Centre for Language Studies
Centre for Language Studies

Centre for Language Studies

Welcome to the Centre for Language Studies

The Centre for Language Studies provides a wide-range of modern language courses as part of students’ degree and as an extra-curricular activity. We also offer cultural modules to study abroad and exchange students.

Language Fair 2017

Sign up for free language courses this September

  • Learn French, German or Spanish at all levels from Beginner to Advanced
  • Learn Arabic or Mandarin at Beginner level

Sign up at the Language Fair 2017 on:

  • Thursday 28 September in Room A108 (College Building, first floor) from 11.00 - 16.00
  • Friday 29 September in Room A108 (College Building, first floor) from 11.00 - 16.00

Contact us

Centre for Language Studies
College Building, Room A129F

T: +44 (0)20 7040 3400
E: languages@city.ac.uk

Find out more about the Language Fair

Why study a language?

Foreign language skills and intercultural competences are highly valued by employers as the Confederation of British Industry confirms again in its 2017 report . Mastering more than one language will give you a competitive edge when you apply for graduate jobs later.

As well as learning the language itself, you will acquire a set of practical and personal skills such as effective and confident communication, listening skills, empathy and understanding others, team work, technological literacy, discipline and self-motivation. You will also develop your research and critical thinking skills.

Most importantly, learning a language is a gateway into another culture and this experience will help you to better understand your own.

Please see the links below for inspiration:

British Council video - benefits of learning a language

British Academy: Talk the talk

The Guardian: Special report on language learning

All Parliamentary Group: Manifesto for Languages

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language that goes to his heart.
‒Nelson Mandela

You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.
‒Geoffrey Willans

“Speaking only English is as much of a disadvantage as speaking no English.”
- All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages

Our current language classes and cultural modules

The Centre for Language Studies offers three broad categories of course plus Study Abroad and Exchange Programme modules.

Languages as part of your degree (LSP/LBM)

These language modules are taken for credit and offered as tailor-made courses in degree programmes focused on preparing students to work in a globalised workplace.

Find out more about languages as part of your degree

Free languages for City students and staff (LGP)

These courses are part of a wide-ranging programme of language courses offered at no cost to all students and members of staff at City.

Find out more about free languages at City, University of London

Extracurricular Language Courses (Cass Undergraduates)

The extracurricular courses in languages are taught in the context of Business within the target cultures. They are designed for Cass Undergraduate students to learn a foreign language as a free standing module and do not provide any credit towards their degree.

Find out more about extracurricular language courses for Cass undergraduates

Cultural modules: Study Abroad and Exchange

This programme offers courses for exchange and study abroad students. These students can take a language course as well as the following cultural programmes:

  • Performing Arts in London
  • Historic London
  • European Business Culture

Find out more our Cultural Modules

Our language courses

Language courses available

We offer courses in French, German, Spanish, Arabic and Mandarin at various levels. According to a report by the British Council these are the top five foreign languages most relevant to ‘the UK’s future prosperity and global standing’. We also offer Russian in certain programmes because of Russia’s geopolitical importance and the large number of native speakers it has.

Our programmes develop your communication skills in foreign languages as well as your cultural knowledge of how to live, work and be part of a culturally diverse global society.

Teaching is interactive and based on the communicative approach which emphasises practical use of the foreign language for effective communication.

All language courses are taught by native-speaker lecturers who are also linguists.

Please note that our courses are NOT for native speakers.

How will I be taught?

All our courses run over Term 1 and Term 2. You will have two face-to-face contact hours per week and there will be additional material on Moodle.

We develop and improve your reading, writing, listening and speaking skills on our modules as well as your understanding of the structure of the language. You will study events, topics and vocabulary relevant to everyday life and (on the LSP and Business programme) to your studies/ specialism. You will develop and deepen your cultural knowledge related to the countries where the language is spoken.

Each session deals with a mixture of skills. Classroom activities include: presentation/input, drilling, role-playing, pair and group work, work on pronunciation and intonation as well as grammar in context and if relevant, exercises related to script. Listening to audio clips and watching videos are also an important element in the class room. More comprehensive grammar exercises and reading texts will be set as homework, which you are required to complete regularly. All our language courses are assessed.

