Undergraduate course

British Sign Language & Deaf Studies BA (Hons)

Interested in the complexities and subtleties of sign language and how identity and language are linked?

Study the culture, history and language of deaf communities in the UK. Engage with deaf people and communities in a range of contexts, whilst gaining the highly-respected Signature qualifications in British Sign Language (BSL) – the preferred language of over 87,000 people in the UK.

  • Available in Clearing

96% of Graduates from our School of Languages and Linguistics were in employment or further study within six months. DLHE 2017

  • UCAS Code – Q1L9
  • Location – York campus
  • Duration – 3 years full-time
  • Start date – September 2019, September 2020
  • School – Languages & Linguistics

Minimum Entry Requirements

    96 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) including English Language

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2019-20 £9,250 per year

    International 2019-20 £12,750 per year

The York St John Experience

Course overview

At York St John University we have an active and welcoming community of BSL speakers. As your language skills improve you will also gain an increasingly deep understanding of the socio-linguistic context of BSL. You will consider how BSL has developed, its relationship to other world sign languages and investigate the translation process between BSL and English.

The place of deaf people in modern society is constantly changing. You will draw on current research to explore the experiences of deaf people and communities in both historical and contemporary contexts. We will consider the tensions between Deafhood philosophies and the perception of deafness as a disability and the changing foundations of UK deaf communities. In your second year you will have the opportunity to explore issues and challenges faced by BSL users in real workplaces through a work-based module.

While you specialise in the study of British Sign language and its use, you will also gain a broader understanding of how languages in general are structured, learnt and used. You will explore attitudes to language, learn about multilingualism and consider how language is related to identity, society and culture.

The School of Languages & Linguistics has an active research community, a regular guest lecture series and specialist spaces for you to study in, including The Languages Workshop and the Linguistics Lab which all our students are encouraged to make use of.

Course Structure

Level 1

Modules

Semester 1:

One of:

  • British Sign Language Beginners 1- This module is suitable for complete beginners or those with very little prior knowledge of the language. BSL is a visual/gestural language so much of this module will be taken getting to grips with this new modality.
  • British Sign Language Intermediate 1 - Taking a broad view on sign language this module enables you to develop the ability to communicate with Deaf people in a range or familiar and work-related contexts, participating in longer and more open-ended exchanges.

Both of:

  • Deaf History – This module will look at the history of deaf communities and people around the world, including key theoretical concepts such as colonialism and postcolonialism. We will explore the experiences of deaf people in the past, and look at the emergence of key philosophies around sign languages and deaf people from Ottoman Empire to present times.
  • Language and Society - This module explores key aspects of language variation and the relationship between language and society. You will learn about language as a social phenomenon and you will explore the role that social and cultural context plays in language variation.

Semester 2:

One of:

  • British Sign Language Beginners 2 - This module builds on the knowledge gained from the BSL Beginners 1 module to develop students’ proficiency in the language. Vocabulary and phrases will be revised and expanded so that you can cope with a greater range of scenarios and in greater depth. As well as every-day, practical situations like choosing goods in shops or making enquiries about family, we will study topics such as interests and activities, refreshments and directions.
  • British Sign Language Intermediate 2 - This module builds on the knowledge gained from BSL Intermediate 1. Vocabulary and phrases will be revised and you will look into real-world situations.

Both of:

  • Deaf Cultures – This module will lay the groundwork for understanding more complex ideas and theories about deaf people and deaf cultures and how deaf people see their own place in the world. Key ideas include the tensions between Deafhood philosophies and the perception of deafness as a disability, and the changing foundations of UK deaf communities. We will also look at different deaf communities around the world.
  • Multilingualism - This module addresses the world's linguistic diversity and variation and situates the English language within the context of our multilingual world. Language variation and multilingualism are considered from linguistic, psychological, sociocultural, educational, and public policy perspectives

 

All modules are worth 20 credit points unless otherwise stated.

