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Home>Study at York>Undergraduate>Courses 2019/20>English Language and Linguistics (BA)

BA (Hons) English Language and Linguistics

Engage with the English language in its historical and social contexts

Year of entry: 2019

UCAS code


Institution code



3 years full-time (plus optional placement year)

Typical offer

AAB (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2019 (term dates)

UK/EU fees

£9,250 per year (2019/20)

International fees

£17,120 per year (2019/20)

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Studying English Language and Linguistics will enable you to discover the changing shape of English over time and space, and the science behind language acquisition, processing and communication.

You’ll engage with theories of how language works as well as hands-on analysis of linguistic data. The challenging integration of theory and practice will enable you to become a uniquely-skilled analytical thinker and problem-solver. Your knowledge and understanding of how a language works and how we communicate, and the skills you will develop along the way, will give you a solid foundation for a wide range of careers.

This flexible course allows you to focus on your main interests from the second year onwards. You’ll be taught by world-leading academics whose expertise covers a range of areas of linguistics. 

I learned so much more from my degree than I imagined. I developed transferable skills which made me a strong candidate in the highly competitive global job market.
Carl, BA English Language and Linguistics

Linguistics — the science of language

As linguists we seek to understand the properties shared by all natural human languages: how languages are structured, and how and why they vary and change - how language is acquired, and how it is used by individuals and groups to communicate. You'll learn from world-leading academics, whose research and expertise covers topics from forensic phonetics, to historical linguistics, from child language to sociolinguistics.

In-depth study

​English is spoken by over one billion people, either natively or as a second language. By immersing yourself in the study of English, you'll reach deep conclusions about the nature of the language, and discover the forces that have shaped it over time. You'll develop skills of analysis and critical thinking through the study of one of the world's most influential languages and its role in a global community.​

Course content

You’ll examine spoken and written data to understand how language works, using tools from core areas of linguistics including syntax, phonetics and phonology, and semantics. You will apply your knowledge and skills in linguistics to different domains of language study including psycholinguistics, language acquisition, sociolinguistics, language variation and change, language in interaction, the history of English, and forensic speech science. ​

The course builds from developing core skills in analysis of English and in linguistic investigation, to applying these skills in advanced-level modules by the final year. There are opportunities to customise your programme of study from the second year onwards, and you can choose to include more or less English Language content, according to your own intellectual interests.

You'll be able to take an elective module from another department. All electives are offered subject to departmental approval and timetable availability. You may also take certain language courses offered by Languages for All (LFA) as electives, but there are restrictions on which LFA levels can be taken in which stage of your degree. Ask us for further details.

Year 1

In the first year, the focus is on gaining foundational knowledge. In the first term, you gain a grounding in the basic vocabulary and concepts of traditional grammar, which form the bedrock of your future study of the English language. In the second term, we put the modern language in context by exploring where it came from and why it is the way it is today. Throughout the year, you learn core skills in linguistics that complement your English Language studies.

You'll take six modules, two English language modules and four linguistics modules, worth 20 credits each.

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 2

In the second year, you'll apply your core analytic knowledge to new types of English language and linguistic data, according to your interests (eg, regional varieties of English, non-native English, historical development of English). You'll also continue to deepen your theoretical knowledge in the core areas of linguistics that you choose to pursue. Linguistics topics usually include core areas such as phonetics and phonology, language variation and change, syntax, semantics, interaction, and psycholinguistics.

You'll take six modules.

Core module

Introduction to Language Acquisition (20 credits)

Option modules

You'll take at least two English Language modules.

You'll choose three additional modules, from a range of English language and linguistics options, including at least one of:

Example English language options (20 credits each):

Example Linguistics options (20 credits each):

You may also include up to two elective modules from another department.

Year 3

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 language analysis projects, from identifying research questions to communicating your findings. Linguistics topics usually include core areas such as phonetics and phonology, language variation and change, syntax, semantics, interaction, and psycholinguistics, as well as modules outside core areas.

You'll take six modules:

  • At least two English Language modules
  • Four more modules of your choice from a wide range of options. 

Example English language options (20 credits each):

Example Linguistics options (20 credits each):

You may also include up to two elective modules from another department.

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Learning by design

Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Apply a thorough and scientifically grounded understanding of the English language in a variety of contexts, including writing, teaching, and solving complex communication-related problems. 
  • Approach with confidence intricate, complex and unfamiliar linguistic phenomena, discern relevant patterns and convey their significance to a variety of audiences. 
  • Propose creative and principled solutions to linguistic problems and contribute them effectively to interdisciplinary teams, forming a bridge between humanities and scientific disciplines. 
  • Communicate clearly and effectively to specialists and the general public, using advanced written and oral skills, the nature and relevance of linguistic questions and controversies, the pivotal significance of language for human cognition, and the ways knowledge of language influences behaviour. 
  • Appreciate, engage with, and synthesize arguments from a variety of standpoints, and interrogate your own assumptions, showing clear reasoning and an understanding of linguistic and cultural diversity. 
  • Identify and formulate novel questions and projects and work effectively on them taking on different roles in a range of work environments. 
  • Engage with aspects of social, cultural, and political realities where language plays an important role with sensitivity and perceptiveness, and be able to highlight the relevance of linguistic issues to policy-making in a globalised and interconnected world, and especially the role of the English language in a global language community.
I liked that in the first year you study a broad range of modules, and then choose option modules in second and third year to build your own degree programme.
Louise, BA English Language and Literature


We are in the top 100 for Linguistics (QS World Rankings by Subject 2019)

Fees and funding

The fees and funding figures below are for 2019 entry. If you take a year abroad or year in industry you'll pay a reduced rate of fees for that year.

