Students studying International Studies and Spanish appreciate how the insights of political analysis (e.g. political theory, political institutions, international relations) and the tools of literary and linguistic inquiry combine to illuminate political and historical developments, including those in the contemporary world. By studying International Studies and Spanish, students can also analyse a wide variety of literary, political, social, cultural and linguistic aspects of Spanish-speaking countries across the globe. All students follow modules in Spanish language which are of a broadly communicative nature, focusing on contemporary Spanish/Hispanic social and cultural issues and drawing on authentic materials. The degree takes four years to complete (which includes the study abroad year).
International Studies and Spanish Degree highlights
Iberian Languages at QUB was ranked 5th in the UK by the Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016. In the most recent Research Assessment (REF 2014), Languages at Queen's were ranked third in the UK.
- After stage 2, you will spend an academic year working or studying in a Spanish-speaking country. Students have the possibility of acquiring valuable professional experience by teaching in a school, undertaking a work placement, or doing voluntary work; they may also elect to study at a Spanish university.
- Students taking a BA in Spanish undertake an extended period of residence abroad (typically 8 months), normally working as an assistant in a school or undertaking a paid work placement in a Spanish-speaking country (options include Spain and Latin America). Students can also elect to study at a Spanish university, or do voluntary work. In addition to the benefits for oral competence, the residence provides a unique opportunity for immersion in Spanish and Spanish/Hispanic culture. Moreover, the Year Abroad is a significant learning and employability enhancement opportunity. This feature of our degree programme gives students the opportunity for personal development, and further develops communication and language skills and intercultural awareness. The challenges of living abroad come to be a unique (and unforgettable) stage in their own personal development.
- Graduates have risen to the top in a number of fields, including media, print journalism, translating, marketing, local government, fast-stream Civil Service, and a very wide range of local, national and international companies.International Studies offers a range of employment placements where students can gain real world work experience which is invaluable in terms of employment after graduation. Given that Belfast is a regional capital with devolved powers, we can offer students placements in the high profile political and related institutions on our doorstep - for example in the Department of Justice, Equality Commission, Police Ombudsman's Office, or BBC Northern Ireland.
World Class Facilities
- Queen's Library has an outstanding collection of resources relating to Spain and Latin America, as well as a range of political topics. The Language Centre has state-of-the-art facilities for language learning, and the IT provision more generally is excellent.
Internationally Renowned Experts
- Spanish at QUB has world leading experts in Spanish and Latin American literature and culture. Research in Languages at Queen's was ranked 3rd in the UK in REF 2014 for Research Intensity and 5th for Grade Point Average.
- Students run both a lively Spanish and Portuguese Society and Politics Society, and staff offer support through a personal tutoring system, skills development programme and a structured framework for feedback.
Naomi Armstrong North Shields, Tyne and Wear, England
BA International Politics and Conflict Studies Graduate (2014)
Studying for a International Studies and Spanish degree at Queen's will assist students in developing the core skills and employment-related experiences that are valued by employers, professional organisations and academic institutions. Graduates from this degree at Queen's are well regarded by many employers (local, national and international) and over half of all graduate jobs are now open to graduates of any discipline.
The First Destination Survey showed that none of our language graduates were unemployed six months after graduating in 2010. A Higher Education Funding Council report for 2008 also showed that 3.5 years after graduation, languages students have the fourth highest mean salary (after graduates in Medicine, Pharmacy and Architecture).
Although the majority of our graduates are interested in pursuing careers in law, business, banking and translation, significant numbers develop careers in a wide range of other sectors. Typical careers pursued by graduates in Spanish can include publishing, education/teaching, translation/interpreting, PR, fast stream Civil Service, and banking.
Employment after the Course
Graduates go on to work in a very wide range of sectors, including media and communications, advertising, journalism, tourism, teaching and translation. They are particularly in demand in careers requiring a high level of communication and presentation skills, as well as strong critical and analytical thinking.
Employer Links - Consultations
We regularly consult and develop links with a large number of employers including, for example, Santander and the British Council who provide sponsorship for our year abroad placements as well as Rolls Royce, Price Waterhouse Coopers and Moy Park / MARFRIG who are members of the employer liaison panel for the course.
Michael, a 2016 Spanish graduate remarked: 'Studying Spanish at QUB was a very rewarding experience for me personally and one that I would recommend to anyone considering it. The truth is that the 4 years passed in what seemed the blink of an eye, but it is clear to me that I really developed not just in terms of my language, but also my critical thinking, my ability to research independently and work as part of a team, my public speaking and many more valuable skills for entering into the world of employment. I am currently working at an educational technology start-up in Madrid where Spanish is the lingua franca. I know for a fact that being a native English speaker with a degree in Spanish from a renowned institution helped me to get my foot in the door here and I am putting into practice many of the skills I learned studying Spanish at Queen's on a daily basis.'
Our past students have also gained work placement with organisations such as the British Council Assistantships Program, Santander Bank, and Price Waterhouse Coopers.
Graduate Careers and Achievements: Many of our former graduates have risen to the top of their fields and include many famous figures; for example:
Hilary Oliver, Managing Director, Cameo Productions
Carla Leonard, Business Performance Manager, Barclays
Nuala McKeever, Comedian
Niall Donnelly, Reporter, UTV
What employers say'We are looking for graduates who can be our future leaders who demonstrate qualities of courage, judgement and breadth. Where do we find such qualities? Linguists or arts graduates.'
Miles Cowdry, Director of Global Corporate Development, Rolls Royce PLC
Additional Awards Gained(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Prizes and Awards
All students in stage 2 BA Spanish programme at joint honours level or above are eligible for consideration.
Certificates of Distinction in Spoken Spanish: A certificate of Distinction in spoken Spanish is awarded to students whose performance is 1st class in their final year oral examination.
Queen's Foundation Scholarship: Awarded by the School for the best overall performance in Spanish at Stage 1.
The O'Rawe Prize for Academic Progress: This award recognises the achievements of the student at stage 2 who has demonstrated the most significant academic improvement.
The prize of £500 will be awarded to the student who, according to the established criteria shows the most academic improvement between their first year and their second year of study on the BA Spanish programme at joint honours level or above
Xavier Giralt Prize: This prize, which is derived from funds bequeathed by the late Xavier Giralt, will be awarded each year to one or more Final Year candidates in Spanish language, whose exceptional academic performance merits recognition
Degree plus award for extra-curricular skills
In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Degree Plus. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.