Modern languages courses

Studying languages opens the door to a whole new world. At Essex, we give you access to other countries, people and cultures to develop your language abilities, cultural awareness, and translation, interpreting and subtitling skills.

We offer Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese, German, Italian and Portuguese from complete beginner up to mastery level. Read about the experiences of our current students.

For our joint courses, you choose either to focus equally on both areas by taking a course with 'and' in the title (BA Literature and Modern Languages). Or, you choose a course with a stronger focus on one area, by taking one showing 'with' in the title (BA Literature with Modern Languages). Here, you focus more on literature, than modern languages.

You'll also benefit from:

Study abroad

All except one of our modern languages courses include a year abroad. You can choose to study at one of our partner institutions, work as a language assistant with the British Council or combine a work placement and study. If you'd prefer not to study abroad, our BA Language Studies is a standard three-year degree without a year abroad.

If you study a language from scratch up to A-level standard via our intensive modules, we pay for you to attend a four-week summer school in the country where that language is spoken. You can take these modules on all of our courses.

Modern languages

  • BA Modern Languages

    This course enables you to study two, three or four languages, out of French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. Our flexible syllabus allows you to choose the languages that interest you most and you will study to mastery level in at least one language. This is possible even if you are learning that language from scratch. You also learn key skills in cultural awareness and gain invaluable experience during your year abroad.


  • BA Language Studies (no year abroad)

    This course is one of our only modern languages courses that can be taken as a three-year course without a year abroad. It enables you to study up to four languages, out of French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. As well as the language modules, we offer a range of cultural and professional skills modules in each language, making it an ideal course if you want to acquire a range of key skills alongside your study of languages.


  • BA French / German / Italian / Portuguese / Spanish and Modern Languages

    This course allows you to study two or three languages, including reaching mastery level in your specified language. You gain a deep understanding of the culture of your specialist country, which will be enhanced during your year abroad where you gain invaluable skills that employers value. The flexible course structure gives you the opportunity to choose modules where you learn about the country's history, politics and popular culture.


    Modern languages and translation

    • MLang Modern Languages (Translation)

      If you’re a high achiever with an A-level grade B in a major language, this four-year course is for you. You integrate your undergraduate and postgraduate studies into one course, graduating with an Integrated Masters in Modern Languages in four years, rather than five if the courses are taken separately.

      You specialise in at least two modern languages, studying one to our highest Mastery level. Language study is combined from the third year with translation, interpreting and subtitling skills. Your progress will depend on reaching target grades each year with first class work expected.


    Modern languages with English Language and Linguistics

    • BA Modern Languages and English Language

      You study one or two modern languages with a wide selection of English language and linguistics modules. In each year, your time is split equally between studying modern languages and studying English. This course is for you if you're interested in understanding more about the English language, while also learning modern languages.


    • BA Modern Languages and Linguistics

      If you're interested in understanding how we communicate with each other and how different methods of communication convey something about ourselves, whilst also developing communication skills in one or two foreign languages, this course is for you.


    • BA Modern Languages and Teaching English as a Foreign Language

      If you want to learn how to teach English while learning one or two languages at the same time, this course is for you. Learning to teach English will allow you to teach abroad and travel, while learning foreign languages will greatly increase your understanding of other cultures.


    Modern Languages with Latin American Studies

    • BA Modern Languages with Latin American Studies

      You study up to three languages alongside an interdisciplinary course in Latin American studies. You take modules with departments across our University in history, history of art, literature, politics and sociology and gain a broad understanding of the Latin American region.


  • BA Spanish, Portuguese and Brazilian Studies

    You learn both Spanish and Portuguese to mastery level, acquiring professional skills (translation, interpreting and subtitling) in both languages and familiarity with contemporary Brazilian society and culture. You also gain a deeper understanding of the Hispanic and Lusophone cultures.


Modern Languages with International Relations and European Studies