Spanish and Portuguese is an integrated degree which enables students to gain an in-depth knowledge of two major world languages, and the modules on offer reflect the diversity of cultures in Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries across the globe. All students follow modules in Spanish and in Portuguese language which
are of a broadly communicative nature, focusing on contemporary Spanish/Hispanic and Lusophone social and cultural issues and drawing on authentic materials. The degree takes four years to complete (which includes the study abroad year).
Spanish and Portuguese Studies Degree highlights
Iberian Languages at QUB was ranked 5th in the UK by the Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016. In the most recent Research Assessment (REF 2014), Languages at Queen’s were ranked third in the UK.
- This pathway affords significant opportunities for professional development and training in a global context. After stage 2, you will spend an academic year working or studying in a Spanish- and Lusophone-speaking country (eg. a semester in each country as an Erasmus or exchange student at one of our partner universities). Students will have the possibility of acquiring valuable professional experience by teaching in a school, undertaking a work placement, or doing voluntary work; they may also elect to study at a Spanish and a Brazilian/Portuguese university.
- Graduates of Spanish and Portuguese have risen to the top in a number of fields, including media, print journalism, translating, marketing, local government, fast-stream Civil Service, and a very wide range of local, national and international companies.
World Class Facilities
- Queen’s Library has an outstanding collection of resources relating to Spain/Latin America and the Lusophone countries. The Language Centre has state-of-the-art facilities for language learning, and the IT provision more generally is excellent.
Internationally Renowned Experts
- Spanish and Portuguese at QUB has world leading experts in Spanish/Latin American and Brazilian/Portuguese literature and culture. Research in Languages at Queen’s was ranked 3rd in the UK in REF 2014 for Research Intensity and 5th for Grade Point Average.
- Students run a lively Spanish and Portuguese Society, and staff offer support through a personal tutoring system, skills development programme and a structured framework for feedback.
"For me, studying Spanish and Portuguese at Queen’s has been a very enriching experience. The course is extremely well organised and lecturers are always willing to help. As part of the core language modules, I have enjoyed being exposed to not only the European but also, the Latin American variants of each language. In addition, to core language modules, Queen’s offer such a wide variety of optional modules, including Postcolonial Cinema in Lusophone Africa, and Spanish Memoirs and Autobiographies in 20th Century Spain. Also, outside of lectures, there is a well-established Spanish and Portuguese student society, which is great to get involved with."
Erin McCombe (Final Year 2016-17)
Students are required to take 1 core language module in each subject area, the Introduction to Lusophone Studies optional module, and Introduction to Iberian Studies or Introduction to Latin American Studies
optional module in the relevant semester.
• Spanish 1 or Intermediate Spanish or Spanish for Beginners
• Portuguese 1
• Introduction to Lusophone Studies
• Introduction to Iberian Studies
• Introduction to Latin American Studies
Students are required to take 1 core language module in each subject area + 2 optional modules in the relevant semesters. The Portuguese modules are specially designed for students studying Portuguese and the level has been ‘pitched’ linguistically to reflect the ab initio access point of entry. Students on this pathway are, therefore, strongly advised to take the Portuguese optional module.
• Spanish 2
• Portuguese 2
• Issues and Cultures of the US-Mexico borderlands
• Afterlives: Rogues and Mystics of the Spanish Golden Age
• Representations of Lusophone Africa in Postcolonial Cinema
• Spanish Memoires and Autobiographies
• The Fantastic in Latin America
Year Abroad Modules
• Working and Studying Abroad
• International Placement
Students are required to take 1 core language module in each subject area + 2 optional modules in the relevant semesters. The Portuguese modules are specially designed for students studying Portuguese.
Students on this pathway are, therefore, strongly advised to take the Portuguese optional module.
• Spanish 3
• Portuguese 3
• Rewriting Love in the Renaissance
• Identity, Sex and Sexuality in Post-Revolutionary Cuba
• Brazilian digital culture: Trends and Topics
• Failed Romances of Latin American Literature
• Imperfect Heroines: Spanish fiction in the 19th and 20th centuries
People teaching you
Dr Gabriel Sánchez Espinosa
Reader in Spanish Studies
Arts, English and Languages
Dr Sánchez Espinosa is Head of Spanish and Portuguese Studies and teaches Spanish language, and 18th-century Spanish literature and culture.
Contact Teaching Times
|Medium Group Teaching|
13 (hours maximum)
24 (hours maximum)
20-24 hours preparing and revising
Learning and Teaching
At Queen’s, we aim to deliver a high quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support to enable our students to achieve their full academic potential.
