PDF version of Icelandic BA


Admissions Officer

Mr Joe Tilley

Email: selcs.admissions@ucl.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 3096

Fees and Funding

UK & EU Fee

£9,000 (2013/14)

Overseas Fee

£14,750 (2013/14)

General Funding Notes

Details about financial support are available at: www.ucl.ac.uk/study/ug-finance

Key Facts

Research Assessment Exercise

Interdisciplinary programme: see contributing departments
(What is the RAE?)

Departmental website

School of European Languages, Culture and Society

Icelandic BA

UCAS Code: R690

UCL’s four-year Icelandic BA is the only degree programme of its kind outside Iceland. The programme aims to develop your interest in, and knowledge and understanding of Iceland and the Nordic world, in areas including languages, literature, culture and history. Your third year is spent abroad at the University of Iceland.

Entry Requirements

A Levels

Grades ABB
Subjects Foreign language preferred.
AS Levels A pass in a further subject at AS level or equivalent is required.
GCSEs English Language at grade B, plus Mathematics at grade C. For UK-based students, a grade C or equivalent in a foreign language (other than Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew or Latin) is required. UCL provides opportunities to meet the foreign language requirement following enrolment, further details at: www.ucl.ac.uk/ug-reqs

IB Diploma

Points 34
Subjects A score of 16 points in three higher level subjects, preferably including a foreign language, with no score lower than 5.

Other Qualifications

For entry requirements with other UK qualifications accepted by UCL, choose your qualification from the list below:

Selected entry requirements will appear here

International Qualifications

International Qualifications

In addition to A level and International Baccalaureate, UCL considers a wide range of international qualifications for entry to its undergraduate degree programmes.

Selected country's equivalent grades will appear here

University Preparatory Certificates

UCL offers intensive one-year foundation courses to prepare international students for a variety of degree programmes at UCL.

The University Preparatory Certificates (UPCs) are for international students of high academic potential who are aiming to gain access to undergraduate degree programmes at UCL and other top UK universities.

For more information see our website: www.ucl.ac.uk/upc

English Language Requirements

If English is not your first language you will also need to satisfy UCL's English Language Requirements. A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.

Degree Summary

Degree Benefits

  • Spend a year abroad at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik.
  • A broad range of course options, including Viking Studies, Old Norse, modern Scandinavian languages, literary studies, film studies, history, and cultural studies.
  • The Department of Scandinavian Studies at UCL is unique in the UK in having specialists across the areas of language, politics, history, medieval studies, literature and film.
  • Access to the largest and oldest Scandinavian library in the country, and the state-of-the-art facilities within the Language Space.

In your first year, you will embark on an intensive study of modern Icelandic language at beginner's level, and study a mainland Scandinavian language (normally Danish), Old Norse, literary studies and linguistics.

In your second year, you will continue with language studies, begin the study of Icelandic literature, and select optional courses. You spend year three at the University of Iceland, taking a course in Icelandic for foreign students.

The final year is spent at UCL, where you will take advanced courses in modern Icelandic and Old Norse, continue your studies in Icelandic literature and take further course options.

You may also take School of European Languages, Culture and Society (ELCS) courses, which allow students to study literature, film, art and culture from outside their subject area(s), focusing on broad cultural movements, issues and approaches from an interdisciplinary perspective and drawing on the full range of specialisms within the school.

Your Learning

Teaching consists of a mixture of lectures, classes, seminars, group work and presentations. Language elements comprise five taught hours a week for basic language in year one, three hours a week for intermediate language in year two, and two hours a week for advanced language in the final year. Much of your work will be through guided independent study. Language teaching is generally undertaken by native speakers.


Most courses are assessed by a mixture of coursework and written examination. A few are assessed by essays only. Language courses are assessed by a written and an oral examination and coursework. During your year abroad, you will take courses at the host university and will complete a Year Abroad Project.

Degree Structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual courses, normally valued at 0.5 or 1.0 credits, adding up to a total of 4.0 credits for the year. Courses are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional courses varies from programme to programme and year to year. A 1.0 credit is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

Year One

Compulsory courses

Basic Modern Icelandic
Basic language course in Danish, Norwegian or Swedish
Introduction to Old Norse

Optional courses

You will select 1.5 credits of optional courses, including at least one of the following:
Histories and Cultures of the Nordic Region
Introduction to Linguistics and the Scandinavian Languages
Introduction to Literary Studies

You will also select 0.5 credits from a wide range of intermediate courses offered by the School of European Languages, Culture and Society, which may include:
History and Photography
The Middle Ages and the Formation of European and National Identities

Year Two

Compulsory courses

Intermediate Language course in Danish, Norwegian or Swedish
Intermediate Modern Icelandic Language
Modern Icelandic Literature
Old Norse I

Optional courses

You will select 0.5 credits of optional courses. Options may include:

Introduction to Finnish Society and Culture
Introduction to Scandinavian Literature
Nordic Cinema
Nordic Landscapes
Nordic Politics and Society
The Nordic Welfare States
Reading Finnish Society and Culture
Viking-Age Scandinavia

ELCS Intermediate Level courses

Year Three

Year abroad

Year abroad in Iceland
Year Abroad Oral Assessment

Final Year

Compulsory courses

Degree-level Modern Icelandic
Modern Icelandic Literature: Special Topics
Old Norse II

Optional courses

You will select 2.0 credits of optional courses. Options may include:

Dissertation in Scandinavian Studies
Extended Essay in Scandinavian Studies
Introduction to Finnish Society and Culture
Mythology and Religion in Medieval Scandinavia
Nordic Cinema
Nordic Landscapes
Nordic Politics and Society
The Nordic Welfare States
Reading Finnish Society and Culture
Scandinavian Social Democracy
The Vikings in Europe
ELCS Advanced Level courses

Further details available on degree page of subject website:

Your Career

Upon graduation you will be fluent in Modern Icelandic, and also have a reading knowledge of other medieval and modern Scandinavian languages. Historical and literary studies will develop cultural awareness, and you will be trained in organising, presenting and interpreting complex information, in effective written and oral communication, and in independent and group work.

Many of our graduates find they are able to use their Nordic languages in a variety of contexts, such as working for a Scandinavian company. Recent graduates have also entered translating, publishing and teaching.


First career destinations of recent graduates (2009-2011) of this programme, and of related Scandinavian Studies programmes, include:

  • Full-time student, MPhil in Anglo Saxon, Norse and CelticĀ at the University of Cambridge (2011)
  • Full-time student, MA in Language, Culture and History: Scandinavian Studies at UCL (2010)
  • Translator, Rainbow Translations (2009)
  • Web Producer, BBC (2009)

Find out more about London graduates' careers by visiting the Careers Group (University of London) website:


Your Application

Your personal statement should reflect your interests, hopes and goals, especially as related to your proposed degree. Some knowledge/experience of Icelandic culture, and an explanation of how this has motivated you to learn more, is expected. We do not necessarily require a language at A level or equivalent, but expect you to demonstrate an enthusiasm and aptitude for language learning.

How to Apply

Application for admission should be made through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Applicants currently at school or college will be provided with advice on the process; however, applicants who have left school or who are based outside the United Kingdom may obtain information directly from UCAS.


If your application demonstrates that your academic ability and motivation make you well-suited to our degree you will be invited to attend an applicant open day where you will meet a member of academic staff. You may also be asked to respond to an admissions questionnaire and/or attend an interview.

For candidates for whom travelling to UCL is difficult, alternative arrangements will be made. Our admissions process aims to assess your linguistic abilities and attainment as well as cultural awareness, motivation for study and intellectual potential.

Page last modified on 19 mar 14 15:02