European Languages

Key Facts

Course Code R9575
  • Qualification


  • Typical Course Length

    3 Year

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The Department of European Languages offers a range of opportunities for research in three major European Languages - French, German and Spanish. The expertise of the teaching staff covers a variety of fields within each language, ranging from drama to cinema, to sociolinguistics, as well as philological language and literary studies.

Key Facts

MPhil and PhD

Supervision of research projects is always available on a wide range of topics (see above and Candidates often spend a considerable part of their research period working in suitable foreign libraries and/or archives, while remaining under supervision from Aberystwyth.

Research Supervisors

Research Facilities

Good facilities are available to research students of the Department of European Languages. The University library has excellent collections of books and periodicals in each of the languages taught by the Department. In addition, the National Library of Wales, one of the five UK copyright libraries, is adjacent to the campus, and has a wide range of linguistic and literary material.

The Department has a suite of modern language laboratories that use the latest computer-assisted teaching packages. The laboratories also have state-of-the-art facilities and video on demand from a substantial collection of films, CDs and DVDs, and access to European satellite TV channels. The Department also enjoys strong links with other University departments and research groups across Europe. Members of the Department are very active in conferences and similar activities.

The Department is extensively involved in research activities at international and national level, and has secured several times the sector average in prestigious (and competitive) external funding, for example, Professor David Trotter has just been awarded £66,353 as the Aberystwyth element of a joint Heidelberg-Aberystwyth grant from the AHRC and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.

MPhil and PhD Supervision of research projects is available on a wide range of topics (for more details see research supervisors). Candidates are often required to spend part of their research period working in suitable foreign libraries and/or archives, while remaining under supervision from Aberystwyth.

The Department of European Languages is situated on the Penglais campus, which also houses the University's Hugh Owen Library with its extensive range of books and academic periodicals in all the languages which we teach. Departmental library allocations in Aberystwyth are generous, and the Department has consciously sought to ensure that the collections within our research and teaching interests are strong and up to date. The University has a lively postgraduate scene: regular research seminars are held in the Department, and it also hosts the Aberystwyth Linguistics Forum, which organises 2 – 3 papers on linguistics topics every year.


The Department at Aberystwyth takes seriously its two major commitments – teaching and research. Knowledge is advancing at a faster rate than most textbooks are, and the Department believes that it is essential that students learn from experts at the forefront of academic research. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014) assessment the university was placed in the top 50 institutions for research power and intensity. It submitted 77% of eligible staff and 95% of the university's research was of an internationally recognised standard.

The Department has secured an impressive amount of external funding for research projects, and the range of the research interests include:

French: historical linguistics, early modern literature and ideas, modern literature, cinema, Anglo-Norman, historical linguistics, Romance linguistics.

German: sociolinguistics, especially language attitudes, relationship between standard and non-standard varieties, language awareness, language in education, 20th century literature and ideas.

Spanish: stylistic comparison of 19th century Spanish novels, North African comparative colonial literature; cosmopolitanism, geoplotics, landscape, science in Latin American literature and film.


Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Principles of Research Design PGM0210 10
Ways of Reading PGM0410 10

* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh