About the course
How do children learn to talk? What are the best ways of teaching and learning a foreign language? How does language continue to develop and change throughout a person’s lifespan? How do our age, sex, social background and regional origins affect the way we speak?
You study how children acquire their first language, or languages, how people acquire further languages later in life, and how and under what circumstances language knowledge can be lost, whilst simultaneously receiving a thorough grounding in the structure of English sounds, words and sentences. With such a wide scope of study, you gain a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between our language and our minds, with a special focus on the process of acquisition and the prevalence of disorders.
Unlike other English Language courses in the UK, our focus is not on the history of language, but on the contemporary use of English – on the way that we use language, in English-speaking countries and around the globe, and the ways in which language is changing. You explore specialist topics including:
- The relationship between language and mind
- First and second language acquisition
- The development of bilingual children
- Language loss and language disorders
We are one of the largest and most prestigious language and linguistics departments in the world, a place where talented students become part of an academic community in which the majority of research is rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, placing us firmly within the top 10 departments in the UK and among the top 150 departments on the planet (QS World University Rankings 2016).
If you want a global outlook, are interested in human communication, and want to study for a degree with real-world practical value in a world-class department, welcome to Essex.
“My time at Essex helped me to become a more confident and independent person. In my final year I was offered an internship with a partner university in Germany, and experiencing a new culture was fantastic. I’m now working with a charity, helping migrant workers improve their English language skills.”
Natilly Macartney, BA English Language and Linguistics, 2013
Your education extends beyond our University campus. We support you extending your education by offering you an additional year at no extra cost. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend your third year studying abroad or employed on a placement, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.
Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.
On a placement year you can gain relevant work experience within an external business, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. You will be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and our Employability and Careers Centre.
Our expert staff
Our staff are internationally recognised for their language research (REF 2014). Their books dominate the reading lists at other universities. We maintain excellent student-staff ratios, and we integrate language learning with linguistics wherever there is synergy.
In theoretical linguistics, Louisa Sadler, and Kyle Jerro work on the structure of sentences, focusing on English and other languages, and Nancy Kula and Yuni Kim work on sound structure.
In sociolinguistics, Peter Patrick, Rebecca Clift, Enam Al Wer and Vineeta Chand all work on different aspects of how language varies, and investigating which factors affect successful conversation. Peter is also involved in language rights, and offers expert opinions in asylum cases where language is used to determine origin.
In applied linguistics, Florence Myles, Monika Schmid, Sophia Skoufaki, Karen Roehr-Brackin and Adela Gánem-Gutiérrez focus on the learning of second and further languages, whilst Tracey Costley and Christina Gkonou focus on issues to do with the classroom teaching of English as a foreign language. Tracey also investigates language development in schoolchildren in the UK whose home language is not English.
In psycholinguistics, Claire delle Luche and Laurie Lawyer use experimental techniques such as eyetracking and EEG to understand how children learn language, how adults process language, and what happens when language ability is impaired by brain disorders.
- Our Languages for All programme offers you the opportunity to study an additional language alongside your course at no extra cost
- Our ‘Visual World’ Experimental Lab records response times and eye movements when individuals are presented with pictures and videos
- Our Eye-Tracking Lab monitors eye movement of individuals performing tasks
- Our EEG lab monitors how the brain processes language through measuring the electric signal when people hear or read sentences
- Our Psycholinguistics Lab measures how long it takes individuals to react to words, texts and sounds
- Our Linguistics Lab has specialist equipment to analyse sound
- An exciting programme of research seminars and other events
- Our Albert Sloman Library houses a strong collection of books, journals, electronic resources and major archives
Studying language and linguistics allows you to develop your research and IT skills by collecting and analysing linguistic data using state-of-the-art technology, and a combination of team-work and independent projects enhances your communication, problem-solving, and management skills.
Our graduates have gone on to have careers in a wide variety of fields, including teaching, journalism, branding, advertising, marketing, travel, communications, publishing, speech and occupational therapy, interpreting, translating and media.
For example, one of our department’s recent graduates is now an Assistant Editor at Scholastic, whilst another teaches English in South Korea. Other graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of high-profile companies including:
- Royal National Institute for the Blind
- Macmillan Publishers
- Cambridge University Press
- Decisive Media Ltd
- Royal Bank of Scotland
- British Telecom
We also work with the University’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
UK entry requirements
IB: 30 points. We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.
Entry requirements for students studying BTEC qualifications are dependent on units studied. Advice can be provided on an individual basis. The standard required is generally at Distinction level.
International and EU entry requirements
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries.
for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the
high school qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
English language requirements
English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.
Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications
If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.
If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.
Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.
The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are ‘L’ and ‘S’ respectively.
Applicant Days and interviews
Resident in the UK? If your application is successful, we will invite you to attend one of our applicant days. These run from January to April and give you the chance to explore the campus, meet our students and really get a feel for life as an Essex student.
Some of our courses also hold interviews and if you’re invited to one, this will take place during your applicant day. Don’t panic, they’re nothing to worry about and it’s a great way for us to find out more about you and for you to find out more about the course. Some of our interviews are one-to-one with an academic, others are group activities, but we’ll send you all the information you need beforehand.
If you’re outside the UK and are planning a trip, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can help you plan a visit to the University.
Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. In 2017 we have three undergraduate Open Days (in June, September and October). These events enable you to discover what our Colchester Campus has to offer. You have the chance to:
- tour our campus and accommodation
- find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
- meet our students and staff
Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing email@example.com and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.