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BSc Spanish and English Language  

Why chose Aston?

  • The Complete University Guide 2014 ranked Iberian Languages at Aston joint 2nd for Graduate Prospects (80%) out of 51 universities
  • 2nd (84%) for Graduate Level Destinations six months after graduation, Guardian, 2014 
  • Contemporary and applied focus, with a high level of teaching delivered in Spanish
  • English Language at Aston is ranked 13th (out of 105 programmes in the UK) in the Guardian University Guide 2015

  • In the 2013 National Student Survey BSc English Language scored 100% for overall satisfaction 

4 years full-time with integrated year abroad

UCAS Code: QR34

Typical Offers
A Levels: ABB - BBB from 3 A-levels, including Spanish Grade B.  General Studies accepted. 
IB: 32-33 points in the IB diploma including TOK/Bonus points. Standard level Maths and English 5 required and 6 in Higher Level Spanish.
Access: Pass Access to HE Diploma with Merit in each module.  Humanities or Social Sciences Access course preferred, but other courses considered on an individual basis.  A-level grade B in Spanish or equivalent.
BTEC: National Extended Diploma DDD.   A-level grade B in Spanish or equivalent.  Mix of Diploma/ Subsidiary Diploma/A-levels acceptable.

We accept a wide range of UK, EU and International qualifications: please contact us for further advice.

Specific subject requirements:
GCSE English Language and Maths Grade C.

Tuition fees 2014/15: £9,000 (£1,000 during placement year) for UK/EU students. More on fees

Applicants receiving offers are invited to an open day.

 

 

Spanish is spoken by more than 400 million people worldwide, so the global market has a huge demand for people with a knowledge of the language and the cultures of the Spanish speaking world. The Spanish programme at Aston is committed to equipping you with the tools, skills and knowledge necessary to operate effectively in this global, multilingual and multicultural world. We are devoted to the study of Spanish in context and therefore we consider the understanding of the diverse cultures and societies of the Spanish-speaking world to play an essential role in understanding the world in which we live. This means that along with near native proficiency in written and spoken Spanish, you will also graduate with an in-depth understanding of the issues that shape contemporary Hispanic cultures and societies.

 

Aston’s Spanish section is the first and only Cervantes Associated Centre in the UK and scored an impressive 93/100 on the Cervantes Teaching Quality Scale during a recent visit. The Spanish section will be hosting a range of Spanish Cultural Events sponsored by the Cervantes Institute.

Our innovative English Language degree aims to provide you with a theoretical knowledge and understanding of the English language, how it works in society and its role in the world today. At the same time we emphasise the practical application of English Language studies to the real world through professionally relevant modules in areas such as Teaching and Learning English or Language in the Workplace or Language and the Law. Your First Year of studying English Language at Aston will give you a broad introduction to language and meaning, to the influence of form and context and to the role of language in society. In the Second Year you build upon the themes introduced in your First Year through the study of core and elective modules designed to equip you to describe the features of spoken and written language in technical detail, as well as collecting, managing and working with linguistic data. In the Final Year you can choose from a wide range of elective modules to suit your interests and/or career plans. You will also produce a substantial piece of individual work in the form of a dissertation on an agreed topic of your choice.

Sample module options: the following module descriptions are indications only -  the University reserves the right to change the modules on offer, the module content and the assessment methods.

Click on the module titles to find out more.

Year One

Number of credits: 20

Language of delivery: Spanish

Module content: 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. Students will have two hours per week of scheduled interactive seminars and one hour of oral classes.

Methods of learning and teaching: Two hours per week will consist of reading comprehension, grammar consolidation, translation, debates, pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary exercises. The third hour will be devoted to oral skills. Attending textual and oral skills is mandatory.

Assessment method: Oral tasks (30%), portfolio on independent learning tasks (20%), final exam (50%).

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: Spanish

Module content: The module seeks to provide students with a clear vision of Latin America. It attempts to balance the region’s general historical background with its social, cultural, political and economic developments. Particular attention will be given to the specific characteristics of each country, highlighting their differences and similarities. Students will also be introduced to Latin America’s general trends as well as to its role in the international arena.

Method of learning and teaching: A typical class will start with an introduction of the main ideas and concepts to be covered. The semester will be divided into lectures and seminars, which will focus on the most important issues introduced during the lectures. This will include a hands-on approach to the subject characterised by discussions and group activities.

