• Status: Fully Approved
  • Start date: October 2016
  • Duration:

      1 year part-time

    • Attendance:

      2 evenings a week

      October to July

    • Location:

      Central London

      Please note: this programme is not available online or via distance learning.

    Programme overview

    Why is human language unique, and unlike any other natural communication system? How do children learn their first language? Do women and men speak differently? Are some forms of English better than others? Why does language change through time?

    Linguistics seeks to provide answers to questions such as those above, and many others. As the science of language, linguistics studies everything to do with language, including how language is structured, how it develops in children, the ways in which it reflects society and culture, how it defines individuals and groups, and how it changes over time. If you find these questions interesting, then you will enjoy studying linguistics.

    This programme offers the opportunity for those who do not have a BA second-class honours degree in a relevant subject to gain an understanding of the social, interpersonal and psychological aspects of human language and communication systems, and to enhance their academic skills in linguistics. It provides training in aspects of both theory and practice in the field of linguistics, language and communication.

    To find out more, read our programme handbook.

    How to apply

    You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application link below.

    Need help with your application? Watch videos featuring our academic experts giving advice on applying to Birkbeck and answering some of the most frequently asked questions.

    Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form, including our online personal statement tool, which will guide you through every step of writing your personal statement.

    Application deadlines and interviews

    We recommend you apply as early as possible. Later applications may also be considered, subject to availability of places.

    Online application

    Linguistic Studies (Graduate Certificate) (Part-time)

    Why study this course at Birkbeck?

    • Prepare for further postgraduate study at Master’s level if you have a degree in another subject.
    • Raise your communicative awareness and competence, and gain knowledge of theories and models of human, social and interpersonal communication.
    • Develop skills necessary to proceed to careers in various fields related to linguistics, languages and communication.
    • The Birkbeck Applied Linguistics Society, an official University of London society, was formed to bring together students interested in applied linguistics and related fields (for example multilingualism, intercultural communication and TESOL) in the London area.
    • Birkbeck’s Centre for Multilingual and Multicultural Research hosts visiting scholars from all over the world and runs regular research seminars given by speakers from overseas and other UK institutions. The centre also supports postgraduate training in applied linguistics, bilingualism, intercultural communication and translation.
    • Read a blog post by Professor Penelope Gardner-Chloros that considers what linguistics is.
    • Watch videos of our postgraduate students discussing their experience of studying at Birkbeck.

    Course structure

    You take 2 core modules (worth 30 credits each), which are designed to ensure a good coverage of the curriculum and the full range of learning outcomes.

    To find out more, read our programme handbook.

    Core modules

    Sample timetable

    PDF document icon ALC GradCert Timetable 15-16.pdf — PDF document, 36 kB (37604 bytes)

    Entry requirements

    BA degree or equivalent; other qualifications may be considered, if you have relevant professional/personal experience.

    All candidates will be asked to complete a short admissions task and will normally attend an interview.

    International entry requirements

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

    If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

    Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.


    Part-time home/EU students: £ 2650 pa
    Part-time overseas students: £ 4825 pa

    Payment and Fees Discounts

    Flexible finance: pay your fees in monthly instalments at no extra cost. Enrol early to spread your costs and reduce your monthly payments.

    Fees discounts: If you are a member of a union that is recognised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), you may apply for a 10% discount off your tuition fees.

    Funding and Financial Support

    Find out more about funding and financial support at postgraduate level.

    Careers and employability

    Graduates can pursue careers in teaching, speech and language therapy, translating, and interpreting. Possible professions include English as a second language (ESOL) teacher, speech and language therapist, or translator. This degree can also be useful in becoming an interpreter, lexicographer, or primary school teacher.

    Find out more about these professions.

    Find out more about the destinations of graduates in this subject.

    We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

    Teaching and assessment


    Lectures, seminars, tutorials and presentations.


    Typical assessments include coursework essays of approximately 4000 words.

    Our research

    Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.

    Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.

    In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Modern Languages and Linguistics achieved 100% for a research environment conducive to producing research of the highest quality, while 73% of our research was recognised as world-leading or internationally excellent.

    Read about Birkbeck research that crosses disciplines and focuses on pressing questions within the social sciences and humanities.

    Further study opportunities

    If you achieve a merit or distinction, you will be eligible to apply to the MA Applied Linguistics, MA Intercultural Communication for Business and Professions or MA Marketing Communications.