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Social SciencesUndergraduate study

RL42 BA Politics and Spanish (or Portuguese) and Latin American Studies (4 yrs)

At Southampton you can develop your language skills to the full, and deepen your understanding of Spanish- and Portuguese speaking societies and cultures.

Introducing your degree

Understand the Latin American world, the Spanish language and the political structure of not just the Spanish speaking countries but of the UK as well. Our BA Politics and Spanish (or Portuguese) and Latin American Studies course is the perfect degree for those who wish to pursue a career in government or in a political or business role abroad. The transferable skills gained through taking this course, combined with the experience you gain whilst studying overseas in your third year, means that you will also find yourself suitable for a huge range of roles in various industries.

Programme Overview

What is this?(More Information)This information is based on historical data and may have been aggregated. Find out more.

Programme Structure

You will study compulsory units from the Politics department as well as the language of your choice. You will also be able to take an additional option from a range of units related to your main areas of study. 

The third year is spent in a Spanish or Portuguese speaking country which offers you a unique opportunity to enhance your linguistic and cultural proficiency. You can spend your year abroad as an English language assistant in a school, studying at one of our partner universities or on a work placement in Spain, Portugal, or Latin America where we have links in Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Brazil.  We also have an innovative scheme in Mexico - developed by the University and the Mexican Education Ministry - for students to work as a Language Resources Assistant in a University. In addition, we also have strong links with the Anglo Mexican Foundation which offers teaching assistant opportunities.

Wherever you go for your year abroad, you will carry out an investigative project, supervised by a tutor at Southampton.

The final year provides you with a range of module options, taking into account that you may wish to specialise in an area that most suits your interests, combines with what you have studied so far, and relates well to the first-class research of our staff. You will also have the opportunity to prepare an extended research dissertation under the guidance of an academic supervisor.

We place great importance on the development of graduate skills vital for future employment through the integration of transferable skills into learning and teaching, in particular language skills and strategy training through all your years of study at Southampton.

For further details, see the full course map under ‘Modules'.

Visit the Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American website to learn more about the department

View the programme specification document for this course

Key Facts

Modern Languages at Southampton has been ranked in the top five universities by The Guardian every year since 2007, and we were third in 2012

Rated in the top 10 modern languages departments in the country in the most recent National Student Satisfaction Survey

Opportunity to learn another language from scratch, such as Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Arabic, Russian or Polish

Modern Languages at Southampton was in the top two for European studies in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise

A wide range of learning and teaching resources are available, including multimedia labs, electronic whiteboards and language-specific resource rooms

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

A Levels:
GCE A-level

AAB, including grade A in Spanish or Portuguese


ABB, including grade A in Spanish or Portuguese and A in Extended Project Qualification

We accept all A levels except General Studies.

International Baccalaureate34 points with 17 at higher level, including 6 at higher level in Spanish or Portuguese
International applications

We welcome applications from international students. Helpful information on applying, meeting a University representative in your country, or improving your English language levels can be found on the International Office website. If English is not your first language you will be required to pass an approved English test. We normally ask for an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with not less than 6.5 in Reading and Writing, 6.0 in Listening and Speaking.

Alternative qualifications

We welcome applications from candidates offering qualifications other than A and AS levels (including BTEC, European Baccalaureate, International Baccalaureate, Irish Leaving Certificate and Scottish Highers). You will be expected to attain an equivalent standard to an A level applicant. Contact us for further information on equivalencies for these qualifications and others not listed here.

Contextual Offers

Humanities supports contextual admission.  A typical offer for an applicant qualifying as contextual is BBB from 3 A levels or the equivalent from alternative qualifications.

Selection process:
Average applications per place:

Selection is normally based on actual or predicted grades plus the reference and personal statement on your UCAS application. Applicants will be interviewed before an offer is made.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

In all years of study you − will benefit from the wide range of resources (including extensive electronic and televisual facilities).

Year one modules provide an introduction to the study of cultural forms, political and historical issues, and linguistic issues.

In years two and four you will have the opportunity to concentrate on your own particular interests, selecting from a range of more specialised modules on Spanish- and Portuguese speaking societies.

A special module in year two will prepare you for your year abroad in year three, and for the academic work you will complete during this year.

Your year abroad is an opportunity to improve your linguistic and cultural proficiency in your chosen language, and to demonstrate your ability to work independently over a sustained period.

Innovation modules outside of your subject area

Our Curriculum Innovation Programme offers you the chance to take optional modules outside of your chosen subject area. This allows you to personalise your education, to develop new skills and knowledge for your future. Modules range from "Living and working on the web" to "Business skills for employability".

View the Curriculum Innovation modules for this course

Learn a language

Some of our courses also give you the option of taking a language module, which can count towards your degree. These modules cover ten languages and range from absolute beginner to near-native speaker level.

View the language modules on offer for this course

Year 1

In each semester you will be required to follow four modules (a total of eight moduels over the year). Two modules in each semester will be taken in Politics, the other two in each semester will taken in Modern Languages.

