About our language short courses

Find out about our 20-week and 12-week courses, and decide which level of study is right for you.

Who can take them

Our short courses in languages are open to everyone, whether you’re working or studying with us or not. Perhaps you want to learn a new language, revisit a language you were learning in the past or improve your CV. Or maybe you’re a current Sussex student who doesn’t have a language option with your degree. Our flexible courses include learners from many backgrounds and ability levels.  

Your learning experience

Each course meets your needs based on the level of study. You’ll have between 1.5 and 2 hours of group teaching and learning each week. Courses usually take place over lunchtime or in the evening. Weekly tasks between classes will help you consolidate your learning and prepare you for the next session. The tasks will cover a range of topics to highlight the progress you’re making.

A supportive learning environment

You’ll have access to our Resource Centre, where you can enjoy foreign language films, TV, magazines and newspapers. You can extend your classroom learning by joining the weekly Language Café during term time, and attending the Language and Culture research seminars in the School of Media, Arts and Humanities.

At the end of the course you will receive a certificate of completion, confirming the language level you attained on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Our courses are not formally accredited, except for our British Sign Language courses (which are accredited by Signature). 

Find further information below:

British Sign Language (BSL) course

Our BSL courses follow a different level and pricing structure to our other language courses. Find out more.

20-week and 12-week courses

We offer  20-week courses as well as shorter 12-week courses for most of our language options. The dates below will be updated ahead of the course start each year. 

20-week courses

Enrolment opens

June 2023

Start date

Week commencing 9 October 2023

(Christmas break: 16 December 2023 to 28 January 2024, Easter break: 23 March to 14 April 2024)

End date

Week ending 26 April 2024

Duration of sessions

1.5 hours per session

Total cost

£287 (£277 concessions)

12-week courses

Enrolment opens

December 2023

Start date

Week commencing 5 February 2024

(Easter break: 23 March to 14 April 2024)

End date

Week ending 17 May 2024

Duration of sessions

1.5 hours per session

Total cost

£190 (£180 concessions)

Find more detailed information for a specific language course, including the times, days and levels available for each language.

Get in touch

Use our enquiry form if you have a question about any of our language short courses.

What level should I study?

We offer a range of study levels across our 20-week and 12-week courses. Many of our students continue with a new level of study each year. Find the level that best suits you.

  • Level 1 – Beginners

    An introduction for absolute beginners to the language of everyday situations. There is an emphasis on understanding and communicating, with advice on pronunciation. Grammar and written work are included where appropriate. There will be an opportunity to pursue personal cultural interests. A course book is sometimes used to allow you to work independently and to form a framework for your learning.

    Our Level 1 courses broadly correspond to CEFR Level A1.

    At the end of your course you should be able to:

    • understand and use some familiar everyday expressions and basic phrases
    • introduce yourself to others
    • ask and answer questions about personal details (where you live, people you know, things you have etc.)
    • interact in a simple way (providing the other person talks clearly and is prepared to help).  
  • Level 2 – Elementary

    Suitable for those progressing from a Level 1 course or whose knowledge is unpracticed, and are wishing to develop more confidence. The emphasis is on understanding and speaking, and grammar is incorporated too. Reading and some writing skills are included. An insight into the culture and history of the country within the framework of language learning will allow you to develop your own personal interests. You will be encouraged to participate in setting the level of the class.

    Our Level 2 courses broadly correspond to CEFR Level A2.

    At the end of your course you should be able to:

    • understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of relevance (such as basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography etc.)
    • communicate in a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters
    • describe, in simple terms, aspects of your background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.
  • Level 3 – Intermediate

    Appropriate for learners who have recently completed a Level 2 class and feel confident conversing at a basic level. Topics will be studied to allow you to give opinions and build on simple language structures. Grammar and writing skills will be included to help you make progress. You will be encouraged to participate in setting the level of the class.

    Our Level 3 courses broadly correspond to CEFR Level B1.

    At the end of your course you should be able to:

    • understand the main points on familiar matters encountered in work, school, leisure etc. 
    • deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken
    • produce simple, connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest
    • describe dreams, hopes and ambitions, and briefly give reasons or explanations for opinions and plans.  
  • Level 4 – Upper Intermediate

    Language and culture courses for those who have been attending Level 3 classes and now wish to broaden their knowledge. Grammatical structures will be revised and you will be encouraged to work out your own strategy for progressing further. The cultural part of the course will explore areas of literature, song, art, history, geography and institutions, as negotiated within the group.

    Our Level 4 courses broadly correspond to CEFR Level B2.

    At the end of your course you should be able to:

    • understand the main ideas of complex text on concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in your field of specialisation
    • interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity with native speakers, without strain for either party
    • produce clear, detailed text on a range of subjects
    • explain a viewpoint on a topical issue, giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options. 
  • Level 5 – Advanced

    For confident and experienced learners who may have an A-level in the language or have studied at that level previously. At least four years’ part-time study and frequent travel in the country are recommended before beginning this course. The language element will include listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. Practical advice on grammar will be integrated as appropriate. There will be a strong cultural element as you study literary and social texts. You’ll be encouraged to define the level and cultural areas explored in the class.

    Our Level 5 courses broadly correspond to CEFR Level C1.

    At the end of your course you should be able to:

    • understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise the implicit meaning
    • express yourself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions
    • use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes
    • produce clear, well-structured and detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices. 

Terms and conditions

If you’re thinking of enroling we recommend you read our full terms and conditions.

Frequently asked questions

  • How many people are in each class?

    The minimum number of students per class is usually 8, and the maximum number in any group is 16 people.

  • Can I join a course that has already started?

    For most courses we accept new learners up to about three weeks after the start of the course. This can vary according to the language and level of the course, and is subject to places still being available. We cannot normally offer a reduction in the fee for people who join a course late.

  • What happens if I miss a class?

    You should aim to be on time and attend all classes in order to keep up with the group and make the most of your course. Attendance is not compulsory, but your progress will be limited if you do not attend regularly or complete the tasks set between classes.

    If you cannot make it to one of the classes, please let your tutor know by email. Alternatively you can email languageshortcourses@sussex.ac.uk and we can inform your tutor.

    It is not always possible for tutors to provide copies of work that has been missed through absence, but most class materials can be accessed via your course Canvas site.

  • Can I change levels if I find the course too easy or difficult?

    Yes, we will always try to allocate you in a class group appropriate to your level. However, this will depend on the availability of the course and the agreement of the tutors involved, especially if the move is happening half-way through a course.

  • Do you run any online courses?

    Most of our language short courses have returned to in-person learning, but some are running online.

    These classes will be delivered through Zoom, so you will need to create a Zoom account if you don’t have one. We will send links to these virtual sessions each week. 

    You will need a microphone and webcam to participate in an online language course. Most laptops and tablets will have inbuilt microphones and webcams. We recommend a broadband internet connection, with a download and upload speed of 1.5Mbps or higher. It’s also important to keep your web browser (Chrome, Safari, Firefox etc.) up to date. 

    You should have your camera on during the Zoom class wherever possible. This will help your tutor and classmates to get to know you. It’s usually best to mute your microphone unless you are speaking. 

    Get in touch if you have any questions about online learning. 


If you have any queries, email languageshortcourses@sussex.ac.uk or call +44(0) 1273 872575.

School of Media, Arts and Humanities Office
Arts A07
University of Sussex

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