Modern Languages and History BA

Year of entry

2024 course information

Open Days 2024

Register your interest for our October Open Days. Register here

UCAS code
Start date
September 2025
Delivery type
On campus
4 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
AAB (specific subject requirements)
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBB at A Level and pass Access to Leeds.
Full entry requirements

Course overview

Students working in the Language Zone

You can study history at Leeds with one of eight languages.

On this four-year course, you’ll study a range of historical periods from the fall of the Roman Empire to the 21st century postcolonial and globalised world.

Your intensive language modules will prepare you for your year abroad, where you’ll further enhance your linguistic skills, and you’ll explore the history, culture and society of your chosen language.

Optional modules enable you to enhance your translation skills or business language, as well as choose from a wide range of history topics. You’ll also study the society and culture of the countries where your chosen language is spoken.

You’ll be able to choose to take your Final Year Project either with history or with your chosen language.

The international outlook and knowledge you develop alongside advanced language skills will allow you to consider career options in a range of fields when you graduate.

Choose one of the following languages

We offer the following languages at two entry levels: beginners or with prior experience (eg A-level or equivalent). If you have prior experience in Thai, please contact us before applying:

  • Chinese
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Thai (from beginners' level only)

You must include your chosen language in the ‘Further Details’ section of your UCAS application.

Specialist facilities

With a variety of specialist facilities and four libraries on campus, you’ll find plenty of space for study, group work, and research.

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.

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, from medieval Latin to the Leeds Russian Archive. Our main library resources are also excellent, and the University Library offers a comprehensive training programme to help you make the most of them.

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.

We also have links with several institutions that support language-learning on campus, such as Instituto Cervantes (Spanish), Instituto Camoes (Portuguese) and Institut Ramon Llull (Catalan).

Course details

On this joint honours course, you’ll combine history with your chosen language.

In your first year, a compulsory module will equip you with the research and academic skills you need to study history. In the following years, you’ll build on this foundation and focus on the social, cultural, political or economic themes that suit your interests. In your optional modules, you’ll study modules in the modern period and from earlier times, to really tailor your degree to suit you.

Whether you’re starting your language from beginners’ level, or with prior knowledge, you’ll reach a professional standard in your chosen language through intensive learning practice and a residence abroad. Depending on the language you’re studying, you'll spend either Year 2 or Year 3 in a country where your chosen language is spoken.

If you’re taking your language as a beginner, you'll focus on building up quickly your language skills through your compulsory language modules. If you're an advanced learner, your compulsory language module will allow you to consolidate and broaden your language skills.

You’ll complement your language studies by exploring the cultures and societies of the countries where your chosen language is spoken as well as other countries around the world, choosing from a range of topics, including literature, cinema, popular culture, history, and politics.

In your final year, you’ll take your compulsory language module and be able to choose to take your Final Year Project, either with history or with your chosen language.

Depending on your choice of Final Year Project, you'll also have the flexibility to choose from a range of more specialised history or cultural modules to deepen your knowledge. You might also enhance your professional language skills through modules on translation, interpreting or languages for business.

A degree in Modern Languages and History will equip you with the skills and international experience that prepares you for a range of different careers.

Course structure

Every student takes compulsory weekly classes in their chosen language and a selection of other modules on culture and society.

Find out more information on typical modules for the different language combinations of this course. You can study the following languages as part of your Modern Languages degree:

The history modules follow the structure below. This list represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

Year 1 compulsory module (20 credits)

  • Exploring History - This module equips all students with the fundamental skills, techniques, and knowledge to be able to flourish as an undergraduate student of history. You will discover the range of ways that the past is researched, analysed, and presented. You will have the opportunity to explore different approaches to researching the past as well as historical concepts, themes, and debates.

Optional modules (20 credits each)

  • The Medieval World in Ten Objects
  • Medieval Lives
  • Faith, Knowledge, and Power
  • Global Empires
  • Global Decolonisation
  • The Making of the Twentieth Century

Year 2 compulsory module (20 credits)

  • History in Practice - Through this core module you’ll have the opportunity to deepen your understanding of how history is made and communicated, such as working with archival material, learning digital humanities skills, or exploring heritage and the public face of history. You’ll have the opportunity to undertake a research project that presents your work to a wider audience or to apply what you have learnt across a range of innovative assessment tasks.

Optional modules (a selection of typical options, 20 credits each)

  • Medieval Romans and the shape of Afro-Eurasia today
  • Sin in Spanish America, 1571-1700
  • Britain and the Industrial Revolution
  • Histories of Black Britain
  • The Popular Caribbean: A History
  • Imperial Germany 1871-1918
  • Hands on Heritage
  • The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union, 1921-1993
  • Bass Culture in Modern Britain
  • Lost Colonists: Failure and the Family in Southern Africa, 1880-1939
  • Black Politics from Emancipation to Obama
  • Mao Zedong and Modern China, 1949-Present

Year 3 compulsory modules

  • Final Year Project (choose one, 40 credits)

  • History Dissertation - You will address a historical problem in depth, involving the use of contemporary sources and secondary literature and design and research a sustained and independently-conceived piece of historical writing, according to a research method defined by the student. Furthermore, you will gather and select suitable evidence to develop and sustain a historical argument in an extended piece of coursework and present your argument with clarity, fluency and coherence.

  • Public History Final Year Project - This final year project option allows you to create a historical resource intended for a public audience. You’ll explore different ways of presenting the past and choose an appropriate format – which might be a website, pop-up exhibition, film, podcast, or resources – for the research that underpins your project and the intended audience for your work. Through this module, you’ll develop highly attuned communication skills that are not only useful in the heritage sector but also in a wide range of careers.

