Frequently asked questions

What A levels do I need?

We are happy to consider applications with any pattern of school subjects. A background of study in Modern Languages, English, or Classics is obviously suitable, but we are also enthusiastic about historians, mathematicians, and natural or social scientists. A working knowledge of a language other than English is a distinct advantage.

We normally expect applicants to have at least three good passes at A level or combination of A and AS levels. We welcome equivalent qualifications, and consider alternative qualifications on their merits, especially in the case of mature and overseas applicants. If you want to study French, German or Spanish then we normally require you to have a grade B or higher in that language at A level or equivalent.

For more information, see Typical offers.

Do I need an A level in English language to study linguistics?

If English is to be your language specialism then A level or equivalent qualifications in English language or literature are desirable but are by no means essential.

If you have studied English language at A level and have enjoyed the ‘language investigation’ component then you will enjoy our take on the study of English, which deals mostly with spoken language data.

If you haven’t studied English language at A level, don’t worry, as our first year modules take you back to first principles, and other subjects such as languages, (social) sciences or maths will also give you an edge.

What are you looking for in an application?

We want students who are strongly motivated towards our courses: you should be keen to study language and have an aptitude for its study. You must be interested in language as a natural and social phenomenon and the linguistic approach to the study of modern languages.

In our initial selection process a good deal of weight is given to the report of the confidential referee and to the applicant’s own personal statement. An interview in York may follow, although it is more likely that a decision will be made without interview. Applicants to whom places are offered are invited to visit the Department on Visit Days held in the spring.

When should I apply?

All applications for Home, EU, and International students must be received through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), so you must adhere to their deadlines. Please see the University's How to Apply web pages and the UCAS site for relevant information. If you are an overseas student, remember to be sure to allow sufficient time for your visa application to be processed, if a visa is required.

What are the entrance criteria for the courses?

Please see our typical offers page for the most up-to-date information. All applicants who receive an offer are invited to come to York to visit the Department and the University. Visits are arranged on several dates, generally between January and March. Each visit lasts about four hours, and provides you with an opportunity to meet staff and students, and learn more about the department.

Can I visit the University and the Department?

Yes! If you are thinking of applying to York, we strongly encourage you to visit the University on an Open Day. Each department has an information stand at these events, and you will be able to take home literature about our degrees, and speak to a few current staff and students. You will also be able to look round the University campus.

If we make you an offer for one of our degrees, you will be invited to a post-application visit to the Department. This will be a more in-depth opportunity to see the department and its facilities, hear presentations about our degree programs, and speak to a wider range of current staff and students.

We recommend that you visit on organised Open Days, as you will then be able to experience the full planned program of activities. However, if you are unable to make it to a set Open Day, you are welcome to contact the Admissions Tutor to arrange an Independent Visit.

I'm a mature student - am I likely to be considered for a place?

Yes, certainly. Mature students typically make up about 5% of our student population, and we encourage applications from mature students (i.e. aged over 21), who should apply through the normal UCAS system. Mature students bring a range experience to the course. Entrance requirements therefore take account of the range of backgrounds from which applicants come. Some have A-levels taken many years previously, while others have HND or BTEC qualifications. Many are taking Access courses, which can be an excellent route back into education. We consider each case individually, and take account of work experience.

What should I do if I want to take a year off before starting the course?

If you want to take a gap year before beginning a course, by all means apply whilst you are still in your final year at school. We can make you an offer of a place, deferred for one year, so that you can go away knowing that you will start the course on your return.

How many new students start each year?

We take approximately 120 undergraduates each year, spread across our 22 different degree programmes.

How are modules taught, and how many students will there be in my class?

Teaching methods vary according to the type and level of the module.

  • First-year linguistics modules are taught in lectures of 60-80 students each, with smaller group back-up sessions of about 15 students each.
  • French, German, Italian and Spanish modules involve small group classes for language work, either with a native speaker of the language or using e-lab resources.
  • Stage 2 and 3 linguistics modules may involve seminars, work in the phonetics laboratory, and student-led presentations. There are also opportunities to undertake independent research, where individual guidance is provided by a tutor.

How many hours per week will I study?

You can usually expect an average of three contact hours per module per week for a 20 credit module that lasts one term. In French, German, Italian and Spanish weekly totals vary but typically range from three to five contact hours a week. In the first year English language and linguistics modules run all through the year, with one lecture hour and one seminar hour per module per week (12 contact hours weekly).

Bear in mind that this is classroom contact time. At university much more of your learning takes place in your own time than in the classroom. You will have assignments and reading to do outside of class, and are also expected to explore wider reading around the subject using library resources.

How are modules assessed?

A variety of assessment methods are used. Timed written examinations are mostly used in introductory modules. Higher level modules involve submission of exercises, essays, practical projects or dissertations, with some closed or open (take-home) exams. French, German, Italian and Spanish modules, and some phonetics modules, include oral and aural exams.

What are the current overseas fee rates?

For the current Home/EU and Overseas fee rates:

Does the University or Department offer any financial support for students?

The Department does not offer any undergraduate funding, but the University offers several bursaries for lowincome home students. Please see the further information about other University awards and maintenance loans/grants.

Overseas students are not eligible for the above awards and grants, but the Department offers Scholarships for Overseas Undergraduate students, and there are competitive scholarships for partial funding are offered through the International Office.

Is University accommodation available for undergraduate students?

All new single full-time undergraduates are guaranteed university-administered accommodation for their first year of study, provided they return their application form by the correct due date. See the Accommodation Office pages for more details.

What is non-University accommodation like?

With two universities and several colleges, York has a large student population. Many students choose to move off campus after their first year. Fortunately, there is plenty of non-University accommodation available, and rents are reasonable. The most popular areas of the city are Fulford, Heslington, South Bank, Bootham/Clifton, and Acomb. There is advice about Private Sector Housing at the Accommodation Office and Student Support Office Housing pages.

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