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Undergraduate course

English Language and Linguistics BA (Hons)

Understand more about how language shapes the world and our understanding of it.

students in class

Everyone uses language, but not everyone knows about language - for example, how we learn language; why our language abilities sometimes fail us; why people might have different views about what is correct; how and why language varies between individuals and in different contexts. If you choose to study our English Language & Linguistics degree, you will learn how to answer these questions, and more.

96% of English Language and Linguistics students felt that they were challenged to achieve their best work. (National Student Survey 2020)

91% of English Language and Linguistics students were satisfied with their course. (National Student Survey 2020)

York campus

  • UCAS Code – Q101
  • Duration – 3 years full-time | 6 years part-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 programme enables you to study language from a broad range of perspectives including the way speech is articulated, how language is structured and related to meaning and how it relates to speakers’ intentions and purposes in social interaction. As well as studying how speakers and writers use language and how it is acquired, processed and used in communicative contexts, linguists also study social attitudes to language and the way language functions to express identities and cultural values. Our programme explores these topics and more through a wide array of modules which may include Language, Gender and Sexuality, Forensic Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, Psycholinguistics, Child Language Acquisition and Speech and Language Pathology.


Our programme is distinctive in its focus on real-world applications for language study and has been developed by our research-active experts. Often taking a workshop approach, we offer you ways to apply theoretical knowledge to real data and explain how linguistic concepts and issues have vocational relevance in the working world.

You will join our vibrant School of Languages & Linguistics, where our students organise a lively programme of languages and linguistics-related events, including guest speakers, trips, conferences and social activities with opportunities to be involved in staff research as a volunteer or paid researcher. With this degree, you may consider a career in teaching, publishing and journalism, advertising and marketing, management, IT, social work and speech and language therapy, or alternatively continue to Postgraduate study.

Course structure

Level 1


Modules include:

  • Introduction to Language and Linguistics: 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.
  • British Sign Language: This module lets you learn the basics of British Sign Language (BSL), deaf awareness and BSL linguistics. You will learn to converse in BSL about different topics and come to understand the visual-spatial modality of the language.

  • Language & Society: This module explores key aspects of language variation and the relationship between language and society. Throughout the module, you will be introduced to terms, ideas and approaches to the study of language and society and to some general notions of language variation. The module considers different types of language variation (phonological, lexical, grammatical, discursive and generic) from both a synchronic and diachronic perspective. You will learn about language as a social phenomenon and will be given opportunities to explore the role that social and cultural context plays in language variation. The module also introduces you to the ways in which language resources can be used to reflect and construct a range of social identities, such as social class, gender, sexuality, age, race and ethnicity. Throughout the module, you will be introduced to different ways of approaching the analysis of linguistic variation and will have opportunities to collect, record and transcribe their own linguistic data.
  • Semantics & Pragmatics: In order to give an overview of the analysis of the interpretation of meaning in language use, theories of semantics and pragmatics will be explored as well as applications of such theories. In the main, such applications will be based on English. Examples from other languages will be used where possible and appropriate.
  • Multilingualism: The 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, socio-political, educational and public policy perspectives.
  • Phonetics: This module introduces the principles of articulatory phonetics and instructs students in the description, recognition and production of a subset of the sounds and symbols of the International Phonetic Association.
  • 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.

All modules are worth 20 credits unless stated otherwise.

Level 2


Modules include:

  • Language & Literacy: This module will introduce you to key issues in relation to the development of literacy, focusing primarily on the development of writing skills.
  • World Englishes: This module addresses the development, structure and use of international varieties of English (World Englishes), tracing the origins and history of the language in the British Isles to its current role as a global language; the effects of the spread of English on other languages, cultures and identities; and the implications of World Englishes for language policies and practices, both in the UK and abroad.
  • Analysing Texts: This module allows you to develop advanced skills in reading and analysing texts, across a variety of genres and modalities including online contexts. A broad linguistic perspective will provide insights into how meanings are created and debated, including in digital media. You will explore how notions of genre, ideology structure, critical reading and discourse can be applied when reading texts. As a result, you will have more understanding of issues of representation and power in contemporary discourses.
  • Language, Gender & Sexuality: This module is designed to give you a thorough grounding in the main areas of feminist and queer linguistic enquiry. Language, gender and sexuality is a diverse and often controversial field, which gives rise to varying and sometimes contradictory theories and methods of analysis. You will learn about a range of theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of language, gender and sexuality. You will learn about how some of these approaches have been applied in domains such as education, the workplace, literature and the media. The main aim of the module is that, after you have been presented with some of these theories, approaches and applications, you will be able to take up and argue for your own, informed position and use the grounding you have received as a starting point for your own work and ideas. You will be required to collect and analyse your own linguistic data throughout the module and in the final written assignment.
  • Psycholinguistics: This module will develop your awareness of the psychological dimensions of language knowledge and use and to provide you with a broad map of the concepts, issues, phenomena and research methods associated with the field of psycholinguistics.
  • Sociolinguistics: This module investigates what issues can make a difference to the way language is used in various aspects of everyday social life. Such issues will invariably involve user factors (who is involved in the language use) as well as situational factors (where, when and why is the language used). Different theoretical and methodological approaches to sociolinguistic study will be addressed and the different themes with which each is centrally concerned will be identified including the concepts of face and im/politeness.
  • Language at Work: This module addresses the University commitment to ensuring that graduates of York St John have worked towards the development of their own post-graduation careers. As such, this module comprises of a mandatory 10-days of work experience arranged by you. In addition, given the fundamental importance of language and communication in any working organisation, 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.
  • Applied Phonetics & Phonology: This module builds on and applies phonetics teaching from level 1. You willl be introduced to aspects of phonetics and phonology which support the analysis of varieties of language including child phonology and languages other than English.
  • Linguistic Diversity in the Classroom: This module will equip you to think about the complexities of language use in schools, and the challenges presented in working with particular groups of students. You will consider the concept of 'inclusion' and the impact of an increase in multilingualism in UK classrooms.
  • 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, how the visual nature of BSL affects language use in deaf communities, 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.
  • Forensic Linguistics: Forensic linguistics is a relatively new and rapidly expanding branch of applied linguistics which focuses on all aspects of language and the law. On the module, you will learn how to analyse language as forensic evidence across a range of crime scenarios which may include: plagiarism and ghost-writing; rape; terrorism; armed robbery; and murder. We will examine cases in which forensic linguists have played a key role in making convictions and in successfully overturning miscarriages of justice. You will also learn about how language operates within the legal process. This includes learning how to analyse courtroom discourse, police interviews and legal statutes.

