Catalan Studies

Catalan is a Romance language spoken in Northern Spain (Catalonia, Valencia, the ‘Franja de Ponent’, Southern France, Andorra, the Balearic Islands, and in the city of Alguer (Alghero) on Sardinia.

A view over Barcelona at sunset.

Catalonia is home to a fiercely proud people and boasts a rich artistic history which includes the work of Dalí, Gaudí and Miró., while all the territories in which Catalan is spoken, the so-called ‘Països Catalans’ are vibrant, diverse, and have their own singular characteristics.

The prominence of Catalonia both in a Spanish and a European context makes Catalan Studies an important discipline. The region's cultural, intellectual and political heritage offers significant avenues for rewarding and worthwhile study. The capital of Catalonia, Barcelona, is one of the world's major cultural and economic centres.

Sheffield has, since the 1950s, been recognised as an international centre of excellence for the teaching of Catalan and related research. We have a native language teacher part-funded by the Institut Ramon Llull. Our close-knit Catalan community extends beyond the classroom to regular social events for staff and students.

Find out more about Catalan at Sheffield

Undergraduate degree combinations

BA Modern Languages & Cultures

On the BA Modern Languages & Cultures you can study:

  • Catalan language & culture with one other language & culture
  • Catalan language & culture with two other languages & cultures

Choose from these languages:

  • French
  • German
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Portuguese
  • Dutch
  • Luxembourgish* (from second year only)
  • Czech
Dual Honours (with a non-language subject)

As a Dual Honours degree:

  • Catalan language & culture with a non-language subject
  • Catalan languages & culture, a second language & culture, and a non-language subject

Combine your study of German language & culture with one of the following:

  • Business Management
  • Economics
  • English
  • History
  • Linguistics
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Politics

Find out more about our range of dual honours degrees.

Guided Module Choice

If you have some experience of modern language learning, you may be able to take Catalan language & culture modules either as part of your degree (guided modules) or alongside your degree (not-for-credit modules).

Fast facts

Award: Bachelor of Arts

Duration: 4 years

Entry: ABB at A Level. We also accept a wide range of other qualifications. See individual degree programmes for more detailed information.

Course structure

By the end of your first year studying Catalan, with fourthree hours per week of classes, you’ll be able to discuss a variety of everyday topics with native speakers and begin to understand the differential nature of Catalonia within Spain (Common European Framework Reference for Languages ( aka CEFR A1 to A2).

By the end of your second year, you’ll have the tools to thrive in a Catalan-speaking region as a student, including talking about more complex, abstract topics and expressing your views and opinions (CEFR B1 to B2).

By the end of your final year, you’ll be able to tackle complex topics in speech and writing and will be familiar with social and political issues in the Catalan-speaking world (CEFR C1).

Depending on your degree programme, you will be able to take modules that explore the literature, history and culture of the Catalan-speaking regions. You may also choose to write a Catalan Studies dissertation in your final year.

Module information

You will study 40 credits in language and culture at beginner's level.

Beginner's Catalan




Catalan Language Beginners

20 Core

Social and Political History of Iberia and Latin America

This module examines the historical trajectory of Spain, Catalonia and Portugal, their emergence as states or regions with aspirations to statehood in the Iberian Peninsula, their linguistic evolution and expansion throughout the peninsula and overseas, the eventual independence of the colonies and their development and consolidation into the various modern-day states we know today. The module will explore the social, political, linguistic and cultural characteristics of these nations and states, and their peoples, and highlight the importance of understanding their complex history in the formation of their identities, languages and cultural and political values.

Below are a number of areas directly related to Catalan which may be addressed in this module (note that not all topics will be covered each year)

  • The political and social reasons why Latin split into the different Romance Languages (Catalan, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian) 
  • The emergence of Catalonia from the Catalan territories and its incorporation into the kingdom of Aragon and then the kingdom of Spain. 
  • Christianity, Islam and Judaism: the social and linguistic effects of the Reconquest and the expulsion of the Jews and Moors from the Iberian Peninsula. 
  • The Catalan speaking regions and the Spanish Empire 
  • Liberalism and Revolution 
  • Republicanism and Anarchism 
  • Dictatorships and Democracies
  • Latin America and Catalan exiles 
  • Catalan aspirations to independence in the 20th and 21st centuries
20 Core (if you are studying one or two languages and cultures)
Optional (if you are studying three languages and cultures)

Optional school-wide modules




Comparative Visual Cultures

This is a school-wide module taught by specialists from across the school who have research interests in visual culture. It introduces students to some of the main movements in European cinema and art, and includes a strong Russian and East European element. The module includes seminars and film viewings.

20 Optional

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, outcomes of reviews, and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Information last updated: 9 September 2022

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