Skip to main content

Linguistics and Culture (BA): 3-year, full-time

Birkbeck's BA Linguistics and Culture lets you study linguistics together with a language - you can choose from French, German, Italian, Japanese or Spanish - along with the associated culture of that language. 

In the linguistics component of the course, you will learn about the structure and functions of language, and how people use language to communicate information and meaning about themselves and their identity. You will learn how to construct and evaluate linguistic arguments and how to compare and evaluate different ways of analysing data. You will also explore the nature and limitations of various theoretical frameworks. By studying linguistics, you can develop a scientific, critical approach to understanding how language works and how it functions within society. A unique feature of the course is that you will learn how to apply linguistic methods and models to real-world problems and contexts. 

At the same time, you will gain advanced knowledge of the culture of your chosen language, including literature, thought and cinema, and you can also choose to explore cross-cultural elements. 

The programme is also available for part-time evening study over four years.

Highlights

  • In the 2019 National Student Survey (NSS), Birkbeck ranked second amongst London universities for Linguistics teaching.
  • Arts and humanities at Birkbeck are ranked fifth best in London, 18th in the UK and 87th globally in the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject.
  • You will be taught by world-leading 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 course comprises 360 credits of modules, of which 150 must be taken in linguistics. 

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

You also follow one of five language pathways, depending on your language entry level. All languages may be taken from beginner level. Starting at beginner or near-beginner 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 can 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

You will have the opportunity to choose from a wide range of modules in the course of your study. Please note that the list of option modules is only indicative and not all modules are available every year. Please check with the programme administrator which option modules are available in each academic year.

If you complete and exit the degree with Language Level 4 you will be awarded a BA Linguistics and Culture. If you complete and exit the degree with Language Level 3 you will be awarded a BA Linguistics with Culture. This is dependent upon your language entry 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. We may waive formal entry requirements based on judgement of academic potential.

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

    A language placement test will be required for any students who wish to study at a higher level than beginners in their chosen language.

    UCAS tariff points

    104

    The UCAS tariff score is applicable to you if you have recently studied a qualification that has a UCAS tariff equivalence. UCAS provides a tariff calculator for you to work out what your qualification is worth within the UCAS tariff.

    Foundation Year Degrees

    If you need extra support before starting an undergraduate degree, we offer a BA Linguistics and Language with Foundation Year degree, which provides an extra year of supported study. This is an ideal route if you are returning to study after a gap, or if you have not previously studied this subject, or if you did not achieve the grades you need for a place on this degree.

    Once you successfully complete the Foundation Year, you will automatically advance onto the main degree.

    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 full-time courses (with the exception of modular enrolment certificates of higher education and graduate certificates), as these qualify for Tier 4 sponsorship. 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 courses (with the exception of some modules).

    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

    Full-time home/EU students: £ 9250 pa
    Full-time international students: £ 13675 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.

    TUITION FEE AND MAINTENANCE LOANS

    Eligible full-time and part-time students from the UK and the EU don’t have to pay any tuition fees upfront, as government loans are available to cover them.

    Maintenance loans are also available for eligible full-time and part-time UK students, to assist with covering living costs, such as accommodation, food, travel, books and study materials. From 2018, maintenance loans are available to part-time students for the first time. The amount you receive is means-tested and depends on where you live and study and your household income.

    Find out more about tuition fee and maintenance loans for full-time and part-time students at Birkbeck.

  • 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. 

    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
    1 120
    2 120
    3 120

    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

    Assessment is mainly through coursework in the form of essays (linguistics modules) and a mixture of coursework and examination (culture modules). 

    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 30 0 70
    2 30 0 70
    3 30 0 70
  • 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/proofreader, 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.

    Graduate Destinations

    Average salary six months after the course: £28000

    Go on to work and/or study:

    Go on to work and/or study
    Now working: 50%
    Doing further study: 35%
    Studying and working: 0%
    Unemployed: 5%
    Other: 10%

    Read more of the statistics for this course on the Unistats website.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    If you are applying for a full-time undergraduate course at Birkbeck, you have to apply through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). To apply, go to the UCAS website and click on ‘Sign in’. You will have to register, giving UCAS a few personal details, including your name, address and date of birth, and then you can start working on your application.

    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.

    UCAS Code

    QV19

    Application deadlines and interviews

    15 January is the first UCAS deadline and the majority of university applications through UCAS are made by then. We welcome applications outside of the UCAS deadlines, so you can still apply through UCAS after 15 January, depending on the availability of places. We also take late applications via the UCAS Clearing system in August.

    Read more about key dates for UCAS applicants.

    Interviews are arranged throughout the year.