On the BA in Spanish and Portuguese we do this by providing a range of learning experiences which enable our students to engage with subject experts, develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in a global society and make use of innovative technologies and a world class library that enhances their development as independent, lifelong learners. We create a supportive environment in which we get to know each of our students individually. Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:
Information associated with lectures and assignments is often communicated via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Queen’s Online. A range of e-learning experiences are also embedded in the degree through, for example: computer-based grammar learning packages; interactive web-based learning activities; opportunities to use IT programmes in project- based work and for presentations etc.
These introduce basic information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading. Lectures also provide opportunities to ask questions, gain some feedback and advice on assessments (normally delivered in larger groups of approximately 40 students). Only a few of our modules are delivered in this way, e.g. Introduction to Iberian Studies.
Students will have opportunities to develop oral skills and apply grammar and vocabulary in real-life, practical contexts. All these classes are taught in very small groups (typically 6-12 students) and are facilitated by a native speaker. Students will be expected to attend 1 oral class per week as part of your core language module.
Students are allocated a Personal Tutor who meets with them on several occasions during the year to support their academic development. This gives students one identified contact to discuss any difficulties they might encounter and who can answer any queries they might have.
This is an essential part of life as a Queen’s student when important private reading, engagement with e-learning resources, reflection on feedback to date and assignment research and preparation work is carried out.
Almost all of the teaching in Spanish and Portuguese Studies is carried out in small groups (typically 10-20 students) in English, Spanish and Portuguese. These provide significant opportunity for students to engage with academic staff who have specialist knowledge of the topic, to ask questions of them and to assess your own progress and understanding with the support of peers. Students should also expect to make presentations and other contributions to these groups. All of our language teaching and the vast majority of our other modules are delivered through small-group seminars.
Students taking a BA in Spanish and Portuguese undertake a year abroad after Level 2. Students on this programme normally spend one semester in a Spanish-speaking country and the other in a Portuguese-speaking country. This is a significant learning and employability enhancement opportunity during which students can study in a Spanish or Portuguese University, work as an English-Language Teacher, undertake a paid work placement etc. This feature of our degree programme gives students the opportunity for personal development, gives them a job placement, further develops communication and language skills, and the challenges of living abroad come to be a unique (and unforgettable) stage in their own personal development.
Details of assessments associated with this course are outlined below:
The way in which students are assessed will vary according to the Learning objectives of each module. Some modules are assessed solely through project work or written assignments. Others are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of the year examinations. Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Student Handbook which is provided to all students during their first year induction. All assessment, apart from home language assignments, year abroad portfolio, and oral exams, is marked and returned anonymously.
As students progress through this course they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module convenors, personal tutors, advisers of study and your peers. University students are expected to engage with reflective practice and to use this approach to improve the quality of their work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:
Formal written comments and marks relating to work that students, as individuals or as part of a group, have submitted. The vast majority of our written feedback is provided electronically to your personal online account.
General comments or question and answer opportunities during or at the end of a lecture, seminar or tutorial.
Immediate, on-the-spot feedback from your teacher during language classes.
Individual consultations addressing specific queries with lecturers during designated consultation hours.
Online or emailed comment to specific queries.
Pre-submission advice regarding the standards you should aim for and common pitfalls to avoid. In some instances, this may be provided in the form of model answers or exemplars which students can review in their own time.
Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services such as, Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service.
Once students have reviewed their feedback, they are encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of their work.
Queen’s has an excellent library with an outstanding range of resources in Spanish and Lusophone cultures. The Language Centre has state-of-the-art facilities for language learning, and IT provision more generally is excellent.
A level requirements
Post A-level Spanish
ABB including A-level Spanish.
Note: for applicants who have not studied A-level Spanish then AS-level Spanish grade B would be acceptable in lieu of A-level Spanish.
ABB + GCSE Spanish grade B or evidence of linguistic ability in another language.
Note: the Beginners' option is not available to those who have studied A-level or AS-level Spanish.
In addition, to the entrance requirements above, it is essential that you read our guidance notes on 'How we choose our students' prior to submitting your UCAS application.
Applications are dealt with centrally by the Admissions and Access Service rather than by individual University Schools. Once your on-line form has been processed by UCAS and forwarded to Queen's, an acknowledgement is normally sent within two weeks of its receipt at the University.
Selection is on the basis of the information provided on your UCAS form, which is considered by the Selector for that particular subject or degree programme along with a member of administrative staff from the Admissions Service. Decisions are made on an ongoing basis and will be notified to you via UCAS.
