Studying in the School of Modern Languages

In Newcastle, we offer East Asian, French, German and Spanish & Latin American and Translating & Interpreting Studies.
Students can study and sample six different languages from ab initio through to honours level: Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, as well as Catalan, Dutch and Quechua as subsidiary options. With more than 40 members of staff, many of whom are from an international background, we are able to offer an unusually wide and exciting choice within a modern languages degree. While languages are the cornerstone of what we do and teach, we believe that it is crucial to also engage with the cultures associated with these languages. In an age of increasing globalization and internationalization, modern languages graduates with intercultural competence are needed. This means that our graduates enjoy good employability prospects.

Modern Languages has a long tradition at Newcastle: in 2011, we celebrated our centenary as a higher education institution which has been repeatedly recognised, both nationally and internationally, for its research, its excellent teaching provision and the overall experience offered to students. In the 2011 NSS exercise, we scored a 93 per cent satisfaction rate across the School, and in the June 2012 Times Good University Guide, our excellent teaching was recognised with a top ten placing.

This high level of student satisfaction is due to a variety of factors:

  • our staff are friendly and approachable, and we have excellent staff-student relations, with personal tutors and degree programme directors overseeing and discussing students’ progress with them at regular intervals
  • our degrees are flexible, allowing for the study of one, two or even three languages, and for the combination of one or two languages with Business or Linguistics; and any of the languages we offer as a degree language can be started at beginners' level or at A-level / AS-level; students can also study our languages within a Combined Honours degree
  • our curriculum combines language modules delivered by experienced language teachers (many of them native speakers) with optional modules taught by expert scholars; these modules explore key issues to do with history, society, politics, culture, films, literature, and linguistics – a combination which provides students with a high level of language competence alongside intercultural knowledge
  • the four years of study at Newcastle build on each other, with stage 1 introducing students to core areas of enquiry, stage 2 consolidating knowledge and preparing students for the year abroad (that crucial opportunity to experience and explore living in  the target culture), and the final year allowing for specialization while providing students with translating and interpreting skills
  • we prepare students for a structured Year Abroad, providing them with help and support throughout while allowing them considerable flexibility as to how they wish to spend their Year Abroad: as a student in a foreign country, as an assistant teacher teaching English as a foreign language at schools, or working on a work placement
  • our student community – we take in about 130 each year – is lively, with the Modern Languages Society organizing numerous activities throughout the year, culminating in the annual student ball; and at sectional levels, we have further language-specific groups and many extracurricular activities
  • we enjoy excellent resources: a good university library, a Language Resource Centre, and state-of-the-art language laboratories and interpreting suites
  • For students who wish to study further we offer a range of postgraduate degrees, with MA programmes in Professional Translation, Translating and Interpreting, Film, Linguistics, and Latin American Studies
Read on to discover more reasons to study Modern Languages at Newcastle University.