In this varied five-year degree, you’ll learn two major world languages and deepen your understanding of the modern world by exploring the histories and cultures of the nations that speak them. You’ll spend one year in an Arabic-speaking country and another in a Russian-speaking country, improving your language skills and gaining first-hand experience of these cultures and societies to enrich your understanding of these fascinating countries.
We teach Arabic and Russian from beginner level, but if you already have some knowledge of either language we can normally accommodate you.
You’ll become proficient in Arabic while building your understanding of the cultural, religious and historical contexts that have shaped the Middle East and North Africa. You will also learn about contemporary relevant issues of these regions, and explore themes such as cultural identity, sexuality, gender and race.
With approximately 170 million native speakers and tens of millions who speak it as a second language, Russian is a lingua franca not only in the Russian Federation, but also in many parts of Eastern Europe, Central Asia and diasporic communities worldwide. The global response to Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine will require talented individuals able to demonstrate both linguistic and intercultural skills. Our course will equip you with the ability to navigate this challenging environment with confidence.
The School of Languages, Cultures and Societies at Leeds is an exciting place for your undergraduate experience. Our diverse international community of students and staff, student-led societies and outstanding pastoral support creates a friendly and dynamic atmosphere for all our students.
The School archive at Leeds holds Arabic manuscripts and as many as 10,000 archaeological artefacts ranging from Pharaonic to early Palestinian eras. It’s a fantastic research resource.
The world-class Brotherton Library is home to a wide variety of manuscripts, archive and early printed material in its Special Collections – valuable assets for your independent research. These include rare copies of magazines and unpublished letters, with materials across the range of languages that we teach. It includes extensive collections relating to Middle Eastern, North African and Islamic studies. Our main library resources are also excellent, and the University Library offers a comprehensive training programme to help you make the most of them.
The Language Centre includes digital language labs, audio/video practice booths and Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL). The Language Zone offers excellent learning material in more than 50 languages, including online resources and advice. The Language Exchange and the Language Groups programme provide opportunities to practice with other learners and native speakers; you can also volunteer to help other learners and enhance your CV at the same time.
Our Martin Thomas Translation Labs feature state-of-the-art computing facilities for translation studies as well as Interpreter Training Suites – ideal if you are considering a career in interpreting.
The University of Leeds is home to the world-leading Leeds Russian Archive, established in 1982 and comprising around 650 collections of manuscripts, photographs, and other archival material related to Anglo-Russian contacts in the 19th and 20th centuries. With reserves of texts by Russophone authors, ranging from Bunin to Lenin, the Archive offers countless opportunities for meaningful original research.
In your language classes, you will benefit from using a number of state-of-the-art digital resources, including IntelliText: a program developed at Leeds that offers access to large collections of authentic texts in Russian (and other languages) which will help you produce more sophisticated and natural language in your writing and speaking.
Take a look around our libraries:
This course, and the unique experience of living abroad, will equip you with the knowledge, skills and intercultural awareness necessary to pursue a wide range of exciting global careers.
Core and optional modules will give you a firm grounding in both languages while you study topics that suit your interests. You'll also develop a range of transferable skills that are highly regarded by employers, including critical thinking, enhanced communication and cultural awareness.
In your first year, you’ll study core and optional modules that develop your language skills in both Arabic and Russian, introduce you to the politics, history, cultures and religions of the Middle East and North Africa, and explore a contemporary understanding of Russia in a global context. A joint honours degree allows you to study the same core topics as students on each single honours course, but take fewer optional modules so you can fit in both subjects.
Years 2 and 3
In your second and third years, you’ll study abroad. You’ll spend a year in a Russian-speaking country, taking an intensive language course and experiencing local culture first-hand. You'll spend another year in Morocco or Jordan (subject to availability of places in both countries) at an institution that has been selected for its high-quality methods of teaching and success in running TAFL (Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language) courses. The curriculum you will study during your year abroad is exclusively for our students.
You’ll return to Leeds to further develop your language proficiency in Arabic and Russian. Selecting from a variety of optional modules, you’ll study topics as diverse as Middle Eastern history, contemporary Arab media, translation theory and practice, Business Russian or aspects of Russophone cultures and societies
You’ll deepen your knowledge in your final year at Leeds, studying advanced language modules and working on a final-year research project. This could be a dissertation, translation or digital documentary, submitted as a podcast. You'll also have the flexibility to choose from a range of optional modules in areas that interest you. The international outlook and knowledge you develop alongside advanced language skills will allow you to consider career options in a range of fields.
