Frequently asked questions
Yes. The Foreign Language Centre offers undergraduate modules in British Sign Language, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish, from Beginners to Advanced levels. Note that Beginner and Intermediate modules are available for 30 credits only, Advanced and For Business are available at both 15 and 30 credits. All FLC Undergraduate modules count for credits towards your degree. They are free to undergraduates who register formally and take them as part of their degree programme, providing that they have credits available. Please check with your College first if in doubt.
Some 15- and 30-credit modules are taught together; however, the codes are different. Please be sure to select the correct code. Once you have selected your module, you are NOT permitted to switch from 30 to 15 credits or vice versa halfway through the academic year.
It is not possible to 'sit-in' or 'audit' FLC language modules. Members of staff interested in studying a language in the FLC should consider the Evening Language Programme.
The Foreign Language Centre offers an extensive range of languages in the evenings as part of its Evening Language Programme. There is a fee for these courses as they are not part of Undergraduate Study. Languages generally available are: Arabic, British Sign Language, Catalan, French, German, Greek, Hindi/Urdu, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish. You can also take a language as part of the Exeter Award. Evening courses are non-assessed (i.e. they do NOT have any exams, with the exception of British Sign Language).
For details please refer to the Evening Language Programme page.
Please note that it is not possible to pay additionally to take daytime credit-bearing modules. These modules are only available as part of approved UG credits.
The daytime Undergraduate modules form part of your undergraduate studies. Therefore, you will be expected to work hard, attend all classes, devoting a significant amount of private study time outside the classes, completing all the formative assignments that are set by the tutor and taking the appropriate summative assessments.
The Evening Language Programme is not part of Undergraduate Study, has no exams and is open to all (students, staff, alumni and members of the public). Classes are designed to give you greater confidence in speaking a foreign language, whether for work, travel or just for fun.
First, it is essential to check with your College that you have credits available in your programme or whether any modules are not appropriate to your degree programme.
Some undergraduate degrees involve a foreign language as a compulsory element, but more often it is available as an option. Please check before registering.
It is not generally acceptable to take two low level language modules in different languages at the same time. Students are not allowed to take a Level 1 (Beginners) language module in the final year, and Fast-Track students are expected to continue on the the Fast-Track path, where possible.
As in any module in the University, the amount of work and self-study you are required to do is much greater for 30 credit modules than it is for 15 credit modules.
Please note that:
- Contact hours vary according to credits (see section How many contact hours will I have?)
- The assessment varies, with 30 credit modules at Advanced level assessing a wider range of skills.
- Depending on the demand for the language/module you choose, you may be studying in a class with both 15 and 30 credit students together for ‘core' hours
We strongly recommend that students opt for the 30 credit option wherever possible, as this is the best way of making the most progress in the language you have chosen.
The FLC has the following language levels available:
Beginners, Beginners Fast-Track, Intermediate 1 and Intermediate 2, Advanced 1, Advanced 2 and Advanced 3, Spanish in the Workplace, French for Proficient Speakers and French / German for Business.
At registration you will be asked to complete a form with details of the language you would like to take and the level you would like to study. We will use this information to help place you in the most appropriate level. You may also be given a short placement test. For a detailed module programme, indicating what will be covered, see ELE.
For a Placement Test in French, German, Italian and Spanish, or for more information about the different language levels please refer to Choosing the correct level.
For full details of how and when to register please refer to the 'How to register' page.
- If you wish to withdraw from an FLC module, you must discuss this first with your FLC tutor and inform the Languages Office. It is your responsibility to inform your home College if you withdraw from an FLC module.
- Students wishing to withdraw from a module must do so within the first 2 weeks of the module running.
- If you register for a 30-credit module at the beginning of the year you will NOT be permitted to change to a 15-credit module at a later date in the academic year or vice versa.
Contact hours vary according to the level and number of credits:
- Beginners, Beginners Fast-Track (30 credits) and Intermediate Fast-Track (30 credits) have 4 contact hours per week for 2 terms.
- Intermediate 1 & 2 (30 credits) have 3 contact hours per week for 2 terms.
- Advanced 1,2 & 3 and 'French /German/ Spanish for Business' have 3 contact hours per week (30 credits) or 2 contact hours per week (15 credits) for 2 terms.
- Spanish in the Workplace and French for Proficient Speakers have 3 contact hours per week (30 credits) or 2 contact hours per week (15 credits) for 2 terms.
All FLC classes are created by the University's centralised timetabling system and we cannot, therefore, guarantee that lessons will take place to suit individual preferences. Generally classes will be spread over 2 or 3 different sessions each week. Students who have officially registered for FLC modules can check their timetable via the student portal from Friday Week 1 onwards.
Please note also that FLC classes run Monday - Friday and may be scheduled for Wednesday afternoons.
Wherever possible, FLC teaching takes place in the Foreign Language Centre or other rooms within Queen's Building. However, due to the number of classes on offer, you may find that your class is scheduled to take place in another University building.
