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BA Linguistics

UCAS Code: Q100

Click here for a full list of our modules

Do you find language and communication fascinating? Do you enjoy solving puzzles? Would you like to learn about the languages of the world, and in doing so learn about how the human mind works? Do you have broad interests, from the language arts through the sciences?

Students on Linguistics degrees at UCL investigate the world’s languages in order to understand the fundamental nature of human language, how the human mind gives rise to it, and how human social abilities combine with language abilities in communication. Students study the sound patterns (Phonetics and Phonology) and grammatical structures (Syntax) of the world's languages, and how meanings are expressed through words and grammar (Semantics), and through social aspects of use (Pragmatics). The flexible degree structure allows students to purse a range of option modules that relate the study of linguistics to broader questions  – child language development, multilingualism, animal communication, language evolution, sociolinguistics, and neurolinguistics.

Students frequently comment on the friendly atmosphere and accessible academic staff. The BA Linguistics programme had a 93% overall student satisfaction rate (sector average: 88) in the National Student Survey. Our graduates report an above average employment rate and starting salary.

Click below to see a short clip about Linguistics at UCL and hear from some BA Linguistics students about the degree programme. Click on the tabs for more detailed information about the degree, or click here for information on the four-year BA Linguistics International Programme or the BSc Experimental Linguistics.

Linguistics at UCL

 

 

BA linguistics

 

 

 

Content

Degree Benefits

  • The degree provides a broad foundation in linguistic analysis and theory, while providing opportunities to pursue chosen areas in greater depth, and also to study language and linguistics in a broader context.
  • Develop a wide range of transferable, practical intellectual skills: a broad understanding of language and languages; data collection and analysis; hypothesis testing; critical reading and argumentation. Through optional modules, students may gain experience with experimental design and statistical analysis.
  • Our focus on small-group teaching helps develop a friendly and supportive atmosphere. LingSoc, the linguistics student society, runs a mentoring scheme whereby second-year or final-year students support new students.
  • You will have access to extensive computer facilities and to a specialised on-site library in addition to UCL's main library.

Students on Linguistics degrees at UCL investigate the world’s languages in order to understand the fundamental nature of human language, how the human mind gives rise to it, and how human social abilities combine with language abilities in communication. Students study the sound patterns (Phonetics and Phonology) and grammatical structures (Syntax) of the world's languages, and how meanings are expressed through words and grammar (Semantics) and through social aspects of use (Pragmatics). The flexible degree structure allows students to purse a range of option modules that relate the study of linguistics to broader questions  – child language development, multilingualism, animal communication, language evolution, sociolinguistics, neurolinguistics.

You might like to have a look at the recording of the talk given by Professor Noam Chomsky when he visited us in October 2011 at http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/events/2011/10/17/noam-chomsky-on-the-poverty-of-the-stimulus/

Structure

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.

YEAR ONEYEAR TWOFINAL YEAR
  • Two introductory modules in Meaning
  • Two introductory modules in Pronunciation
  • Two introductory modules in Sentence Structure
  • Two general introductory modules in linguistics and language acquisition
  • Two compulsory intermediate modules
  • One intermediate module in Pronunciation
  • One intermediate module in Sentence Structure
  • Two additional linguistics option modules
  • Two electives from Linguistics or any university-wide electives
  • Research project
  • Three advanced modules in any of the core areas of linguistics (Meaning, Phonetics and Phonology, Syntax)
  • One additional linguistics option module
  • Two electives from Linguistics or any university-wide electives

Your Learning

Teaching is delivered through lectures and small-group classes (tutorials in which you meet with a group of between 5 and 12 students and a staff member to discuss topics covered in the lecture) as well as a virtual learning environment where you can access module material, a module discussion forum and other activities. Some modules also involve workshops.

Assessment

Each module is assessed and examined separately, often by a combination of essays, exercises and examinations. Your performance in a module is always assessed in the same academic year in which you take it.
 

