International Development and Languages BA (Hons)


Work towards fluency in a foreign language (or two) while exploring solutions to global social challenges such as poverty and hunger, environmental sustainability, universal education and health care.

On this BA (Hons) International Development and Languages degree course, you'll study one language from beginner's level (French, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese) or post-A level (French, Spanish). As of 2021, these three languages are spoken as first or second languages by 1,930 billion people worldwide. You'll also get the chance to learn a second language: French, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, German or British Sign Language (BSL). 

You'll get full support to build your language skills to fluency alongside opportunities to apply your learning to work with not-for-profit organisations in developing countries on placement. You'll graduate prepared for a career in organisations around the globe, in roles such as in government, teaching and working with non-government organisations (NGOs).

What you'll experience

On this International Development and Languages degree course, you’ll:

  • Explore fields of economics, human geography, politics and international relations to find solutions that could include changing policy at a national level, managing relations between governments and developing budgets for sustained advancement
  • Use our professional-grade conference interpreting suite and language labs, where you can manipulate video, sound, text and internet sources
  • Immerse yourself in the cultures of the countries where your chosen languages are spoken – in the classroom, in our Global Café and on your work or study placement abroad
  • Be taught by staff who are committed to their research in the field, such as Professor Tamsin Bradley whose research is informing schemes to help support women across South Asia in their search for equality
  • Learn from professionals working in the sector – recent academic enrichment events include a guest lecture from the Senior Strategic Advisor to Oxfam, a visit from an NGO based in Peru, a series of training events with RedR UK and sessions led by our colleagues and graduates working in the sector
  • Put your expertise into practice in Model United Nations events, in collaboration with fellow students from International Development and International Relations

Work experience and career planning

Placement year

After your second year, you'll do a year abroad based in one or more countries where your chosen language is spoken. This enables you to build linguistic and cultural fluency, and also provides an opportunity to study abroad and/or gain valuable longer-term work experience in international development.

We'll give you all the support you need to find a work or study abroad placement that prepares you for your career, and we'll continue to mentor you throughout your placement.

Previous students have completed a variety of activities on their year abroad including:

  • Work placement with Ashinaga Africa Initiative (Senegal)
  • Work placement with Otra Cosa Network (Peru)
  • Study at Wuhan University (China)

Internship opportunities

As part of your core course programme, you’ll take part in a 'mini' internship connected to an ongoing research project at the University. You’ll choose from a number of internships that have been carefully selected by your lecturers to further develop your skills in areas critical to a career in international development, such as communication and project management.

A previous student interned in a communications role for Gender Focus, a research team involved in areas such as gender-based violence and cultural practices that harm women and girls. Their responsibilities included social media management of the Instagram account and organising research webinars.

Volunteering opportunities

Volunteering for local, national and international charities is a great way to build up work experience before graduating into the world of international development. Taking on a role with a local charity, or interning over the summer for a non-governmental organisation (NGO) shows future employers you have a passion for making a difference and an independent drive to develop your skills in the industry.

To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you identify internships, voluntary roles and opportunities to match your ambitions.

Our Volunteering Team in the Careers and Employability Service supports around 100 local and national charities and not-for-profit organisations. Each year, our students volunteer more than 60,000 hours at organisations including Motiv8, the Mary Rose Museum, Citizens Advice Havant, Portsmouth Football Club and Portsmouth Mediation Service. In 2019/20 student volunteers alone contributed £493,700 to the local economy.

Module Details

Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 modules worth 20 credits and 1 module worth 40 credits.

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional module may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

Programme Assessment

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • workshops
  • seminars
  • one-on-one tutorials

You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.

For more about the teaching activities for specific modules, see the module list above.

You’ll be assessed through:

  • examinations
  • case studies
  • projects
  • presentations
  • book reviews
  • assignments

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

Student Destinations

The British Council has stated that "an understanding of other cultures and languages will continue to be important for successful international relationships at all levels" (Languages for the Future, 2017). Along with the language skills you develop on this course, you'll graduate with a confidence in analysis, criticism and argument, communication and problem-solving – skills you can use in your future role advocating for and creating pathways to positive change.

You could also continue your studies at postgraduate level with a Master’s, or take the next step into research that could inform policy with a PhD. Discover the areas you could make a difference in by exploring the research taking place at Portsmouth around Global Governance and Languages and Applied Linguistics.

No matter what route you take, the skills and knowledge you develop on this course will prepare you for a rewarding role making a difference in the lives of others.

This course gives you the skills for careers in areas such as:

  • international community development
  • civil service
  • fundraising, campaigning and advocacy
  • policy development
  • social enterprise
  • corporate social responsibility
  • public affairs
  • project management

Our graduates have gone on to roles such as:

  • programme management, support and evaluation roles for international agencies and non-governmental organisations
  • fundraising development coordinator
  • human rights advocacy
  • media and digital content lead
  • social researcher
  • community development practitioner
  • sustainable sourcing specialist for multinational corporations
  • teacher

Our graduates have worked for non-governmental organisations (NGOs), government departments and companies such as:

  • Save the Children
  • Street Doctors
  • the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • the Department or International Development
  • Shelterbox
  • British Chamber of Commerce
  • Universal Music Group
BA (Hons) Award
September Start
Full-time Study Mode
4 years Duration

Entry Requirements For This Course

104-120 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent.

English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

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