Future of Language Degrees

In recent years, language degrees have come under pressure in many European countries. The reasons for this include social changes, for example, in students' study preferences, career outcomes, government policies and university strategies. There have been significant changes in the intellectual environment, affecting the relationship between languages and other neighbouring subject areas, especially in the arts and humanities, but also in the social sciences. The Bologna process and the internationalisation of higher education also pose particular challenges to language degrees.

The Special Interest Group developed a preliminary analysis of the profile of language degrees and their recent development in the countries with which participants are familiar. It examined the key strengths in these degrees and the areas in which they found difficulties. It identified the main external pressures affecting them and explored potential opportunities for future development.

The SIG drew up preliminary recommendations to the CEL/ELC, including proposals for future research and development projects at the European level and a programme of action to engage key stakeholders and policy markers. It also considered the availability of information and support for academic leaders concerned with the development of language degrees.

The SIG held its first preliminary meeting in the autumn of 2011, and closed in September 2012, working mainly through online consultation, including online meetings and webinar events. It was chaired by Michael Kelly of the University of Southampton.

The full text of the final report can be found here.