Assessment method: 2 hour exam (30%), 1,000 word written task (30%), 2 hour exam (40%) 

Number of credits: 20

Language of delivery: Spanish

Module content: The first part of the module aims to provide students with an understanding of the main processes and protagonists contributing to the development of a modern, prosperous democracy in Spain. It will focus on the political, ideological and economic changes which shaped the transition from dictatorship to democracy.

The second part offers an overview of Spanish culture through literature, cinema, art and music. Topics such as Spanish national identity and the recovery of the past will be examined in order to understand the key factors which have shaped Spanish culture. The course will provide students with the tools required for critical analysis of distinct cultural expressions.

Methods of learning and teaching: Students will attend weekly two-hour sessions, comprising a more formal lecture and a seminar. In lectures, students will be presented with the historic, social and cultural framework of the module. Seminars will be student-led. Students are expected to work in teams; prepare prescribed topics for debate and discussion; and to use their linguistic skills in a formal context.

Assessment method: 800 word written task (30%), 2 hour exam (70%) 

In this module, students look at how words are used in written and spoken texts to create meanings, and use dictionaries, corpus analysis and other practical techniques to understand the processes involved, and to analyse words in different ways.

Assessment method: 2.5-hour written exam (100%)

This module introduces you to the basics of one model of grammar: Systemic Functional Grammar, including key concepts and terms. It also involves practical workshop activities where you apply in practice what you have learnt in theory. 

Assessment method: 3-hour written exam (80%), Attendance and participation (20%)

This module looks at language as it is employed for a variety of purposes in both private and public contexts. It also extends methods of communication to cover non-verbal means whereby messages are conveyed, as substitutes for and supplements to the use of words. Topic areas to be covered will include paralinguistics in interaction and in texts (links between image, gesture and word), language and technology, media language and the language of interpersonal communication.

Assessment method: A written assignment of 2500 words (50%), 2500-3000-word group project (50%)

The module provides a brief introduction to the historical development of English, as a basis for the investigation of the concepts of language varieties and boundaries. This leads to an exploration of the issues and controversies surrounding the present-day role of English as a world language. An emphasis on language description reinforces the terminology and concepts taught in the companion modules of Level 1, while the teaching also focuses on the socio-historical forces which have shaped the development of English, reflecting the perspective of the programme overall.

Assessment method: 4-5-minute individual presentation (20%), 2-hour closed-book written exam (80%)

This module introduces the concepts of register and genre: the ways in which spoken and written texts are shaped by their purpose, the relationship between reader and writer or speaker and hearer, and formal aspects of the communication (pictures, writing, speech, song etc).

Assessment method: 1,500-word essay (50%), 1,500-word essay (50%)

This module introduces language description at the levels of phonetics and phonology. It provides the descriptive and analytical tools needed to discuss phonological processes and aspects of speech production, involved in variation across accents of English.

Assessment method: 1,500-word essay (60%), Class test (40%)

Year 2

Number of credits: 20

Language of delivery: Spanish

Module content: 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. Students will work on the 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 to learn the language in the context in which it is used. 

Method of learning and teaching: Weekly classes of three hours in Spanish, group work, individual work, role-play, presentations, independent study.

Assessment method: Dossier on independent learning tasks (20%), oral tasks (30%), exam (50%).

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: Spanish

Module content: 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. We will pay particular attention to the role of democratic Spain in the European Union but will also look at other international connections.

Method of learning and teaching: The method will consist of a lecture and a seminar. The lecture will be an introduction to political, economic, social and artistic issues, providing a context for more specific studies. The seminars will be dedicated to deepening students' understanding of issues presented in lectures, consolidating their familiarisation with the relevant vocabulary and developing oral skills. Seminars will provide a framework where students can express their opinions, interests, comments and conclusions about different topics in a very active way. So, discussions, team work and an open mind are essential requirements to make the most of each seminar.

Assessment method: 700-800 word analytical report (30%), 2 hour written exam (70%).

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: Spanish

Module content: The module seeks to provide the student with an in depth understanding of contemporary Latin America. It will focus on the region’s most recent social, cultural, political and economic developments. Particular attention will be given to the specific characteristics of each country, highlighting their differences and similarities. Students will also be introduced to general trends of Latin America as well as to its role in the international arena.

Methods of learning and teaching: There will be a weekly lecture in Spanish followed by a seminar in which students are expected to contribute with discussions, presentations and team work. Students will be required to do some readings or viewings in advance in order to be prepared for the seminars.

Assessment method: Class participation (20%), 2 hour exam (80%).

