Spanish in Combined Honours - information for current students

Key benefits

  • Ranked 3rd in the UK for job prospects and 9th overall for languages (Guardian University Guide 2010)

  • Contemporary and applied focus, with a high level of teaching delivered in Spanish

  • Excellent student support: Languages at Aston had the 6th highest rating of all UK University European Languages programmes for overall satisfaction in the 2007 National Student Survey

  • All Combined Honours students studying Spanish will have a Personal Tutor, from both of their chosen subjects, to provide guidance in academic and non-academic matters. 

Combinations of Subjects which include a Language must always be studied as a 4-year programme to include a year abroad, unless the language is studied as a minor part (1/3) of the overall programme.

You can choose the subject you wish to study alongside Spanish in your Combined Honours programme from the Combined Honours Pages. Please do not hesitate to contact Combined Honours if you have any queries about your choice


Subject guide & modules

First Year: Foundations

In the first year of study, you will work on your language skills, to revise, reinforce and expand on existing skills and knowledge; also to provide the foundation for more complex applications and use of language. Further content-based modules provide a basic grounding in modern and contemporary Spanish history, language and culture, covering a range of topics of interest for understanding Spain, the Spanish-speaking world and the Spanish language.

First Year Core modules:

  • Spanish Language Skills I & II: In this module students will work on different skills involved in language learning: from listening and speaking, to reading, writing, and translating. Relevant texts will be used, in order to increase students’ awareness of Hispanic culture, economy, history and society in an attempt to learn the language in the context in which it is produced.

  • Introduction to Spain: After an introduction designed to sensitise students to the particular significance of the past and of interpretations of the past for contemporary Spanish society, politics and culture, the module explores the period in question in chronologically-ordered lectures and seminars.

  • Introduction to Latin America: The module seeks to provide students with an introduction of Latin America. It attempts to balance the region’s general historical background with its most recent social, cultural, political and economic developments

  • Culture of Spain

  • Cultures of Latin America

Second Year: Applications

The second year course builds upon the solid foundations laid in the first year, and enables students to apply their skills and knowledge in preparation for their Year Abroad placement. Language skills courses enable the student to further improve their linguistic proficiency, and content-based modules follow on from the history modules studied in the first year, and provide in-depth knowledge about contemporary Spain.

Second Year Core Modules: 

  • Spanish Language Skills: This module aims to develop proficiency in written and spoken Spanish to a standard that enables the student to communicate effectively and confidently with Spanish native speakers and sustain a work or study placement in a Spanish-speaking country.

  • Contemporary Spain: The module aims to chart the trajectory of Spanish politics, economy, society and art since 1975. We will study the political process which led Spain to become a Parliamentary Monarchy after a military dictatorship in a reasonably non-violent atmosphere.

  • Sociolinguistics of Spanish: The module seeks to provide the student with a clear vision of the history of the Spanish language within a social framework.  Thus the module will trace the development of the Spanish language from Latin to its present different variations in Spain and Spanish America.

  • Contemporary Latin America

  • Spanish in the world

Sandwich Year: Participation

The Year Abroad placement is an integral part of the study requirements for students taking Spanish as half of their undergraduate programme. This period is spent abroad in a Spanish-speaking country. It enables the student to gain first-hand experience of Spain, raises levels of fluency, accuracy and confidence, and increases knowledge, awareness and understanding of the society and its language.

You can choose from three options for a full-year placement:

  1. Work placement.
  2. University study.
  3. Teaching assistantship. This is particular interesting if a student is interested in working with young people and is considering a career in teaching.

Combined Honours students are encouraged to seek university or work placements which will allow them to develop their expertise in their other subject. However, support and assessment for the Year Abroad is linked to the programme of Spanish Studies.

Students taking Spanish as a minor subject will need to spend at least 10 weeks in an approved placement between the end of the second year and the start of the third year of the programme.

Final Year: Analysis

Having lived and either worked or studied in Spain, final year students return to Aston to perfect their linguistic expertise and acquire further transferable skills. The final year encourages individual initiative and research, and offers the opportunity to explore specialised topics, through independent research projects

Final Year Core modules:

  • Spanish Language Skills: This module focuses on the use of Spanish in context in a creative and meaningful manner. Students will be working on a variety of activities to enhance their fluency, grammar accuracy, listening, translation and writing skills. 

  • Spanish research Dissertation: You will formulate the exact nature and scope of your topic in close cooperation with your allocated supervisor. 

  • Hispanic Film: The module focuses on the cinemas of Latin America and Spain, the module begins with a brief examination of film techniques and language, followed by a concentrated study of contemporary cinematic trends (80s, 90s, 00s). The module attempts, in the limited time of one teaching period, to trace a continuum of representative styles, genres and themes and to expose the student to a sizeable repertoire of artistically rich films.

  • Major Hispanic Authors:

Learning, teaching & assessment

You will take part in interactive seminars, presentations and small group work as well as attending lectures and tutorials.  There are also opportunities for individual research and guided study.  In Spanish, we teach many of our modules in the foreign language, which means that our students are at a real advantage when it comes to gaining maximum benefit and experience from the year abroad. You will be allocated a personal tutor who can provide help and advice.Assessment is through a combination of written and oral exams, coursework, essays, presentations and an extended dissertation during your final year.

Placement year

The year abroad at Aston has an enviable reputation. It provides the opportunity to develop professional skills by spending a year in paid employment in a Spanish speaking country. Through gaining first-hand experience, the students raises levels of fluency, accuracy and confidence and increases knowledge, awareness and understanding of the society and its language. Students can choose from three options for a full year placement; work placement, university study, teaching assistant-this is particularly interesting if a student is interested in working with young people and is considering a career in teaching. Inter-disciplinary students are encouraged to seek university or work placements to involve their expertise in their other subject. However, support and assessment for the year abroad is linked to the programme of Spanish studies.

Career prospects

Aston University has one of the best records for graduate employment in the UK. The courses ensure that students gain academic knowledge as well as developing a wide range of skills that are valued by employers. Spanish in combination with other Inter-disciplinary subjects provides a good basis for a wide variety of work. Graduates with native-speaker language competence are much sought after in today’s competitive global environment, for their intercultural awareness , excellent communication skills and analytical thinking. As a global language spoken by some 400 million speakers, Spanish is a vital asset to a graduate profile.

Personal development

This course helps you to develop team working skills, presentation and communication skills.  Your IT skills will also benefit from use of our newly refurbished e-learning language centre. The Placement Year will develop your initiative, confidence and independence, as well as giving you invaluable professional experience.  In your final year you complete an individual research dissertation which improves your independent research skills and report writing skills. All students are encouraged to undertake Personal Development Planning (PDP.)

Facilities & equipment

The School of Languages and Social Sciences has a dedicated e-learning centre for the exclusive use of its students.  The e-learning centre is supported by a dedicated team and has specialist software for language students including:

  • Sanako 1200 language lab

  • “Tell Me More” in French, German, Spanish (1000s of hours of self-study language learning material)

  • TRADOS (industry-standard translation tool)

  • Multilingual keyboard setup (French, German, Spanish, Chinese)

  • Coming soon - streamed satellite television (French, German, Spanish)

Extensive use is also made of our Virtual Learning Environment to help support your studies.

Our newly refurbished “Cadbury Room” contains social seating areas, study stations and meeting tables as well as newspapers in French, German, and Spanish, which are updated daily. 

Further information

Tel: 0121 204 4283; Email: ids@aston.ac.uk

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