalised and multi-cultural environment. 

  • 86% of history graduates were in employment or enhancing their skills with further study six months after graduation (Unistats 2015).
  • Our graduates are highly employable and, in recent years, have entered many different language-related fields including international management, consultancy, sales and marketing, media and publishing, banking, the arts, politics, the Civil Service, teaching, travel and tourism, translating and interpreting.  
  • Our careers service offers a range of tailor-made careers events, one-to-one careers advice sessions and skills workshops specifically for history students.

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**: £17,700

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 loansscholarships 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 2020/21, the fee will be £9,250 for that year. The fee for UK undergraduates starting in 2021/22 has not yet been confirmed.

**The Government has confirmed that EU nationals starting a degree in 2020/21 will pay the same fee as UK students for the duration of their course. For EU nationals starting a degree in 2021/22, the UK Government has recently confirmed that you will not be eligible to pay the same fees as UK students, nor be eligible for funding from the Student Loans Company. This means you will be classified as an international student. At Royal Holloway, we wish to support those students affected by this change in status through this transition. For eligible EU students starting their course with us in September 2021, we will award an automatic fee reduction which brings your fee into line with the fee paid by UK students. This will apply for the duration of your course.

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. Fees shown above are for 2020/21 and are displayed for indicative purposes only.

***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.

Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures Undergraduate Admissions

 

 

 

Admissions office: +44 (0)1784 414944

95% of students agree staff are good at explaining things (Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures)

Source: NSS, 2017

Number 1 for student to staff ratio (Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures)

Source: Guardian University League Table, 2018

15th in the UK for History

Source: Times Good University Guide, 2018

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