Please note that studying a language is a commitment and requires regular attendance and self-study.

Resources and generic course content will follow shortly. If you would like more practice outside your language class, you may want to join City’s Language Exchange Society.

Which language to choose?

Generally, we recommend to choose the language you think you may enjoy most as this is the best motivation for your learning. If you still cannot decide, you may find the information in this report interesting:

Languages for the Future report from the British Council

See page 22-23 for Arabic, page 24-25 for French, page 26-27 for German, page 32-23 for Mandarin, page 36-37 for Russian (which is only available on some of our programmes) and page 38-39 for Spanish.

What level am I?

All our courses are based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)

Level UK qualification
(starting level)
Starting level European level (CEFR)
*working towards
Beginner No prior knowledge necessary No knowledge, apart from a few words maybe A1
Lower intermediate Pre-GCSE, or rusty GCSE Basic understanding of language A2
Upper intermediate Good GCSE, rusty AS Good understanding of language B1
Advanced A-level Comfortable use of language B2

This is only a general guide – lecturers will adapt their programme to the linguistic level of the students in the class.

Diagnostic test

If you have prior knowledge in the language you would like to study, we need to test your level in order to place you in the correct class. For this, we will ask you to take an online diagnostic test in which your passive language skills are assessed through multiple choice and gap filling exercises. It takes about 50 minutes to one hour to complete and tasks relate to grammar, vocabulary and reading. There is no speaking or free writing involved. The test is designed for all levels, so if you cannot answer a question you should not worry but just go to the next one.

How to enrol

This depends on the programme you are eligible for/ you would like to join.

Languages as part of your degree

Languages as part of your degree

You may be offered to take a language module as part of your degree, for credit, either as a core module or as an elective. This option is available to most Undergraduate students in the School of Arts and Social Science. It depends on your degree course which language options are available to you and in which part(s) of your studies they are offered. Check with your department which pathway applies to you.

LSP and LBM programmes

We offer European languages - French, German, Spanish and Russian and non-European languages - Arabic and Mandarin.

The European languages are offered as part of the Languages for Specific Purposes Programme (LSP), which means you will study the language in the context of your main degree in Journalism or Social Science. The vocabulary and topics will be related to the world of Media, Social Science and Culture to make the syllabus more relevant to you.

The non-European languages are offered as part of the Languages for Breadth Module Programme (LBM), which means the language is taught for general purposes.

You can either start a language from scratch or you can build on your existing knowledge.

Here are the levels on offer

Languages for Specific Purposes (LSP)*

  • French – beginner, lower intermediate, upper intermediate and advanced levels
  • German – beginner, lower intermediate, upper intermediate and advanced levels
  • Spanish – beginner, lower intermediate, upper intermediate and advanced levels
  • Russian – beginner level

Languages Breadth Modules (LBM)*

  • Arabic – beginner and lower Intermediate levels
  • Mandarin – beginner  level

The module will be worth 15 credits per year.  It will be studied over Term 1 and Term 2 with assessments during and at the end of the year.

There will be one 2-hour session face-to-face teaching per week. Depending on language you choose, the class will take place either Tuesday 1pm-3pm or Tuesday 4pm-6pm. This slot is scheduled to suit your Undergraduate time-table.

In addition to this, we offer a voluntary support class for students who would like to have more practise. There will also be plenty of material on Moodle to support your self-study.

*Please note that French, German and Spanish at all levels are also available in the LBM programme (for general purposes). This is a fall back option in case we are unable to run one of the modules offered in the LSP programme. Should your chosen LSP module be cancelled due to low student recruitment, we can still place you in an LBM course if you wish.

Languages outside of your degree

Free languages for students and staff

The Centre for Language Studies at City University offers a wide range of modern language courses at various levels across the university, including free extracurricular courses.

All students at City (postgraduate and undergraduate) as well as City members of staff are eligible to apply for a free language course on the Languages for General Purposes Programme.

