Undergraduate Course

BA English Language and Linguistics

BA English Language and Linguistics

Overview

The details
English Language and Linguistics
QQ13
October 2024
Full-time
3 years
Colchester Campus

What is the range of sounds found in human languages? Which of those sounds are used by English to construct words? How are words combined to form meaningful sentences in English, and are the same patterns of combination found in other languages? How does society and social pressure affect the way we speak? How do different varieties of English evolve? These are some of the questions you will address in the course.

Language is central to all human activity, from important negotiations between nation states to doctor-patient interaction, to spontaneous conversations in cafés. Through your study of language, you come to understand the nature of human social life.

Foundational modules in the first and second year will teach you how to analyse linguistic sound systems, word structure, sentence structure, meaning and language use, and apply your knowledge to the analysis of English. You will then be able to make informed choices about areas of English or Linguistics you want to study in greater depth through study options, such as:

  • Phonetics
  • English around the World
  • Language and the Mind
  • Conversation and Social Interaction
  • Institutional Talk
  • English Language in the Media

We are 1st in UK for research impact in modern languages and linguistics (Grade Point Average, Research Excellence Framework 2021). You have an opportunity to study different kinds of linguistics from structural linguistics to applied and experimental linguistics.

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.

Why we're great.
  • You'll have the opportunity to study a certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language as part of your degree.
  • Top 25 in the UK for linguistics in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2024
  • 92% of our Department of Language and Linguistics UG graduates are in employment or further study (Graduate Outcomes 2023)

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, 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.

If you spend a full year abroad you'll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won't pay any tuition fees to your host university

Placement year

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 placements team.

If you complete a placement year you'll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.

Our expert staff

Our staff maintain excellent student-staff ratios with capped language-specific seminars.

In theoretical linguistics, Kyle Jerro and Hannah Gibson work on the structure of words and sentences, focusing on English and other languages. Scott Lewis and Nancy Kula work on sound structure.

In sociolinguistics, Rebecca Clift, Enam Al Wer, Ella Jeffries and Amanda Cole all work on different aspects of how language varies, and investigate which factors cause such variation.

In applied linguistics, Karen Roehr-Brackin and Adela Gánem-Gutiérrez focus on the learning of second and further languages, whilst Tracey Costley, Christina Gkonou, Neophytos Mitsigkas and Nasser Jabbari focus on issues to do with the classroom teaching of English as a foreign language.

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 or other factors (e.g. hearing impairment).

In all of these areas, we combine a theoretical approach with high-level, qualitative and quantitative, empirical and experimental technique; in particular, we have a strong interest in recent developments in inferential statistics.

Specialist facilities

The study of linguistics provides the opportunity for plenty of hands-on experience as well as theoretical work. You might be?listening to interviews, studying language processing, or analysing sounds, so we provide extensive facilities to allow you to fully engage with a wide variety of linguistic methods:

  • 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 Psycholinguistics Lab measures how long it takes individuals to react to words, texts and sounds
  • Our Linguistics Lab has specialist equipment to analyse sound
  • Our EEG Lab is used for recording brain activity during reading, listening, or watching video of language materials
  • 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
  • Our Languages for All programme offers you the opportunity to study an additional language alongside your course at no extra cost
  • Meet other language enthusiasts through our student-run Linguistics Society

Your future

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.

Graduates of our department have gone on to have careers in a wide variety of fields, including teaching (in the UK and abroad), journalism, branding, advertising, marketing, travel, communications, publishing, speech and occupational therapy, interpreting, translating and media. Other graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of high-profile companies including:

  • The British Council
  • English in Action
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Macmillan Publishers
  • Cambridge University Press
  • Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
  • Decisive Media Ltd

We also work with the University's Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

  • A-levels: BBB - BBC or 120 - 112 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of 2 full A-levels.
  • BTEC: DDM - DMM or 120 - 112 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of the equivalent of 2 full A-levels.
  • Combined qualifications on the UCAS tariff: 120 - 112 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of 2 full A levels or equivalent. Tariff point offers may be made if you are taking a qualification, or mixture of qualifications, from the list on our undergraduate application information page.
  • IB: 30 - 29 points or three Higher Level certificates with 555-554.
  • IB Career-related Programme: We consider combinations of IB Diploma Programme courses with BTECs or other qualifications. Advice on acceptability can be provided, email Undergraduate Admissions
  • QAA-approved Access to HE Diploma: 6 level 3 credits at Distinction and 39 level 3 credits at Merit, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided, email Undergraduate Admissions
  • T-levels: We consider T-levels on a case-by-case basis, depending on subject studied. The offer for most courses is Distinction overall. Depending on the course applied for there may be additional requirements, which may include a specific grade in the Core.