Level 2

Modules

Semester 1:

One of:

  • British Sign Language Intermediate 1 – This module will take a very broad view on sign languages, to enable learners to develop an ability to communicate with Deaf people in a range of familiar and work-related, contexts, participating in long and more open-ended exchanges. This will contain more Receptive skills.
  • British Sign Language Intermediate 3 – This module builds on the knowledge gained from BSL Intermediate 1 and 2. It allows the student to put skills together to demonstrate that they can understand and exchange information during a routine conversation.

Both of:

  • Sociolinguistics of British Sign Language - This module will take a very broad view on sign languages, in particular British Sign Language, to explore the historical, social and linguistic aspects of signed languages, signing people and sign language communities. Some of the topics we will discuss include how BSL has developed and its relation to other sign languages in the world, and interpretation from BSL to English and vice versa. We will also look at a few different ways of analysing languages, and perform some experiments in class to see how these issues can be explored in a practical way.
  • Analysing Texts - This module allows you to develop advanced skills in reading and analysing texts across a variety of genres. A broad linguistic perspective will provide insights into how meanings are created and debated in texts. As a result you will have more understanding of issues of representation and power in contemporary discourses.

Semester 2:

One of:

  • British Sign Language Intermediate 2 - This module builds on the knowledges gained from BSL Intermediate 1. Vocabulary and phrases will be revised and you will look into real-world situations.
  • British Sign Language Advanced 1 - This course is designed so that students gain a more indepth understanding of the linguistics of BSL and will be able to use and understand varied BSL in a range of work and social situations. Some sample topics include - established and productive lexicons, different BSL verbs, different sign types and non-manual features in BSL.

Both of:

  • Deaf Visual Experience - This module looks at the visual nature of the deaf experience, exploring the social and physiological underpinnings of this visucentrism. We will look at how to analyse visual media, how to use visual research methods and finally how to disseminate research in visual ways.
  • Language at Work - This module comprises of a 10-day work experience. In addition the module will consider relevant issues and practices within places of work as well as the communication demands on the prospective work-seeker within contemporary society.

 

All modules are worth 20 credit points unless otherwise stated.

Level 3

Modules

Semester 1:

One of:

  • British Sign Language Intermediate 3 – This module builds on the knowledge gained from the BSL Intermediate 1 and 2. It allow for the student to put both skills together to demonstrate that they can understand and exchange information during a routine conversation.
  • British Sign Language Advanced 2 - This module follows on from BSL Advanced 1 and aims to develop students' advanced language skills and provide them with an insight into Deaf culture and issues.

And:

  • Deaf Social Theory – As Pierre Bourdieu once said, ‘Research without theory is blind, and theory without research is empty’. This module will build on the key concepts established in the first year Deaf History and Deaf Culture modules to examine in more depth the different social theories which can be used to understand the experiences of deaf people.

One of:

  • Attitudes to Language - This module examines publicly held views of language. It covers topics such as Standard English and correctness. With particular reference to education it also investigates the social, political and idealogical issues associated with these views.
  • Language, Identities and Culture - This module explores the ways in which language can function as an indicator of a range of social and cultural identities and how language plays an active role in constructing identites. The module takes an interdisciplinary approach to analysing the relationship between language, identity and culture.

Semester 2:

One of:

  • British Sign Language Advanced 1 - This course is designed so that students gain a more indepth understanding of the linguistics of BSL and will be able to use and understand varied BSL in a range of work and social situations. Some sample topics include - established and productive lexicons, different BSL verbs, different sign types and non-manual features in BSL.
  • British Sign Language Advanced 3 - This module follows on from BSL Advanced 2. As well as developing students' early advanced language skills, this module also aims to develop students' ability to critically evaluate Deaf issues.

And:

  • Dissertation (40 credits) - You will carry out independent research related to your programme on a topic of your choice backed by tutorial supervision.

All modules are worth 20 credit points unless otherwise stated.

Teaching & Assessment

Delivery

British Sign Language classes are delivered in small groups of up to 25 students. Deaf studies modules are delivered using a mixture of lectures, workshops and seminars. Seminar groups have up to 30 students.

Academic and research skills are embedded in modules, for example, academic writing and referencing, peer review, use of web based resources for document sharing and the use of wikis and blogs.

