We all use language every day, but how many of us stop to think about it?
The study of language demands discipline, observation, exploration and imagination. Some aspects, like phonology and grammar, ask for particular attention to detail, accuracy and logical argument. Other topics, such as child language development and language variation, demand an ability to collect, analyse and evaluate your own data. Finding out how a language works and how societies communicate combines a unique intellectual challenge with significant practical potential.
Our BA English Language draws on Birmingham’s internationally renowned strength in corpus linguistics, grammar, stylistics, discourse analysis and applied linguistics. You will be able to tailor the programme to suit your strengths and interests and towards a wide range of careers. The skills you gain will make you a much sought after graduate. English Language and Literature at Birmingham is ranked in the Top 35 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2019, whilst English ranks in the Top 5 in the Guardian University Guide 2019. English Language also received an overall satisfaction rating of 94% in the National Student Survey 2018.
Answering your questions and concerns about the outcome of the EU referendum.
“I have always been interested in how we use language, both in everyday life and in more formal situations, so I chose this degree in order to gain a more in depth understanding of our language. I chose to study here as I really liked the structure of the course and the module choices. Birmingham is a great city and a great university with friendly and helpful academic staff to help whenever you need it.”
The Department of English Language and 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.
- Top 50 world ranking - English Language and Literature at the University of Birmingham is ranked in the Top 35 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2018, whilst English ranks in the Top 5 in the Guardian University Guide 2019.
- Excellent reputation - English Language has been ranked one of the top departments in the country in the most recent Research Excellence Framework, with over 85% of our academic research judged to be ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Furthermore, English Language at Birmingham received an overall satisfaction rating of 94% in the National Student Survey 2018.
- 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. Students joining us from 2017 onwards will have the option to choose modules on our linguistics pathway in the second year, in order to pursue a BA in English Language and Linguistics.
- 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.
Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2019. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.
- Theories of Language
- Fundamentals of Language: Sounds and Words
- Fundamentals of Language: Grammar and Discourse
- Applied Linguistics
- Investigating Language
- Widening Horizons Module
Detailed descriptions of BA English Language first year modules
- English Grammar
- Professional Research Skills for Linguists
- 4 English Language options
Detailed descriptions of BA English Language second year modules
You can apply to study abroad for a year in an approved university around the world. If you achieve a grade of 2.1 or above in your first year then you will be invited to apply for a Year Abroad in your second year. If your application is successful, you will go abroad in your third year and return to us for your final year.
Find out more.
- Dissertation or Language Investigation
- 4/5 English Language options
Detailed descriptions of BA English Language final year modules
For UK students beginning their studies in September 2019, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.
Fees for 2019/20 are as follows:
Home / EU: £9,250
Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about
fees for international students.
For further information on tuition fees, living costs and available financial support, please see our pages on
undergraduate fees and funding.
Tuition fees when studying abroad
For those spending a whole academic year abroad (where available):
Students who are classed as home/EU for fees purposes are required to pay 15% of their normal annual tuition fee
Students who are classed as overseas for fee purposes are required to pay 50% of their normal annual tuition fee
For those studying abroad for just one semester (where available), normal annual tuition fees apply.
Note - Study abroad opportunities vary between courses; please see the course description for details of study abroad options offered.
- Number of A levels required:
- Typical offer:
- Required subjects and grades:
- A level in English Language, English Literature, English Language and Literature or a Modern Foreign Language is preferred. We also welcome applications from candidates who can demonstrate an interest in and an aptitude for the study of language, so other combinations of complementary Humanities and Social Science subjects will be considered. Please contact us to discuss.
- General Studies:
- Not accepted.
6,6,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall.
- BTEC Extended Diploma: DDM, plus an A at A-level in the required subject/s mentioned above.
- BTEC Diploma: DD, plus an A at A-level in the required subject/s mentioned above.
- BTEC Subsidiary Diploma: D, plus AB at A-level, including an A in the required A-level subject/s mentioned above.
Other qualifications are considered - learn more about entry 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 one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.
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:
University of Birmingham students are part of an academic elite and learn from world-leading experts. We will challenge you to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers.
You will have a diverse learning experience, including:
- small group tutorials
- independent study
- and peer group learning, such as delivering presentations with your classmates
You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to Higher Education.
- Personal tutors - You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.
- Wellbeing officers - We have dedicated wellbeing officers who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond.
- Academic Skills Centre - The centre aims to help you become a more effective and independent learner through a range of high-quality support services. The centre offers workshops on a range of topics, such as note-taking, reading, academic writing and presentation skills.
- Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) - the AWAS team will provide guidance on writing essays and dissertations at University-level. You will receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects. Support is given in a variety of ways, such as small-group workshops, online activities, tutorials and email correspondence.
- Student experience - Our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They will offer research opportunities, study skills support and help you prepare for your post-university careers. They will also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.
During your first year it is important that you have a smooth transition into university. You will be able to talk to your tutors about this and discuss if there are particular areas where you need support.
Students at the University of Birmingham are taught by a mixture of professors, senior lecturers, lecturers and doctoral researchers, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience. Many of our teaching staff have published important works about their areas of expertise, whilst others have taught at international institutions and can offer unique perspectives of their subjects.
You can find out more about the members of staff (including their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest) in their academic profiles linked below.
Throughout your degree you can expect about 10-12 contact hours per week. This will be made up of a combination of workshops, lectures and seminars. In your second and final years, this will also include 1 to 1 supervision meetings with a lecturer who will support you as you conduct independent research. Outside of this timeframe, lecturers will be on hand during office hours to answer questions and the Academic Writing Advisory Service and the Careers Network run workshops throughout the academic year.
Assessments - you will be assessed in a variety of ways to help you transition to a new style of learning. At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed. Assessments methods will vary with each module and could include:
- coursework, such as essays
- group and individual presentations
- and formal exams
Feedback - you will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so you can learn from each assignment. You will also be given feedback on any exams that you take. If you should fail an exam, we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is provided to help you prepare for future exams.
Studying for an English Language BA at the University of Birmingham is an unparalleled opportunity to engage with a diverse cultural, textual and linguistic discipline, whilst also developing skills in intellectual analysis, critical thinking and articulate expression.
These are skills that last a lifetime and qualify you for many possible careers. 90% of our graduates enter work or further study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2017).
The structure of the English Language programme allows you to pursue many potential career areas by developing relevant skills and expertise that will be relevant to future employers. You will acquire practical skills that you will find just as useful in your future career including oral presentation, professional documentation, group work and the uses of information technology.
English Language graduates from the University of Birmingham have excellent prospects after graduation. Our graduates have started careers with employers including media companies, educational institutions, local councils, publishers, charities and a wide range of large commercial organisations, in roles such as marketing coordinator, editorial assistant, creative advertising account executive, recruitment consultant and parliamentary caseworker. Many pursue postgraduate study to specialise in an academic area or prepare for careers such as law and teaching.
Developing your career
Employers target University of Birmingham students for their diverse skill-set and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of our wide range of opportunities you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.
- Careers events - we hold events covering careers in teaching, event management, marketing and working with charities to help you meet potential employers and learn more about these sectors.
- Global Challenge - you can apply to work overseas on an expenses-paid placement during your summer vacation through our Global Challenge initiative.
- Work experience bursary - we encourage you to apply your skills in the workplace by undertaking internships in the summer. Our work experience bursaries allow you to apply for funding to support you during unpaid internships.
- Cultural Internships - our innovative Cultural Internships offer graduates the opportunity for a six month paid internship at a leading cultural institution in the West Midlands. These internships will give you professional experience to set you apart in a competitive graduate market. Our current partners include Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham REP, Birmingham Royal Ballet, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust, Library of Birmingham.
There are also internships available at our own cultural assets, such as Winterbourne House, the Lapworth Museum, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.
To enhance your career prospects even further, you will need to think about engaging in some extra-curricular activities to broaden your skills and network of contacts.
- Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme - our College of Arts and Law Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme enables interested students to work on a current academic research project being run by one of our academic researchers. Undergraduate research scholars gain work experience over the summer after their first or second year and have the chance to develop skills in both collaborative and independent research.
- Personal Skills Award - our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.
- Guild of Students - there is a vast number of student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students, which cover a wide variety of interests.
Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.
Clubs and societies
The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.
Student Experience Officers
Our Student Experience Officers will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They will offer research opportunities, study skills support and help you prepare for your post-university careers. They will also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.
Coming to Birmingham might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.
The City of Birmingham
One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and culture, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work.
Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.
The University of Birmingham has been welcoming international students onto our campus since 1900.
We have one of the largest and most vibrant international student communities in the UK, with 5,000 international students from more than 150 different countries and 31% of our academic staff from overseas.
If you would like further information about entry requirements, how to apply and funding options, then you can visit our international students webpage. You may also wish to take a virtual tour of our campus and watch the video below to hear our international students say their favourite thing about the University of Birmingham.