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BSc Experimental Linguistics

UCAS Code: Q100

See a full list of Linguistic modules here

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 BSc Experimental Linguistics is an interdisciplinary programme that focuses on the sounds, structures and meanings of language along with the experimental methods to understand how language is acquired, represented and processed in the brain. 

In comparison to the BA Linguistics programme, the BSc Experimental Linguistics has fewer mandatory modules in phonetics, phonology, syntax and semantics and pragmatics in exchange for experimentally based ones. This includes language acquisition (how children acquire language), psycholinguistics (what representations and mechanisms are used to process language), neurolinguistics (how those representations and mechanisms are implemented in the brain), and practical experience in research design and statistical data analysis. 

Click below to see a short clip about Linguistics at UCL and hear from some BA Linguistics students about their degree programme, with which you would share a number of modules. Click on the tabs further down for more detailed information about the degree, or click here for information on the three year BA Linguistics or the four year BA Linguistics International Programme.

Linguistics at UCL

 

 

BA linguistics

 

 

 

Content

Degree Benefits

  • Gain an interdisciplinary approach to questions about language and learning experimental methodologies.
  • 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. Gain practical training in designing and running experiments and statistically analysing data. 
  • UCL is known worldwide for its teaching and research in linguistics; the work of our staff appears in internationally acclaimed journals and books.
  • Or 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.

    Structure

    • In the first year your modules are all compulsory, providing a foundation in research method and linguistics 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 within a requirement to complete modules in the three core areas of linguistics: Meaning (Semantics and Pragmatics); Pronunciation (Phonetics and Phonology); and Sentence Structure (Syntax). Additionally you have mandatory modules in research methods, language acquisition, psycholinguistics, and neurolinguistics and a practical laboratory in research design. In your final year, you will undertake a research project, involving a deep and sustained study of a subject in which you are especially interested.
    • In the final year, you can also take an optional module offered outside Linguistics; for example, many students choose to take a language module taught by the UCL Language Centre.

    Your Learning

    Teaching is delivered through a combination of lectures, small-group teaching (tutorials or backup classes) and material and a virtual learning environment. Some modules also involve workshops or practical classes. Typically, each module involves a weekly lecture of one or two hours, a one hour backup class in which you meet with a group of between five and 12 students and a staff member to discuss topics covered in the lecture, and a virtual learning environment where you can access module material, a module discussion forum and other activities.

    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.

    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

    Teaching is delivered through a combination of lectures, small-group teaching (tutorials or backup classes) and material and a virtual learning environment. Some modules also involve workshops or practical classes. Typically, each module involves a weekly lecture of one or two hours, a one hour backup class in which you meet with a group of between five and 12 students and a staff member to discuss topics covered in the lecture, and a virtual learning environment where you can access module material, a module discussion forum and other activities.

    In the first year your modules are all compulsory, providing a foundation in research methods and linguistics 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 within a requirement to complete modules in the three core areas of linguistics: Meaning (Semantics and Pragmatics); Pronunciation (Phonetics and Phonology); and Sentence Structure (Syntax). Additionally you have mandatory modules in research methods, language acquisition, psycholinguistics, and neurolinguistics and a practical laboratory in research design. In your final year, you will undertake a research project, involving a deep and sustained study of a subject in which you are especially interested.

    In the final year, you can also take an optional module offered outside Linguistics; for example, many students choose to take a language course taught by the UCL Language Centre.

    YEAR ONEYEAR TWOYEAR THREE

    Modules worth 30 credits in each of the following core areas:

    • Meaning
    • Pronunciation
    • Sentence Structure

    Additionally, you will take two introductory modules in general linguistics and in research methods.

    Four core modules must be taken:

    • Research Design and Methodologies
    • Introduction to Children's Language Development
    • Psycholinguistics: General Processing
    • Neurolinguistics
       
    • You will take 3 further intermediate optional Linguistics modules
    • You will take one further Linguistics or UCL-wide elective module
    • Research Project
    • Practical lab module
    • Two optional modules from two sepearte groups of Linguistics modules
    • Three further Linguistics or UCL-wide elective modules
    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 Research Methods
    Intermediate Modules

    Students take the following core modules:

    • Research Design and Experimental Methods
    • Introduction to Children's Language Development
    • Psycholinguistics: General Processing
    • Neurolinguistics

    In addition, students choose three of the following optional modules:

    • Intermediate Pragmatics
    • Semantic Theory
    • Principles of Phonetic Sciences
    • Intermediate Phonology
    • Intermediate Generative Grammar Word Order
    • Intermediate Generative Grammar Locality

    Students take one further elective module from Linguistics or elsewhere.

    Advanced Modules

    Students take the following core modules:

    • Long Essay/Project
    • a practical lab module

    Students take one module from this group:

    • Issues in Pragmatics
    • Advanced Semantic Theory
    • Phonetic Theory
    • Advanced Phonological Theory A
    • Advanced Phonological Theory B
    • Readings in Syntax
    • Current Issues in Syntax

    Students take one further module from this group:

    • Pragmatics and Cognition
    • Semantic-Pragmatic Development
    • Stuttering
    • Sociolinguistics
    • Linguistics of Sign Language
    • Psycholinguistics: Stages in Normal Language Development
    • Psycholinguistics: General Processing
    • Experimental Phonology
    • Bi/Multilingualism: Development and Cognition 
    • Seminar on Expressive Prosody

    In addition, students take 3 further optional or elective modules from Linguistics or elsewhere.

    Students in the second and final year can also take options 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

    Please see full information on fees here (fees for BSc Experimental Linguistics will be the same as the BA Linguistics route): http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/undergraduate/degrees/linguist...

    Funding

    Details about financial support are available at: www.ucl.ac.uk/study/ug-finance

    Scholarships

    The Scholarships and Funding website has a comprehensive list of scholarships and funding schemes available for UCL students. These can be available for specific nationalities, regions, departments or open to all students

    Application process

    All applications must be made via UCAS. In order to apply for the BSc Experimental Linguistics, apply to Q100 BA Linguistics. We will contact all applicants to ensure they are considered for the correct pathway.

    Entry requirements

    For entry requirements, please click here.

    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 may read further information by clicking the 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. You can find information on the career paths taken by some of our alumni at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/pals/research/linguistics/students/careers/.

    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

    The BSc Experimental Linguistics is a new programme with a first intake in September 2016. However, you will be part of the community of Linguistics students and staff at UCL, and you can find some feedback from other undergraduate Linguistics students below.

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

    Visit the UK Linguistics Olympiad website

    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 events listed at: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/access-ucl/open-days

    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