Classes are delivered in the target language wherever possible and students are expected to take an active role during class time. All tutors are native speakers or have near-native competence in the language they are teaching. The emphasis during class will be mainly, but not exclusively, on developing communication skills in the target language.
You are expected to attend your classes regularly and to complete any homework / self-study which the tutor recommends. With languages, it is particularly important to attend classes and to keep up with assignments etc.
If for any reason you are unable to attend a class, you are required to notify your discipline via iExeter (My Course - absence reporting), according to the "digital check-in" instructions, or in an alternative format as detailed in your student handbook.
Please note that it is your responsibility to catch up with any work you have missed, and therefore, you are expected to find out directly from ELE or through your classmates what has been covered in the lesson.
The FLC reserves the right to contact any student who has significant absences to identify any attendance issues and may also contact the individual's home College to discuss further.
The FLC has a bright and spacious Resource Area to support you in your language learning. You can benefit from a cluster of networked PCs (with swipe card printer) and language learning software, satellite TV in a variety of languages, as well as a range of print and audio materials.
The Resource Area is located on the 2nd floor of Queen's Building and is open 9.00 - 6.30, Monday - Friday (term-time only). All students are welcome to use the facilities for language learning.
The form of assessment varies depending on the level you are studying. Most modules are assessed by a variety of in-class test & final written exam (where Reading Comprehension, Grammar & Vocabulary and Writing are tested), and an Oral Test. In addition, there are assessed in-class tasks for Beginners Fast-Track, Intermediate and Advanced modules (30 credit students only).
For details see assement and feedback.
If you are studying an FLC Undergraduate module as part of your degree you must take and pass the examinations in order for the credits to count towards your degree.
On all FLC modules, we give you feedback in a variety of ways. You will each get written feedback on your in-class test/s, with concrete suggestions for things you can do to improve over the remainder of the module. We also ask you to identify what you yourself can and will do to improve. The formative assessment pieces and the regular homework items you are given will also help you to see how you are performing. For 30 credit students at Beginners Fast-Track, Intermediate and Advanced, the assessed tasks you complete will also give you an indication of how you are progressing in the different language skills.
Of course, during lessons tutors constantly give feedback on how students are using the language and how to say or write things differently or better. Remember as well that any student can arrange to see their tutor/s in office hours if they would like personal feedback on any piece of work.
All Undergraduate students can opt to have the language modules they study with the FLC named on their degree title, 'with proficiency in xxx'. To achieve this, you must successfully complete a minimum of 60 credits in one language taken through the Foreign Language Centre, of which 30 credits are at level 2 (Intermediate 1) or higher. You can choose to start a new language from scratch or develop an existing one. If the 60 credits are all at Advanced One level or above, then the words "with proficiency in advanced ...." can be added.
For example, a History student who passes 30 credits at Spanish Beginners and a further 30 credits at Spanish Intermediate 1 could request that their degree title be amended to BA (Hons) History with proficiency in Spanish.
To request this, contact the FLC by no later than the end of May of your final year of study.
If you are coming back to language learning for the first time in a while, please give yourself a few lessons to settle in. At registration, placement is done as accurately as possible, but if you do feel that you need to move to a different level, please discuss this with your tutor first. They will be able to advise you as to which level is best for you. You will also need the language coordinator's approval to change modules.
If you want to move to a different class at the same level, please email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that students are normally only allowed to attend the days and times for which they have registered.
Please note that transfer of level and time is also subject to availability of spaces and timetable.
The FLC aims to resolve all complaints as quickly and fairly as possible. You should, in the first instance, approach the member of staff concerned and/or your Personal Tutor. If this fails to resolve the matter to your satisfaction, you should arrange to contact the Director of Languages (Prof Sonia Cunico, email email@example.com). In the event that the problem is still not resolved, you should make a formal approach to the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Full details of the University Complaints Procedure are available on the University web site:
Please note that students are not allowed to register for a module for which they already have the equivalent language competence (accredited or not).
Exceptionally, French for Proficient Speakers may be of interest for heritage speakers of the language who already have a very advanced command of it but want to develop the language for academic purposes, including linguistic, sociolinguistic and pragmatic aspects.
If you started to learn a language in the FLC and you spent a year in a country where the language you study is spoken, you should normally skip a level on your return to Exeter. For example, if you took French Beginners two years ago and spent last year in France, you should skip Intermediate One and take Intermediate Two instead.
Yes. Most Colleges allow their students to study up to 30 credits per year outside their main degree. This is called modularity. If your College allows you to take credits in the FLC through modularity, you will still obtain your full degree at the end of your studies. Please check with your College first if in doubt.
In addition to this, by completing a minimum of 60 credits in Spanish, of which 30 credits must be at an Intermediate level or higher, your language will be recognised in your degree title as ‘…with proficiency in Spanish’. For example, if you are doing a degree in Engineering, and decide to take 60 Spanish credits at an Intermediate level or higher, you will obtain your full degree, plus recognition of your competence in Spanish: “BEng Engineering, with proficiency in Spanish”.