The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.
Year 1 compulsory modules
|Beginning Arabic 1||20|
|Beginning Arabic 2||20|
|Studying the Middle East: Culture, History, Politics and Religion||20|
|Beginning Russian 1||20|
|Beginning Russian 2||20|
|What is Russia? An Introduction to Russian Studies||20|
Year 2 compulsory modules
|Arabic Year Abroad||120|
|Russian Year Abroad||120|
Year 3 compulsory modules
|Arabic Year Abroad||120|
|Russian Year Abroad||120|
Year 4 compulsory modules
|Advanced Arabic Grammar and Translation||20|
|Essential Skills in Practical Arabic||20|
|Core Russian Language 2||20|
Year 4 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)
|Arab Media, Politics and Society||20|
|Cultures of the Arab Middle East and North Africa||20|
|Towards the Future: Skills in Context||20|
|Global Environmental Humanities||20|
|Digital Communications Across Cultures||20|
|The Sounds of Russian||20|
|The Spaces of Russian Literature||20|
|Gender and Sexuality in Russia||20|
Year 5 compulsory modules
|Advanced Skills in Arabic Language||20|
|Core Russian Language 3||20|
|Final Year Project: Dissertation, Translation or Podcast||40|
Year 5 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)
|Islam and Modernity||20|
|Middle Eastern Politics: Regimes, Societies and Conflict||20|
|Contemporary World Literature||20|
|Material Cultures and Cultures of Consumption||20|
|Adventures of the Imagination: Crime and the Fantastic Across Continents||20|
|Social Movements across Cultures||20|
|Minoritised Languages, Dialects and Cultures from Past to Present||20|
|Russian Advanced Translation||20|
Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.
This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.
Learning and teaching
You'll learn through a mix of seminars, lectures, workshops, group sessions and one-to-one supervisions, as well as independent learning supported by a rich range of resources. Our tutors are passionate researchers and dedicated teachers who use a range of teaching methods to help you benefit from their expertise, including lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops.
Independent study is also central to this degree, as it allows you to develop your skills in research and analysis. You’ll be able to apply your skills and knowledge in a final year research project on a topic of your own choice.
We are committed to an innovative and inclusive approach to teaching, which draws on a variety of activities, including flipped learning, group presentations, and bespoke digital resources to prepare you for your seminar discussions.
On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.
We are creative in our approach to assessment, and we consistently support your independent learning to ensure assessment is fair and inclusive.
We use a wide range of assessments including essays, exams, presentations, podcasts, literature reviews, reflective logs, and group projects. Assessments are designed to deliver the transferable skills needed for the world of work; task-based activities are designed to evidence critical thinking, demonstrate initiative, and show knowledge of a range of relevant subjects and sources. We often try to provide you with a choice of assessment type.
Support for assessments is integrated into our teaching and you'll usually have the opportunity for formative assessments that allow you to practice your skills and do well in your formal assessments. We also run extra classes on skills such as public speaking, structuring essays and exam technique that you’ll be able to attend throughout your time at Leeds.
Other course specific tests:
When an applicant is taking the EPQ in a relevant subject this might be considered alongside other Level 3 qualifications and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you are taking A Levels, this would be BBB at A Level and grade A in the EPQ.
Access to HE Diploma
Pass diploma with 60 credits overall, including at least 45 credits at level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. An interview and a piece of written work may also be required.
BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma: DDM. Other BTEC qualifications are also considered. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.
M1, M1, M2
34 points overall including 16 at Higher Level
Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)
H2, H2, H2, H3, H3, H3
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers
BB in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers, or B in Advanced Highers and AAABB in Highers, or AABBBB in Highers
The Welsh Baccalaureate is not typically included in the academic conditions of an offer made to you for this course. If you choose to undertake the Welsh Baccalaureate we would strongly encourage you to draw upon these experiences within your personal statement, as your qualification will then be taken into account both when your application is initially considered by the selection panel and again when reviewed by the admissions tutor at the time your A-level results are passed to us.
European Baccalaureate: 75%.
Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the Schools Undergraduate Admissions Team.
Were committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.
Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.
Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.
