UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


BA Linguistics

UCAS Code: Q100

About linguistics
Linguistics is an interdisciplinary field dedicated to the systematic study of our uniquely human capacity for language. Linguists describe the dazzling variety of languages while at the same time searching for hidden commonalities between languages to uncover fundamental principles of the human mind.

To do this, linguists draw on a broad interdisciplinary toolset. They deploy field methods to find out more about the world's languages, methods from philosophy and logic to analyse meaning, ideas from sociology to understand the relation between language and identity, psychological and neuroscientific methods to study language processing mechanisms in real-time, and evolutionary biology to shed light on the origins of language.

Indeed, diversity of approaches characterizes the BA linguistics at UCL. If you choose to, you might be working in the library comparing how questions are formed in Russian and Swahili one day, learn about the genetic factors that allow children to recover from stuttering on the next day, and record dialect speakers for phonetic or sociolinguistic analysis on a third occasion. Of course, you may also focus on that mode of investigation which suits you best. 

Linguistics at UCL
UCL Linguistics is a cutting-edge department ranked 5th in Europe the 2021 QS Ranking. You will find a welcoming home in Chandler House in Bloomsbury with access to libraries and research laboratories, where experiments in psycho-linguistics, neuro-linguistics, acoustics, as well as child language acquisition can be conducted.  Linguistics BA students benefit greatly from the department's close ties to the philosophy department and its location within the division of psychology with staff specializing in speech and language pathologies and the psychology of language.

The international option of the programme allows you to immerse yourself in a different culture, study linguistics from a different perspective at one of our partner institutions, and potentially perfect your mastery of a foreign language.

A degree in linguistics from UCL will equip you with a deep understanding of your own languages as well as foreign languages and an ability to analyse linguistic data and formulate testable hypotheses about them. You will acquire sought after transferable skills for accessing and evaluating information; for collecting, analysing and presenting a broad range of data; and to write and speak cogently and with confidence about them. For this reason, the degree will open up a wide range of career options. Some - like teaching English as a foreign language, speech and language therapist,  translator, or careers in the foreign office, publishing, or communications and marketing - require directly language-related skills and knowledge while others - tech-related careers in natural language processing, laws, or analyst - build more strongly on the analytic and argumentative skills the degree confers. 

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The first year of your degree is made up of mandatory courses taken by all students on the degree. These courses give you a broad foundation in linguistics. They cover the topics of the sound patterns of the languages of the world, the structure of words and sentences in selected languages, the interpretation of sentences and their use in conversation, as well as the acquisition of language by children. You will practice distinguishing and producing sounds, analyse and represent a variety of linguistic data, and develop your argumentative skills.   

One half of year two is dedicated to deepening your understanding of linguistic theory. You will tailor the other half to suit your interests in linguistics, to gain first-hand experience with research through an apprenticeship under the supervision of one of our team of world-leading researchers, and to pursue the manifold connections between linguistics and psychology, neurology, philosophy of language and mind, logic, modern languages, evolutionary biology, or computer science, to mention but a few.  Apart from knowledge of languages and linguistics, the intense study of linguistics will develop your ability to understand and evaluate explanatory theories in any domain and develop your critical thinking skills.   

If you choose the international option, you will spend your third year studying abroad at one of our partner institutions, immersing yourself in a foreign culture, and possibly perfecting a foreign language.   

During your final year you will design, organize and carry out your own research project under specialist supervision. In addition, you will take six courses to specialize more deeply in linguistics and to pursue interdisciplinary connections further.


In the first year, compulsory modules provide a foundation in the core areas of linguistics and linguistic methodologies,  helping you assess where your own interests and strengths lie. In your second and third years you choose from a range of intermediate and advanced modules, focusing on the core areas that interest you, with the opportunity to further broaden your studies through the choice of option modules in linguistics. In your third year, you will undertake a research project, involving a deep and sustained study of a subject in which you are especially interested.
In the second and in the final year, you have the opportunity to take modules offered outside Linguistics, to complement your studies or explore something totally different. This includes a wide range of language courses offered by the UCL Language Centre.

