Skip to content
Home>Study at York>Undergraduate>Courses>Linguistics (BA)

BA (Hons) Linguistics

Study the science behind communication

Year of entry: 2019

UCAS code

Q101

Institution code

Y50

Length

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)

Visit us

Get to know us better and find out what studying and living in York is really like.

Meet us

Language is a window on the mind. It is how we express ourselves, and is the essence of what makes us human. 

Studying linguistics will enable you to understand and interpret language, and to learn the science behind how we communicate. You’ll engage with the study of language on a conceptual level as well as the detailed level of raw linguistic data. You'll study syntax, semantics, phonetics, phonology and sociolinguistics, taught by world-leading academics whose expertise covers a range of areas of linguistics. The challenging combination of theory and practice will stimulate your critical thinking skills, foster your originality, and 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, will give you a solid foundation for many careers. 

This flexible course gives you opportunities to customise your studies from the second year onwards. Our Department is one of the highest-ranked centres for research in linguistics in the UK, and the strength and diversity of our research is reflected in our teaching.

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

Course content

You’ll focus primarily on spoken language data, using tools from the core areas of linguistics: syntax, phonetics and phonology, semantics, and sociolinguistics. You'll learn to notice and describe fine-grained details - the kind of detail that the human brain subconsciously pays attention to - while at the same time developing an eye for the underlying pattern in a set of data. ​

The course builds from developing core skills in analysis and 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 according to your own intellectual interests.

See our current module descriptions for more information about module content.

You'll be able to take elective modules from other departments over the course of your degree. 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, alongside the core linguistics modules, you can choose to study a new language, develop your skills in a language you already know, add one or two English Language modules, or even try electives in other departments.

You'll take six modules.

Four compulsory linguistics modules:

Your choice of two further modules from among: English Language modules (Understanding English Grammar, History of English I), or electives.

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 linguistic knowledge to new types of linguistic data, such as child language or regional varieties of English. At the same time, you will gain deeper theoretical knowledge in the core areas that you choose to pursue.

You'll take six modules.

One compulsory module:

Your choice of five further modules, including at least one of:

Module choices include: Linguistics modules such as Intermediate Semantics, Intermediate Language Variation and Change, and Morphology; English Language modules (eg, History of English II); Languages for All (LFA) modules; or an elective.

Year 3

In your 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.

The skills you develop through studying linguistics—such as data analysis and critical thinking—are readily transferable to the workplace.

You'll take six modules of your choice (up to two electives).

A wide range of choices is offered, usually including modules such as Language as Action, Forensic Phonetics, Psycholinguistics, Formal Syntactic Theory, Bilingualism, Neurolinguistics. 

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:

  • Select and deploy appropriate qualitative and quantitative research methods acquired through the study of the nature, use, and acquisition of language to gain a holistic and multifaceted understanding of a range of issues in the cognitive and social sciences. 
  • 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 the nature and relevance of linguistic questions and controversies, the pivotal significance of language for human cognition, and the ways in which knowledge of language influences behaviour. 
  • Synthesise and critically engage with arguments from a variety of standpoints, showing clear reasoning and an understanding of linguistic and cultural diversity. 
  • Identify and formulate novel questions and work effectively on them individually and as part of a larger team, taking on different roles both in research and management across a range of work environments collaborating and interacting effectively with other team members. 
  • Show sensitivity and perceptiveness concerning aspects of social, cultural, and political realities where language plays an important role and be able to highlight the relevance of linguistic issues to policy-making in a globalised and interconnected world.

World-class

We are part of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, ranked 34th in the Times Higher Education World University rankings 2019.

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

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.

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 Linguistic Science.

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 work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. 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 gives you the opportunity to discuss your progress, resolve problems and expand upon the set exercises.

Second year

You'll engage with group presentations or 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. We'll give you guidance on your goals for the reading week.

Overall workload

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

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Lectures and seminars228 hours156 hours180 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 1200 hours a year learning.

Facilities

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 for the teaching and study time of our students. Here you will have access to a variety of resources, including specialist linguistics software, corpora of different varieties, 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. Most of your contact hours will be in Vanbrugh College, with some additional teaching 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 5,000-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) and/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, and 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%54%
Coursework40%38%43%
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 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.

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

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
  • team working

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. 

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. Please contact Undergraduate Admissions.

EPQ

If you achieve a C or higher at EPQ, you will be eligible for a reduced offer, one grade below our typical offer.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability.

  • 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 4 (C)
  • GCSE/O level English Language (as a first language): grade 4 (C)

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

Applying

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

Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Learn more

Department of Language and Linguistic Science

Related courses

If you want to study English literature alongside linguistics, see our English and Linguistics course. You may include some English language modules on this course.

You can also include English language modules on our Linguistics course, which additionally allows you to try a new language in the first year.

The following courses also include Linguistics:

Discover York

Accommodation

We offer a range of campus accommodation to suit you and your budget, from economy to deluxe.

Student life

Explore campus and city life and hear what our current students have to say about living here.

The city

Lively, full of culture and beautiful, York is regularly voted one of the best places to live and visit in the UK.