Typical Access to Leeds offer: BBC at A Level and pass Access to Leeds.
We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. Contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.
International Foundation Year
International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.
English language requirements
IELTS 7.0 overall, with no less than 6.5 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.
Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.
UK: £9,250 (per year)
International: £24,500 (per year)
Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.
Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 and 2024/25 are available on individual course pages.
Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.
Read more about paying fees and charges.
There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.
Scholarships and financial support
If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.
Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.
Read our guidance about applying.
International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.
Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.
This course is taught by
School of Languages, Cultures and Societies Undergraduate Admissions
You’ll gain the language and professional skills to prepare you for an international career in a wide range of sectors. This Arabic & Russian degree allows you to gain proficiency in two major world languages. As well as demonstrating that you’re intellectually versatile, your languages degree will equip you with a wide range of skills across different disciplines which are attractive to employers such as:
- good research skills and the ability to analyse complex information from multiple sources before drawing your own conclusions
- communication skills, enabling you to defend your views clearly, either verbally or in writing
- strong organisational skills and the confidence to work independently or in a team
- a deep understanding of cultural diversity, allowing you to work effectively with people whose backgrounds differ from yours
Leeds graduates have pursued careers across the globe and in a range of sectors including education, the media, law, publishing, the civil service and diplomacy, business and finance and the charity sector. Many others have also pursued postgraduate study, including further training in language-based careers such as translating and interpreting.
Leeds is the 5th most targeted university in the UK by graduate recruiters (The Graduate Market in 2022). At Leeds, we are fully committed to developing your employability and career prospects. You’ll have a wealth of opportunities to develop your skills and make the most out of your time at Leeds and during the time you’ll spend abroad.
Experience of living abroad, combined with detailed study of languages and cultures, is valuable preparation for employment in a multicultural, multinational environment.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
Our experts in the University’s Careers Centre will support you to make informed decisions about your career path, understand the opportunities available and the steps you need to take to pursue your choices. You’ll be encouraged to attend on-campus events including graduate recruitment fairs, employer networking and information sessions, and meetings with our alumni.
The Union provides career-related support through the part-time job hub, student societies and other activities throughout the year. Clubs and societies are a great way to get involved in lots of activities and explore your interests. They’re also a great way to develop your skills such as team working and leadership. For example, you could be a key player in an award-winning sports team, or become a committee member and chair society meetings, or you could even project manage a volunteering trip overseas. The Union is home to School Reps who are appointed by students to represent the views and be the voice of students in your School.
At Leeds, you can access support to help you start your own business. Whether you want to learn about enterprise or become an entrepreneur, we offer award-winning specialist support.
As a student with us, you will be guided in your career choices and prepared for life after your degree in a variety of ways. Workshops and events are organised for you by the School throughout the year and focus on networking, understanding the value of your language skills, hearing from alumni about their career experiences and hosting graduate recruiters who want to hire you.
We’ll also keep you informed of work/voluntary placements for your time abroad and of any other part-time and volunteering opportunities that you can fit around your studies.
Study abroad and work placements
In this five-year course, you’ll spend two years abroad, in year two and year three. For the Arabic year abroad, you’ll study at an institute such as the Arabic Language Institute in Fes (ALIF), Morocco, or Jordan Language Academy in Amman. You’ll also spend a year taking an intensive Russian language course in a Russian-speaking country.
As part of your Russian undergraduate degree you’ll spend a year at a higher education institution in a Russian-speaking country.
You’ll benefit from expert instruction in intensive language classes and broaden your understanding of the countries and cultures in which Russian is spoken. Of course, you’ll also have plenty of time outside the classroom to travel and explore.
You’ll have the option of University accommodation (subject to availability), or you may choose to arrange your own private accommodation.
Whilst on your Year Abroad, there is constant liaison between the institutions and the University of Leeds to provide guidance, support and advice. You’ll be able to use the student blog, and the Russian Academic Society has a Facebook group to discuss living and studying on your Year Abroad.
For many students the Year Abroad is the highlight of the course, through which you gain insights into the culture and society of Russian-speaking countries, broaden your mind and make new friends.
The Year Abroad is essential not only in developing the Russian language skills you’ll have acquired during your first year, but also in deepening your understanding of Russophone countries and communities. The language skills developed during your Year Abroad will be built on when you return to Leeds to complete your degree.