This qualification has two stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- In Stage 1, you’ll study a compulsory 30-credit or 60-credit module, depending on if you choose to combine English language studies with a modern language or choose two modern languages. You’ll choose your remaining 90 or 60 credits from a range of language modules
- In Stage 2, you’ll study a 60-credit module in each of your chosen subjects/languages.
Your chosen route will be a combination of two subjects: either English language studies with a modern language (French, German or Spanish) OR two of these modern languages.
You have two options for completing the different stages of your study:
- Study both subjects at the same time, working through Stages 1 and 2 in order.
- Study one subject first, completing these subject modules at each Stage, then repeating the route for your second subject.
We strongly advise that you start your study with the compulsory module. This is either Introducing English language studies (L101) or Exploring languages and cultures (L161) depending on your chosen route.
For modern language modules, your choices at Stage 1 will depend on your current level of language proficiency. If you are unsure about your current level, you can use our languages self-assessment quiz to check.
Beginners and Intermediate language modules are both 30-credit modules, both starting in October and ending in June. Intermediate language modules are pedagogically designed to follow on from Beginners language modules.
We strongly recommend that you do not study Beginners and Intermediate modules together, unless you already have sufficient prior knowledge of the language to study at Intermediate level.
In Stage 2, you’ll continue with your chosen subject combination. The modern language modules include a one-week residential school in France, Germany and/or Spain as appropriate, or an online equivalent, known as the Alternative Learning Experience (ALE), will be provided.
We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 17 March 2021.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The Diploma of Higher Education in Language Studies uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- face-to-face and/or live online tutorials (face-to-face events may be replaced with an online alternative where required)
- working in a group with other students
- finding external/third party material online
- continuous and end-of-module assessment in the form of online quizzes, recorded presentations, essays, short answer questions, and in some cases an examination
- using feedback: continuous assessment involves receiving detailed feedback on your work from your tutor and using this feedback to improve your performance
- some modules may require you to attend a residential school or an online alternative.
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer. Contact us as soon as possible to discuss your individual requirements, so we can put arrangements in place before you start.
Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment
This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:
- Knowledge and understanding
- Cognitive skills
- Practical and professional skills
- Key skills
The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.
It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.
You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide evidence of your previous study.
For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.
On completion of this undergraduate course, we'll award you the Diploma of Higher Education in Language Studies.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.
There are no formal entry requirements to study this qualification.
There’s a choice of starting points in your chosen modern language(s) – your choice will depend on your current level of confidence and proficiency. See our guidance on choosing the right modern language level, which includes a self-assessment quiz to help you decide between beginners’ or intermediate French, German and Spanish.
How much time do I need?
Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner
- Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
- This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
Preparing for study with an Access module
Students who start their study with an Access module are more likely to be successful when they advance to Stage 1 of their qualification. They’re specially designed to give you a gentle introduction to OU study, boost confidence in your study skills, and help you gain a broad overview of your chosen subject area.
You’ll also benefit from:
- feedback from your tutor through regular one-to-one phone tutorials
- support from a dedicated team throughout your study
- detailed written feedback on your work.
The Access module we’d recommend studying in preparation for this qualification is our:
Arts and languages Access module
What you will study
This multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the arts, humanities and languages. It's perfect preparation for your study with The Open University as you'll develop both your subject knowledge and your study skills. It explores a range of subjects, including art history, English, English language studies, history, and popular music. The module also offers an opportunity to explore other subjects, such as modern languages, classical studies, religious studies and creative writing.
View full details of Arts and languages Access module
Skills for career development
By the end of your studies, you’ll be a competent communicator in another language with an awareness of cultural differences and similarities – attributes that are particularly valuable in an environment of increasing international contact. If you learn about English alongside another language, your study of its structure, history, and place in societies and cultures will greatly enrich and develop your understanding of all aspects of communication.
Certain skills flow directly from your studies like translation, effective communication in more than one language, the ability to compose and analyse a range of texts, and the ability to work well with members of other cultures and communities. You’ll also develop a broad set of employability skills, including the ability to:
- plan, organise and prioritise your work and motivate yourself when working both independently and as part of a team
- understand contemporary global issues and appreciate cultural diversity
- draw together, analyse and critically evaluate information
- use your knowledge about how language works in a range of settings
- communicate effectively, clearly and accurately with others
- put together reasoned arguments and question assumptions
- use information and communication technology (ICT) effectively
- analyse data and undertake research using a range of methods.
Languages are central to some professions, such as translating, interpreting and teaching. They are also a key asset in the diplomatic service, tourism and international business and administration. This diploma will take your language skills to a high level.
Language skills are also highly valued in a range of other sectors. Surveys indicate that employers place a premium on the ability to make contact and communicate with global trade partners and to understand overseas business environments and that they often acknowledge this with higher salaries. The languages most in demand in UK industry are French, German, Spanish and Mandarin.
In addition to improving your career prospects, studying with the OU is an enriching experience that broadens your horizons, develops your knowledge, builds your confidence and enhances your life skills.
Exploring your options
Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the website are available to see at any time, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.
In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience):
- language teacher in modern languages or English as a foreign language
- diplomatic service officer
- advertising account manager
- marketing officer
- PR consultant
- tour manager
- event organiser
- travel agency manager.