For last year's intake, applicants for this BA programme must have had, or been able to achieve, a minimum of five GCSE passes at grade C or better (to include English Language). Performance in any AS or A-level examinations already completed would also have been taken into account and the Selector checks that any specific entry requirements in terms of GCSE and/or A-level subjects can be fulfilled.
Offers are normally be made on the basis of three A-levels. Two subjects at A-level plus two at AS would also be considered. The offer for repeat candidates is set in terms of three A-levels and may be one grade higher than that asked from first time applicants. Grades may be held from the previous year.
Applicants offering other qualifications, such as the International Baccalaureate, Irish Leaving Certificate or an Access course will also be considered.
Candidates offering Access/Certificate in Foundation Studies courses will be considered individually on their own merits, provided the subject requirements for entry to Spanish can also be met. Where offers are made, these are conditional on both achieving an average of 70% in the Access course and meeting the entry criteria for Spanish.
BTEC Extended Diplomas, Higher National Certificates, and Higher National Diplomas can be considered, provided the subject requirements for entry to Spanish are also fulfilled.
The information provided in the personal statement section and the academic reference together with predicted grades are noted but, in the case of BA degrees, these are not the final deciding factors in whether or not a conditional offer can be made. However, they may be reconsidered in a tie break situation in August.
A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking would not normally be considered as part of a three A-level offer and, although they may be excluded where an applicant is taking four A-level subjects, the grade achieved could be taken into account if necessary in August/September.
Candidates are not normally asked to attend for interview, though there are some exceptions and specific information is provided with the relevant subject areas.
If you are made an offer then you may be invited to an Open Day, which is usually held in the second semester. This will allow you the opportunity to visit the University and to find out more about the degree programme of your choice and the facilities on offer. It also gives you a flavour of the academic and social life at Queen's.
If you cannot find the information you need here, please contact the University Admissions and Access Service (email@example.com), giving full details of your qualifications and educational background.
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.
English Language Requirements
An IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each test component or an equivalent acceptable qualification, details of which are available at: http://go.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
- English for University Study: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
- Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.
INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS - FOUNDATION AND INTERNATIONAL YEAR ONE PROGRAMMES
INTO Queen's offers a range of academic and English language programmes to help prepare international students for undergraduate study at Queen's University. You will learn from experienced teachers in a dedicated international study centre on campus, and will have full access to the University's world-class facilities.
These programmes are designed for international students who do not meet the required academic and English language requirements for direct entry.
INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Studying for a Spanish and Portuguese degree at Queen’s will assist students in developing the core skills and employment-related experiences that are valued by employers, professional organisations and academic institutions. Graduates from this degree at Queen’s are well regarded by many employers (local, national and international) and over half of all graduate jobs are now open to graduates of any discipline.
The First Destination Survey showed that none of our language graduates were unemployed six months after graduating in 2010. A Higher Education Funding Council report for 2008 also showed that 3.5 years after graduation, languages students have the fourth highest mean salary (after graduates in Medicine, Pharmacy and Architecture).
Although the majority of our graduates are interested in pursuing careers in law, business, banking and translation, significant numbers develop careers in a wide range of other sectors. Typical careers pursued by graduates in Spanish and Portuguese can include publishing, education/teaching, translation/interpreting, PR, fast stream Civil Service, and banking.
Employment after the Course
Spanish graduates go on to work in a very wide range of sectors, including media and communications, advertising, journalism, tourism, teaching and translation. They are particularly in demand in careers requiring a high level of communication and presentation skills, as well as strong critical and analytical thinking.
Graduate Careers and Achievements:
Many of our former graduates have risen to the top of their fields and include many famous figures; for example:
Stephen Wilkinson, Relationship Director Global Financial Instutions - Americas, Barclays Corporate
Clodagh Shortt, Entrepreneur, Founder of Honey Boutique
Kaniah Cusack, Press Officer at Dáil Éireann
We regularly consult and develop links with a large number of employers including, for example, Santander and the British Council who provide sponsorship for our year abroad placements as well as Rolls Royce, Price Waterhouse Coopers and Moy Park / MARFRIG who are members of the employer liaison panel for the course.
Our past students have also gained work placement with organisations such as the British Council Assistantships Program, Santander Bank, and Price Waterhouse Coopers.
What employers say
‘We are looking for graduates who can be our future leaders who demonstrate qualities of courage, judgement and breadth. Where do we find such qualities? Linguists or arts graduates.’
Miles Cowdry, Director of Global Corporate Development, Rolls Royce PLC
Additional Awards Gained(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Prizes and Awards
All students in year 2 BA Spanish programme at joint honours level or above are eligible for consideration.
Certificates of Distinction in Spoken Portuguese: A certificate of Distinction in spoken Portuguese is awarded to students whose performance is 1st class in their final year oral examination.