Contact Hours

You will take three modules per semester (except for your final semester when you will take a 40-credit dissertation module and one other module). Each module has 2-4 hours of contact time. The taught sessions could be spread across all five days of the week, or could be concentrated into fewer days. Taught sessions are scheduled between 9.00am-8.00pm Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 9.00am-1.00pm Wednesday, and 9.00am-6.00pm Friday.

As well as the taught sessions, you will also have academic tutorials through the semester, you can set up tutorials with your module tutors, and you'll be able to attend events such as the Colloquium Lectures and Language Talks. 

Assessment Methods

British Sign Language modules are assessed with a combination of practical exams and videos. The assessment for Deaf Studies modules varies from module to module. Assessment methods include essays, presentations, data analysis, online tests, peer reviews, blog posts and research proposals and reports.

Self Study Time: 

If you are joining us from school, college or the workplace you will probably feel you have a very empty timetable. This is becuase a 20-credit module, which is equivalent to 200 hours of study, only has 2-4 hours a week of contact time - the rest is study you are expected to do yourself.

We support students in achieving this by giving lots of guidance on what to study, including weekly readings and preparation for assessments, and offering regular tutorials and drop-in sessions with module tutors so you can get feedback on your work. All modules are supported by materials hosted on Moodle, the University's Virtual Learning Environment.

Staffing: 

Our British Sign Language & Deaf Studies academic staff are Amanda Smith and Dr Dai O'Brien.

You will be taught by other academic staff in the School. The School of Languages & Linguistics Head of School is Dr Rachel Wicaksono. The British Sign Language & Deaf Studies programme is managed by the Subject Director for Languages and TESOL Dr Becky Muradás-Taylor. University support staff are well intergrated into our programme, for example, a representative from the library contributes sessions on research and referencing over the course of the programme.

 

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The minimum entry requirements for this course are:

  • 96 UCAS Tariff points
  • 3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) including English Language

You can enter this programme as a beginner in British Sign Language. You can also enter if you already have Signature level 1.

 

This programme is not suitable if:

  • British Sign Language is your first language
  • You have Signature level 3 or above in British Sign Language

 

If you have Signature level 2, then you can enter the programme, but the British Sign Language modules in the first three semesters (British Sign Language Intermediate 1–3) will contain some element of revision.

Personal Statement

Candidates can demonstrate a real enthusiasm for the subject that goes beyond achieving good grades in exams. Examples of this include:

  • Undertaking independent study of British Sign Language
  • A strong standard of written English
  • Discussion of future career plans in a relevant field
  • Demonstrating relevant transferable skills
  • Relevant extra-curricular activities or work experience
  • Becoming a member of appropriate societies
  • Subscribing to (or reading) relevant journals/magazines
  • Being involved in overseas exchange programmes

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages.

Fees and funding

To study for an undergraduate degree with us, you will need to pay tuition fees for your course. How much you pay will depend on whether you're a UK & EU student or an international (non-EU) student. Tuition fees are charged for each year of your course.

Find out more about funding for Foundation Year and/or Placement Year by visiting the Funding Advice pages of our website. York St John offer special reductions to students graduating from York St John University Undergraduate degrees in 2019 and continuing directly onto Postgraduate study. Find out more about discounts and scholarships. There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation

Tuition fees

Home / EU students

The York St John University tuition fee for the 2019 entry to Foundation Degree, BA and BSc, PGCE Primary and Secondary and UG Health Programme degrees is £9,250 per year for UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

Overseas students

The York St John University tuition fee for the 2019 entry to Foundation Degree, BA and BSc, PGCE degrees is £12,750 per year for international students.

Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

Funding your course

Additional costs and financial support

COURSE-RELATED COSTS

Whilst studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

STUDY ABROAD

For more information on tuition fee reductions and additional costs for studying abroad, please visit our study abroad webpages.

 

ACCOMMODATION AND LIVING COSTS

View our accommodation webpages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

FINANCIAL HELP AND SUPPORT

Help and advice on funding your studies at York St John is available through our Money Advice service.

More than a degree

More to explore

Students walking through York

Join us this September

Get in touch

Cookie Settings