Linguistics and Language (BA): 6-year, part-time

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.

This course offers you the opportunity to learn about the central ideas and concerns of contemporary linguistics at one of the world’s top research-intensive universities. You'll also have the opportunity to reach near-native standard in one language - French, German, Italian or Spanish - or upper-intermediate or advanced level in Japanese, depending on your level of entry, while practising allied skills such as translating, summary-writing, and delivering written and oral presentations.

The programme is also available for full-time evening study over three years or over four years (including a year of study abroad), and for part-time evening study over four years.

Highlights

  • Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked fourth best in London and 18th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2017-2018 World University Subject Rankings.
  • This is a unique joint honours course that allows you to study linguistics together with European and/or Japanese language modules.
  • You will be taught by experienced scholars with international research reputations, which will allow you to acquire mastery of your chosen language and a thorough knowledge of contemporary linguistic ideas.
  • Our Department of Applied Linguistics and Communication is the oldest applied linguistics department in the country, celebrating its 54th anniversary in 2019. We remain on the cutting edge of the field.
  • 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 what our students have to say about studying with us.

Course structure

The programme comprises 360 credits of modules, of which 150 must be taken in linguistics.

You take four core linguistics modules - Analysing Language Structure and Use, Approaches to Language, Approaches to Study and Investigating Language - and select option modules in linguistics. You complete a linguistics project in your final year.

You will follow one of five language pathways, depending on your level of attainment in your chosen language at entry. All languages may be taken from beginners' level.

Starting at beginners' or near-beginners' level, you will attain a language level equivalent to at least one year's study beyond A-level. With the higher levels of entry, the aim is to raise your language level to upper-intermediate or near-native standard.

Remaining modules may be chosen from those relating to the culture of the language studied (many taught primarily in that language), or from a range of cross-cultural modules (taught in English).

Module groups

Linguistics core modules

Linguistics option modules

Culture option modules

Linguistics final-year project

If you complete and exit the degree with Language Level 4 you will be awarded a BA Linguistics and Language. If you complete and exit the degree with Language Level 3 you will be awarded a BA Linguistics with Language. This is dependent upon your entry language level.

  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    We welcome applicants without traditional entry qualifications as we base decisions on our own assessment of qualifications, knowledge and previous work experience as presented in your application, and interview.

    You can join this programme with your chosen language at any level, from complete beginners' to native speaker level.

    Admission is based on a written test and interview and a target language entry test (except for complete beginners).

    Alternative entry routes

    We welcome applications from students on Access to Higher Education Diplomas.

    Credits gained on the Certificate of Higher Education in Linguistics and Language or Higher Education Introductory Studies can be counted towards the degree.

    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.

    Visa requirements

    If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months’ duration.
    • Courses of less than six months’ duration.
    • Pre-sessional English language courses.

    International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our three-year evening study BA/BSc/LLB degrees, as these are classified as full-time study and qualify for student visa status. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck’s part-time evening study degrees.

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

    Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

    If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.

    Find out more about credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

  • Fees

    Fees

    Part-time home/EU students: £ 4625 pa
    Part-time international students: £6675 pa

    Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

  • Teaching and assessment

    Teaching

    At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

    Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading. Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

    Our distance-learning and blended-learning courses and modules are self-directed and we will provide you with interactive learning opportunities and encourage you to collaborate and engage via various learning technologies. These courses involve limited or no face-to-face contact between students and module tutors.

    In addition, you will have access to pastoral support via a named Personal Tutor.

    Methods of teaching on this course

    Teaching includes lectures, seminars, language lessons, supervised independent learning and projects, all supported by our e-learning platform and a variety of learning and social activities.

    Key teaching staff on this programme

    Contact hours

    On our taught courses, you will have scheduled teaching and study sessions each year. Alongside this, you will also undertake assessment activities and independent learning outside of class. Depending on the modules you take, you may also have additional scheduled academic activities, such as tutorials, dissertation supervision, practical classes, visits and fieldtrips.

    On our taught courses, the actual amount of time you spend in the classroom and in contact with your lecturers will depend on your course, the option modules you select and when you undertake your final-year project.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, discussion, collaboration and interaction with your lecturers and fellow students are encouraged and enabled through various learning technologies, but you may have limited or no face-to-face contact with your module tutors.

    The following information gives an indication of how many contact hours you can expect for each year of this course:

    Year Contact hours
    1 108
    2 108
    3 108
    4 108
    5 108
    6 15

    Timetables

    Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

    Indicative class size

    Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to larger groups, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups led by a tutor.

    Independent learning

    On our taught courses, much of your time outside of class will be spent on self-directed, independent learning, including preparing for classes and following up afterwards. This will usually include, but is not limited to, reading books and journal articles, undertaking research, working on coursework and assignments, and preparing for presentations and assessments.

    Independent learning is absolutely vital to your success as a student. Everyone is different, and the study time required varies topic by topic, but, as a guide, expect to schedule up to five hours of self-study for each hour of teaching.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, the emphasis is very much on independent, self-directed learning and you will be expected to manage your own learning, with the support of your module tutors and various learning technologies.

    Study skills and additional support

    Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

    • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
    • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
    • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

    Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

    Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

    Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short- or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.

    Assessment

    Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations, although this will vary from course to course - on some of our courses, assessment is entirely by coursework. The methods of assessment on this course are specified below under 'Methods of assessment on this course'. You will need to allow time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

    Where a course has unseen written examinations, these may be held termly, but, on the majority of our courses, exams are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June. Exams may be held at other times of the year as well. In most cases, exams are held during the day on a weekday - if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance - but some exams are held in the evening. Exam timetables are published online.

    Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

    Methods of assessment on this course

    A variety of forms, including continuous assessment, coursework and, for language modules, a written and an oral examination.

    Breakdown of assessment on this course

    The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework will often depend on the option modules you choose. The approximate percentages for this course are as follows:

    Year % Exams % Practical % Coursework
    1 26 6 68
    2 25 6 69
    3 17 7 76
    4 25 6 69
    5 25 6 69
    6 25 6 69
  • Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Graduates can pursue careers in publishing, education, policy-making or language education. This degree can also be useful in becoming a translator, English as a foreign language teacher, publishing copy-editor/proof reader, civil service fast-streamer or editorial assistant.

    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.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

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

    Birkbeck offers a range of free face-to-face advice and support to help you make a successful application.

    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

    Admission is based on a written test, a language entry test (except for complete beginners) and you may be asked to attend an interview.

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

    Interviews are arranged throughout the year.