Certificates of Distinction in Spoken Spanish: A certificate of Distinction in spoken Spanish is awarded to students whose performance is 1st class in their final year oral examination.
Queen’s Foundation Scholarship: Awarded by the School for the best overall performance in Portuguese at Level 1.
Queen’s Foundation Scholarship: Awarded by the School for the best overall performance in Spanish at Level 1.
The O’Rawe Prize for Academic Progress: This award recognises the achievements of the student at level 2 who has demonstrated the most significant academic improvement
The prize of £500 will be awarded to the student who, according to the established criteria shows the most academic improvement between their first year and their second year of study on the BA Spanish programme at joint honours level or above.
Xavier Giralt Prize: This prize, which is derived from funds bequeathed by the late Xavier Giralt, will be awarded each year to one or more Final Year candidates in Spanish language, whose exceptional academic performance merits recognition.
Degree plus award for extra-curricular skills
In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Degree Plus. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.
The tuition fee rates for undergraduate students who first enrol at the University in the academic year 2018-19 have not been agreed. Tuition fees for 2018-19 will be based on 2017-18 levels, normally increased by inflation and these are set out below.
|Northern Ireland (NI)||£4,030|
|England, Scotland or Wales (GB)||£9,250|
|Other (non-UK) EU||£4,030|
Tuition fee rates are calculated based on a student’s tuition fee status and generally increase annually by inflation. How tuition fees are determined is set out in the Student Finance Framework.
Additional course costs
Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.
Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library.
If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. A programme may have up to 6 modules per year, each with a recommended text.
Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.
Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.
If a final year includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.
Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.
There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
Spanish and Portuguese Studies costs
Students have a compulsory year abroad in Year 3. Students who undertake a period of study or work abroad are responsible for funding travel, accommodation and subsistence costs. These costs vary depending on the location and duration of the placement. Students should be aware that placement and internship modules do not normally involve payment or financial support from either Queen’s or the placement/internship provider. Placement options include: Erasmus Work with British Council as Teaching Assistant: Students currently receive approximately €780 net per month and an Erasmus monthly grant of approximately €300 . Erasmus Study Placement: Students currently receive an Erasmus monthly grant of €300. Students have a compulsory year abroad in year 3 of their degree and the costs involved will depend on which type of placement the student opts for. All Placements are split i.e. one semester in a Spanish speaking country and one in a Portuguese speaking country. Students can have one semester as a Work placement and one as a Study Placement. A limited number of Erasmus grants are available.
How do I fund my study?
There are different tuition fee and student financial support arrangements for students from Northern Ireland, those from England, Scotland and Wales (Great Britain), and those from the rest of the European Union.
Information on funding options and financial assistance for undergraduate students is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/Fees-and-scholarships/.
Each year, we offer a range of scholarships and prizes for new students. Information on scholarships available.
Information on scholarships for international students, is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships/.
* information shown is for 2017-18 and should be used as a guide until 2018-19 scholarships are confirmed.
How to Apply
Application for admission to full-time undergraduate and sandwich courses at the University should normally be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full information can be obtained from the UCAS website at: www.ucas.com/apply.
When to Apply
UCAS will start processing applications for entry in autumn 2018 from 1 September 2017.
Advisory closing date: 15 January 2018 (18:00).
Late applications are, in practice, accepted by UCAS throughout the remainder of the application cycle, but you should understand that they are considered by institutions at their discretion, and there can be no guarantee that they will be given the same full level of consideration as applications received by the advisory closing date.
Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as is consistent with having made a careful and considered choice of institutions and courses.
The Institution code for Queen's is QBELF and the institution code is Q75.
Further information on applying to study at Queen's is available at: http://www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/How-to-apply/
Apply via UCAS
After an offer is made this will be notified to applicants through UCAS. Confirmation will be emailed by the Admissions and Access Service and this communication will also include Terms and Conditions (www.qub.ac.uk/Study/TermsandConditions) which applicants should read carefully in advance of replying to their offer(s) on UCAS Track.
Additional Information for International (non-EU) Students
- Applying through UCAS
Most students make their applications through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) for full-time undergraduate degree programmes at Queen's. The UCAS application deadline for international students is 30 June 2018.
- Applying direct
The Direct Entry Application form is to be used by international applicants who wish to apply directly, and only, to Queen's or who have been asked to provide information in advance of submitting a formal UCAS application. Find out more.
- Applying through agents and partners
The University’s in-country representatives can assist you to submit a UCAS application or a direct application. Please consult the Agent List to find an agent in your country who will help you with your application to Queen’s University.
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