A-Z of Degrees ; Our Weekly Series Designed to Help You Pick the Right Course. This Week: Iberian and Latin American Languages

By Hodges, Lucy | The Independent (London, England), August 24, 2000 | Go to article overview
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A-Z of Degrees ; Our Weekly Series Designed to Help You Pick the Right Course. This Week: Iberian and Latin American Languages


Hodges, Lucy, The Independent (London, England)


What do you come out with? BA or MA in Scotland.

Why do it? Because you want to perfect your Spanish or your Portuguese, or your Catalan or your Galician. And you fancy learning one of the fastest- growing languages in the world. Plus, you've fallen in love with Spanish cool - the new movies, art, music and salsa coming out of the Iberian diaspora.

What's it about? You learn the language or languages you have chosen or combine a language with a humanities subject. Then you have a lot of choice between courses on history, literature, politics, cinema and art. At some places you can study Iberian languages with business. Birmingham is hot on the visual arts and film. Aberdeen emphasises modern Hispanic culture rather than the Spanish Golden Age of the 16th and 17th centuries.

How long is a degree? Four years in England and Wales because you usually spend a year abroad; five years in Scotland.

What are the students like? Varied. Many have quite good language skills already. Those who are combining a language with business studies tend to be more focused.

How is it packaged? At Cambridge, examination is by big-bang finals. At Aberdeen all honours-level exams are marked entirely by assessment. At Birmingham, it's 50 per cent coursework and 50 per cent examinations.

How cool is it? Very. Latin American culture is where it's at these days. Spanish has become a very popular language to study at school recently. It's more regular than French and easier than German.

What A-levels do you need? Birmingham requires one modern European language. In addition it likes to see some literature or visual culture. Anything goes at a lot of places. Spanish is usually required if you're taking Spanish or Hispanic studies, but, if you're doing Spanish as a second language, you can usually do the course from scratch.

What grades? BBB for single honours Hispanic studies at Birmingham; CCC at Aberdeen or BBBB at Highers.

Will it keep you off the dole? Should do. Graduates of Spanish sometimes use their language by going to work in Spain or Latin America or by joining the diplomatic service.

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