Studying a language

The study of foreign languages (and English) is strongly supported by the University of Portsmouth and all students have the opportunity to study language units, either as a part of their course of study (undergraduates only), or purely for interest and self-development.

Language units are taught within the University by the Institution-Wide Language Programme (IWLP) and the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) programme. IWLP teaching takes place both during daytime and evening hours (normally 6:00pm). Most languages are available at a range of grades from Ab Initio (Beginners) to two years post A-level.

All IWLP language classes have a credit rating of 20 credits and are delivered through two or three contact hours per week over a year. They concentrate mainly on general language skills, i.e., normal, every-day language at the level appropriate to your language grade, based on the four basic language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. You will also be given supplementary work to do online.

Similarly, the EAP classes for overseas students, are also delivered as 20 credit units.

There are two ways in which students on courses in the School of Creative Technologies can access language classes. Please read the following carefully and if it is not clear, email for advice:

1. Language study for interest

Undergraduate students may, at any point in their course, study a language unit on IWLP or EAP for interest only free of charge. This means that they study a language in addition to their normal course units (120 credits per year).

Interest-only students are not awarded credits which count towards their main course of study. Students wishing to study for interest only should declare this fact when enrolling on a language unit.

2. Language study as an elective

Students on all undergraduate courses in the School of Creative Technologies may study a language (including English if you are an overseas student whose first language is not English) as an elective during level 5 (year 2) of their course.

Consult your course structure to see where a language unit could fit into your course at level 5 (year 2). All language elective units count towards your degree credit total, but only count towards your degree classifiction where language levels 3 or above are taken.

All International Students are strongly advised to take advantage of the EAP (EAP) programme, which is free of charge, in order to help their studies.

What languages are available?
  • Arabic
  • British Sign Language
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish

Please note that not all languages will run at all levels if demand is insufficient.


What ability levels/grades are available?

There are six language grades ranging from Ab Initio (grade 1) to grade 6 (undergraduate degree level).

French and German are generally available at all grades but the others may only be available at the lower grades. We cannot predict in advance what grades will have classes running as this depends on demand.

  • Grade 1: Ab Initio (Beginners to GCSE)
  • Grade 2: Post GCSE equivalent (GCSE grades A-C)
  • Grade 3: Post A-level equivalent
  • Grade 4: Post A-level + other substantial experience (e.g. year abroad)
  • Grade 5: Post A-level + 2 years residence abroad
  • Grade 6: Language degree level
How do I know what language ability level I have?

If you have studied a language in the UK education system you should be able to get an idea of what grade you are at from the list above. If you have not studied a language formally before, or have not studied a language in the UK education system, then the IWLP staff will advise you, or may possibly invite you to take a short diagnostic test to see which grade is most appropriate for you.

How do I register on a language unit?

There are two ways to register on a language unit:

  1. Go to the IWLP website at and follow the link 'booking online' in the left hand menu or
  2. Attend one of the following registration sessions:

Monday 17th September 2012 between 14:00 - 16:00 hrs in Park Building room PK2.07

Thursday 20th September 2012 between 13:00 - 16:00 hrs in Park Building room PK2.08

Friday 21st September 2012 between 13:00 - 15:00 hrs in Park Building room PK3.01

The registration sessions take only 10-15 minutes

Further details can be found at

How will a language class fit into my timetable?

Language classes are delivered in the late afternoon or as evening classes.

Please remember that language timetables may change as demand dictates.


Who do I contact if I need help and advice about languages?

If you need any further help or advice about languages, please contact the language co-ordinator for the School of Creative Technologies, Rod Jeffcote on

Or contact the Institution-Wide Language Programme (IWLP) office at:

Tel: +44 (0)23 9284 6103