Annual tuition fees

UK/EU International
£9,250 £17,120

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK, EU or international student.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK/EU: further increases within the government fee cap will apply in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International: fees for international students are subject to annual increases. Increases are currently capped at 2% per annum.

More information

For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.


We offer a number of scholarships to help cover tuition fees and living costs.

Home/EU students

International students

Departmental Scholarship

Find out more about funding specific to Languages and Linguistics.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching Excellence Framework Gold Award

“Students from all backgrounds achieve consistently outstanding outcomes”

The TEF Panel, Office for Students, June 2018

Our Gold Teaching Excellence Framework award demonstrates our commitment to the delivery of consistently outstanding teaching and learning for our students.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll study and learn with academics who are active researchers, experts in their field and have a passion for their subjects. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

You'll be taught in different ways, from the classroom to individual or small-group reflection. Our different teaching formats equip you to be an effective independent learner.

First year

You'll focus on learning the tools of linguistic study. You'll attend large lectures (some with over 100 students) accompanied by set work to complete. You'll have regular smaller group sessions (15-20 students) which give you the opportunity to discuss your progress, resolve problems and expand upon the set exercises.

Second year

You'll engage with group presentations and practical sessions in addition to lectures. You'll also prepare in advance for seminar discussions, which may include library-based research.

Final year

You'll work with challenging and stimulating primary research papers for some modules. For other modules involving phonetic or grammatical analysis you'll work in the lab. You'll take a primary role in researching and presenting content. You can choose to write a dissertation, and you'll be supervised by a member of staff for this.

Throughout the course you'll typically spend 12 hours per teaching week in the classroom. You should expect to devote at least 30 additional hours a week to independent study, completing set exercises, reading, researching projects, coursework and assessment preparation. You'll have a reading week for independent study twice a year, and you'll receive guidance on your goals for this.

Overall workload

As a guide, students on this course typically spend their time as follows:

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Lectures and seminars228 hours156 hours156 hours

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

The rest of your time on the course will be spent on independent study. This may include preparation for lectures and seminars, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision.

Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours will vary from person to person. In UK higher education the expectation is that full-time students will spend 1,200 hours a year learning.


All of our modules have Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) websites where all crucial materials — reading lists, handouts, discussion boards — are always accessible. 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. Here you will have access to a variety of resources, including specialist linguistics software, collections of text and speech, and online language-learning materials. Several undergraduate modules are taught in this laboratory and you'll receive training in using these resources.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Language and Linguistic Science on Campus West. Your contact hours will be on Campus West.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You'll complete coursework and exams, ranging from short sets of exercises and 5000 word essays, to group projects where you research and present a topic in a team. Some of our advanced phonetics or phonology modules require spoken (oral) or listening (aural) assessments. In most modules, the final mark is made up of the marks for more than one type of assessment.

You'll also take formative assessments, which do not count towards your final mark, but offer you feedback on your progress and development. Types of feedback can include in-class discussion of common problems on a particular assignment, model answers, one-on-one discussion of research projects, online responses on the module discussion board, as well as written feedback on work that you have submitted.

We can make appropriate adjustments to assessment procedures for students with disabilities. See the University's disability support pages for further details.

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Written exams60%59%37%
Practical exams0%3%3%

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

A high amount of independent research is encouraged, with the staff always on hand to guide you if you feel like you're getting lost! It's this that really made the degree work for me.
Emily, BA English Language and Linguistics

Careers and skills

Effective communication, 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 have an excellent record of pursuing fulfilling paths after graduation.

Apart from your knowledge of linguistics, you will leave with the confidence and skills that come from successfully completing a demanding course and participating fully in university life.

There are specialist careers that lead directly from your degree, after additional postgraduate training, including: clinical linguistics (speech and language therapy), forensic linguistics (forensic speech science), teaching (primary and secondary) teaching English as a foreign language, academic research and higher/further education.

Career opportunities

  • marketing and communications
  • publishing
  • broadcasting and journalism
  • local government and public service
  • business, finance and accountancy
  • teaching
  • translation and interpreting
  • IT and software development

Transferable skills

  • effective communication skills
  • intercultural awareness
  • critical thinking
  • project management
  • independent learning
  • data analysis
  • problem solving
  • teamwork

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
A levels

Our typical offer is AAB.

ABB offers may be made in certain cases (see our typical offers page).

We do not require any specific subject choices at A level, and include all subjects in our standard offer. English Language A level (or equivalent) is an asset, but it is not required.

Access to Higher Education Diploma Obtain Access to HE Diploma with 36 credits at Distinction and 9 credits at Merit or higher
BTEC BTEC National Diploma or QCF BTEC Extended Diploma with DDD.
Cambridge Pre-U D3,D3,M2
European Baccalaureate 80% overall average
International Baccalaureate 34 points
Irish leaving Certificate H2,H2,H2,H2,H3,H3
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers AAAAB
Other qualifications

Other qualifications are accepted by the University, contact for further information.

English language

 If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

  • IELTS: 6.5, with a minimum of 5.5 in each component
  • PTE Academic: 61, with a minimum of 51 in each component
  • C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency: 176, with a minimum of 162 each component
  • TOEFL: 87 overall, with a minimum of 17 in Listening, 18 in Reading, 20 in Speaking, 17 in Writing
  • Trinity ISE III: Merit in all components

For more information see our undergraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current IELTS scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

Next steps

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Department of Language and Linguistic Science

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