BA Arabic and Spanish / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course description

BA Arabic and Spanish is a four-year degree with a year of study abroad divided between a Middle Eastern country and Spanish-speaking country.

The course combines compulsory language elements on both sides, delivered by native-speaker staff and with the possibility of pathways in business language, translation and interpreting.

Alongside this, you will study the culture, politics, history, literature, popular culture, linguistics and religion of the areas in question.

Arabic

  • You have the opportunity to achieve near-native proficiency in modern Arabic while studying the language within its cultural and historical context.
  • You will also look more widely at Arab culture and literature from the medieval period to the present day, and be introduced to social and cultural trends in the Arab Middle East and beyond.
  • The range of culture units offered across all years of the programme combine the study of the history, politics, literary, and visual culture of the Arab world and are taught by a range of specialists within these fields.
  • The course is carefully structured so you can measure your progress step by step. Learning modern Arabic also opens the door to the vast literature of classical Arabic, including religious and secular texts, and provides a perfect platform from which to learn one or more of the colloquial dialects. 

Spanish 

  • Alongside your study of Spanish language, you will explore a range of options in visual culture (including painting and film), area-specific history, linguistics and literature. 
  • The breadth of expertise among staff across Spanish and Latin American Studies means an unusually rich and broad curriculum. 
  • Over 70% of our staff are first-language Spanish-speakers, and language courses are taught by native speakers with specific training. 
  • You will also benefit from us working closely with the Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and we maintain strong links with the Instituto Cervantes located here in Manchester.

Special features

Residence abroad

You can  study and/or work for up to a year in a country or countries relevant to your chosen language(s) to improve your communicative language skills in a native-speaker environment.

Read about Adarsh's time studying abroad in Spain in his blog post .

Collaborations and partnerships

The University has links with language and cultural institutions across the city, including:

  • HOME - international and contemporary art, theatre and film
  • Instituto Cervantes - a centre for Spanish culture

Societies

The University is home to over 30 international and language-related student societies offering a breadth of cultural activities and experiences.

Engage in cultural activities

Manchester is a multicultural city that provides excellent general opportunities for contact with speakers of Arabic and the pursuit of Arabic and Islamic interests outside of the University (eg public lectures, societies, cultural events).

Teaching and learning

You'll learn through a mixture of formal lectures, seminars and tutorials, spending approximately 12 hours a week in formal study sessions. 

For every hour of university study, you will be expected to complete a further 2-3 hours of independent study.

You will also need to study during the holiday periods. 

The individual study component could be spent reading, producing written work, revising for examinations or working in the University's Language Centre.

You'll benefit from excellent teaching, student support and cutting-edge study facilities, as well as from the vibrancy and cultural diversity of Manchester itself, Western Europe's most multilingual city.

Coursework and assessment

You will be assessed in various ways, including:  

  • written and oral examinations; 
  • presentations; 
  • coursework (which may include library research, linguistic fieldwork and data collection, or web-based research); 
  • in your final year, a dissertation based on a research topic of your choice.  
Assessment methods vary from course unit to course unit - see individual course unit listings for more information.

Course content for year 1

You will study 60 credits from both subjects. 

The first year equips you with a range of important skills such as linguistic expertise, the ability to read and analyse material, skills in presentation, group work and independent language learning. 

Arabic

  • In Year 1, you learn Arab language from complete beginner level - or `ab initio'. Ab initio students have seven contact hours per week with their nominated mother-tongue teacher as part of a course specifically designed to build confidence in comprehension, writing, speaking and listening skills. 
  • The Arab culture units offer a range of courses from the filmic and literary to the historic and religious, all of which reflect academic staff research interests.

Spanish

  • You are trained in the modern spoken and written Spanish language through compulsory core course units, and you will also be provided with the skills required to be successful in your study of Spanish and Latin American culture and history.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
History and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa MEST10711 20 Mandatory
Arabic Language 1 MEST51011 20 Mandatory
Arabic Language 2 MEST51022 20 Mandatory
Cultures of the Hispanic World SPLA10410 20 Mandatory
Themes in Spanish and Latin American Studies SPLA10420 20 Mandatory
Spanish Language 1 SPLA51011 20 Mandatory
Spanish Language 2 SPLA51022 20 Mandatory
Spanish Language 3 SPLA51030 20 Mandatory
The History and Sociopolitics of Palestine/Israel (1882-1967) MEST10042 20 Optional
Cultures of the Middle East and North Africa MEST10091 20 Optional

Course content for year 2

In the second year you will continue your language learning, increase your reading of authentic texts in both languages and choose from a wide range of optional units that cover the history, politics, literature and popular culture of the countries in question.