All modules are worth 20 credits unless stated otherwise.

Level 3


Modules include:

  • English Accents & Dialects: During this module you will learn about regional variation in pronunciation, lexis and syntax.
  • Child Language Acquisition: This module introduces students to key theories of child language acquisition with a focus on the acquisition of speech sounds. The module takes a workshop approach to learning about the typical phonological processes seen in children and how these articulations move towards the adult system over time.
  • 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 ideological issues associated with these views.
  • Language, Identities & Cultures: 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 identities. The module takes an interdisciplinary approach to analysing the relationship between language, identity and culture. It will allow you to develop advanced skills in analysing spoken and written texts and provides opportunities for you to put into practice the skills in linguistic analysis developed on other modules. In undertaking this module, you will develop an understanding of some different theoretical perspectives and debates relating to language and identity. You will learn about, and have opportunities to apply, different linguistic frameworks for analysing language and identity.
  • Speech & 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.
  • Reflections in Linguistics: This module aims to encourage you to engage with and reflect upon your learning over the entire course of your degree programme. It invites you to critically evaluate and integrate themes from across and beyond the course. Joint Honours students will normally reflect on connections between their two subjects.
  • Dissertation: The ELL Dissertation aims to provide an environment in which you are encouraged to take responsibility for managing your own learning and its outcomes. The module aims to foster this learning environment by facilitating independent linguistic research on a topic of your choice (as far as university resources allow at the appropriate time), backed by tutorial supervision. (40 credits)

All modules are worth 20 credits unless stated otherwise.

Teaching & Assessment


English Language & Linguistics modules are delivered using a mixture of lectures, workshops and seminars. Seminar groups typically 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). Most modules have three hours of contact time per week. 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 comparatively empty timetable. This is because a 20-credit module, which is equivalent to 200 hours of study, has three 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.


You will be taught by academic staff in the School of Languages & Linguistics. The Head of School is Dr Rachel Wicaksono. The English Language & Linguistics programme is managed by the Subject Director for Linguistics, Nikki Swift. University support staff are well integrated into our programme, for example, a representative from the library contributes sessions on research and referencing over the course of the programme.

Assessment Methods

Assessment methods vary from module to module. There is an exam on Descriptive Grammar of English in semester two of first year. Other assessment methods include essays, presentations, data analysis, online tests, peer reviews, class tests, blog posts and research proposals and reports.

Entry Requirements


The minimum entry requirements for this course are:

96 UCAS Tariff points

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

Calculate your tariff points.

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

This course is available with a foundation year

If you do not yet meet the minimum requirements for entry straight onto this degree course, or feel you are not quite ready for the transition to Higher Education, this is a great option for you. Passing a foundation year guarantees you a place on this degree course the following academic year.

Personal Statement

Essential criteria

As well as a strong standard of written English, we also look for the ability to demonstrate knowledge and commitment to the subject (and languages in general). This can be done in a variety of ways, for example, through previous study, relevant work experience and wider reading.

Valued criteria

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

  • Further study e.g. additional languages
  • Discussion of future career plans
  • Demonstrating relevant transferable skills
  • Extra-curricula activities such as relevant conference/lecture attendance (e.g. English Language & Linguistics Colloquium Series)
  • 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 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 202 entry onto this course is

  • £9,250 per year for full time study
  • £6,935 per year for the first 4 years if you study part time.

These prices apply 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 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 student 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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Niamh Johnson

English Language and Linguistics BA (Hons)

After visiting the university taster days on three separate occasions, I chose York St John as the languages and linguistics staff seemed so passionate about their subjects and were so welcoming and accommodating to all my questions. Learning the basic structural aspects of language, such as grammar and phonetics, has really helped to build my confidence and knowledge of these areas, which is something that is necessary in my future career as a teacher of English to speakers of other languages

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