The programme lasts three years except if the international option is chosen, which has an additional year abroad in the third year. 

Year 1
All of the following: 

Year 2
Both of the following: 

and one of the following two:  

and one of the following two:  

and two further modules from List A
and two further suitable modules from anywhere at UCL (including linguistics)

Year 3 is additional and spent abroad under the international option 

Final year 

Long Essay
and three modules not already taken from List B
and one module not already taken from Lists A, B, or C
and two further suitable modules from anywhere at UCL (including linguistics)

List A 

List B 

 List C 

English Corpus Linguistics
The science of bias 

 Note that not all modules from Lists A, B, and C will be offered every year and offers in these lists are subject to change without notice.

Year Abroad

The year abroad option is a four-year programme with an additional year abroad in the third year.

UCL Linguistics has a range of partner institutions, all elite departments in universities with excellent academic reputations in Linguistics, where all or a substantial amount of teaching is carried out in English. Some of the most popular  destinations for linguistics students in the past have been the following:

  • McGill University (Montreal)
  • University of Tübingen
  • Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • University of Utrecht
  • University of Toronto
  • Ca' Foscari University of Venice

You can find the most recent full list of exchange links here.

Other overseas exchanges may sometimes be available through UCL-level links. These cover all departments, and application for places is accordingly competitive.

Our departmental exchange agreements normally allow for up to two UCL students to attend each institution each year. When you apply to go on your year abroad, UCL’s Study Abroad Office will ask you to list three chosen destinations in order of preference. Which of these preferences you get allocated to is decided by the Study Abroad Office and depends on the quality of your application. Please note that this means you are not guaranteed to be allocated to your top preference.

  • Eligibitliy: You will need to achieve an average mark of at least 60 in your first year to be eligible to go on an exchange year.
  • Application: Details of the application process can be found here.
  • Finance: Information on the financial side of the year abroad can be found here.
  • More information: Morer information on the year abroad can be found here. Note that Erasmus+ has ended. Details about the UK's new Turing Scheme will be published by UCL's International Office once available.
  • Exchange agreements are reviewed periodically and are subject to change without notice

Application Procedure 

In your UCAS application we are looking for the potential to meet our academic requirements and a strong interest in language and linguistics.

All applicants who are offered a place will be invited to attend an offerholder open day. This is intended to allow candidates to make an informed decision about whether the degree programme is right for them, and so all candidates resident in the UK are usually expected to attend.

We aim to make a decision about your application within four to eight weeks of receiving it.

If you are concerned that you have not heard from us after this timeframe then you are welcome to email the Admissions Officer.

Please do not call the Admissions Officer concerning the decision of your application. You will NOT be told of the decision by telephone. 

Entry Requirements

For entry requirements, please see http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/undergraduate/degrees/linguistics-ba. 

Fees and Funding

Information about fees, funding arrangements and UCL scholarships can be found at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/undergraduate/degrees/linguistics-ba. 


A degree in linguistics confers subject-specific knowledge and may equip you with a broad set of highly valued transferable skills and attributes.

The subject specific knowledge plays a defining role in graduate careers closely connected to language such as teaching of languages, teaching of English as a foreign language, speech and language therapy, marketing, translation, publishing, or journalism. Many of our graduates use this knowledge to pursue postgraduate degrees in linguistics and related subjects.

Beyond the subject specific knowledge, a degree in linguistics may confer analytic, communicative, and interpersonal skills and develop your independence, reliability, and problem-solving ability. These are highly sought-after attributes for any graduate level job.

Consequently, career destinations of past UCL linguistics graduates cover a broad spectrum including the following: academic, business, consultancy, education, HR, information technology, interpreting, journalism, law, marketing, engineering, publishing, public relations, speech and language therapy, teaching, and translation. To find out more, visit the linguistics careers page.


For further information about academic entry on to this programme, and language requirements, please contact Undergraduate Admissions:

For general enquiries about undergraduate Linguistics programmes, please contact the Linguistics teaching office: