can I do a languages degree without A level languages

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Rdz
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#1
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I didn't take languages at A level, I took sciences and geography but now I am considering doing a languages degree at university as I have realised I am no longer interested in sciences and I do find learning languages enjoyable and rewarding and a useful skilll to have. I was considering doing flexible combined honours at Exeter in German and Japanese as I noticed they have modules for beginners
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ttennitt
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Hi, I have applied for languages at uni (Spanish and beginners russian) and usually they will let you do a new language but only one, alongside a subject like english, history, politics, geography etc. It says on the Exeter website that only one beginners language may be taken per year so you would have to study other subjects alongside it
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Rdz
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(Original post by ttennitt)
Hi, I have applied for languages at uni (Spanish and beginners russian) and usually they will let you do a new language but only one, alongside a subject like english, history, politics, geography etc. It says on the Exeter website that only one beginners language may be taken per year so you would have to study other subjects alongside it
where have you applied and what A levels did you do
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ttennitt
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(Original post by Rdz)
where have you applied and what A levels did you do
I have applied to Oxford, Bristol, Bath, Manchester and Southampton, I have offers from all five. I do Spanish history and politics a level
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artful_lounger
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The answer is "maybe". It depends on what language you want to study, and what your language learning background is otherwise.

Generally European language degrees typically want to see a language A-level, albeit not necessarily in your target language as most (French is the major outlier) can be studied from scratch. Sometimes they will just prefer this although usually they will want some evidence of language learning ability. Joint honours courses, especially "X with Language" style courses where the language is a "minor" component and studied from scratch, tend to be a lot more flexible.

Non-European languages and ancient languages tend to be somewhat more flexible. Some background in any language(s) will usually looked upon favourably but most non-European language courses don't specifically require any language background and most ancient language focused courses (e.g. Classics, Egyptology, etc) have routes for those with or without language background (in the target languages or otherwise).

Something to be aware of in all cases is that it's usually not permissible to begin two new languages simultaneously in any degree. Also for FCH at Exeter specifically they do not permit you to study more than one language from scratch and if you would be studying more than one language as a result require at least an A-level in one of the target languages.

For non-European languages you also need to be very discerning in where you choose to study them, as they are generally a lot more challenging for beginners and you really need to study them a) intensively and b) in a very well established department for that language, to ensure you achieve suitable competency levels in the language.

Note that if you are interested in learning about languages but not necessarily learning languages themselves, linguistics degrees normally have no specific requirements.
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Rdz
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
The answer is "maybe". It depends on what language you want to study, and what your language learning background is otherwise.

Generally European language degrees typically want to see a language A-level, albeit not necessarily in your target language as most (French is the major outlier) can be studied from scratch. Sometimes they will just prefer this although usually they will want some evidence of language learning ability. Joint honours courses, especially "X with Language" style courses where the language is a "minor" component and studied from scratch, tend to be a lot more flexible.

Non-European languages and ancient languages tend to be somewhat more flexible. Some background in any language(s) will usually looked upon favourably but most non-European language courses don't specifically require any language background and most ancient language focused courses (e.g. Classics, Egyptology, etc) have routes for those with or without language background (in the target languages or otherwise).

Something to be aware of in all cases is that it's usually not permissible to begin two new languages simultaneously in any degree. Also for FCH at Exeter specifically they do not permit you to study more than one language from scratch and if you would be studying more than one language as a result require at least an A-level in one of the target languages.

For non-European languages you also need to be very discerning in where you choose to study them, as they are generally a lot more challenging for beginners and you really need to study them a) intensively and b) in a very well established department for that language, to ensure you achieve suitable competency levels in the language.

Note that if you are interested in learning about languages but not necessarily learning languages themselves, linguistics degrees normally have no specific requirements.
what do you think about learning Japanese as a minor as part of the FCH at Exeter?
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by Rdz)
what do you think about learning Japanese as a minor as part of the FCH at Exeter?
Per my above point, they don't have a specific Japanese department so I would say proceed with caution. Somewhere with an established department (e.g. SOAS, Edinburgh) would probably be better for attaining a good level of Japanese. Note this would not be a unique situation for Exeter but in general for any of the many unis which offer ancillary courses in Japanese (or a similar language like Chinese or Korean, and maybe something like Arabic as well - although for Arabic Exeter DO have a well established department for that area, although most of their specialist courses are only available to those on the department's degrees and not for external students or FCH).

At the very least, between it being "minor" component of the course and it being through a languages centre, rather than dedicated East Asian Studies/Japanese department, expect to have fairly basic language proficiency at the end (i.e. probably not professional level proficiency). If you are interested in studying Japanese in a degree in some capacity I highly recommend you read through at least the following two posts by Quick-use who did Japanese at Edinburgh:

About unis offering Japanese: https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho...6#post86350196

About years abroad in Japan: https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho...6#post87390332
Last edited by artful_lounger; 3 months ago
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