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: Spanish

Module content: The module focuses on the role of Spanish around the world. It deals with various linguistic and cultural issues related to several Spanish-speaking communities in the Americas, Europe, and Africa. Topics include: standard peninsular Spanish, varieties of peninsular Spanish, standard varieties of Spanish in Latin American, other varieties of Spanish in Latin America, Spanish in the US, Spanish in contact with other languages (Arabic, Catalan, English, French, German, Quechua, etc.). 

Method of learning and teaching: There will be a weekly lecture in Spanish followed by a seminar in which students are expected to contribute with discussions, presentations and team work. Students will be required to do some readings or viewings in advance in order to be prepared for the seminars.

Assessment method: participation and attendance (20%), 2 hour exam (80%) 

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: Spanish

Module content: This module focuses on the role of journalism as a cultural practice in the Hispanic world, analysing the impact that media may have upon society and exploring various ways in which journalists’ coverage of events not merely reflects the social world but helps constitute and shape it. After an introductory session to Spanish-speaking media today, the first part of the module focuses on a range of journalistic practices and genres, introducing students to different styles of writing for journalists and to the challenges of producing an accurate, readable narrative including examples from print and broadcast journalism. The second part provides a historical perspective on media in Spain and Latin America, followed by a concentrated study of the debates and controversies surrounding journalism and its relationship with society.

Methods of learning and teaching: This module will be delivered by weekly lectures and group seminars. In part A of the syllabus, lectures seek to explore the skills involved in writing for publication in different journalistic genres and the industrial context in which journalists work, whereas seminars will be practical workshops in which students learn to develop specialist writing skills for print and broadcast journalism. In part B of the syllabus, lectures will provide the theoretical framework necessary for students’ understanding of the debates concerned, while seminars will be forums for students’ presentations and for analyses of different news coverage on newspapers, radio and television.

Assessment method: 2 hour exam (60%), oral presentation (40%).

Number of credits: 10

Module content: Topics covered include: What is research?; Action Research and Ethnography; Collecting spoken data; Transcribing data; Using electronic resources; Questionnaires; Ethical issues in research; Reading week; Quantitative Analysis; Writing a research report; Review of the Module.

Method of learning and teaching: 

  • lecture-type presentation

  • practical exercises

  • work in pairs or groups,

  • discussions and questions

Assessment method: Students will be required to submit a completed task or tasks totalling the equivalent of 1,800 words. The nature of the task or tasks will be notified in week 3, and may include exercises in areas such as the specification of a research question, outline research design, transcript analysis, the manipulation of qualitative and quantitative data, and/orshort answer responses to set questions. (100%).

This module introduces you to different variations of English, including: social and regional variation; Englishes around the world and differences between spoken and written modes. 

Assessment method: 3-hour exam 

This module aims to introduce you to the ways in which media texts both reflect and construct our social practice and values. It addresses a range of issues, such as what makes something newsworthy, whether there is objectivity in news reporting, whether different social groups are equally represented in mass media texts, and what part visual images and layout play in our media messages; and it introduces you to a variety of methods for describing and critically evaluating media texts in relation to these issues.

Assessment method: 2,000-word case study (80%), Attendance and participation (20%)

This is an introductory course to TESOL. By the end of the module, the students will have become aware of the basic requirements of a teacher of English to speakers of other languages. They will have had the chance to develop some of the skills necessary for the TESOL teacher. The emphasis will be on developing the skills, organisational and pedagogical, which will allow them to teach or tutor their specialism. The areas covered will be course and syllabus design, materials evaluation and preparation, strategies for teaching lexis and grammar, lesson planning, delivery and evaluation.

Assessment method: Short lesson (10-15 minutes) on approved topic (50%), 1000 word summary and critique of a journal article (50%)

Year 3 - Year Abroad
Final Year

Number of credits: 20

Language of delivery: Spanish

Module content: This module further develops and consolidates the Spanish language skills acquired during the three previous years of study and, if applicable, work placement. At the end of the module, students will have reached a proficiency level equivalent to a high C1/low C2 scale as defined by the European Common Framework for Languages. The module will cover linguistic, sociolinguistic and pragmatic components corresponding to this level of communicative language competence.

Students will also have the opportunity to reflect on their professional skills as they develop their video project. In order to do this, they will create and publish online an e-Portfolio targeting prospective employers.

Methods of learning and teaching: Students will attend weekly two-hour sessions in which they will explore and work on all aspects of communicative language competence development. Each week, students will have to complete a series of exercises related to the topics studied in class. In addition to this, students are also expected to work independently using the resources available at the Cadbury Room, L&T support office, and the university’s library (i.e.: DVDs, books, magazines, newspapers, etc.).