List of Modules
Introductory Modules
  • Introduction to Semantics and Pragmatics A
  • Introduction to Semantics and Pragmatics B
  • Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology A
  • Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology B
  • Introduction to Generative Grammar
  • Core Issues in Linguistics
  • Introduction to Children's Language Development
Intermediate Modules
  • Semantic Theory
  • Intermediate Pragmatics
  • Principles of Phonetic Science
  • Intermediate Phonology
  • Intermediate Generative Grammar: Locality
  • Intermediate Generative Grammar: Word Order
Final Year Modules

Long Essay/Project

Meaning core area

  • Issues in Pragmatics
  • Semantic-Pragmatic Development
  • Advanced Semantic Theory
  • Advanced Semantic Theory B

Pronunciation Core Area

  • Phonological Theory
  • Advanced Phonological Theory
  • Phonetic Theory

Sentence Structure Core Area

  • Readings in Syntax
  • Current Issues in Syntax
Optional Modules (not all of these modules are taught every year)
  • Neurolinguistics
  • Animal Communication and Human Language
  • Language Evolution
  • Morphology
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Psycholinguistics: Stages in Normal Language Development
  • Psycholinguistics: General Processing
  • Linguistics of Sign Languages
  • Bi/Multilingualism: Development and Cognition 
  • Stuttering

Students in the second and final years can also take elective modules outside Linguistics, including:

Time table
See www.ucl.ac.uk/timetable or click on the above module details for a link to the module timetable.

Staff

Programme Director: Dr Klaus Abels

Teaching staff (NB: staff may occasionally be absent for a term or more on research or other leave)

In addition, we can call on the support of Teaching Fellows and Postgraduate Teaching Assistants.

Application

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.

Application process

All applications must be made via UCAS

Entry Requirements

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

Careers

According to Which? University, "linguists are in demand across the economy, from marketing to IT, so this type of degree has a better than average employment rate. Graduates from language subjects are, not surprisingly, more likely than most others to get jobs working overseas, with Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) a popular option. Linguists are particularly likely to get jobs in marketing, finance, education and in management, but remember – whilst employers say they rate language skills, you need to have them as part of a whole package of good skills."

You can read general information on careers open to Linguistics graduates in the document below (pdf). Linguistics connects with many other disciplines and many graduates go on to work in these areas, e.g. teaching languages, especially English as a first or foreign language, speech therapy, advertising or the media. A number of linguistics graduates from UCL carry on linguistics at graduate level often with a view to pursuing an academic career. Here you can find information on the career paths taken by some of our alumni

In addition to subject-specific skills, you will also acquire the analytical, investigative, communication and study skills essential for most graduate careers, which could include law, computing, commerce and industry.

Information on careers can be found at UCL Careers. Information and statistics on career paths are also available at prospects.ac.uk. Our graduates report above average employment rates and starting salaries.

Destinations

First destinations of recent graduates of the BA Linguistics and BA Linguistics (International Programme) include:

  • Public Relations Assistant, Hudder Publishing
  • Academic Officer at a Higher Education college
  • Full-time student, MPhil Linguistics at Cambridge University
  • Graduate Assistant, University of Connecticut
  • Full-time student, Graduate Diploma in Law at BPP Law School
  • Wiltshire County Council: Communicator Guide
  • National Autistic Society: Volunteer
  • Graduate trainee at an international bank
What our students say

Here is some feedback from new students:

  • "Since I have never studied Linguistics before, I didn't really know what to expect. I am positively astonished about the many different ways in which Language can be studied!"
  • "It is better than I expected. There is plenty of time to complete assignments and there is a great support system (mentors and back up tutors) to ensure we understand the material."

And here is some feedback from students who graduated in June 2014:

  • "I really valued the staff/student dynamic, the relaxed atmosphere of the department, and being separate from main campus. Because it's such a small department, we became a little linguistics family!"
  • "Excellent facilities inc a cluster room with more free computers than the sum of the main library and science library. Really interesting optional modules."
  • "Everyone was very friendly and approachable and this contributed to a very warm and welcoming environment to study in."
  • The best aspects were the "optional modules, such as Sociolinguistics, and Animal Communication, and how most modules were a mixture of assessment and exams."
Find Out More

We organise a number of Open Days for prospective students who have already applied via UCAS, and will contact applicants to make the necessary arrangements.

If you would like to visit before applying, have a look at the general UCL open days

We also have a virtual tour of Chandler House available to view here

We interviewed Professor Richard Hudson about the UK Linguistics Olympiad and how to get involved. Read the interview here.

Visit the UK Linguistics Olympiad website

Contact

For further information about academic entry on to this programme, and language requirements, please contact Undergraduate Admissions:
undergraduate-admissions@ucl.ac.uk

For general enquiries about undergraduate Linguistics programmes, please contact the Linguistics teaching office:
pals.lingteachingoffice@ucl.ac.uk