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Undergraduate course

British Sign Language, Deaf Studies and Linguistics BA (Hons)

Prepare for a future working with the deaf community by studying British Sign Language (BSL), deaf identities and language structures.

A student doing British Sign Language

On this course, you will learn British Sign Language (BSL) – the preferred language of over 87,000 people in the UK – to an advanced level. This course is your chance to study the history, cultures and lived experiences of deaf people. You can choose to learn about speech and language impairments and the role of language in education.

York campus

  • UCAS Code – Q1L9
  • Duration – 3 years full time
  • Start date – September 2021
  • School – School of Education, Language and Psychology

Minimum Entry Requirements

    96 UCAS Tariff points

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

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2021 entry £12,750 per year full time

Discover why York St John is The One

Course overview

This course is suitable if you are a beginner, or have prior knowledge of British Sign Language (BSL). We will place you at an appropriate level. As part of your course you will study for a Signature British Sign Language award.

Our approach to teaching Deaf Studies draws on current research. You will explore the experiences of deaf people and how they have changed over time. Together we will also explore the perception of deafness as a disability and how deaf communities in the UK are changing. In your second year you will examine the challenges faced by BSL users in the workplace on a dedicated work based module.

While studying Linguistics, you will learn how language is structured, learnt and used. You can choose linguistics modules that interest you and support your ambitions. This could include exploring speech and language impairments or examining multilingual classrooms. Linguistics can help you consider how language relates to identity, society and culture.

As your language skills develop you will gain an understanding of how society impacts the use of BSL. You will develop this by engaging with our welcome community of BSL speakers. Together with your peers you will consider the development of BSL. This includes exploring the translation processes between BSL and English.

Course structure

Year 1

Our academic year is split into 2 semesters. This course can only be taken full time.

In your first year, if you are a full time student, you will study: 

  • 3 compulsory modules in semester 1
  • 2 compulsory modules and 1 optional module in semester 2.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Optional modules will run if they receive enough interest. It is not guaranteed that all modules will run every year.

Modules

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

We have designed this module for beginners in British Sign Language (BSL) so if you have little or no experience, you will take this module. You will study BSL at level A1/A2 on the Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR). You will learn to give a simple description of people, living or working conditions, daily routines and more. By the end of the module you will be able to use simple everyday greetings, respond to invitations and learn to explain your likes and dislikes using BSL.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

We have designed this module for those who have prior experience of British Sign Language (BSL), so if you have studied it before, this is the module you will take. You will study BSL at level A2/B1 of the Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR). Using various video materials, you will develop your receptive skills, learning to understand signed communication and answer questions. You will learn key BSL grammatical features and practice your ability to sign short BSL narratives.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will study the history of Deaf people and Deaf communities. It introduces key terms and concepts such as post-colonialism, the Milan Congress 1880 and the Deaf Resurgence. You will be able to apply what you learn on this module to all areas of your degree. You will also consider what the future may hold for Deaf people and communities, discussing it with your peers and tutors in seminars.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module we will introduce you to the linguistic areas of study that you will build on throughout your degree. This includes the basics of phonetics and grammar. You will study:

  • Contemporary issues and debates about language use
  • The historical development of language and of English
  • Academic reading, writing and referencing techniques.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module continues your learning from Accelerated British Sign Language 1. You will study BSL at level B1 of the Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR). You will learn to use more sophisticated everyday greetings and understand signed communication to respond and answer simple questions. By the end of the module you will be able to take part in unstructured social conversations in BSL and understand key BLS grammatical features.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module continues your learning from Accelerated British Sign Language 1. You will study BSL at level B1 of the Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR). You will focus on developing your receptive and productive skills. By watching more complex video material you will also enhance your BSL receptive skills. At the end of the module you will have an in depth understanding of BSL grammatical features and be able to communicate on a theme of your choice.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

The knowledge gained on this module will underpin the Deaf Studies aspects of your degree. You will explore the traditional foundations of Deaf communities and contemporary debates. You will look at a range of topics to gain vital information. These include: Deaf vs. deaf, Deaf or disabled?, the roots of Deaf Culture in the UK and USA and more. 

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will examine the grammatical framework of linguistic structures. You will consider how the elements of this framework relate to meaning. Where possible, you will explore these issues in relation to real texts.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module, you will address the worlds linguistic diversity and variation. The module situates the English language within the context of our multilingual world. You will consider Language variation and multilingualism from linguistic, psychological, sociocultural and educational perspectives.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module introduces the principles of articulatory phonetics. You will explore the description, recognition and production of the sounds and symbols of the International Phonetic Association.

 

Year 2

In your second year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • 2 compulsory modules and 1 optional module in semester 1
  • 3 Compulsory modules in semester 2.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Optional modules will run if they receive enough interest. It is not guaranteed that all modules will run every year.

Modules

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Study how to use British Sign Language (BSL) for educational purposes. You will address appropriate registers for teaching children, young people and adults. You will also study vocabulary relevant to primary, secondary, further and higher education and cover lifelong learning too. The module gives you the chance to learn and practice teaching skills, applying your knowledge in a 10 minute micro-teaching session as part of your assessment. By the end of the module you will be communicating at level B2 on the Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR).

