BA (Hons) Linguistics with Italian

UCAS code Typical offer Length
Q1R3 AAB (See full entry requirements) 3 years full-time
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A study of linguistics combined with practical Italian will give you a unique insight into the country's culture and character. Our world-leading linguists will guide you through syntax, semantics, phonetics and phonology, while our immersive Italian teaching instills the language skills and cultural understanding essential for high-level communication.

Course overview

Linguistic exploration and practical language study

Language is a window to the human mind. On our three-year Linguistics with Italian degree, you will learn to understand what you see through it, by combining the scientific study of what makes language work, with practical study of the Italian language. 


Linguistics is the study of language from a scientific standpoint. The programme of study offers unparalleled coverage of the field of linguistics, with modules taught by world-leading academics in the core areas of syntax, phonetics and phonology, semantics, and sociolinguistics, and in sub-fields including forensic phonetics, historical linguistics, child language, second language acquisition, and morphology. Our challenging combination of theory and practice is designed to stimulate your critical thinking skills, foster your originality, and enable you to become a uniquely skilled analytical thinker and problem-solver.


On the Italian side of the degree, our focus is on developing effective communication skills. You will be taught mainly in Italian, in groups of no more than 15 students, and we aim to encourage not only fluency but also the ability to discuss complex ideas in a coherent manner. Modules explore the society and culture of the Italian-speaking world, in order to equip you with the background knowledge to function as a high-level Italian communicator.

Beginners welcome!

We offer intensive Italian ab initio (i.e., from scratch, or from GCSE or AS-level) on this programme only. If you are interested in studying Italian after taking A-level Italian please contact us. For more details of expected entry qualifications, please see the Applying tab.

A top teaching and research community

Our department is one of the highest-ranked centres for research in linguistics, and the strength and diversity of our research is reflected in our teaching.

Course content

What you'll study

You will study Linguistics and Italian side by side throughout the degree, with opportunities to customise your course from the second year onwards—once you've learnt the basics. Your knowledge of Italian will inform your study of linguistics, and vice versa.


  • In the first year, you study three core linguistics modules.
  • In the second year, you'll apply your core linguistic knowledge to new types of linguistic data, such as child language or non-native language. At the same time, you will gain deeper theoretical knowledge in the core areas that you choose to pursue.
  • In the final year, you can choose freely from a wide range of modules that allow you to become proficient in all aspects of managing small-scale linguistic analysis projects, from identifying the research questions, to communicating the findings. Many final-year linguistics modules offer the opportunity to focus on Italian language as the topic of research, if you wish.


  • In the first year, ab initio students follow an intensive fast-track Italian programme.
  • From the second year, you will engage with issues of culture and society in the Italian-speaking world, addressing questions such as Why does regional cultural diversity play such an important role in modern Italian society?, and Why is there still a broad economic divide between Northern and Southern Italy? You will develop skills in critical analysis of sources and communicate your findings using Italian in different registers. 
  • In the final year, you will continue to engage—in Italian—with issues that shape Italian-speaking societies. You can choose from a range of advanced Italian modules designed to consolidate your critical skills through in-depth research and analysis.

What modules are offered

Stage one (first year), 5 modules

Stage two (second year), 6 modules

  • At least two Italian modules, including Language and Society II 
  • Introduction to language acquisition
  • Your choice of three further modules, including at least one of:
    • Intermediate Phonetics and Phonology
    • Intermediate Syntax
  • Other choices include: Linguistics options (e.g., Intermediate Semantics, Intermediate Language Variation and Change), an Italian option, or an elective*

Stage three (final year), 6 modules

  • Choose freely from a range of linguistics and Italian options. Selection may include up to two electives*.

A wide range of final-year linguistics and Italian modules is offered, including Translation Methodology and Practice, Forensic Phonetics, Language as Action, Psycholinguistics, Formal Syntactic Theory, Bilingualism and Neurolinguistics. See our current final-year offerings for a typical full range. (Note that module offerings vary from year to year. Not every module is offered every year.)