Choose one optional Modern Languages module (SPAN / LING / LANG) in each semester. PORT1001 is compulsory in semester one for Portuguese and Politics.

All modules are compulsory in year one.

Semester One

One module in each semester will be your Spanish language course or your Portuguese language course compulsory language module:

Compulsory language module:
SPAN9__ Spanish Language
PORT9__ Portuguese Language

Compulsory Politics module:
POLI1002 Political Systems
POLI1003 Issues in Contemporary Politics

Introduction to the Portuguese-Speaking World
History and Politics of the Hispanic World
The Languages of the Spanish-Speaking World
Narrative and Cultural Identity in the Hispanic World
Approaches to German-Jewish Literature
Academic skills for Modern Language students
Semester Two

One module in each semester will be your Spanish language course. Or your Portuguese language course compulsory language module:

Compulsory language module:
SPAN9__ Spanish Language
PORT9__ Portuguese Language

Compulsory Politics module:
POLI1001 Introduction to Political Theory

Compulsory module:
INTR1001 Introduction to International Relations

Reading Culture
Reading the City
Applications of Linguistics

Year 2

You must choose two Politics modules (PAIR) in both semesters. For information about the modules available please see the Politics and International Relations 2nd /3rd Year Options Booklet

NB If you intend to undertake a Politics dissertation in your final year you must take PAIR2004 as one of your options.

This is a compulsory fifth module for all second year students taking a Modern Languages degree, whether Single or Joint Honours.
You must choose one Modern Language (LING/LANG/SPAN) option in Semester One. You must take PORT2001 in Semester Two.
You must choose one Modern Language module (LING/LANG/SPAN) in each Semester; one of these must be a SPAN module. 
Choose one optional Modern Languages module (SPAN / LING / LANG) in each semester. You much choose at least one optional SPAN module in the year.

Year 3

You will spend the year abroad in a country where one of the chosen languages is spoken, either as:

  • an English language assistant
  • studying on a university course
  • on an approved work placement

Investigative Project:
Independent study project (6,000 words) supervised by a member of staff

Further information:
Year abroad

Year 4

Choose two optional Politics modules (PAIR) in each semester. For information about the modules available please see the Politics and International Relations 2nd /3rd Year Options Booklet.
You must take PORT3001 in semester two. You must take one SPAN module in semester two.
You must choose one Modern Language module (LING/LANG/SPAN) in both Semesters; one of these must be a SPAN module.
Choose one Modern Languages module (SPAN / LING) in each semester. At least one module in the year must be a SPAN module.

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Career Opportunities

Employability is embedded into modules from the first year onwards, right from the first lecture. We offer a number of optional employability modules. 

Your specialist skills in intercultural communication, listening and language will be highly valued by employers.  

A year abroad also gives you the chance to achieve something away from education-centred activity, such as gaining relevant work experience to help form your future plans. With many employers now expecting extracurricular or voluntary experience, this can prove vital.

Learning & Assessment

A humanities degree at Southampton offers you the wide and varied learning experience you should expect from a leading research university. We are committed to providing a relevant, modern and above all enjoyable experience which will ensure you graduate with the skills and understanding you need to start a career in any number of industries.

Led by academic staff, your teaching will allow you to engage with and contribute to the world-leading research carried out at Southampton as it happens. Our staff value your opinion and views: lectures are typically followed by a small group seminar which gives you the opportuinity to explore ideas and themes that you feel are particularly relevant. You will find yourself challenged intellectually and exposed to new ideas, approaches and perspectives. Visiting speakers from international universities and successful professionals are a frequent part of our lecture series.

Your course will be incredibly flexible to suit your personal aims and objectives. Within your degree there will be a wide and fascinating range of modules related to our specialisms led by academics passionate about their research who want to engage you in their experience. You can choose subjects from beyond your degree to fashion the knowledge and experiences that you think will best help you in the career in front of you. Each module has a home on our virtual learning environment which serves as a starting point to find out more about each subject and undertake independent research to develop your understanding to a greater depth.

You will be assessed by more than simply essays and exams. Depending on the modules you choose, you will work in groups and teams; make presentations; submit group projects; undertake fieldwork; create portfolios and manage larger research projects such as dissertations. Your academic advisor will be available to provide regular and supportive advice, guidance and feedback on your progress.

You will find the key skills employers seek - such as time management, problem solving, team work, deadline and project management, cultural awareness, working on initiative and independently, relationship building and analysis - embedded in your learning. Above all, you will learn to communicate ideas and enthusiasm to a wide range of audiences in a way that is relevant and that they can understand.

Our courses have many unique and exciting opportunities such as visiting Chawton House Library – the former home of Jane Austen, the Broadlands Archive containing the papers of Palmerston and Mountbatten, research active fieldwork placements, placements in schools and colleges as part of your degree such as international writing in schools, the student associates scheme and our extended project mentoring module. All our students have the opportunity to spend a semester, a year or a summer at one of our international partner universities to experience a new culture.

Study Locations

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