Assessment method: E-portfolio (25%), video production (25%), exams (50%).

Number of credits: 20

Language of delivery: Spanish

Module content: In this module the student will research a chosen topic, agreed with the supervisor and the Module Convenor. The research may be on any subject considered appropriate for research at final year level within the Spanish Studies programme. Students will be expected to identify their own topic and approach. There will be maximum encouragement of individual initiative and research, while supervisors will encourage the exchange and construction of ideas, the development of a hypothesis where appropriate, and advice on dissertation organisation and presentation. 

Method of learning and teaching: Plenary sessions will provide information on the expectations for an LTS dissertation and viva and will present objectives, methodology, and a timetable for the module. These sessions will be supplemented by individual and group meetings between supervisors and students. It is the responsibility of the student to comply with deadlines set by the supervisor.

Assessment method: 5000-6000 word dissertation and 300 word abstract  in the target language (70%). 20-minute viva (30%).

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: Spanish

Module content: This module will consist of the analysis of literary works belonging to different genres, countries and periods in the 20th century. This variety will provide a glimpse of the richness and variety of contemporary literature in Spanish. Works will cover the three main literary genres: prose, poetry and drama, and will be presented in a chronological order. Spain, Central America and South America will have a relevant presence in the module.

Method of learning and teaching: The method will consist of a lecture and a seminar. The lecture will be devoted to introductions of cultural contexts, authors’ biographical notes and main issues regarding the texts. It will be also a question time for students to deepen on the reality of a country and/or an author. The seminar is meant to focus on the text; that is why, students must read the texts in advance as part of their private study. Seminars will provide a framework where students can express their opinions, interests, comments and conclusions about the texts in a very active way. So, discussions, team work and open mind are essential requirements to make the most of the seminar. Therefore, students will consolidate their familiarization with literature and develop oral skills.


Assessment method: 2 response reports (300 words each) (20%), 2000 essay (80%) 

Number of credits: 10

Language of delivery: Spanish 

Module content: 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.

Method of learning and teaching: 
The class will consist of an introduction by the lecturer to the concepts to be covered every week, followed by a brief segment devoted to clarifying any problems encountered while doing the pre-assigned readings and films (private study) for the weekly class meetings.  Usually the second half of the class meetings will have a Seminar format with the goal of focusing in more depth on some of the issues reviewed in Lectures and including a hands-on approach to the subject such as an in-depth discussion of the movies and readings assigned.  Discussions and team-work will be a crucial component of the Seminar format. Films are available in LSS Film Library for preparation and private study.

Assessment method: 2 response reports (300 words each) (20%), 2000 word essay (80%) 

In this module, students learn the key concepts and terminology of corpus linguistics and how to use corpus tools to conduct research into language in use, and look at some areas of applied linguistics in which corpora are used, such as lexicography, pedagogy, and translation.

Assessment method: Written assignment of 2000 words (50%), Practical project report (equivalent of 1000-1500 words) (50%)

This module will focus on one specialist area of Applied Linguistics, the application of the tools and techniques of language description to spoken and written texts which have a significance in court cases. The module will look at topics such as: techniques for authorship attribution; questions of copyright and the detection of plagiarism; disputed police records of interview and confession; suspect suicide notes; and anonymous letters.

Assessment method: Mock expert report with literature review (2,000 words) (50%), Critique of expert report (1,500 words)

This course aims to enable students to research in significant depth a topic in English Language, and address, elaborate and apply key concepts used in the linguistic analysis of discourse, in professional, social, educational and/or cultural institutions and contexts. The dissertation allows students to undertake supervised research on a topic that is new to them. It is the longest and most sustained piece of research undertaken in the English Language part of their degree programme.

Assessment method: Dissertation proposal (20%), Dissertation (80%) 

 

 

Aston is 6th for Languages Graduate Level Destinations sixth months after Graduation - Guardian 2013

 

Our graduates are in demand from a wide range of employers who value their understanding of different cultures and societies, their communication skills and motivation for team work. Destinations for Language and Translation Studies graduates over the past three years include:   

 

