Literatures, Languages & Cultures

Open Languages

The Open Languages courses are one semester language courses available to all students within the university.

The Open Languages courses are free to all University of Edinburgh students (both undergraduate and postgraduate, and at any stage of their degree), whether taken as part of a degree, or above and beyond degree requirements (extra credit).

All the courses:

  • are SCQF level 07
  • last one semester
  • are each worth 20 credits
  • provide 40-44 hours of tuition through the semester, with two two-hour classes per week
  • are taught in groups of 20-30 students. Some of the larger courses have more than one group within the course; students will be automatically allocated to a group in week 1.

Students who wish to take these courses (whether for credit or as extra credit) must be enrolled by the relevant staff member within their school (usually a Personal Tutor, Student Support Officer, Supervisor or Postgraduate office).

Please note:

  • These courses cannot be audited - all students, including postgraduates, must be enrolled through EUCLID as Class and Exam (CE), do all the coursework and sit the exam.
  • Students MUST attend sets of tutorials (2 x 2 hours weekly) in the group they have been allocated to and cannot attend more than one group.
  • Students on some degrees cannot take SCQF level 7 courses as outside courses - these students would have to take these courses for extra credit - please check your Degree Programme Table.
  • When taken for extra credits, the results will not be used in any degree classification calculations and the credits will not count towards the student's required credit load.
  • Visiting students may only take these courses as part of their normal course load.
  • Students on a language degree may only take these courses as extra credits (credits will not count towards their required credit load)

There are three levels within the Open Languages courses:


Foundation 1

These courses are for absolute beginners who have no previous knowledge of the language.

Foundation 2

These courses are for students with some previous knowledge of the language. They follow on from the Foundation 1 courses.

Foundation 3

These courses are intended for students who have successfully completed Foundation 2 courses or have reached an equivalent standard at CEFR level A2/1. Students with Advanced Highers or A level are over-qualified for this course.


Any enquiries about these courses should be directed to the Undergraduate Teaching Organisation, 50 George Square, room 1.07 (opening hours Mon-Fri 9am-5pm). You will find the contact details for the relevant Undergraduate Administrator by clicking on the course description for your chosen course, listed under the three foundation levels, or email: (Foundation Japanese, Foundation Korean, Introductory Chinese Language) (Foundation French) (Introductory Arabic Language) (Foundation Italian) (Foundation German) (Foundation Russian) (Foundation Danish, Foundation Icelandic, Foundation Swedish) (Foundation Basque, Foundation Portuguese, Foundation Spanish)

Useful Links

Non-students, or students who cannot take an Open Language course may wish to consider the Languages for All courses run by the Centre for Open Learning.  These courses have a cost, although they are discounted for those connected to the university.