Language and/with Journalism with International Experience (BA): 4-year, full-time

This programme combines the study of a modern language (French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese or Spanish) with development of journalistic skills relevant to a wide range of professional contexts. Not only will you become highly competent in your chosen language but you will also gain advanced knowledge of the cultures and societies of the countries in which the language is spoken. The journalism modules are taught by industry professionals with experience not only in how to write for different media and audiences, but also in how the industry works. By the end of the programme you will have developed high-level journalistic skills, and an understanding of the cultural, political and industrial contexts of journalism. You will also have the opportunity to study a number of cross-cultural modules which will allow you to explore specific themes across a variety of language-speaking areas.

The third year is normally spent abroad at a partner institution to allow you to develop your language skills and your knowledge of the culture of the language-speaking area you are studying.

You can also apply for a three-year version of the programme without a year abroad, and you will normally also be able to transfer to this version of the programme during your first or second year of study if you decide you do not wish to study outside of the UK.

This programme is also available part-time, without a year abroad, over four years or six years.

Highlights

  • Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 13th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2016-17 World University Subject Rankings.
  • You will have the opportunity to spend a year abroad at a partner institution to develop your language skills and your knowledge of the culture.
  • Our School of Arts is in the top five in the country. Our Department of Cultures and Languages brings together research and teaching in French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish, making it an outstanding multidisciplinary department.
  • In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Modern Languages and Linguistics achieved 100% for a research environment conducive to producing research of the highest quality, while 73% of our research was recognised as world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • In the 2017 National Student Survey, our media courses came second in the country for teaching and for overall course satisfaction.
  • Ours is a community of scholars with shared interests in interdisciplinary topics and cross-cultural research. Our affiliated research centres, Birkbeck Research in Aesthetics of Kinship and Community (BRAKC) and the Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies (CILAVS), provide an important platform for this exchange.

Course structure

You will acquire 420 credits over four years, including 60 during your study year abroad. The modules you take will be dependent both on your interests and your language level, so your course structure will be tailored to meet your personal requirements. You can begin this programme with any level of language, from beginner to native speaker proficiency; Portuguese is only available to students with post-A-level language level.

You complete the equivalent of 12 full (30-credit) modules, normally taking six journalism modules and six culture and language modules. Depending on entry level, a maximum of three of these will be from one of the languages on offer, forming a language pathway. A typical set of modules, divided by year, might look like this (pathway C):

Module groups

Year 1

Year 2

Year 4

Indicative journalism option modules

Indicative comparative culture option modules

Indicative French option modules

Indicative German option modules

Indicative Japanese option modules

Indicative Portuguese and Spanish option modules

Please note that not all modules are available every year; the list above is indicative.

Degree classification

You will have the opportunity to choose from a wide range of modules in the course of your study.

If you exit the degree with Language 3 (A-level+/B2) or Language 4 (post-A-level/C1) the degree awarded will reflect this (eg BA Journalism with Spanish).

If you exit the degree with Language 5 (degree level/C1/C2) the degree awarded will reflect this (eg BA Spanish and Journalism).

  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    We welcome applicants without traditional entry qualifications as we base decisions on our own assessment of qualifications, knowledge and previous work experience. We may waive formal entry requirements based on judgement of academic potential.

    This programme is suitable for all language entry levels, from beginners' to proficiency, including native speaker level; Portuguese is only available to students with post-A-level language level.

    UCAS tariff points

    104

    The UCAS tariff score is applicable to you if you have recently studied a qualification that has a UCAS tariff equivalence. UCAS provides a tariff calculator for you to work out what your qualification is worth within the UCAS tariff.

    Alternative entry routes

    We welcome applications from students on Access to Higher Education Diplomas.

    Credits gained on the Certificate of Higher Education in Culture and Language (Japanese), French Studies, German Studies or Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies can be counted towards the degree.

    Year abroad

    Please note you must make satisfactory progress during Years 1 and 2 of your degree to be eligible for a year abroad. Additionally, the non-UK partner institution may set its own entrance criteria, including, but not limited to, academic criteria, language requirements and visa requirements. In instances where a student does not meet the eligibility criteria for an approved year abroad, their registration may be transferred to the corresponding BA programme pathway without the ‘with International Experience’ designation.

    International entry requirements

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

    If you don’t meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

    Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

    Please be aware that you will initially be provided with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) to study for the first two years of your course whilst at Birkbeck. During your third year of study at a European institution, you will be required to obtain a visa for that specific country. When you return to the UK to complete your fourth year, Birkbeck will issue you with a second CAS so that you can apply for another Tier 4 visa for your final year. You will therefore need to make a total of three visa applications: two for Birkbeck and one for the European institution.

    Visa requirements

    If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months’ duration.
    • Courses of less than six months’ duration.
    • Pre-sessional English language courses.

    International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our three-year evening study BA/BSc/LLB degrees, as these are classified as full-time study and qualify for student visa status. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck’s part-time evening study degrees.

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

    Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

    If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.

    Find out more about credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

  • Fees

    Fees

    Full-time home/EU students, 3 years of study: £9250 pa
    Full-time international students, 3 years of study: £13350 pa
    Full-time home/EU students, international year: £1385 pa
    Full-time international students, international year: £2000 pa

    Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

    Additional costs

    As well as fees, you should expect to pay other study-related expenses, for travel to and from College, books, stationery, etc. Birkbeck provides advice and financial support for students who experience hardship in meeting the travel costs of essential fieldwork or study visits.