  • English Teacher, Business Language Skills
  • PR Graduate Scheme, LIDL
  • French Customer Service Co-ordinator, CRP
  • Bilingual Sales Coordinator, Narrow Aisle Ltd
  • Language Assistant, British Council
  • Translator/Analytical Support, B&Q
  • Immigration Assistant, Australian Embassy UK
  • Marketing Analyst, Deutsche Bank
  • Graduate Trainee Managers for British Airways, Aldi Stores, John Lewis and Selfridges
  • Journalist, Tatler Magazine
  • Account Manager Interpreting, Smoby (French Toy Company)
  • Senior Administrator, Michelin
  • Public Relations Officers for a number of companies
  • European Union/European Parliament Officers/Assistants
  • PGCE Secondary Teaching Qualification at universities including King’s College London, Warwick University and Exeter
  • Marketing Assistant at Beiersdorf 

You will take part in interactive seminars, presentations and group work as well as attending lectures and tutorials. There are also opportunities for individual research and guided study. We teach our Spanish studies courses in Spanish, 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 when you join us and you will be encouraged to make regular contact with them throughout your studies. Personal Tutors are there to help discuss academic and, in some cases, personal issues. Personal Tutors can also often offer support by writing references for placement/graduate employment and academic research.

Assessment is through a combination of written and oral exams, coursework, essays, translation tasks, presentations and an extended dissertation during your Final Year. Exams take place in January and May/June.

For further information, see the Spanish Joint Honours programme specification and the English Language Joint Honours programme specification.


Dr Krzysztof Kredens - Director of Undergraduate Programmes in English Language

Dr Kredens

 

 

“In my five years at Aston possibly the most flattering praise I received came from a student who said ‘This module messes with my head’. ‘Messing with students’ heads’ is not necessarily what the official course description promises but in my teaching I try and challenge students’ perceptions of what language is and what it can – and cannot – do for them. The key message I try to get across is that understanding the linguistic phenomena we encounter, but rarely notice, on an every-day basis is crucial for understanding and shaping the world around us. We all acquire knowledge in essentially two ways – either through direct experience or from others. For most of our knowledge we have to rely on other people’s perceptions, which, before reaching us, are encoded into language. Language then carries knowledge; once we realise the importance of this simple notion, we can make fully informed and conscious choices as to how we can use language as a powerful tool to achieve certain aims. At Aston our focus is on language use rather than structure. We do make sure our students acquire the relevant theoretical concepts, but our ultimate aim is to show how language works in actual interactions. We focus on the practical applications of English Language studies. We are passionate about teaching and, importantly, use our own research to inform it. As a result our students often have access to the latest research findings even before they are published in academic journals or the media.”

Dr Stéphanie Panichelli-Batalla - Lecturer in Spanish 

Stephanie Panichelli

 

'' My primary research interest in the Cuban Revolution was fueled by an inspirational professor from my home university – Dr. Nadia Lie, Professor of Latin American Studies at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium). My Master’s thesis, on the relationship between former Cuban President Fidel Castro and Colombian Nobel Prize Winner Gabriel García Márquez, was commercially published in 2004 and translated into six languages. I discuss the subject matter in my First Year module “Culture of Latin America” when we study the writers of the literary boom and their relationship to the Cuban Revolution. My current research focuses on the Cuban International Solidarity Missions. We analyse this topic in our Second Year module, “Contemporary Latin America”. After a lecture about the Cuban, Venezuelan and Nicaraguan Revolutions, I ask my students to read a range of articles about these solidarity missions (from extremely supportive to particularly critical). We then spend one seminar debating the topic, which the students find very interesting. They offer and hear unique perspectives on this unusual programme.”

 

 

 

Campus accommodation guaranteed for First Year and Final Year students returning from year abroad.

 The Third Year of your course is spent abroad in a Spanish speaking country - increasing your fluency, enhancing your cultural awareness and adding value to your degree. The year abroad is an integral and assessed part of language studies at Aston University, fully supported by us, and of direct relevance to your degree. A distinctive feature of our year abroad is the flexibility that we offer. You will be able to choose between undertaking a paid work-experience placement with a company, working as a teaching assistant in a school or studying at one of our partner universities. We are extremely proud of the high level of preparation, orientation and support that we provide before and during your year abroad. We have a full-time International Placements Team who will give you plenty of individual help and advice, and even come and visit you during your time away. Find out more about the year abroad.

Contact Details

Tel: 0121 204 3777
Emaillss_ugadmissions@aston.ac.uk


Student Profile

Student Profile

Abbey Wadey

BSc English Language

During my placement year I worked as an English Teaching Assistant at an international school in Malaysia and the placements office regularly contacted me to check on my progress.

 

Fees and funding

Fees and funding

Accommodation

Accommodation

Outstanding graduate career prospects

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