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Undergraduate course

British Sign Language & Educational Linguistics BA (Hons)

Want to learn British Sign Language whilst gaining a greater understanding of language use and learning?

sign language

At York St John University we have a long-standing tradition of studying languages in use, including British Sign Language. If you've ever wondered how language impairments can affect our learning, or what language diversity in the classroom means for students and if you have an interest in British Sign Language (BSL) then this course is for you.

  • Available in Clearing

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

York campus

  • UCAS Code – Q1L8
  • Duration – 3 years full-time | 6 years part-time
  • Start date – September 2020
  • School – Languages & Linguistics

Minimum Entry Requirements

    96 UCAS Tariff points

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

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2020-21 £9,250 per year

    International 2020-21 £12,750 per year

Discover why York St John is The One

Course overview

Our experienced and award-winning British Sign Language staff take great pride in their personal approach to learning and teaching and we can accomodate you no matter what your previous experience of BSL. Throughout the programme you will have the opportunity to take a nationally-recognised Signature BSL qualification, which is invaluable if you wish to continue working with Deaf people upon graduation.

You will progress to an advanced level of BSL and explore how to apply the study of language structure within an educational context. You'll consider the multilingual classroom, first and second language acquisition, language impairments and the acquisition of written language. You'll also study the historical contexts of deaf people and the socio-cultural aspects of BSL use. We will discuss how BSL has developed and its relation to other sign languages in the world, as well as exploring the key philosophies around sign languages and deaf people from Ottoman Empire to present times.  


This programme is ideal if you are considering a career working with Deaf children as a teacher, SEN specialist or speech and language therapist.

Course structure

Level 1

Modules

Semester 1:

One of:

  • British Sign Language Beginners 1 - This course 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 about 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.
  • English Language and Linguistics - This module aims to develop your critical awareness of language, introducing the historical development of language and of English, of linguistics, and a variety of systematic approaches to language study.

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 knowledges gained from BSL Intermediate 1. Vocabulary and phrases will be revised and you will look into real-world situations.

Both of: 

  • Descriptive Grammar of English- This module examines the grammatical framework of linguistic structures. Discussions will also consider how configurations of the elements of this framework relate to meaning. Where possible, the module examines these issues in relation to real texts.
  • 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 form linguistic, psychological, sociocultural and educational 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:

  • Linguistic Diversity in the Classroom - This module will consider language use and diversity in education.  
  • 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.

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:

  • Language and Literacy - This module will introduce you to key issues in relation to the development of literacy, focusing primarily on the development of writing skills.
  • Language at Work - This module comprises of a 10-day work placement. 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:

  • 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.
  • Speech and Language Pathology - This module will provide you with a comprehensive introduction to speech and language pathology and give you an appreciation of how clinicians evaluate and make decisions about intervention to remediate speech and language difficulties in both adults and children.

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 0 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. Educational Linguistics modules are delivered using a mixture of lectures, workshops and seminars.

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.

Teaching and Assessment

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.

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 academic staff are Amanda Smith and Dr Dai O'Brien.

You will be taught Educational Linguistics by other academic staff in the School. The Head of the School of Languages & Linguistics is Rachel Wicaksono. The British Sign Language & Educational Linguistics 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

International Students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements. Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our international pages.

If your first language is not English you must show evidence of English language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

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 depends on whether you live inside the UK or EU, or internationally (outside the UK/EU). Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

UK & EU 2020 entry

The tuition fee for 2020 entry onto this course is £9,250 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

You can find out more about funding your degree by visiting our funding opportunities page.

Funding Opportunities

Placement year funding

If you choose to take a placement year, and your course offers it, you can apply for the Tuition Fee and Maintenance Loan for your placement year. How much you are awarded is based on the type of placement being undertaken and whether it is a paid or unpaid placement. The tuition fee for your placement year will be reduced.

International (non-EU) 2020 entry

The tuition fee for 2020 entry to this course is £12,750 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all students living outside the UK/EU.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a Tier 4 visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your degree.

International Fees and Funding 

Additional costs and financial support

There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation.

Course-related costs

While 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 pages.

Accommodation and living costs

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

Financial help and support

Our Funding Advice team are here to help you with your finances throughout your degree. They offer a personal service that can help you with funding your studies and budgeting for living expenses. 

All undergraduates receive financial support through the York St John Aspire card. Find out more about the Aspire scheme and how it can be used to help you purchase equipment you need for your course. 

Aspire Card

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