This qualification has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- In Stage 1, you’ll study a compulsory 60-credit module. You’ll choose your remaining 60 credits from a range of language modules.
- In Stage 2, you’ll study a 60-credit English language studies module and a 60-credit Spanish module.
- In Stage 3, you’ll study a 60-credit English language studies module and a 60-credit Spanish module.
Optional Access module – visit Entry requirements to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.
You may study the modules in your chosen subject one stage at a time or study the modules in one subject - completing 60 credits at each stage - before studying the modules in your second subject. We strongly advise you to start Stage 1 with your compulsory module.
Which modules you choose at Stage 1 will depend on your current modern language proficiency. We strongly recommend that you don’t study two modules in the same language at the same time.
Italian and Chinese options are available for only a limited time – check the module descriptions for planned future availability.
In Stage 2, you’ll explore the evolution and diversification of English. You'll also expand on your ability to use Spanish and your cultural knowledge of Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries – including at a one-week residential school in Spain.
In Stage 3, for your English studies, you can choose between learning about how the English language is shaped by its users to get things done in different contexts or explore creativity in the English language around the world1. For your final Spanish module, you’ll advance your understanding of the society and culture of contemporary Spain and Spanish-speaking countries as well as extending the practical skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing in Spanish.
1Exploring English grammar (E304) is available for only a limited time – check the module description for planned future availability.
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 20 March 2019.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BA (Honours) 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
- working in a group with other students
- finding external/third party material online
- using specialist software – if you study Exploring English grammar (E304)
- continuous and end-of-module assessment in the form of 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.
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit our Disability support website 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; e-learning 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.
Classification of your degree
On successfully completing this course, the name of your undergraduate degree will reflect your chosen route. For example BA (Honours) Language Studies with French and German.
You’ll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.
The class of degree (first, upper second, lower second or third class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.
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. You can use our online tips to help you decide where to begin and which is the right module for you.
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
If your study skills are a bit rusty or you want to try out Open University study before committing yourself, don’t worry! The OU offers Access modules designed to introduce the subject area, build your confidence and prepare you for further study, and you may be eligible to study an Access module for free! You'll get:
- a personal tutor providing regular feedback with one to one telephone tutorials
- support from a dedicated team throughout your study
- detailed written feedback.
For this qualification we recommend:
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 and languages, and would like to develop both your subject knowledge and your study skills. It explores a range of subjects, including art history, English, English language studies, history, modern languages, and also touches on the areas of creative writing and religious studies.
View full details of Arts and languages Access module
Skills for career development
By the time you graduate, you’ll be an effective communicator 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, fluent 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:
- communicate effectively, clearly and accurately with others
- manage and motivate yourself
- plan, organise and prioritise your work
- manage time and work independently and as part of a team
- evaluate and reflect on your own work
- set realistic objectives and meet your own goals
- 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
- put together reasoned arguments and question assumptions
- use information and communication technology (ICT) effectively
- analyse data and undertake research using a range of methods.
As a linguist, you’ll enjoy a broad range of career opportunities directly related to your field: teaching; translating; interpreting; the diplomatic service; the media (publishing, journalism and advertising); leisure, tourism and travel; and working in international organisations and government bodies. There is also particular demand for language skills in education and more broadly across the economy in client-facing roles. These range from business development, sales, marketing, logistics and tourism to supporting and managing performance in global markets, and to offering services (from health and social care to driving instruction) in an increasingly diverse UK. Studying a language can also be your passport to a new life abroad.
Employers in all fields value applicants who can communicate well, analyse, evaluate and present ideas and arguments effectively. These skills can be used in work where research or written communication plays a major part such as advertising, marketing, journalism, publishing and public relations.
Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree. Linguists are particularly adept at relating to other people and being open to different points of view which are highly regarded skills in many professional settings.
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 careers service website are available for you to see now, 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 beyond your degree):
- 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.