This qualification has three 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 and 3, 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, 2 and 3 in order, or
- study one subject first, completing these subject modules at each Stage, then repeating the route for your second subject.
Whichever option you choose, if you start from beginners' when combining two modern languages you’ll study 150 credits at Stage 1. Your degree will take at least four years to complete.
We recommend starting your study with either Introducing English language studies (L101) or Exploring languages and cultures (L161) depending on your chosen route.
For modern language modules, your choice 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 or see Entry requirements for more advice.
We strongly recommend that you do not study a Beginners' and Intermediate module in the same language concurrently unless you already have sufficient prior knowledge of the language to study at Intermediate level.
In Stages 2 and 3, you’ll continue with your chosen subject combination.
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 14 March 2023.
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
- live online tutorials and day schools
- working in a group with other students
- finding external/third party material online
- using specialist software such as Adobe Connect
- 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
- engagement with learning and assessment within a pre-determined schedule or timetable – time management will be needed during your studies and the University will help you to develop these skills throughout your degree.
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.
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.
Classification of your degree
On completing this course, we’ll award you a BA (Honours). Your degree title will show your language choices:
- BA (Honours) Language Studies with English and French
- BA (Honours) Language Studies with English and German
- BA (Honours) Language Studies with English and Spanish
- BA (Honours) Language Studies with French and German
- BA (Honours) Language Studies with French and Spanish
- BA (Honours) Language Studies with German and Spanish
The class of honours (first, upper-second, lower-second or third) will depend on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.
You’ll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.
If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Find out more about international recognition of Open University qualifications.
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 for this qualification.
However, there’s a choice of starting points in the modern language element – your choice will depend on your current level of confidence and proficiency.
Beginners’ or intermediate languages module?
How to choose the right level
Unless you have prior knowledge of your chosen language(s) equivalent to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) level A2, we recommend you start Stage 1 with a beginners’ module.
Beginners’ and intermediate language modules are both 30-credit modules, and both start in October and end in June. Intermediate modules follow on from the learning in beginners’ modules, so you should not study them in the same language concurrently unless you already have significant knowledge of the language.
Our self-assessment quiz can help you decide between starting with beginners’ or intermediate French, German and Spanish, and provide guidance on choosing the right modern language level for you.
Contact us if you’d like to speak to an adviser.
How much time do I need?
- Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
- This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
- If you start from beginners' when combining two modern languages, you’ll study 150 credits at Stage 1 and your degree will take at least four years to complete.
Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner
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. From the perspective of its central theme, ‘popular protest’, it explores a range of subjects, including art history, English, English language studies, history, and popular music, all through its central theme of ‘popular protest’. 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 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.
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.