Language Courses – Languages for General Purposes (LGP)

If you are interested in taking a language as an extracurricular activity/ not for credit, you may want to register for a language course available on the Languages for General Purposes (LGP) programme.

These are the language options available:

European Languages

  • French – at beginner, lower intermediate, upper intermediate and advanced levels
  • German – at beginner, lower intermediate, upper intermediate and advanced levels
  • Spanish – at beginner, lower intermediate, upper intermediate and advanced levels

Non-European Languages

  • Arabic – at beginner level
  • Mandarin – at beginner level

The language is taught in the context of day-to-day use and a broad variety of topics will be studied. Find out here (Link to grid showing levels) what the above levels mean.

Format and timetable

Courses run over term 1 and term 2. There will be one 2-hour session face-to-face teaching per week.

The Beginner & Lower Intermediate level for all languages take place on Tuesday 4pm-6pm and the Upper Intermediate & Advanced level take place Thursday 4pm-6pm. There is no alternative to these slots.

Find out more about how you will be taught.

Assessment and certification

Module assessment is 100% coursework. Upon successful completion of your language course, you will receive a certificate to demonstrate your level of proficiency. The course is not part of your degree and marks do not count towards it.

Registration guidelines and restrictions

All City students and staff may apply to take this free-standing module at no extra cost but note that these courses are very popular and spaces are limited – not all applicants may be accommodated.

How to register for free student and staff languages?

Registration for the free language courses usually takes place during induction week at the Language Fair, where you fill in an enrolment form. If you have prior knowledge in the language, we will also ask you to take an online diagnostic test so we can place you in the correct class. You will need to bring your login-name and password for the registration.

If you can’t make it to the fair, you can register remotely during the month of September. You can access the registration form and test on Moodle. Please find the instructions here:

Register remotely

What happens if a course is oversubscribed?

If a course is oversubscribed we apply the following rules:

  • If more students apply for a particular course than spaces available (which is mostly the case for all Beginner courses and some Lower Intermediate courses), free places are allocated on a random basis to the applications received. We do not allocate spaces on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.
  • If your application is unsuccessful, you will be given priority for a place in the next academic year, provided you are still a student/staff at City University.
  • A degree of priority will also be given to students who have already completed a language course with the Centre for Languages provided they are progressing to the next level.
  • For oversubscribed courses, only one application per student will be accepted. Duplicate applications will be removed and the application made for the least oversubscribed course will be counted.
  • Applications made after the registration deadline will not be accepted if the course is oversubscribed.
  • We will keep a waiting list until after the first class has taken place.
  • Any student who does not attend the first class without prior notification to Centre for Languages will lose their place on the course. Their registration will be cancelled and the vacant place will be offered to another applicant.
  • You will be informed whether or not your application was successful at some point after the applications deadline and before the courses start. We will contact you on your City University email.

Cass undergraduate languages

All Cass Undergraduate students regardless of their year of study may join the relevant course which is specifically designed for business purposes.

Language courses for Cass Business School Undergraduates

For undergraduates studying at Cass Business School, we offer language courses in addition to your degree.

You have the opportunity to study a foreign language in the context of Business. We will develop and improve your speaking, listening, reading and writing skills as well as your understanding of the structure of the language. To make the syllabus more relevant to you, much of the vocabulary and topics will be related to the world of Business and Finance.

You can either start a language from scratch or you can build on your existing knowledge.

Languages and levels offered

European Languages

  • French – beginner, lower intermediate, upper intermediate and advanced levels
  • German –beginner, lower intermediate, upper intermediate and advanced levels
  • Spanish –beginner, lower intermediate, upper intermediate and advanced levels
  • Russian - beginner, lower intermediate

Non-European Languages

  • Arabic – beginner, lower intermediate
  • Mandarin – beginner, lower intermediate

The courses will only run if there is sufficient demand.

Format and timetable

Courses run over Term 1 and Term 2. There will be one 2-hour session face-to-face teaching per week.

Most courses run on Mondays 2pm-4pm or on Wednesdays 4pm-6pm with a few exceptions in the evenings from 6pm-8pm. These slots should suit your Undergraduate time-table.

