This qualification has two stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- In Stage 1, you’ll study a compulsory 30-credit or 60-credit module, depending on if you choose to combine English language studies with a modern language or choose two modern languages. You’ll choose your remaining 90 or 60 credits from a range of language modules
- In Stage 2, you’ll study a 60-credit module in each of your chosen subjects/languages.
Optional Access module – visit Entry requirements to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.
You’ll choose to either combine English language studies with a modern language (French, German or Spanish) or combine two of these modern languages.
You may study the modules in your chosen subject one stage at a time or study the modules in one subject – completing 60 credits at each stage – before studying the modules in your second subject.
What modules you choose at Stage 1 will depend on your current modern language proficiency. If you choose beginners’ and intermediate modules in the same modern language, we recommend you don’t study them at the same time as we’ve designed intermediate ones to follow beginners’ ones.
1Italian option is available for only a limited time – check the module description for planned future availability.
In Stage 2, you’ll continue with your chosen subject combination. The modern language modules include a one-week residential school in France, Germany or Spain (as appropriate).
We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 17 March 2020.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The Diploma of Higher Education in Language Studies uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- working in a group with other students
- finding external/third party material online
- continuous and end-of-module assessment in the form of essays, short answer questions, and in some cases an examination
- using feedback: continuous assessment involves receiving detailed feedback on your work from your tutor and using this feedback to improve your performance
- some modules may require you to attend a residential school.
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer. Contact us as soon as possible to discuss your individual requirements, so we can put arrangements in place before you start.
Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment
This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:
- Knowledge and understanding
- Cognitive skills
- Practical and professional skills
- Key skills
The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.
It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.
You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide evidence of your previous study.
For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.
On completion of this undergraduate course, we'll award you the Diploma of Higher Education in Language Studies.
Recognition in your country
If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Read recognition in my country.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.
There are no formal entry requirements to study this qualification.
There’s a choice of starting points in your chosen modern language(s) – your choice will depend on your current level of confidence and proficiency. See our guidance on choosing the right modern language level, which includes a self-assessment quiz to help you decide between beginners’ or intermediate French, German and Spanish.
How much time do I need?
- Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
- This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
Skills for career development
By the end of your studies, you’ll be a competent communicator in another language with an awareness of cultural differences and similarities – attributes that are particularly valuable in an environment of increasing international contact. If you learn about English alongside another language, your study of its structure, history, and place in societies and cultures will greatly enrich and develop your understanding of all aspects of communication.
Certain skills flow directly from your studies like translation, effective communication in more than one language, the ability to compose and analyse a range of texts, and the ability to work well with members of other cultures and communities. You’ll also develop a broad set of employability skills, including the ability to:
- plan, organise and prioritise your work and motivate yourself when working both independently and as part of a team
- understand contemporary global issues and appreciate cultural diversity
- draw together, analyse and critically evaluate information
- use your knowledge about how language works in a range of settings
- communicate effectively, clearly and accurately with others
- put together reasoned arguments and question assumptions
- use information and communication technology (ICT) effectively
- analyse data and undertake research using a range of methods.
Languages are central to some professions, such as translating, interpreting and teaching. They are also a key asset in the diplomatic service, tourism and international business and administration. This diploma will take your language skills to a high level.
Language skills are also highly valued in a range of other sectors. Surveys indicate that employers place a premium on the ability to make contact and communicate with global trade partners and to understand overseas business environments and that they often acknowledge this with higher salaries. The languages most in demand in UK industry are French, German, Spanish and Mandarin.
In addition to improving your career prospects, studying with the OU is an enriching experience that broadens your horizons, develops your knowledge, builds your confidence and enhances your life skills.
Exploring your options
Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the website are available to see at any time, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.
In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience):
- language teacher in modern languages or English as a foreign language
- diplomatic service officer
- advertising account manager
- marketing officer
- PR consultant
- tour manager
- event organiser
- travel agency manager.