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will focus on the sociolinguistic elements of British Sign Language (BSL). The module provides a link between your practical and theoretical modules and gives you the change to undertake small research tasks. You will study:

  • The history of BSL
  • The visual-spatial nature of the language
  • The Deaf community,
  • Culture and language learning
  • Interpreting. 

Credits: 20

Optional module

Develop advanced skills in reading and analysing texts. You will explore how to apply genre, ideology structure, critical reading and discourse when reading. Your broad linguistic perspective will provide insights into how we create and debate meaning in texts.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module builds on and applies phonetics teaching from your first year. We will introduce you to aspects of phonetics and phonology which support the analysis of varieties of language. These include child phonology and languages other than English.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Apply your linguistic knowledge and explore linguistic diversity in schools and classrooms. You will draw on your knowledge of language acquisition, learning, and language diversity. Explore the concept of language inclusion in schools and how this might work in practice. You will also explore the practice of working with multilingual children who have Special Educational Needs.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Learn how to use British Sign Language (BSL) for employment and consider how Deaf people interact with their work environment. You will address Deaf people’s rights in the workplace by looking at the Access to Work and the Equalities act. You will also study vocabulary relating to different careers and jobs and practice translation skills. You will also consider how communication technology, such as Skype can be used effectively by and for Deaf people.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module, we will introduce you to different social theories you can use to analyse the experiences of Deaf people and Deaf communities. These will include Boudieusian and Foucaultian theories, Deaf geographies and theories of Deaf pedagogy. You will think about why we need social theory and what it is. You will also deepen your understanding of Deaf history and Deaf culture.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will focus on your career. You will embark on a work placement for 10 days. 5 days will be completed in a graduate level role, the other 5 can be completed in a role of your choice. You will consider the role of language in different workplace issues. This might include looking at advertising, language and power and clinical communication. We will also help you to enhance your employability by providing training in:

  • Personal branding
  • Presentation skills
  • Interview and application writing skills.

Year 3

In your third year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • 1 compulsory module and 2 optional modules in semester 1
  • 1 compulsory module and a dissertation module in semester 2.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Optional modules will run if they receive enough interest. It is not guaranteed that all modules will run every year.

Modules

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will study how to use British Sign Language (BSL) in the context of recreational activities and consider Deaf people’s access to mainstream activities. You will learn how to use filming technology in informal environments and develop your vocabulary relating to social interactions and leisure activities.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will examine publicly held views of language covering topics such as Standard English and correctness. With reference to education you will investigate the social, political and ideological issues associated with these views.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module explores how language can function as an indicator of a range of social and cultural identities. You will examine how language plays an active role in constructing identities. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, you will analyse the relationship between language, identity and culture.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module is your introduction to speech and language disorders. You will start by studying typical speech and language development. You will then think about communication difficulties, developmental disorders and acquired disorders in both children and adults. You will learn about the clinical applications of linguistics and consider how clinical decisions can be made using different assessment types.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module, you will study how to use British Sign Language (BSL) to communicate on topics relating to mental and physical health. You will develop your vocabulary to include words and phrases about mental health and common physical diseases. By learning to describe body parts, you will be able to communicate ailments in more detail. You will also enhance your translation skills and apply these in a translation task as part of your assessment.

Credits: 40

Compulsory module

Your dissertation is the moment where you really take responsibility for your learning and conduct a piece of linguistic research on a topic of your choosing. Your tutors will help you to refine your idea, encouraging you to choose a topic that you enjoy and excel in. You will then attend 1 to 1 supervision where they will support you as you design and conduct your research and write up your findings.

Entry requirements

Qualifications

Minimum Entry Requirements

    96 UCAS Tariff points

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

Calculate your UCAS Tariff points

If you have previous knowledge of BSL, or if it is your first language, you can still join the course. Some of the BSL modules may contain revision of material you already know.

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 English is not your first language you will need to show that you have 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. You can read them on our Admissions page.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and Learning

We deliver our British Sign Language classes in small groups of up to 25 students. Lectures, workshops and seminars make up the delivery of your Linguistics and Deaf Studies modules. Seminar groups have up to 30 students.

You will take 3 modules per semester. Each has 2 to 4 hours of contact time. We schedule our taught sessions between 9am and 8pm, Monday to Friday. You will also be expected to conduct independent study outside of contact time.

In addition to taught sessions you will have academic tutorials throughout the semester. You can set up tutorials with your module tutors, and you will be able to attend events such as the Colloquium Lectures.

Assessment

For your British Sign Language modules, assessment methods include oral exams and videos. The assessment for Deaf Studies and Linguistics modules varies from module to module. Assessment methods include:

  • Blog posts
  • Data analysis
  • Exams
  • Essays
  • Peer reviews
  • Presentations
  • Research proposals
  • Reports.

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 and EU 2021 entry

The tuition fee for 2021 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.

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2021 entry £12,750 per year full time

International 2021 entry

The tuition fee for 2021 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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