Undergraduate Linguistics offer holders
Welcome to the UCL Division of Psychology and Language Sciences
The Linguistics Department at UCL is a world-leading centre for teaching and research in modern linguistics, which aims to understand the human capacity to acquire and use language. Our focus on small-group teaching helps develop a friendly and supportive study environment.
By studying with us you will be at the centre of a vibrant, evolving and interdisciplinary field. UCL is ranked 1st in the UK for linguistics (Complete University Guide Subject League Table 2023). You will learn about the languages of the world, how people acquire them and how they are used. Our broad, research-led approach provides students analytical, investigative and study skills essential for most graduate careers.
We look forward to supporting you as you begin your journey with us.
- What is a day in the life of a linguistics student like?
It tends to depend on which year of study you're in and your choice of modules. Linguistics doesn't tend to have incredibly long hours such as a course like medicine but you can expect to usually be in university by 11 most days. You may have only one or two lectures a day with a few small-group sessions and are usually done by 5pm! Most of the classes take place at Chandler House so there is not much need to be travelling all around campus. There’s also a social area and some very handy microwaves within Chandler House, so you often find you'll eat lunch with your course-mates.
- How big is the Linguistics undergraduate community? What are average class sizes like?
We have 30 to 40 students in one year. Actual class sizes vary depending on the modules (e.g., some are open to non-Linguistics students) and they get progressively smaller as you specialise (e.g. 20 in a final-year module). However, all lectures are accompanied by small-group tutorials which are always kept small (usually 10-15 students).
- Will we be focusing on specific languages in our study of Linguistics?
Linguists investigate a wide variety of languages for a variety of reasons. For example, in your first year’s syntax module you’ll look at sentence structures in English, German and Dutch, with a bit of Italian thrown in for good measure. In Phonetics and Phonology, we typically work on a different language each week.
- How many modules can we take outside of Linguistics?
You can take two optional modules in Year 2 and another two more in Year 3 outside of Linguistics. Further, as the study of Semantics and Pragmatics within Linguistics is intimately related to Philosophy, you’ll also find that some Linguistics modules also involve elements of Philosophy of Language and Philosophy of Mind.
- I am interested in studying Linguistics and Spanish (or another language). How do I incorporate studying Spanish into my Linguistics course?
We don’t offer any joint honours degrees but you can pursue an interest in other subjects, including Spanish, as part of your degree programme. You can take option modules outside of Linguistics in the second and in the final year, and on the Year Abroad, you can usually also study other languages. In addition, UCL also offers resources and reduced fees on evening courses, and there are a number of relevant student societies where you can meet Spanish speakers.
- I've been offered a place in the BA Linguistics programme, but I now realised that I might prefer the BSc Experimental Linguistics programme. Would it be possible for me to switch from the BA to the BSc when I begin my study at UCL?
Yes, you can switch at the start of the academic year as long as your meet the entry requirements for the BSc programme, which you can find here: www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/undergraduate/degrees/linguistics-ba
- Can we choose which university we want to attend in our year abroad?
Yes, you list your top three choices from the list of universities our department has links with, and the decision will depend on your marks to that point and how much competition there is for that university. Most often our students get their first choices.
- What do you do during your year abroad?
You have to do at least one full course unit of Linguistics, in order to complete a year-abroad portfolio of work. After that, you can more or less take whatever courses you like. For example, some students choose to take further courses in Linguistics, while others take lots of non-linguistics courses such as Italian language, art history, etc.
- Is it possible to take more modules than are required for the BA programme?
No, I'm afraid not. At least not for credit. But you can definitely ask the lecturer if they allow you to audit their class.
- Do Linguistics students get to build a rapport with their professors?
UCL is very large, but in Linguistics we are all based in one building. We generally have small class sizes, and lectures are always supplemented by interactive tutorials or workshops. So it would only be in some rare instances that you would be one among many in a lecture. There's also a very good rapport between professors and students as they always welcome questions and will learn names and faces very quickly due to the small size of most classes. You’d also have one-to-one meetings with a lecturer supervising a term paper or your final-year dissertation.
Student testimonial: Catherine Yuefang Tang
Catherine studied a BA in Linguistics and graduated in 2020
"I really love the people in my department. Chandler House is a very supportive environment and by claiming it to be a “small Linguistics family” I’m not being melodramatic. All staff are extremely helpful and patient (and after talking to my friends from other universities or even other departments I have realised that this should not be taken for granted!).
I want to emphasise that the teaching staff in the whole department, the way they take care of their fields of study makes it very easy to understand why UCL Linguistics is world-famous."