  • Or: Modern Languages Final Year Project (dissertation, annotated translation, podcast)

Special Subject (40 credits, a typical selection of streams or pathways)

  • Dividing India: The Road to Democracy in South Asia, 1939-1952

  • The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939

  • Body, Mind and Senses: The Social and Cultural History of Disability in Britain, 1833-1998

  • Black British Culture and Black British Cultural Studies

  • The Soviet Sixties: Politics and Society in the USSR, 1953-1968

  • The Photographic Age: Photography, Society and Culture in Britain, 1839-1945

  • Early Modern Media: Printing and the People in Europe c.1500-c.1800

  • White Africans: Intimacy, Race and Power

  • Georgians at War

  • The Later Elizabethan Age: Politics and Empire

  • The Korean War

Optional modules (a selection of typical options, 20 credits each)

  • War, Regicide and Republic: England, 1642-1660

  • Mapping the Middle Ages: space and representation from the Pacific to the Atlantic

  • Gender and Slavery in Latin America, 1580-1888

  • Medieval Women Mystics: Visionaries, Saints and Heretics

Learning and teaching

Our tutors are experts in their fields whose teaching is informed by their own cutting-edge research.

They 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, since 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're 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 always use it to support your independent learning. We use a wide range of methods 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.

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.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB

  • Where a post-A level language route is taken, a B grade in the relevant language is required.
  • Where Chinese is taken, a GCSE in any modern language is required.

  • Where any other beginner language route is taken, previous experience in language is not required.

Alternative qualification

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. This course has additional subject specific requirements. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.


We will consider the level 3 QCF BTEC at Subsidiary Diploma level and above in combination with other qualifications. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.

Cambridge Pre-U

D3, M1, M2. Where a post-A level language route is taken, M2 in the relevant language is required. Where Chinese or Japanese is taken, a GCSE in any modern language is required. Where any other beginner language route is taken, previous experience in language is not required.

International Baccalaureate

35 points overall with 16 at Higher Level. Where a post-A level language route is taken, 5 points at Higher Level in the relevant language is required. Where Chinese or Japanese is taken, a GCSE in any modern language is required. Where any other beginner language route is taken, previous experience in language is not required.

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

H2, H2, H2, H2, H3, H3. Where a post-A level language route is taken, H3 in the relevant language is required. Where Chinese or Japanese is taken, a GCSE in any modern language is required. Where any other beginner language route is taken, previous experience in language is not required.

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AB in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers - OR A in Advanced Higher and AABBB in Highers. Where a post-A level language route is taken, a B grade in Advanced Higher in the relevant language is required. Where Chinese or Japanese is taken, a GCSE in any modern language is required. Where any other beginner language route is taken, previous experience in language is not required.

Welsh Baccalaureate

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.

Other Qualifications

European Baccalaureate: 80%. Where a post-A level language route is taken, 8.0 in the relevant language is required. Where Chinese or Japanese is taken, a GCSE in any modern language is required. Where any other beginner language route is taken, previous experience in language is not required.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is a contextual 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 contextual admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds offer: BBB at A Level and pass Access to Leeds.

Extended project and access to Leeds offer: BBC at A Level and A in a relevant EPQ and pass Access to Leeds

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 7.0 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: To be confirmed

International: To be confirmed

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will be £9,250 for students starting in 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 UK undergraduate students starting in 2025/26
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students starting in 2025/26 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. When the fee is available we will update individual course pages.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2024/25 and 2025/26
Tuition fees for international students for 2024/25 are available on individual course pages. Fees for students starting in 2025/26 will be available from September 2024.

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 on our living costs and budgeting page.

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.


You need to tell us your language combination when you apply. Input your chosen language in the Further Details section on your UCAS application.

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.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

School of History

Contact us

School of Languages, Cultures and Societies Undergraduate Admissions


Career opportunities

By taking this joint honours course, you’ll gain the language and professional skills to prepare you for an international career in a wide range of sectors.

You’ll acquire proficiency in a major world language and be able to think critically and analyse information, asking the right questions and communicating your findings both verbally and in writing. Independence, self-motivation and initiative are also among the skills you'll develop, so graduates from this course are highly regarded by employers.

As well as demonstrating that you’re intellectually versatile, this course will equip you with a wide range of transferrable skills that employers value such as:

  • Research critical thinking 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, 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.

Careers support

Leeds is the 6th most targeted university in the UK by graduate recruiters (The Graduate Market in 2023).

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’ll 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

Your residence abroad is the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture while sharpening and refining your language skills every day. For many of our students, it’s the highlight of their degree.

Your year abroad opportunities will depend on your language combination and level. Depending on your host country, you may be able to complete a work placement, work as a Foreign Language Assistant (FLA) for the British Council, or study at a partner university. You may also be able to combine a work placement and a study placement.

If you are studying French, German, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish, you may be able to spend up to one year in your third year in a country where these languages are spoken, depending on your language combination.

If you are studying Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or Thai, you’ll spend the second year of the programme abroad, studying an intensive language course.

Find out more about the options available for each of your chosen languages:

  • Read more about Arabic Residence Abroad
  • Read more about Chinese Residence Abroad
  • Read more about French Residence Abroad
  • Read more about German Residence Abroad
  • Read more about Italian Residence Abroad
  • Read more about Japanese Residence Abroad
  • Read more about Spanish and Portuguese Residence Abroad
  • Read more about Portuguese Residence Abroad
  • Read more about Russian Residence Abroad
  • Read more about Thai Residence Abroad

Work placements

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.