Modern language electives and pathways

Get more out of your time at Sussex by studying a language alongside your degree.

Your degree, with a language

We recognise that, as future global citizens, students of all disciplines will travel, live, and work in countries across the world. It is becoming increasingly important to be able to understand and communicate in another language.

Most of our single-honours courses across arts, sciences and social sciences offer language electives, allowing you to spend 25% of your time studying a language alongside your degree.

We offer a range of language modules on many of our single-honours degrees, including:

  • Arabic
  • British Sign Language
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Spanish

No prior knowledge is required. All of the above languages can be studied for up to three years starting from complete beginners’ level (‘ab initio’) or intermediate (post-GCSE) level.

French and Spanish can also be studied from post-A-level for three years. This is known at the ‘Professional Purposes’ pathway. We do not currently offer German or Mandarin Chinese language study at post-A-level.

Three years of language study starting from beginners, intermediate or post-A-level (Professional Purposes) will take you to a CEFR B1+, B2 or C1 respectively. Find out more about the CEFR levels

CEFR levels and languages (marked ‘yes’ if available to study)
 Beginners (‘ab initio’)*
A1 - A2
B1 - B1+
Language in Context**
Professional Purposes 1*  
B1+ - B2
Professional Purposes 2 
B2 - C1
Professional Purposes 3 
Arabic Yes Yes Yes Yes      
British Sign Language Yes Yes Yes Yes      
Mandarin Chinese Yes Yes Yes Yes      
French Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
German Yes Yes Yes Yes      
Italian Yes Yes Yes Yes      
Japanese Yes Yes Yes Yes      
Spanish Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

*possible starting level for a pathway (see below)

**subject to demand

Find out more about all our language electives.

Adding to your degree title with a language pathway

If you study a language for two or three years, completing a pathway, your language will feature in your degree title, giving added value to your studies.

A two-year pathway leads to an award of ‘with proficiency in (a language)’. A three-year pathway leads to an award of ‘with (a language)’. For example:

  • BA (Hons) International Relations with Spanish (CEFR C1)
  • BSc (Hons) Business and Management Studies with Mandarin Chinese (CEFR B1+)
  • BA (Hons) in Film Studies with proficiency in Arabic (Intermediate)
  • BSc (Hons) in Psychology with French (CEFR C1).

Find out more about language pathways.

In some cases, you can select a degree course ‘with a language’ right from application stage, which automatically signs you up for a three-year language pathway

World-ready graduates

Our language electives and pathways will give you the opportunity to:

  • start learning a new language
  • develop a language you’ve previously studied
  • improve your communication skills
  • increase your employability with transferable skills
  • communicate with people from other countries and cultures
  • develop your intercultural awareness
  • prepare for a visit abroad (including studying abroad).

Language short courses

If you’re looking for non-credited, extra-curricular courses, explore our language short courses. We have lunchtime and evening classes available, which you can fit around your studies. 

TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) pathway

The TESOL pathway provides a comprehensive introduction to the principles of effective language teaching. You can gain a wide range of practical skills for teaching English to adult learners, and will receive valuable hands-on teaching experience in live classes with volunteer students.

Students successfully completing all modules comprising the elective pathway may be eligible for a professional qualification (the Trinity College London Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) in addition to the formal designation with TESOL on their degree certificate. This qualification will significantly enhance your employability and future opportunities as a graduate. To get the Trinity CertTESOL professional qualification, students pay a fee for external accreditation.

Find out more about TESOL pathways.

Resources and facilities

You will be able to make use of electronic materials and tools on Canvas, our virtual learning environment, and the Resource Centre resources and facilities.

You will also be encouraged to participate in extra-curricular activities such as the Language Café, where you can meet other language learners, visiting, exchange, and international students. More information will be available from your tutors.

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