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Politics and Spanish (BA)

  • LR24

4 years (full-time) / n/a (part-time) / n/a (distance / e-Learning)

Expertise in politics and government combined with fluency in Spanish opens the door to a wide variety of career paths. Students on this programme can choose from the full range of Politics modules, while expert language training is accompanied by optional modules on Spanish society and culture. A particular feature of this four-year degree is the Year Abroad: your third year is spent in a Spanish-speaking country in order to practise and improve your language skills. Most of our graduates regard having lived in Spain as one of the most significant experiences of their university studies at Cardiff, with a positive impact on their personal development and career.

In your first year you concentrate on core modules plus your language. In your second and final years you choose from among a wide range of option modules as well as continuing your language study, with your Year Abroad in between.

Politics as an area of study is concerned with developing knowledge and understandings of governments, governance and societies. Politics is central to our everyday lives. It is about who gets what, when, where, how and why. It is about people and power and involves drama and events of great significance for everyone's lives. Just think of the electoral struggle between Left and Right, the power play of the Cold War, and the great enterprise of European integration. Studying for a politics degree means investigating why politics works as it does. You explore how parliaments and governments function and evaluate political ideas such as power, freedom, democracy, conflict, legitimacy and accountability.

As one of the most spoken languages in the world, with between 400 and 500 million speakers internationally, Spanish is becoming increasingly popular at degree level. The ability to communicate fluently in a foreign language is a highly marketable skill.

Politics and Spanish

Key Facts

UCAS Code LR24
Duration 4 years
How to apply
Typical places available The School of Politics and International Relations admits around 100 students every year to its undergraduate degree programmes.
Typical applications received The School of Politics and International Relations - 545
Scholarships & Bursaries
Typical A-level offer ABB including a foreign language (excluding General Studies)
Admissions Tutor Dr Carlos Sanz-Mingo
Tel Number 029 2087 4145
Email address
School website

Year 1

The first year is an introductory year. It is the results of the second, third and final years of study that determine your degree classification. The programme is made up of compulsory modules as well as optional modules, allowing you to tailor your degree to reflect your specific interests. A particular feature is the option of writing a dissertation in your final year. This is highly regarded by employers because it indicates that you can do original research.

For the Politics side of the degree there are two compulsory core modules:

The Spanish side of the degree runs two language pathways: one for students with an A-level or equivalent in Spanish, and one for students beginning Spanish. Students take two modules:

Two further modules can be chosen from among Politics modules (see below) or modules from other subjects, such as Philosophy, History or English.

Year 2

In Year 2 you choose three Politics and three Spanish modules. Please note that the lists of modules below are indicative only and that modules may vary from year to year.


Year 3

You spend the third year of your Spanish degree in Spain or in another Hispanic country studying at one of our partner universities, working as an English assistant in a school, or working for a company or organisation. While you are away from Cardiff, you will be assigned to the Year Abroad coordinator, who will keep in touch with you and monitor your progress.

The School has established links with universities in Cáceres, Ciudad Real, Granada, Lleida, Santiago de Compostela, Sevilla, València and Vic. In Spanish America we have exchange agreements with universities in Lima (Peru) and Guadalajara (Mexico). All students going on a Socrates exchange receive an Erasmus grant for each semester they spend abroad.

As a teaching assistant on a scheme run by the British Council, you could go to a major city or to a small rural town. This option allows you to earn a salary sufficient to live on, although you only work on a part-time basis. There is also the option of a placement in a Spanish organisation or company.

Year 4

In your Final Year you choose three Politics and three Spanish modules, including the option of doing a dissertation.

Spanish no longer distinguishes between Beginners and Post A-level students by your final year. All students of Spanish take the language module.

Lectures provide a broad structure for each subject, introduce key concepts, and convey relevant up-to-date information. These are outlined in course syllabi.

Seminars provide an opportunity to ask questions and discuss key ideas in a small group environment. Their purpose is to assist you to integrate the information and ideas you receive from lectures and readings and to explore issues critically and in depth. Set questions and readings form the basis for discussion by directing your attention to relevant aspects of the subject matter and to various types of sources of information. Giving presentations develops your capacity to gather, organise and synthesise relevant information and ideas and to communicate these in a logical and concise manner. Tutor-led and student-led discussion hones logical skills and gives you practice in applying different concepts, theories and methods to the subject-matter at hand. It also exposes you to different interpretations of political ideas and events. Group problem-solving helps to develop collaborative skills.

Language teaching is aimed at developing near native level fluency and accuracy in all areas of language learning (listening, reading, speaking and writing). Classes are small, take advantage of the latest language learning methods and technologies, and are mainly taught by native speakers. The year abroad consolidates language skills and develops further valuable intercultural communication skills via interaction with native speakers in the context of work or study. You will also be able to hone your language skills through practical option courses such as Business Spanish.

Essays and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing your capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments. Prior advice and written feedback (for essays) are used to help you understand what is required.

Dissertation The optional final-year dissertation provides you with the opportunity to investigate a specific topic of interest to you in depth and so develop your capacity to undertake research and communicate its findings, qualities increasingly prized by employers.

Pastoral Care You will be allocated a personal tutor for the entire period you are at the University. Personal tutors are members of the academic staff who are available to students seeking advice, guidance and help.

Typical A-level Offer  ABB including a foreign language (excluding General Studies).
Typical WBQ Offer Grade A in the Core and grades BB at GCE A-level, to include a Modern Foreign Language
Typical Int Bacc Offer  32 points overall, including 5 in a language at higher level
Other Applications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed admissions and selection criteria for more information.

A list of commonly accepted alternative entry qualifications and admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme can be read here.

For employers the Politics part of the degree means that you have an excellent understanding of politics and government at national and international level that will be of use whether you work in government or in the private or voluntary sectors. Business firms are interested in recruiting Politics graduates due to the fact that firms have frequent dealings with government. The degree also demonstrates that you possess highly developed intellectual and communications skills.

In addition, two distinct language-related career areas are open for consideration: specialist language careers which revolve around the language concerned, such as teaching, and careers which use language while keeping their main focus on another skill/area of expertise.

The combined degree in Politics and Spanish therefore prepares you for careers in a wide range of fields. These include journalism, broadcasting, teaching, local government, management, publishing, law, accountancy, education, the voluntary sector, policy research and consultancy, and the civil service. In addition, fluency in Spanish opens the door to careers in telecommunications and in international organisations and institutions, such as the charity sector and European bodies and agencies. A further option is to go on to postgraduate study.

Next intake: September each year

School Contact

Name: Dr Jonathan Kirkup  

Telephone: 029 2087 5036 



School Website:

School Contact

Name: Alex Ford (UG) (Spanish) 

Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 0824 



School Website:

More information

Politics and International Relations

School of Modern Languages