The Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics is one of the oldest and largest of its kind in the country. You will be taught by experts in the field, with a wide range of interests and specialities.
On this degree programme you will gain a broad knowledge and understanding of the English language. You will engage with the structure and character of English, including phonology, lexis, grammar, and discourse. You will study the ways in which English varies according to time, place and context. You will also discover the processes of learning the language, theories about language, and methodologies and practices of linguistic research.
You will also have the chance to use new resources such as computer-held databases of linguistic data and you will be encouraged to embrace theoretical and technological advances in the study of language.
Why study this course
- Excellent reputation - English Language has been ranked one of the top departments in the country in the Research Excellence Framework 2014, with over 85% of our academic research judged to be ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.
- Broad range of specialisms to explore - Birmingham is internationally famous for its work in corpus linguistics, stylistics, the language of social media, figurative language, and language learning and teaching. You can focus on traditional aspects of the subject, such as grammar, pragmatics, or historical linguistics, but you can also explore newer areas such as Englishes used worldwide, or English used in internet communication.
- Exciting Year Abroad Opportunities - you will be able to spend either a semester or a year abroad at one of our carefully selected partner universities, where we have close personal ties with academic staff. During your time abroad you will be able to study modules in English Language and related subjects, including topics specific to the place of study. It is possible to attend universities where all the modules offered will be taught in English.
- Career path option routes - Your personal tutor will guide you through the programme, helping you to select options that will suit your chosen career path. We have four informal routes through the degree programme which will help you into a wide range of different careers from advertising through to management through to speech therapy.
- A vibrant staff and student community – Our department is very friendly and cohesive, with plenty of extra-curricular opportunities, from working alongside members of staff on their research projects on our Undergraduate Research Scholarships to regular social events such as end-of-term parties, summer balls and visiting writer talks. Recent guests have included short story writer and novelist Bernard MacLaverty, playwright Simon Stephens and poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy.
Please be aware that the following information is intended to provide prospective students with an indicative guide of the modules offered by the School. However, our research is constantly exploring new areas and directions of study, therefore some modules may be dropped and new ones offered in their place.
You will be introduced to the descriptive aspects of English, such as its phonology (sound system), morphology (word formation) and grammar in the ‘Sounds, Structures and Words’ module and will examine some of the key theoretical approaches to Language study in ‘Theories of Language’. In your other core modules you will be introduced to corpus linguistics, develop your own writing and begin to explore ways of doing research into English Language: ‘Introduction to Corpus Linguistics’, ‘The Practice of Writing’ and ‘Investigating Language’. You will also take a Module Outside your Main Discipline.
Detailed descriptions of BA English Language first year modules
Building on your first-year work, two core modules will provide you with a thorough grounding in technical aspects of the language, concentrating on ‘English Phonology and Morphology’ and then ‘English Grammar’. You will also take a ‘Research Skills in English Language’ module in which you will develop your group and individual research skills and will take another Module Outside your Main Discipline. Your other two modules will be optional from a selection from modules such as:
- History of the English Language
- Language Acquisition and Literacy
Detailed descriptions of BA English Language second year modules
The core element of your final year is a research project, either as a 10,000 word Dissertation or 5,000 word Language Investigation, in which you will carry out research in an area of your choosing with staff supervision. Your other final year modules will be options from a range of modules such as:
- English Language Teaching
- Discourse and Society
- Health and Discourse
- Language in the Workplace
- Ordinary Creativity
- Linguistic Theory
- Language, Gender and Identity
- Language and the Mind
Detailed descriptions of BA English Language final year modules
Study Abroad opportunities
As a student in the Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics you can spend either a semester or a year abroad at one of our carefully selected partner universities, where we have close personal ties with academic staff and a good knowledge of their programme in English Language. Potential destinations include, but are not limited to, the University of Bari, Italy, the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, USA, the University of Melbourne, Australia and the VU Amsterdam, Holland.
Fees and funding
Number of A levels required: 3
Typical offer: AAB
Required subjects and grades: We prefer an A level in English Language, or English Language and Literature, at grade A. We also consider other candidates who demonstrate an interest in and aptitude for the study of language. In this case, A levels in English Literature or a foreign language - or both- would be an advantage.
General Studies: not accepted
International baccalaureate update
Please note that we have reviewed our policy on the IB Diploma for 2016 entry and our offers will now focus on performance in Higher Level subjects. For more information and details please read our 2016 IB Diploma requirements.
We welcome applications from international students and invite you to join our vibrant community of over 4500 international students who represent 150 different countries. We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.
Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.
How to apply
Joint Honours combinations
You can also combine the study of English Language with other disciplines on our Single Honours English Language and Literature programme, or on the English Language pathway of our Joint Honours English programmes:
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