Applied Languages

By Aedín Dunne - Last update

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Do you have an interest in developing your linguistics skills and learning languages of your choice? Do you have excellent communication skills and the ability to keep an open mind, break down complex information and broaden your horizons? If so, applied languages could be the course you’re looking for. 

What are applied languages?

Applied languages combine learning core languages alongside the linguistics and specialist knowledge of the societies the languages are spoken in. 

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in the following subject areas: 

  • Applied Languages


  • Arts, Culture and History
  • Languages, Linguistics and Cultures
  • Classical Languages/Modern Languages
  • European Studies and Languages
  • World Languages

Studying Applied Languages in college

An undergraduate course in Applied Languages is offered by UL and is a four year Level 8 course. There are a number of related courses also available as listed above in the area of languages as well as PLC courses that may be able to give you an idea of what it is like to study languages at third level. 

In your first year, you will cover the basic principles of applied languages and gain a strong foundation in the area. Your first year of any undergraduate course will serve as a foundation year. You will gain an insight into what is to come throughout your course in the coming years. In your first year you will have to make a few decisions including your two core languages you would like to study as well as the professional elective you would like to study. 

The options of languages you can study are French, German, Irish, Japanese and Spanish. Examples of professional electives include marketing, politics and international relations or a third language you might want to study. 

Throughout your course, you will focus on learning your chosen languages while developing your linguistics skills alongside your specific electives. As this is a Bachelor of Arts degree in UL, you will spend one year away from the UL campus. One half of the year will be focused on doing work placement while the other half will allow you the option to study abroad to put one of your chosen languages to the test and develop your knowledge even further. 

Generally with a course like this, students will split their time between their two core languages and do their work placement in Germany, for example, and study abroad in Spain if they chose German and Spanish as their languages. Should you pick Irish as one of your choices, you will go to the Gaeltacht for a term. 

Throughout your final year you will develop your knowledge and have a key focus on areas such as the historical, economic, political and cultural factors that have shaped the languages and countries of origin of those languages today. 

Examples of modules you will study throughout your course include Language, Culture and Society (German, French or Irish), Linguistics, Language and Technology, Literature in Language, Applied Languages Project and Technical writing among others including your work placement and study abroad programme.

Different universities and colleges may have different layouts and course content. 

Career Options

Working in languages can open a variety of different opportunities and career paths for you to choose from. Examples of areas people who study languages are working in include  Creative & Media Industry, Politics, Public Service, Journalism, Marketing, Business and Education among others. 

Studying languages offers the opportunity to work, live abroad and travel. There are also many courses available at postgraduate level to allow you to continue your study and specialise in an area of your interest. 

Qualities and skills that are helpful in this area include excellent communication skills, strong interpersonal skills, strong verbal and written skills, the ability to work well with others, open minded, and interest in learning about different cultures, linguistic skills, organisation skills and time management skills.

Related Jobs

  • Writer
  • Marketing 
  • Journalist
  • Teacher
  • Media
  • Interpreter
  • Translator

Further Study

Visit for more information.


Different courses and different colleges will have different entry requirements. It’s always safest to check with the individual higher education institution which is available on their websites. As a general rule Leaving Cert students should have a minimum of six subjects which should include: Two H5 (Higher Level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary Level) grades or four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, Irish or another language, and English. 

PLC courses will accept Leaving Certificate results. Specific courses may have their own requirements.Certain QQI courses may be accepted. 

The points required to study Applied Languages in the University of Limerick were 442 points last year. 

Where can I study?

For other courses in the area you would like to explore, you can do so here.

Did you know?

  • The Busuu language is only spoken by 8 people and is the language of Southern Bantoid of Cameroon. 
  • Over 300 languages are spoken in the US
  • The most widely spoken languages worldwide are Chinese, Spanish, ENglish and Hindi. 
  • Over 300 languages are spoken in the US


Student Grant Scheme

Job example – Language teacher

Job example – Interpreter

Course information

Aedín Dunne

Modern Languages
Early and Modern Irish


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