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Facts & figures

Modern Languages

  • #1 in Sydney
  • Top 30 in the world
  • 2020 QS World University Rankings
Study area_

Languages at Sydney

Delve deeper into the world’s languages and cultures
We've got your passport to become a global citizen. From our most Frequently Asked Questions to a list of all our study offerings, discover how you can take your next step in language studies at the University of Sydney.

As the state's leading university in languages*, the School of Languages and Cultures offers a large selection of subjects that cover Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas. We also have overseas exchange, short-term and in-country programs that will broaden your skills through language and cultural immersion.

I’m not doing an Arts degree. Can I still study a language?

Yes! All our language majors are part of the University’s shared pool of majors and minors. From Commerce to Science, you can include language subjects in a wide range of courses.

If you don't have room in your degree, our Diploma of Language Studies offers a flexible pathway for you to study a language alongside your degree or after you've completed your undergraduate studies.

Open to current undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as graduates of an eligible institution, the diploma allows you to study any of our 15 languages at your own pace (full-time or part-time). Watch our webinar to learn more and hear from our recent graduates.

Learn more about our language offerings

Introductory, Intermediate or Advanced?

No matter how much or little language experience you have, you can complete a language major or minor at a level suited to your current language proficiency**.

Introductory: You're starting afresh or as a beginner. You want to add a real language skill under your belt.

Intermediate: You have some experience or heritage background in the language, and you'd like to develop your skills. (eg. 70+ for HSC Beginners or <80 for HSC Continuers)

Advanced: You have native or near-native fluency. You're ready to continue mastering the language like a pro. (eg. 80+ for HSC Continuers, or post-HSC Continuers, Extension or Background)

**See more information on proficiency levels
 

Is the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Languages) accredited? What kind of jobs can I get afterwards?

Our subjects will prepare you for a wide range of career possibilities, including in translation, international organisations, public policy, foreign affairs and language-based media outlets.

And yes – the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Languages) is endorsed by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). Upon graduation, you can take the test to become a Certified Translator depending on your level of language proficiency***.

Where can languages take me?

Whether you're pursuing a major or just looking for a taster, languages can expand your world.

Our study offerings  

Ancient Greek allows you to read, in the original, works of immense cultural and literary significance by the great writers of the ancient Mediterranean world. The study of philosophy, history, drama, lyric, epic, the novel, and oratory begins in Greece, and Greek contributions to world literature are undisputed models of perfection in every later age.

Undergraduate

*Available to all students studying the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Visual Arts, as well as all combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies degrees.  

Arabic is the fifth most widely spoken language in the world. It is one of the official languages of the United Nations and the religious language of 1.5 billion Muslims, as well as millions of Christians and Jewish people. Political and economic developments in the Arab world and parts of the Middle East have made understanding, speaking, reading and writing Arabic an increasingly valuable skill.

Undergraduate

*Available to all students studying the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Visual Arts, as well as all combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies  degrees.  

Biblical Studies and Classical Hebrew will allow you to explore some of the foundational texts and histories of Western civilisation. Encountering the Bible in translation or learning to read these texts in Hebrew, you will consider the themes and message of the biblical books, experiment with new approaches to texts and ideas and challenge common assumptions.

Undergraduate

*Available to all students studying the Bachelor of ArtsBachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Visual Arts, as well as all combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies  degrees.  

Chinese Studies delivers a solid understanding of Chinese society and culture and the foundational language skills essential to function with confidence in the Chinese-speaking world. Studies in this area have exchange and summer study opportunities, including to Peking University.

Undergraduate

*Available to all students studying the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Visual Arts, as well as all combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies  degrees.  

Experience the rich history and cultural diversity of the official language of 29 countries (la Francophonie), spoken by more than 300 million people worldwide. 

Undergraduate

*Available to all students studying the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Visual Arts, as well as all combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies  degrees.  

Study both the German language and culture, including literature, film, history and society. Through exchange programs in Berlin, Vienna, Munich, Cologne, Freiburg and Constance, you will experience exciting opportunities to enhance your language proficiency and deepen your understanding of German culture.