Arabic 

  • In Year 2, the language component of the course includes three contact hours per week in addition to working on set assignments and undertaking private study.
  • Various options are available ranging from Arabic literature, Middle Eastern cinema, gender and cultural studies to the anthropology of Modern Islam as well as history and politics of the Arab World. The units are largely assessed by coursework.

Spanish 

  • You follow a compulsory Spanish language course unit, refining your skills in written and spoken Spanish. 
  • You can take units in the culture and history of the Spanish-speaking world chosen from a list, which includes options such as the study of Latin American revolutions, Latin American history, or cultures and identities in modern Spain.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Introduction to Post Colonial Arabic Literature MEST20002 20 Mandatory
Arabic Language 3 MEST51031 20 Mandatory
Arabic Language 4 MEST51042 20 Mandatory
Spanish Language 4 SPLA51040 20 Mandatory
Spanish Language 5 SPLA51050 20 Mandatory
Themes in the Histories of Arab and Jewish Nationalisms MEST20271 20 Optional
Women and Gender in the Middle East and North Africa MEST20352 20 Optional
History of Modern Islamic Thought MEST20501 20 Optional
Visual Culture in Modern Spain: Film, Painting and Photography SPLA20061 20 Optional
Empire and its Aftermath: The Making of Modern Portugal in Literature, Art and Film SPLA20141 20 Optional
Writing Women in the Spanish Golden Age SPLA20162 20 Optional
History of Latin America SPLA20361 20 Optional
Culture and Cold War in Latin America SPLA20872 20 Optional
Modern Latin American Literature SPLA20881 20 Optional
Catalan Language & Culture 1 SPLA53010 20 Optional
Catalan Language & Culture 2 SPLA53020 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 16 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

Your third year of study is spent abroad under approved conditions.

Course content for year 4

The fourth year covers advanced language course units, a variety of specialised thematic course unit choices in the two chosen cultures, and an optional dissertation on an approved topic of your choice.

Arabic

  • You will complete your Arabic language studies at a high level. There is also the opportunity to study Business Arabic as well as to choose from a variety of specialised final year course units covering the Arab world.

Spanish 

  • You will continue your language studies of the Spanish you were exposed to in Years 1 and 2 and during your period abroad, perfecting your writing and oral skills. 
  • Choose from a wide range of options, including the study of the supernatural in Latin American literature and film, the multi-ethnic condition of Latin American societies, and visual culture from the early modern Hispanic world.

Course units for year 4

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Media and Business Arabic MEST30182 20 Mandatory
Arabic Language 5 MEST51050 20 Mandatory
Spanish Language 6 SPLA51060 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Interpreting: Context, Skills and Modes ELAN30241 20 Optional
Dissertation in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies MEST30000 40 Optional
Contemporary Debates in Islam MEST30031 20 Optional
Nature, the Environment and Politics in Modern Arabic Literature MEST30122 20 Optional
Media and Business Arabic MEST30182 20 Optional
Historical Controversies in the Study of Israel/Palestine MEST30721 20 Optional
Dissertation in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies SPLA30000 40 Optional
Social Issues in Portuguese and Spanish Film SPLA30642 20 Optional
The Politics of Business in Latin America SPLA31091 20 Optional
The Supernatural in Latin American Literature and Film SPLA31132 20 Optional
Memory and Culture in Post-Franco Spain SPLA31142 20 Optional
History of the Spanish Atlantic World: Empire, Trade, War SPLA31152 20 Optional
Culture and Empire in the Spanish Golden Age SPLA31161 20 Optional
Portuguese Language 3 SPLA52030 20 Optional
Portuguese Language 5 SPLA52050 20 Optional
Catalan Language & Culture 1 SPLA53010 20 Optional
Catalan Language & Culture 2 SPLA53020 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 20 course units for year 4

Facilities

The University Language Centre is home to language resources, including a new interpreting suite, purpose-built recording rooms, and resources for more than 70 languages.

The Centre also offers multilingual word processing, language learning software, off-air recording and AV duplication, multilingual terrestrial and satellite TV, and extensive support and advice for learners.

There are outstanding resources for students, including world leading collections on Lusophone Africa within the library and access to thousands of films and texts on Latin America, Portugal and Spain.

Learn more about our  facilities .

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk