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

Year of entry


Start date

October 2018


Central London


Fully Approved


Six years part-time


Two to three evenings a week

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, Portuguese 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.


  • Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 13th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2016-17 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 50th anniversary in 2015. 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 six language pathways, depending on your level of attainment in your chosen language at entry. French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish may be taken from beginners' level. Portuguese students require prior knowledge of the language and will begin the course at intermediate Language Level 3.

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, particularly Portuguese students, 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.