Contextual Offers:

We are committed to ensuring that all students with the merit and potential to benefit from an Essex education are supported to do so. For October 2024 entry, if you are a home fee paying student residing in the UK you may be eligible for a Contextual Offer of up to two A-level grades, or equivalent, below our standard conditional offer.
Factors we consider:

  • Applicants from underrepresented groups
  • Applicants progressing from University of Essex Schools Membership schools/colleges
  • Applicants who attend a compulsory admissions interview
  • Applicants who attend an Offer Holder Day at our Colchester or Southend campus

Our contextual offers policy outlines additional circumstances and eligibility criteria.

For further information about what a contextual offer may look like for your specific qualification profile, email ugquery@essex.ac.uk.

If you haven't got the grades you hoped for, have a non-traditional academic background, are a mature student, or have any questions about eligibility for your course, more information can be found on our undergraduate application information page or get in touch with our Undergraduate Admissions Team

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please contact our Undergraduate Admissions team at ugquery@essex.ac.uk to request the entry requirements for this country.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall, or specified score in another equivalent test that we accept.

Details of English language requirements, including component scores, and the tests we accept for applicants who require a Student visa (excluding Nationals of Majority English Speaking Countries) can be found here

If we accept the English component of an international qualification it will be included in the academic levels listed above for the relevant countries.

English language shelf-life

Most English language qualifications have a validity period of 5 years. The validity period of Pearson Test of English, TOEFL and CBSE or CISCE English is 2 years.

If you require a Student visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

Pre-sessional English courses

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.

Pending English language qualifications

You don’t need to achieve the required level before making your application, but it will be one of the conditions of your offer.

If you cannot find the qualification that you have achieved or are pending, then please email ugquery@essex.ac.uk .

Requirements for second and final year entry

Different requirements apply for second and final year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a visa to study in the UK. Details of English language requirements, including UK Visas and Immigration minimum component scores, and the tests we accept for applicants who require a Student visa (excluding Nationals of Majority English Speaking Countries) can be found here

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College

Structure

Course structure

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The following modules are based on the current course structure and may change in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We'll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website and in line with your contract with us. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, we'll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.

Components and modules explained

Components

Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
Core
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Optional
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.

Modules

Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

Sounds
(15 CREDITS)

This module introduces you to the production of language sounds and their distribution in words, in particular, but not exclusively, in English. You will study the basic principles of phonology and develop the knowledge required to understand and begin to analyse sound systems. You will also discuss phonological processes and investigate the context and motivation of occurrence.

View Sounds on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY

Introduction to the Study of Language
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY

Words and Sentences
(15 CREDITS)

Discover how to describe and analyse the structure of words, phrases, and sentences in this introductory half module. With topics including the English parts of speech, word structure and the distinction between inflection, derivation and compounding, and the identification of phrases, you will gain a solid grasp of the foundational material for the study of English linguistics, whilst developing useful analytical skills.

View Words and Sentences on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: COMPULSORY

Foundations of Sociolinguistics
(15 CREDITS)

Discover the role of variation in language systems, and learn the techniques and concepts needed to study the way language varies. You will look at geographical, social and historical dialects, explore language myths, and cover topics such as measuring language variation, social patterns and functions of language variation, speaker variables, and the relationship of language variation to language change. At the end of this module, you will have gained a clear understanding of the role variation plays in language systems, and will be able to look critically at the social functions and values of dialects and vernacular language usage.

View Foundations of Sociolinguistics on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONS

(LG115-4-AU and LG119-4-SP) or (LG665-4-AU and LG667-4-SP)
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 07: COMPULSORY

Careers and Employability Skills for Languages and Linguistics
(0 CREDITS)

What are your skills? And how do they fit in with your career plans? Build your employability skills through this non-credit bearing but obligatory module. Attend workshops and events, engage in activities to raise your employability and build your knowledge of the graduate job market.

View Careers and Employability Skills for Languages and Linguistics on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

English Language in the media
(15 CREDITS)

Interested in how people make use of social media to construct identities for themselves? Curious about how media is used to disseminate political messages? Explore how language is used for different purposes within and across a range of mass and social media. Through this module you’ll examine how language is used in such contexts as electronically-mediated communication (EMC), political speeches, interviews and mass media more broadly.

View English Language in the media on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY

Phonetics: Sounds Across Languages
(15 CREDITS)

Building on your knowledge gained in earlier modules, the focus of this module is on the phonetics involved in the pronunciation of English and the relationship between phonetics and phonology to offer explanations for some observed phenomena. As part of your studies, you will cover both articulatory and acoustic phonetics.