    On this programme, you will also have to pay for the following additional costs:

    Students who spend an academic year studying abroad for at least 24 weeks will only be liable for 15% of their Birkbeck tuition fee for the year abroad. However, those who study for one term abroad will be charged the full programme fee.

    Tuition fee and maintenance loans

    Eligible full-time and part-time students from the UK and the EU don’t have to pay any tuition fees upfront, as government loans are available to cover them.

    Maintenance loans are also available for eligible full-time and part-time UK students, to assist with covering living costs, such as accommodation, food, travel, books and study materials. From 2018, maintenance loans are available to part-time students for the first time. The amount you receive is means-tested and depends on where you live and study and your household income.

    Find out more about tuition fee and maintenance loans for full-time and part-time students at Birkbeck.

  • Teaching and assessment

    Teaching

    At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

    Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading. Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

    Our distance-learning and blended-learning courses and modules are self-directed and we will provide you with interactive learning opportunities and encourage you to collaborate and engage via various learning technologies. These courses involve limited or no face-to-face contact between students and module tutors.

    In addition, you will have access to pastoral support via a named Personal Tutor.

    Methods of teaching on this course

    A combination of lectures, seminars, small-group work, tutorials and discussion groups as well as practical creative workshops, media-related tours and guest lectures.

    Contact hours

    On our taught courses, you will have scheduled teaching and study sessions each year. Alongside this, you will also undertake assessment activities and independent learning outside of class. Depending on the modules you take, you may also have additional scheduled academic activities, such as tutorials, dissertation supervision, practical classes, visits and fieldtrips.

    On our taught courses, the actual amount of time you spend in the classroom and in contact with your lecturers will depend on your course, the option modules you select and when you undertake your final-year project.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, discussion, collaboration and interaction with your lecturers and fellow students are encouraged and enabled through various learning technologies, but you may have limited or no face-to-face contact with your module tutors.

    The following information gives an indication of how many contact hours you can expect for each year of this course:

    Year Contact hours
    1 180
    2 180
    3 0
    4 168

    Timetables

    Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

    Indicative class size

    Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to larger groups, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups led by a tutor.

    Independent learning

    On our taught courses, much of your time outside of class will be spent on self-directed, independent learning, including preparing for classes and following up afterwards. This will usually include, but is not limited to, reading books and journal articles, undertaking research, working on coursework and assignments, and preparing for presentations and assessments.

    Independent learning is absolutely vital to your success as a student. Everyone is different, and the study time required varies topic by topic, but, as a guide, expect to schedule up to five hours of self-study for each hour of teaching.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, the emphasis is very much on independent, self-directed learning and you will be expected to manage your own learning, with the support of your module tutors and various learning technologies.

    Study skills and additional support

    Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

    • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
    • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
    • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

    Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

    Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

    Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short- or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.

    Assessment

    Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations, although this will vary from course to course - on some of our courses, assessment is entirely by coursework. The methods of assessment on this course are specified below under 'Methods of assessment on this course'. You will need to allow time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

    Where a course has unseen written examinations, these may be held termly, but, on the majority of our courses, exams are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June. Exams may be held at other times of the year as well. In most cases, exams are held during the day on a weekday - if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance - but some exams are held in the evening. Exam timetables are published online.

    Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

    Methods of assessment on this course

    Language modules are usually assessed by coursework, examinations and sometimes in-class tests and/or presentations. Journalism modules are assessed by demonstration of practical skills such as layout and design, as well as essays, and occasionally writing exercises, audio-visual presentations, mind maps, conceptual representations and digital media diaries.

    Breakdown of assessment on this course

    The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework will often depend on the option modules you choose. The approximate percentages for this course are as follows:

    Year % Exams % Practical % Coursework
    1 33 7 60
    2 33 7 60
    3 0 0 0
    4 33 7 60
  • Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Graduates can pursue careers in media and cultural institutions, journalism, public relations or professional communications. This degree may also be useful in becoming a magazine/newspaper journalist, public relations officer or press sub-editor.

    We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

    Graduate Destinations

    Average salary six months after the course: £27000

    Go on to work and/or study:

    Go on to work and/or study
    Now working: 50%
    Doing further study: 35%
    Studying and working: 0%
    Unemployed: 10%
    Other: 5%

    Read more of the statistics for this course on the Unistats website.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    If you are applying for a four-year, full-time undergraduate degree at Birkbeck, you have to apply through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). To apply, go to the UCAS homepage and click on 'Apply and Track'. You will have to register, giving UCAS a few personal details, including your name, address and date of birth, and then you complete an application form.

    Please state clearly on your application which language you wish to study.

    As part of the admission process you may be asked to complete a written test, or a language entry test (except for complete beginners), and you may be asked to attend an interview.

    Birkbeck offers a range of free face-to-face advice and support to help you make a successful application.

    Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form, including our online personal statement tool, which will guide you through every step of writing your personal statement.

    UCAS Code

    RP51

    Application deadlines and interviews

    15 January is the first UCAS deadline and the majority of university applications through UCAS are made by then. We welcome applications outside of the UCAS deadlines, so you can still apply through UCAS after 15 January, depending on the availability of places. We also take late applications via the UCAS Clearing system in August.

    Read more about key dates for UCAS applicants.

    Interviews are arranged throughout the year.