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Queen Mary in Malta

Maltese Language Courses

Maltese Language Courses provided by Queen Mary University of London, Malta Campus

The official languages of Malta are Maltese and English, both of which are spoken fluently by the majority of the population. Both in the hospital and primary care setting, our students have found that some patients feel more comfortable speaking in Maltese. This is particularly visible in the Psychiatry and Geriatrics departments.

We believe that it is beneficial for all students to learn a basic level of Maltese. This will help with interactions and communication with patients. The University has developed three qualifications in Maltese that are accredited by the Malta Further and Higher Education Authority (MFHEA). These are:

  • An Award in Maltese as a Foreign Language, which was designed for students to obtain the four basic skills of the Maltese Language and to understand Maltese culture
  • An Award in Medical Maltese (Part 1), which helps students acquire the basic skills in medical Maltese to communicate with patients and interact with colleagues in medical settings
  • An Award in Medical Maltese (Part 2), which helps students acquire further skills in medical Maltese to communicate with patients and interact with colleagues in medical settings

See our page on full course descriptions and learning outcomes for these courses. Specific learning objectives and other learning resources are also available on QMPlus.



"Medical Maltese enhances the educational experience from clinical placements. From knowing key phrases, one can overcome the initial barriers to approaching non-English speaking patients, maximising opportunities even when a translator is unavailable. Learning Maltese also enables one to observe cultural nuances in ways people interact with healthcare, an experience reflecting the increasingly diverse settings doctors currently work in. Learning a new language is tough, but it will be worth it when one realises how much this helps build rapport with patients and colleagues encountered in the clinical years."
— Gan Weng Liang, MBBS Malta Year 5 , Obtained Medical Maltese qualification in December 2022

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Maltese compulsory and do I have to pass the Maltese exams?

No. Maltese language qualifications are not part of the MBBS curriculum. However, whilst there is sufficient clinical exposure to English-speaking patients throughout the course, the school believes that it is beneficial for all students to learn a basic level of Maltese to support them to communicate with some patients while on placement.

Moreover, if a student wants to complete foundation training in Malta (FY1 & FY2) they would need to pass an equivalent Medical Maltese exam before the end of the first year. Further information can be found on the Malta Foundation programme website and specifically under question 24 of their FAQs.  The Award in Medical Maltese (Part 2) offered by the school is accepted by the Maltese Foundation Programme, allowing you to complete your foundation training in Malta.

How are the Maltese qualifications assessed?

Your progress will primarily be monitored through your attendance and participation in class assignments (60%) with minimal focus on the final exams (40%).   

Do I need to complete all the qualifications?

Whist we recommend students should take all of the available courses, any type of participation is encouraged. 

How many hours per week will be included in the curriculum?

The curriculum includes 2 hours of face-to-face teaching per week.   This could be in the classroom or could be included in your clinical placements.  We also recommend some independent study but most of this can be included in your interactions with Maltese academic and clinical staff, or whilst you are out and about in the community. 

How is Maltese taught?

The Maltese courses are taught through a mixture of lectures, workshops and practical assignments. Learning approaches include role play, quizzes, learning in the community and whilst on placements, with guidance from  Maltese language teachers and local clinicians.

Is it possible to take the Queen Mary Maltese course at a later stage?

No, the courses have been designed to align with your medical studies. Thus, they must be completed as scheduled in the timetable and students should attain a level of Maltese before entering Phase 2.

In Phase 2, students will be attending clinical attachments in Malta and will not be able to attend all of the face-to-face sessions which will be held in Gozo. Medical Maltese lessons in years 1 and 2 are delivered via face-to-face teaching.

F2F or on-line?

The courses are delivered face-to-face.  However, for additional personal study and review, there is the option to also follow the recording which is made available to students following each lecture.

What additional resources are available to students to facilitate learning of the Maltese language?

The University provides Maltese language books in the library.  It also provides online resources and videos, including e-learning videos about the Maltese language. Local academic staff and clinicians are fluent and well-versed in Maltese and are very enthusiastic about knowledge sharing and teaching the language, providing a great resource for students when they are completing the Maltese language courses.

Studying medicine can be challenging.  Will I have time to study a new language at the same time?

The University has incorporated the Maltese language courses in the academic timetable and allocated sufficient time for your studies within the working day.  The courses are basic and assessment is primarily formative and attendance-based.  Instead of a focus on the final exams, we place more emphasis on gradually building your competency through practical exercises.  The knowledge acquired from the Maltese language courses will be relevant and practical whilst on placement, as it will support the students' overall experience during their placement. 

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