Polylang – the University's open language programme

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.

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.

To find out more about the career opportunities open to those with foreign language skills, visit the Prospects website.

About Polylang

The programme

Polylang is the open language programme of the University of Westminster. Established in 1990, Polylang is one of the oldest and biggest institution-wide language programmes in the UK. The programme has expanded constantly and there are currently approximately 1,300 Westminster students and staff taking Polylang modules.

Polylang courses

All Polylang modules have been designed by a team of specialists for non-specialists from other disciplines. We aim to offer a wide choice of levels and time slots for the convenience of students.

Language skills for professional life

All Polylang classes are taught by experienced language professionals. Our aim is to improve students' employability by providing them with effective communication skills in the professional and personal context.

Student support

In addition to classroom teaching, we provide students with a package of extra study material, much of it through Blackboard. We also advise students on how to approach learning a language and how to improve their study skills.


Since its beginning, Polylang has been at the forefront in the development of institution-wide language programmes in the UK. We have a long track-record of materials development and of designing new, innovative modules

Can I register for a Polylang module?

The programme is open to all students – undergraduate, postgraduate, exchange 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 students.

If you are a current undergraduate student at the University and want to study a Polylang module as your elective/optional module, you need to include it in your module choices.

The generic codes are:

  • Arabic: 1ARAB999W
  • Chinese: 1CHIN999W
  • French: 1FRNC999W
  • German: 1GRMN999W
  • Italian: 1ITAL999W
  • Japanese: 1JPAN999W
  • Russian: 1RUEE999W
  • Spanish: 1SPAN999W

All new Polylang students need to come to a registration session.

Which languages are available?

Arabic, Spanish, Chinese, Italian, French, Japanese, German, Russian.

Most languages are offered at five different levels, from beginners to advanced levels, subject to demand. You can start a new language as a complete beginner or you can continue with a language you already have some knowledge of.

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.

2016–17 teaching timetable

  • Semester 1: 10 October – 16 December 2016
  • Semester 2: 18 January – 14 April 2017
  • Oral exams: To be confirmed
  • Written exams: To be confirmed 

Do Polylang modules contribute to my degree?

In many 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).

Undergraduate students

  • 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, although there are restrictions.
  • 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 (currently £575 in 2015–16).
  • Please note that from 2016–17 Polylang modules will carry 20 credits and the way in which Polylang modules can contribute towards the final degree classification is also changing. More information will appear here shortly. 

Postgraduate students

  • As a postgraduate student, you will need to pay an additional fee (£650 in 2016–17) to take a Polylang module, unless it is explicitly included in your programme or there is an agreement with your course leader.
  • Polylang modules cannot contribute to a postgraduate award, but students can obtain a Certificate of Achievement upon successful completion of the module.

How are modules taught?

Teaching on the modules is classroom-based, but a range of extra study materials will be available to support your learning, including online resources.

Polylang module withdrawals

If you wish to withdraw from a Polylang module, download and complete the Polylang Withdrawal Form (PDF) and submit it to the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities Registry Office.

Undergraduate students

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