Programme Information

Levels and Credits

Students take modules to the value of 120 credits in each year of an Exeter degree (or 60 credits per year if studying part-time). Modules are designed to assess students at successively more difficult levels, indicated in the module number (e.g. MLS 1002 is a Level-1 module). There is a single system of levels for all UK universities, and as it provides for only 3 undergraduate levels, the Year Abroad and final year are both coded Level 3 (for students of Arabic, the Year Abroad and year three are both coded Level 2).


In general, students take Level-1 modules in year 1, Level-2 modules at year 2, and Level-3 modules in years 3 and 4. However, the University allows the Department to permit a student to take an extra 30 Level-1 credits after year 1, provided this accords with the ‘programme specifications’ (the regulations for each degree). If you want to take a Level-1 module in year 2 (normally a new language) you therefore need the permission of the Director of Education. Modern Languages does not normally allow students to take a Level-1 module in their final year and in no cases may you take a beginners language module in your final year. If, after reading the explanation of the degree structure below, you have any queries about whether a module is allowed under your programme, please contact the Director of Education.

Programme structures

When you registered you were either registered on BA Modern Languages or on one of our Combined Honours degrees (e.g. BA English and German, BA Spanish and International Relations). 

If you are on a Combined Honours degree you normally take exactly half of your credits on each side, except that the year-abroad credits are taken on the Modern Languages side. This means that in each year, in Modern Languages, you take the core language module and 30 credits of culture (normally two 15-credit culture modules). You will graduate with the degree title for which you are now registered.

Because it groups together all the modules taught in our seven languages, including some cross-cultural modules, BA Modern Languages allows a great deal of flexibility, and you are able to choose freely from among the modules on offer, with only a few restrictions:


  • All students must choose at least one 30-credit core language module with an ML* code (e.g. French Language, Spanish Language for Beginners).
  • Students may choose a maximum of 30 credits from outside the modern languages codes per year, that is from other departments of the university, including the FLC (which offers modules that are subsidiary to a main degree).
  • Students cannot study more than 30 credits of language modules in a single language (e.g. it is not possible to take MLF 1001 alongside an FLF module in French language).
  • Students may normally study only one beginners language during the course of their degree. A student who drops out of a third language at the end of year 1 may not normally take up a fourth language in year 2. No student may take an ab initio language module in final year.
    • Students wishing to study 3 languages must meet a higher entry tariff and will have been informed of their eligibility by Admissions. Any transfers to a three language programme after the Admissions stage must have the approval of the Director of Education. Students wishing to transfer to a programme comprising three languages in year 2, are normally expected to achieve marks of 70% or higher for their first two languages in year 1.
    • Students may normally study no more than 3 different subjects (that is, three different codes) and may under no circumstances study more than three different language modules. A student of three languages should  choose culture modules (to the value of 30 credits) with the same code as two of their languages.
    • Some modules have language pre-requisites, which are stated on the module description. For instance, a level-1 French literature module may require A Level French and a level-2 German literature module may require MLG 1001 or equivalent language knowledge. Where no pre-requisite is specified, a module is open to all modern languages students.


Students on BA Modern Languages who successfully complete the programme will receive on their degree certificate a degree title that reflects the subject knowledge they have accumulated during their time at Exeter. You should therefore think of yourself as working towards the degree title you would like to have and make sure you take appropriate modules to achieve it. To allow for changes of emphasis between years 1 and 2, the degree title is based mainly on credits gained in years 2 and 4 (or years 2 and 3 of a three-language degree). Year-abroad credits may be gained in any one of the languages studied. A student might, for instance, graduate with ‘BA French and Spanish’, ‘BA French with Portugese’, or ‘BA French, Spanish, and Italian’, or ‘BA French with Proficiency in Spanish’. Further details are given in the programme specification for BA Modern Languages.

Taking a language as a third subject

If you want to take three languages you must normally have studied two of those languages to A Level: you may not study more than one language as a beginner.

You will study your third language by following a 30-credit pathway in that language in each of the years based at Exeter (during the Year Abroad you are assessed in only one of your main languages). However, we cannot guarantee to offer courses at all levels in all languages each year and you can only enrol on a module for which you have the pre-requisite level of language competence. The third language will normally be studied within the Department of Modern Languages.

Students may study a maximum of three languages at Exeter. A student who drops out of a third language at the end of year 1 may not normally take up a fourth language in year 2. Students may not study four languages at Exeter. No student may take an ab initio language module in final year.

If you take a third language in your second year, you will not change degree programme and so your degree title (e.g. BA German and Italian) will remain the same. However, the third language will appear on the transcript of marks that you receive after graduation. Because you are not changing degree programme you do not need to notify the University. Nevertheless, Modern Languages needs to give its permission for you to take the third subject.

Once accepted onto the new pathway you will take 15 credits fewer in each of your main languages (you may not drop 30 credits in just one language): if you have already been allocated to optional modules you must inform the relevant language Units of the change.

Taking TESOL as a third subject (having started in 2010-11 or earlier)

A number of places are reserved for ML students on the BA in Modern Languages with TESOL, to which you can apply directly through UCAS. This programme offers a three-year 30-credit pathway in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). The modules at Levels 1, 2 and 3 (final year) are taught by lecturers in INTO.