Undergraduate

*Available to all students studying the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Visual Arts, as well as all combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies  degrees.  

Hebrew (Modern) covers listening, speaking, reading, writing and cultural awareness. You will develop and expand your proficiency in these five language and cultural skills with the opportunity to complete some of your studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Undergraduate

*Available to all students studying the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Visual Arts, as well as all combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies  degrees.  

A complex and exciting country, Indonesia is very close to Australia yet also very different in many ways. Drawing on our extensive links in Indonesia and with the Indonesian community in Australia, you can experience a highly integrated and contemporary subject area covering history, politics, geography, anthropology, language and culture.

Undergraduate

*Available to all students studying the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Visual Arts, as well as all combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies  degrees.  

Select from a wide range of language and culture units from one of the largest Italian departments in Australia and undertake a semester with one of our Italian partner universities. Develop high levels of linguistic aptitude and deep understanding of Italian authors, thinkers and literary and intellectual movements from the Middle Ages to the present.

Undergraduate

*Available to all students studying the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Visual Arts, as well as all combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies  degrees.  

One of the oldest subject areas of its kind in the English-speaking world, Japanese Studies offers consideration of a rich history and culture, as well as a rewarding language experience. Undertake an in-country exchange with our large network of partner universities in Japan and prepare for employment in education, government, media, international relations and the private sector.

Undergraduate

*Available to all students studying the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Visual Arts, as well as all combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies  degrees.  

Korea is a dynamic nation at the epicentre of Northeast Asia. Korean Studies provides a broad foundation in Korean language as well as history, linguistics, culture and society and media and communication. Equip yourself with crucial language skills and an in-depth knowledge of this intriguing nation.

Undergraduate

*Available to all students studying the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Visual Arts, as well as all combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies  degrees.  

You will learn to read works of immense cultural and literary significance by the iconic writers of ancient Rome. Latin is the direct ancestor of nearly 50 modern languages and a major contributor to the vocabulary of many others, including English. It was also the language of European literature, history, science, medicine, diplomacy and law for nearly 2000 years. Studying Latin opens up intellectual vistas vital for exploring the past or navigating the present.

Undergraduate  

*Available to all students studying the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Visual Arts, as well as all combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies degrees.  

Study one of the oldest languages and cultures in Australia’s largest department of Modern Greek and Byzantine Studies. Select from a range of language and culture units, undertake an intensive in-country experience and prepare for employment in education, translation and interpreting, media, government and the private sector.

Undergraduate

*Available to all students studying the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Visual Arts, as well as all combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies  degrees.  

Through the study of Sanskrit language, the most important classical language of the Indian subcontinent, you can explore the various intellectual, literary and artistic traditions that have shaped South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan), Central Asia, Southeast Asia and Tibet and played a profound role in forming Asia as a whole.  

Undergraduate  

*Available to all students studying the Bachelor of ArtsBachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Visual Arts, as well as all combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies degrees.  

Spanish is the official language of 21 countries and is spoken by more than 400 million people. Studying Spanish will equip you with a deep knowledge of the language and offer you the tools to examine and understand politics, society and culture in the Spanish-speaking world.

Undergraduate

*Available to all students studying the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Visual Arts, as well as all combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies  degrees.  


*QS World University Rankings by Subject for Modern Languages 2017–2020.
** Proficiency level descriptions are indicative only and should be used as a general guide. The above pathways are available for all language majors except Ancient Greek, Biblical Studies and Classical Hebrew, and Latin. Please refer to our handbook for information on subject areas when planning for your degree.
***Please note: this degree is not endorsed for interpreting.
 

Headshot of Tallulah Bur
Tallulah Bur, Law and Spanish and Latin American Studies graduate
“Studying a language at Sydney helped me build a strong foundation in communication, linguistic and cross-cultural skills. I had an incredible time studying abroad, and also got to speak at the UN General Assembly when I won a language essay competition.”
Read more

The Languages at Sydney experience