View Phonetics: Sounds Across Languages on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY

Research methods for language and linguistics
(15 CREDITS)

Discover the steps involved in undertaking a research project in language and linguistics and develop your own final-year project. Topics include: Reviewing literature; Formulating research questions and hypotheses; Choosing a suitable research design; Data collection; Analysis techniques; Reporting findings. You will learn through a mixture of lectures, seminars and lab sessions to build your knowledge, skills, and confidence in researching, structuring, and writing a research project.

View Research methods for language and linguistics on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONS

LG211-5-SP or LG212-5-AU
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 05: OPTIONAL

Linguistics option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 07: COMPULSORY

Careers and Employability Skills for Languages and Linguistics
(0 CREDITS)

What are your skills? And how do they fit in with your career plans? Build your employability skills through this non-credit bearing but obligatory module. Attend workshops and events, engage in activities to raise your employability and build your knowledge of the graduate job market.

View Careers and Employability Skills for Languages and Linguistics on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONS

LG831-6-FY or LG832-6-FY
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY

English in the British Isles
(15 CREDITS)

The module looks at variation in the English Language as it is spoken in the British Isles (England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland), and discusses associated historical and sociolinguistic issues. The focus is on phonological variation, although salient syntactic, morphological and lexical features are also covered, illustrating with recordings wherever possible

View English in the British Isles on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY

English Around the World
(15 CREDITS)

This module looks at varieties of English in North America (USA and Canada), the Southern Hemisphere (Australia, New Zealand and South Africa), and the Caribbean. The module covers the historical development of these varieties and discusses their salient features. The focus is on phonological variation, although syntactic, morphological and lexical features are also considered.

View English Around the World on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: OPTIONAL

Linguistics option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 05: OPTIONAL

Linguistics or Language option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 06: COMPULSORY

Careers and Employability Skills for Languages and Linguistics
(0 CREDITS)

What are your skills? And how do they fit in with your career plans? Build your employability skills through this non-credit bearing but obligatory module. Attend workshops and events, engage in activities to raise your employability and build your knowledge of the graduate job market.

View Careers and Employability Skills for Languages and Linguistics on our Module Directory

Year abroad

On your year abroad, you have the opportunity 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. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Teaching

Undergraduate students studying English Language and Linguistics modules would typically attend a two-hour teaching event for each module every week. Seminars would usually have about 20 students.

Undergraduate students studying Modern Languages modules would typically involve two to three hours of classes per week (but note that the intensive language modules would involve four to five hours of classes per week). Classes usually contain up to 20 students within each group.

  • Teaching is arranged to allow freedom in how you organise your learning experience
  • Examples of practical work include digitally recording dialect speakers in a small traditional fishing community, or scouring digitised child language databanks
  • Other teaching methods include lectures, demonstrations and learning by teaching others

Assessment

  • You're assessed through a combination of coursework (assignments, essays and tests) and end-of-year examinations.
  • Weighted 50% coursework and 50% exams depending on which modules you choose.
  • Other assessment methods include quizzes, presentations, portfolios, group work, and projects.

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£9,250 per year

International fee

£19,500 per year

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our 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 book a campus tour here.

2024 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday 15 June 2024 - June Open Day
  • Saturday 17 August 2024 - Colchester Clearing Open Day
  • Saturday 21 September 2024 - September Open Day

Applying

Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full details on how to apply can be found on the filling in your UCAS undergraduate application web page.

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.

You can find further information on how to apply, including information on transferring from another university, applying if you are not currently at a school or college, and applying for readmission on our How to apply and entry requirements page.

Offer Holder Days

If you receive an undergraduate offer to study with us in October 2024 and live in the UK, you will receive an email invitation to book onto one of our Offer Holder Days. Our Colchester Campus Offer Holder Days run from February to May 2024 on various Wednesdays and Saturdays, and our Southend Campus events run in April and May. These events provide the opportunity to meet your department, tour our campus and accommodation, and chat to current students. To support your attendance, we are offering a travel bursary, allowing you to claim up to £150 as reimbursement for travel expenses. For further information about Offer Holder Days, including terms and conditions and eligibility criteria for our travel bursary, please visit our webpage.

If you are an overseas offer-holder, you will be invited to attend one of our virtual events. However, you are more than welcome to join us at one of our in-person Offer Holder Days if you are able to - we will let you know in your invite email how you can do this.

A sunny day with banners flying on Colchester Campus Square 4.

Visit Colchester Campus

Set within 200 acres of award-winning parkland - Wivenhoe Park and located two miles from the historic city centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded development. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.


View from Square 2 outside the Rab Butler Building looking towards Square 3

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tours allows you to explore our University from the comfort of your home. Check out our Colchester virtual tour and Southend virtual tour to see accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.

Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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