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 other Scandinavian languages, literature, culture and history. Your third year is spent abroad at the University of Iceland.
- UCAS code
- 4 years
- Application deadline
- 15 January 2017
- Applications per place
- 5 (2015 entry)*
- Total intake
- 216 (2017 entry)*
- Foreign language preferred.
- 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
- A score of 16 points in three higher level subjects, preferably including a foreign language, with no score lower than 5.
UK applicants qualifications
For entry requirements with other UK qualifications accepted by UCL, choose your qualification from the list below:
Not acceptable for entrance to this programme
Pass in Access to HE Diploma, with a minimum of 28 credits awarded with Merit in the Level 3 units.
D3,M1,M1 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects. Foreign Language preferred.
ABB at Advanced Highers (or AB at Advanced Higher and BBB at Higher). Foreign Language preferred.
Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A-Levels at grades ABB. Foreign Language preferred.
In addition to A level and International Baccalaureate, UCL considers a wide range of international qualifications for entry to its undergraduate degree programmes.
Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates
The Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPCs) are intensive one-year foundation courses for international students of high academic potential who are aiming to gain access to undergraduate degree programmes at UCL and other top UK universities.
Typical UPC students will be high achievers in a twelve-year school system which does not meet the standard required for direct entry to UCL.
For more information see our website: UCL Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate.
English language requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency. Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page.
The English language level for this programme is: Advanced
A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.
- Spend a year abroad at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik.
- A broad range of module options, including Viking Studies, Old Norse, modern Scandinavian languages, literary studies, film studies, history, and cultural studies, together with the opportunity to acquire proficiency in a second Scandinavian language.
- 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 UCL Language Space.
Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: School of European Languages, Culture and Society.
- 74% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 0.5 or 1.0 credits, adding up to a total of 4.0 credits for the year. Modules are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional modules 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).
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 modules.
You spend year three at the University of Iceland, taking a course in Icelandic for foreign students. If you are given permission to transfer to Icelandic with Danish, Norwegian or Swedish at the end of year one, you will also take a course in your mainland Scandinavian language while at Reykjavik also.
The final year is spent at UCL, where you will take advanced modules in Modern Icelandic and Old Norse, continue your studies in Icelandic Literature and take further optional modules. If you have transferred to Icelandic with Danish, Norwegian or Swedish you will take advanced courses in your mainland Scandinavian language also,
You will also take modules offered by the School of European Languages, Culture & Society (SELCS), 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.
An indicative guide to the structure of this programme, year by year.
Basic Modern Icelandic
Basic language module in Danish, Norwegian or Swedish
Histories and Cultures of the Nordic Region
Introduction to Old Norse
You will select 0.5 credits of optional modules from the following:
Introduction to Linguistics and the Scandinavian Languages
Vikings and Material Culture
You will also choose interdepartmental modules offered by the School of European Languages, Culture & Society. Options may include the study of Linguistics, Film and History.
Intermediate Language module in Danish, Norwegian or Swedish
Intermediate Modern Icelandic Language
Old Norse I
During the spring term students will participate in the Study Abroad Preparation Programme, the successful completion of which is a prerequisite for progression to the year abroad.
You will select 1.5 credits of optional modules. Options may include:
Nordic Politics and Society
The Nordic Welfare States
Scandinavian Literature in Context
Introduction to Finnish Society and Culture
ELCS Intermediate Level modules
Year abroad key information
Students allocated to destinations within the EU are eligible for the Erasmus+ Mobility Grant. While students are advised by their host universities on how to apply for accommodation, UCL also puts students in contact with returning students and often find it helpful to take over their accommodation or get tips on living arrangements. Students must study in the target language.
Institutions currently open to the programme include:
- Háskóli Íslands
Visit UCL Study Abroad for further details.
Degree-level Modern Icelandic
Modern Icelandic Literature: Special Topics
Old Norse II
Students taking Icelandic with Danish, Norwegian or Swedish will take 0.5 credits of advanced-level modules in their mainland Scandinavian language also.
You will select 2.0 credits of optional modules. Options may include:
Dissertation in Scandinavian Studies
Extended Essay in Scandinavian Studies
Nordic Literature in a Global World
Nordic Politics and Society
The Nordic Welfare States
Reading Finnish Society and Culture
Scandinavian Social Democracy
The Vikings in Europe
ELCS Advanced Level modules
Students taking Icelandic with Danish, Norwegian or Swedish will take 1.5 credits of optional modules.
Teaching consists of a mixture of lectures, classes, seminars, group work and presentations. Language elements comprise four taught hours a week for basic language in year one, four 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 modules are assessed by a mixture of coursework and written examination. A few are assessed by essays only. Language modules are assessed by coursework, a written and an oral examination. During your year abroad, you will take modules at the host university and will complete a Year Abroad Project.
Detailed course descriptions are available on the department website: Icelandic BA.
Upon graduation you will be fluent in Modern Icelandic, and also have 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 (2012-2014) of this programme, and of related Scandinavian Studies programmes, include:
- Computer Repair Specialist, Apple
- Full-time student, MA in Theoretical And Applied Linguistics at the University of Cambridge
- Full-time student, MPhil in Anglo Saxon, Norse and Celtic at the University of Cambridge
*Data taken from the 'Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education' survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012-2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
UCL is commited to helping you get the best start after graduation. Read more about how UCL Careers, UCL Advances and other entrepreneur societies here: Careers and skills.
Fees and funding
The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2016/17 academic year.
- UK/EU students
- £9,000 (2016/17)
- Overseas students
- £16,130 (2016/17)
Fees for students entering UCL in September 2017 (i.e. for the 2017/2018 academic year) will be set in the summer of 2016 and published on the UCL Current Students website. Fees advertised by UCL are for the first year of the programme. UK/EU undergraduate fees are capped, but fees for other students may be subject to increase in future years of study by between 3-5%.
Various funding options are available, including student loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students whose household income falls below a certain level may also be eligible for a non-repayable bursary or for certain scholarships. Please see the Fees and funding pages for more details.
The Scholarships and Funding website lists scholarships and funding schemes available to UCL students. These may be open to all students, or restricted to specific nationalities, regions or academic department.
Application and next steps
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.
Application deadline: 15 January 2017
If your application demonstrates that your academic ability and motivation make you well suited to our degree and you receive an offer, then we shall invite you to a post-offer Open Day, where you can experience the sort of teaching which we offer and life in SELCS.
Our admissions process aims to assess your linguistic abilities and attainment as well as cultural awareness, motivation for study and intellectual potential. We may interview candidates by telephone in order to establish a level of language ability.
For further information on UCL's selection process see: Selection of students