*An elective is a module from another department. All electives are offered subject to departmental approval and timetable availability.

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module. This covers some of the essential skills and knowledge which will help you to study independently and produce work of a high academic standard which is vital for success at York.

This module will:

  • define academic integrity and academic misconduct;
  • explain why and when you should reference source material and other people's work;
  • provide interactive exercises to help you to assess whether you've understood the concepts;
  • provide answers to FAQs and links to useful resources.


How you'll be taught

In both Linguistics and Italian, we aim to equip you to be an effective independent learner. The programme of study includes a variety of modes of teaching and dissemination, designed to allow you to develop the skills and autonomy to direct your own learning.


Linguistics is a new subject for everyone, so the focus in the first year is on learning the tools of linguistic study. We facilitate this through large lectures (some with over 100 students), accompanied by regular back-up sessions in smaller groups (15–20 students), in which you put your new skills into practice.

Second year linguistics modules typically have more interactive classroom activities, such as group presentations or practical sessions, in addition to lectures. Regular seminars provide a forum for discussion of core knowledge and its application beyond the specific classroom topic. Advance preparation for seminar discussion is essential.

In final-year modules, most teaching takes place in smaller groups. Depending on the module, your work may focus on library-based study using primary research papers, lab-based analysis of linguistic corpora, or lectures and seminars in one the advanced areas of specialism of our staff. Students who opt to write a dissertation will receive individual supervision on their dissertation project.


Our focus at York is on effective communication in Italian. That is why:

  • we teach mainly in small seminars (not more than 12);
  • the medium of classroom interaction is Italian;
  • we use authentic Italian materials (e.g., Italian television, magazines, etc.);
  • we emphasise issues of culture and society, allowing you to develop a high level cultural awareness to underpin your language skills.

Our communicative and culture-oriented approach to teaching, combined with your application and study, will allow you to develop integrity as a skilled user of advanced Italian.

Computer-assisted learning opportunities

All of our modules have associated Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) sites where all crucial materials—reading lists, handouts, discussion boards—are always accessible via the internet. Most first-year modules provide additional self-study practice exercises on the VLE.

We have our own departmental e-Lab, accessible 24-hours a day, for the teaching and study time of our students.

How much study time is expected?

Throughout the degree, you will typically spend 12 hours per teaching week in the classroom (including both Italian and linguistics). You should expect to devote at least 30 additional hours a week to independent study, which will include completing exercises, reading and digesting assigned papers, researching projects, writing and revising coursework, and preparing for assessments. Twice a year, in the middle of the autumn and spring terms, we have a reading week, which is devoted to independent study. You will receive guidance on your goals for each reading week.

How you'll spend your time

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Lectures and seminars228 hours
192 hours
132 hours
Independent study972 hours
1008 hours
1068 hours


How you'll be assessed

The main assessment types are exams and coursework. Within these two broad types you will encounter many variations customised to the content of each module. Types of coursework range from short sets of exercises, to 5,000-word essays, to oral presentations, to group projects in which you work in a team to research and present a topic. You will present work for language modules in the target language (Italian). In most modules, the final mark is made up of the marks from more than one type of assessment.

What about practice or 'mock' assessments?

At York, assessments that count towards your final mark are called 'summative' assessments, but all modules also include 'formative' work — work that will help you to practice or develop skills for the summative assessment. Some modules (particularly in the first year) include a formative exam midway through the year. Other modules include formative exercises, a formative essay, or some opportunity to get feedback on the development and progress of a piece of summative work.

What kind of feedback will I get?

Instructors provide feedback in a variety of forms, according to the needs of the specific module. It may consist of written feedback on work that you have handed in, in-class discussion of common problems on a particular assignment, model answers, one-on-one discussion of research projects, or online responses to questions posted on the module discussion board.

