If you're interested in learning a new language or developing one of your current languages, have a look at the University's open language programme, Polylang.
The programme is open to all students as well as to members of staff, our alumni community and members of the public. All levels are catered for, from beginner to advanced.
What are the benefits of studying a language?
There are many good reasons to study a language as part of, or alongside, your main subject, including the following:
- You'll enhance your employability and career progression prospects (74% of British employers look for candidates who have at least conversational language skills in a foreign language, according to a Confederation of British Industry survey)
- You'll improve your general communication skills
- You'll gain an insight into new cultures and ways of seeing the world
- More than 85% of graduates who took Polylang found professional employment
To find out more about the career opportunities open to those with foreign language skills, visit the Target jobs website.
Which languages are available?
You can study the following languages as an elective:
- Arabic (Grades 1-5)
- Spanish (Grades 1-5)
- Chinese (Grades 1-4)
- Italian (Grades 1-3)
- French (Grades 1-5)
- Japanese (Grades 1-3)
- German (Grades 1-4)
- Russian (Grades 1-3)
And this is what you will study in your module:
|Grade||Indicative topic areas||Target Output (FIGRS)*||Target Output (ACJ)**|
|1||Personal identities; Your home, home town and residential area; Shopping (food and drink); Daily life; Free time; The Local area and Directions||A1||A1|
|2||University Life; Health matters; University life and employment; Local geography; Travel and holidays; Cultural activities; Famous figures in society and Personal biographies||A2.2||A2.1|
|3||Studying, working and living abroad; Different regions and the environment; The world of work; The family and demographics Values and lifestyles across generations; Aspects of social and cultural life and Education systems including language learning||B1.1||A2.2|
|4||The (Lang) speaking world; Cultural similarities and differences; Commitment in society; Migration and mobility; Lifestyles, health and well-being; The jobs market and career prospects and Media/social networking||B1.2||B1.1|
|5||Language and communication in contemporary society; Diversity and identity issues; Work and employability in a global world; Current affairs in politics and society; Issues of freedom and democracy; Religion and Secularism, the Environment||B2.1||B1.2|
* French, Italian, German, Russian and Spanish: CEFR Levels
** Arabic, Chinese and Japanese: CEFR Levels
You can start a new language as a complete beginner or you can continue with a language you have studied previously.
You cannot take a Polylang module in your native language or in a language in which you already have a higher level of skill than the highest output listed above.
Polylang offers you the opportunity to study a foreign language at the University of Westminster as part of your course, as long as your course allows you to take an elective.
If you are going into Level 4 or Level 5, you can start a new language as a complete beginner or you can continue with a language that you already know. However, there are certain rules that apply to Final Year students:
- Final year students can only take a Grade 2 Polylang module if they have previously completed a Polylang module in the same language.
- A final year student who has not yet taken a Polylang module can only take a module that is Grade 3 or above.
When do the modules run?
Modules are year-long and classes take place at different times to ensure that they accommodate the majority of timetables.
How are modules taught and assessed?
Classes are normally two hours per week. Exceptions are Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Russian grades 1 and 2 which are taught for three hours.
Teaching on the modules is normally classroom-based and takes place in an atmosphere that is enjoyable and interactive. In addition, a range of tailor-made study materials will be available to support your learning. (Delivery mode in academic year 2021–22 will depend on University guidance at the time).
Polylang uses formative and summative assessment to help you keep your language learning on track. Formative assessment takes place throughout the course and comprises both online and classroom-based assessments to ensure that you get good quality feedback on your learning. At the end of the module there are summative assessments in listening, speaking, reading and writing.
How can I register for a Polylang module and ensure that I'm put into the right grade for my ability?
Please register for Polylang here, even if you have already registered for Polylang on SRS. You need to complete the form so that the Polylang Team can ensure that you're allocated to the most appropriate grade for your ability.
Do Polylang modules contribute towards your degree?
In most cases, Polylang modules can contribute to the classification of your undergraduate degree. For further details, please check our academic regulations (Part V, Section 17, page 3–4).
- You can take a Polylang module as a Westminster Elective module free of charge within your 120-credit (per year) limit
- All modules carry 20 credits and can potentially count towards your progression and degree qualification
- If you cannot take a Polylang module within your 120-credit limit, you can still study a language with Polylang but you would need to pay an additional module fee (£650 in 2021–22)
- As a postgraduate student, you will need to pay an additional fee (£650 in 2021–22) to take a Polylang module, unless it is explicitly included in your programme
- Polylang modules cannot contribute to a postgraduate award, but students can obtain a Certificate of Achievement upon successful completion of the module
If you would like to speak to one of the language-specific module leaders, please use the contact details below:
- Arabic (Grades 1,2 and 4): Mahammed Bouabdallah – [email protected]
- Arabic (Grades 3 and 5): Alessandro Columbu – [email protected]
- Chinese (all grades): Huang Dian – [email protected]
- French (Grades 1 and 2): Magali Brenac – [email protected]
- French (Grades 3, 4 and 5): Siavash Bakhtiar – [email protected]
- German (all grades): Heiner Schenke – [email protected]
- Italian (all grades): Sabrina Cammarata – [email protected]
- Japanese (Grade 1): Yuko Hashimoto – [email protected]
- Japanese (Grades 2 and 3): Noriko Inagaki – [email protected]
- Russian (all grades): Alena Boykova – [email protected]
- Spanish (Grade 1): Pepa Galan – [email protected]
- Spanish (Grade 2): Maria Blanco-Hermida – [email protected]
- Spanish (Grade 3 ): Egiarte Giménez – [email protected]
- Spanish (Grades 4 and 5): Debora Staryfurman – [email protected]
If you have any general queries about Polylang, please contact the Course Leader, Kate Weir at [email protected].
For alumni and members of the public
Please contact the course leader, Kate Weir, at [email protected].
Withdrawal from Polylang
In exceptional circumstances, it may be possible for students to withdraw from a Polylang module.
If you need to withdraw from a Polylang module, please email the Fitzrovia Registry Office with your name and student ID number at [email protected].
The deadline for withdrawing is 10am on 1 Oct 2021 after which no withdrawals will normally be accepted. If you have paid additionally for your Polylang module, you'll receive a full refund only if you have withdrawn by the deadline. If you withdraw after the deadline no refund will be given.