Assessment and certification

Module assessment is 100% coursework. You will also have the opportunity to complete an online language portfolio during your course.

Upon successful completion of your language course, you will receive a certificate to demonstrate your level of proficiency. The course is not part of your degree and marks do not count towards it.

Eligibility

ONLY undergraduate students studying at Cass Business School (regardless of their year of study) and UG-Cass exchange students are eligible to take these courses. Postgraduate student studying at Cass Business School can join the LGP courses.

How to register for Cass undergraduate languages?

We will organise an enrolment session during induction week where you fill in an enrolment form. If you have prior knowledge in the language, we will also ask you to take an online diagnostic test so we can place you in the correct class. You will need to bring your login-name and password for the registration.

Alternatively, you can register remotely at any time. You can access the registration form and test on Moodle. Please find the instructions here:

Register remotely Cass UG only

Further information

If you have any questions relating to the provision or content of extracurricular language courses, please email us or call 0207 040 3400.

Study abroad and exchange

This programme offers courses for exchange and study abroad students. These students can take a language course as well as the following cultural programmes:

Performing Arts in London

This module provides an introduction to the Performing Arts in London relevant in particular for short-term visiting students.

  • Students will learn to critically review performances and engage in developing transferable skills in the area of art analysis
  • The course will also refer to the historical and cultural background of the performances and explore the variety of art forms on offer in the capital and where they can be seen and heard. How the arts are funded and the arts funding process is also considered
  • The course begins with an overview of English-speaking theatre with the Tudor monarchy's relationship to theatre, Shakespeare and the Globe and then moves to contemporary times and modern interpretations of performance including dance, opera, musical shows and theatre. It discusses what is perceived as Art, and looks into the issue of High and Popular art.

Art forms discussed and analysed

  • Theatre - history, development, influences and venues
  • Dance (classic or modern) - development, movements and history
  • Opera - history and development, from its origin up to musicals, including their similarities and differences.

Students, accompanied by their lecturer, will attend performances covering these art forms.

Historic London

This module provides students with an insight into the development of modern London through its history and its historical landmarks.

  • Students learn to critically assess the historical influences which have shaped modern London through focusing upon a selection of districts which have contributed to the creation of the town
  • Students will develop their ability to interpret and analyse the historical influences and pressures on the city from a historical perspective.

Students will visit various sites linked to historical landmarks or symbols

  • The Square Mile (City of London) and the City of Westminster - influences and historical development
  • The Great Fire of London and the Blitz - the impact of each of these disasters on growing autonomy and self-governance
  • The financial centre of the City The legal and political systems and their associated historical locations
  • The Globe Theatre, its historical background and the influence of Shakespeare.

European Business Culture (EBC)

This course is designed for undergraduate students at Cass Business School as well as exchange students who want to understand European business culture in the context of the European Union (EU) and its relevance within the globalisation of our economies and societies. It is taught in English and does not require the understanding of any language other than English.

  • Throughout the course the students develop their knowledge of European business culture and its dynamics in today's globalised economy from social, economic and political perspectives
  • The course helps students to synthesise the most important information within this business culture and its relevance to creating and effectively doing business across the EU.

About the Centre

About the Centre for Language Studies

Language Studies were introduced to City University in 1990 to present languages across the curriculum; to provide language support for international students; and develop external language activities and links with professional bodies.

In 2009 Language Studies was re-organised and two Centres were created, one for the study of Translation and the present Centre for Language Studies as a provider of foreign language programmes across the Institution.

The Centre for Language Studies is running from the School of Arts and Social Sciences (SASS). We provide a wide range of language courses across the university, for credit and as an extracurricular activity. We also run cultural modules, mainly to study abroad and exchange students.

Research and development

The Centre staff's research interests focus on Educational Research, particularly on policies within Higher Education, their effects on teaching and learning, assessment of language skills and the use of technology to this effect.

Contact us

For administrative and general enquiries please email the Centre for Language Studies or call on 020 7040 3400

For academic and assessment enquiries please email Svenja Erich or call on 020 7040 3164

Find us

City, University of London

Northampton Square

London EC1V 0HB

United Kingdom

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