Adjustments for students with disabilities

We can make reasonable adjustments to assessment procedures for students with disabilities. However, please note that, for students with dyslexia, it is not possible to make adjustments in the marking of work written in a closed language exam (French, German, Italian or Spanish). This is because accurate spelling is one of the assessment objectives in language exams. Note, though, that closed exams make up only a proportion of the assessment types used for languages; other assessment types such as coursework and oral presentations are also used. Students with dyslexia could apply for extra time in closed exams, if this would be of assistance. See the University's disability support pages for further details relating to all disabilities.

Percentage of the course assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Written exams50%64%56%
Practical exams8%8%0%


Careers and employability

Effective communication, along with critical thinking and project management skills are central to most careers. The study of language and linguistics at York equips you with these skills and others, which translate readily into any work context.

Our graduates

Our graduates have an excellent record of pursuing fulfilling paths after graduation.

Apart from their language skills and their knowledge of linguistics, our alumni have the confidence and skills that come from successfully completing a demanding course and participating fully in university life.

Career paths

There are specialist careers that lead directly from a language and linguistics degree, after additional postgraduate training, including:

  • translation and interpreting
  • teaching (primary and secondary)
  • clinical linguistics (Speech and Language Therapy)
  • academic research and higher/further education
  • forensic linguistics (Forensic Speech Science)

Our graduates are not limited to these specialist paths, however. Ongoing contact with our alumni well after graduation shows that they are equipped to pursue rewarding careers across a broad range of professional fields, including:

  • marketing and communications
  • publishing
  • broadcasting and journalism
  • local government and public service
  • finance and accountancy
  • and many more ... 

Find out more about how we can help make you more employable


How to apply

All applications must be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

Prospective applicants should also read through the university's Undergraduate Prospectus. You can choose to view the prospectus online, download a PDF copy, or request a printed version.

Visit our department

We run a series of Open Days and Visit Days throughout the year, which will provide you with an opportunity to visit the University and the Department and talk to staff about the courses and your interests. We also have an undergraduate admissions tutor who is happy to answer any questions you may have.


Our French, German, Italian and Spanish programmes are designed to develop fluency in the languages. For this reason we do not normally offer places to native or near-native speakers of French, German, Italian or Spanish who wish to study their own language.

Applying for a degree including Italian


We expect that most applicants who wish to study Italian will not have studied Italian to A2 level, and will thus study on our ab initio route. If you are thinking of applying to study Italian with us at York and are also planning to take Italian to A2 level (or equivalent), please contact us on prior to submitting your application via UCAS.

International students

We welcome applications from international applicants, who wish to join the growing body of international students in our Department.

Entry requirements

A levels

Our typical offer is AAB, but some ABB offers will be made (see our typical offers page). We do not require any specific subject choices at A Level, and include all subjects in our standard offer.

International Baccalaureate

34 points

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers


Irish Leaving Certificate



BTEC National Diploma or QCF BTEC Extended Diploma with DDD.

European Baccalaureate

80% overall average

Other qualifications

Pre-U: D3,D3,M2

Access to HE: Obtain Access to HE Diploma with 30 credits from units awarded Distinction and 9 from units awarded Merit or higher

Other qualifications are accepted by the University, please contact Undergraduate Admissions

English Language Requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in all units
  • Pearson PTE Academic: 61 overall with 51 in all parts
  • Cambridge Advanced English (CAE): grade A
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): grade C
  • GCSE/O level English Language (as a first language): grade C

See also the University's information page for English language requirements.

Other options for this subject

This course does not include a year abroad. If you would like to spend a year of your studies in a Italian-speaking country, consider our four-year course, Italian and Linguistics (with a year abroad).

We also offer Italian on other courses:

And we offer linguistics on the following:

The BA in Linguistics course allows you to try a completely new language in your first year, from scratch, from the range of languages offered by Languages for All.

Any questions?

Feel free to contact our admissions tutors:

Dr Tamar Keren-Portnoy,
Dr Ann Taylor

More about York


The staff in the Language and Linguistics department are incredible (and I’m not even biased)... It’s obvious how much they prioritise their students in their busy schedules.

Beccy, second year Linguistics student. Read more on Beccy's blog.