Experimental Linguistics BSc

London, Bloomsbury
Experimental Linguistics BSc (2025)

Linguistics is the study of the capacity to use language. Considering the world's languages, students investigate their sound patterns (Phonetics and Phonology), grammatical structures (Syntax) and meaning (Semantics and Pragmatics). On the BSc, students acquire skills in research design and data analysis, and can explore a range of experimentally-based disciplines (eg, language acquisition, psycholinguistics, multilingualism).

A study-year abroad is available on the Experimental Linguistics (International Programme) BSc, and we also offer a BA in Linguistics.

UK students International students
Study mode
3 academic years
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
Programme starts
September 2024
Application deadline
31 Jan 2024
UCAS course code

Entry requirements

At least one subject from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics and Psychology.
English Language at grade B or 6 and Mathematics at grade C or 5.

Contextual offer information

BBB more about contextual offers
At least one subject from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics and Psychology.
English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 5.
A score of 17 points in three higher level subjects including one from Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics or Psychology with no higher level score below 5. If Mathematics is offered at higher level, the programme will accept either 'Analysis and Approaches' or 'Applications and Interpretation.

Contextual offer

32 more about contextual offers
A score of 15 points in three higher level subjects including one from Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics or Psychology, with no higher level score below 5. If Mathematics is offered at higher level, the programme will accept either 'Analysis and Approaches' or 'Applications and Interpretation'.

UK applicants qualifications

For entry requirements with other UK qualifications accepted by UCL, choose your qualification from the list below:

Equivalent qualification

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (QCF) or BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (RQF - teaching from 2016) with Distinction, Distinction, Distinction. Please note, where subject specific requirements are stipulated at A level we may review your BTEC syllabus to ensure you meet the subject specific requirements prior to a final decision being communicated.

D3,D3,M1 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects including one of Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics and Psychology.

AAB at Advanced Highers (or AA at Advanced Higher and BBB at Higher), including one from Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics or Psychology at Advanced Higher.

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A-Levels at grades AAB. At least one subject from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics and Psychology.

International applications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

Access and widening participation

UCL is committed to widening access to higher education. If you are eligible for Access UCL you do not need to do anything in addition to the standard UCAS application. Your application will be automatically flagged when we receive it.

Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates

The Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPC) prepare international students for a UCL undergraduate degree who don’t have the qualifications to enter directly. These intensive one-year foundation courses are taught on our central London campus.

Typical UPC students will be high achievers in a 12-year school system which does not meet the standard required for direct entry to UCL.

For more information see: ucl.ac.uk/upc.

English language requirements

The English language level for this programme is: Level 3

Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page.

A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.

Course overview

The Experimental Linguistics BSc and Linguistics BA share many core elements on which to build your linguistic education. The Experimental Linguistics BSc provides you with a thorough education in modern theoretical linguistics, experimental approaches to language processing, and statistical analysis. You will gain a basic understanding of the core areas of grammatical description: phonetics and phonology (how sounds are produced and perceived), morphology and syntax (how words are formed and combined into sentences), and semantics and pragmatics (what sentences mean and how they are used). You will be able to tailor the programme to pursue your personal interests in linguistics, language and beyond. Option modules allow you to explore core areas in more depth, or to branch out into other areas of linguistic inquiry, such as sociolinguistics, multilingualism, and language evolution. Elective modules allow you to explore linguistic issues from the perspective of different disciplines or to develop independent interests.

The dissertation is the focus of the final year. It allows you to deepen and broaden your understanding by engaging in an in-depth research project on a topic of your choosing under the direct supervision of a member of the linguistics staff. The programme is designed to equip you with a solid knowledge of modern linguistic theory, experimental methods and to develop your ability to gather evidence from a variety of sources, to reason clearly, and to write in a structured and lucid way.

What this course will give you

You will develop a broad foundation in linguistic analysis, theory, and experimental methods, while being able to pursue chosen areas in greater depth.

You will develop a wide range of transferable skills: a broad understanding of language and languages; experimental methods, data collection and analysis; hypothesis testing; critical reading and argumentation. You gain hands-on 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.

UCL Linguistics is known worldwide for its teaching and research excellence and the work of our staff appears in internationally acclaimed journals and books. You will also have access to extensive computer facilities and to a specialised on-site library in addition to UCL's main library.

Teaching and learning

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 15 or 30 credits, adding up to a total of 120 credits for the year. Modules are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional modules varies from programme to programme and year to year. A 30-credit module is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

Upon successful completion of 360 credits, you will be awarded a BSc (Hons) in Experimental Linguistics.


Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

The modules in the first year are all obligatory. You will learn about basic issues in linguistics and gain a solid foundation in linguistic analysis through the study of phonetics, phonology, pragmatics, semantics, and syntax on the basis of various languages. You will acquire basic tools and analytic concepts of contemporary linguistic theory. You will also get an introduction to statistical analysis.

In year 2, you will take a further 3 modules on core aspects of grammatical analysis. You will also take 3 modules on language processing and another statistics module. You can take one further elective module from a substantial pool offered by the department, though this module can alternatively be taken outside the department.

In the final year (year 3), you have the possibility of tailoring your degree with three elective modules and you will also be allowed to choose which areas of linguistic analysis you would like to gain specialist knowledge. You will undertake a year-long independent research project in linguistics.

Your learning

Teaching is delivered through a combination of lectures, small-group teaching (tutorials or backup classes) 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 15 students and a staff member for discussion, and a virtual learning environment for materials (e.g. reading lists, lecture slides) and further discussion.

The programme introduces you to descriptive and analytical tools, to foundational issues, and current research questions in theoretical linguistics. The programme strongly emphasises discovery and research-based learning, fostering your ability to construct and evaluate rigorous models of linguistic data patterns, an ability that enables our graduates to pursue a broad range of academic and non-academic pursuits upon successful completion of the programme.

You will learn through a mix of hands-on exercises, lectures, group and individual projects, discussion classes, and individual study. Your ability to communicate effectively will be developed through group discussions and assessments requiring you to produce cogent outputs (pieces of writing, presentations) with an audience in mind. Feedback on your written and oral work emphasises not only its intellectual merits, but also its effectiveness in presenting a coherent argument for an audience.

You will typically have between 8-12 contact hours per week during term time depending on year of study and module choices.


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

You will be assessed by a variety of methods including essays, unseen exams with multiple choice, short answer, or long answer questions, in class quizzes, presentations, homework problems. In the first year there is stronger emphasis on continuous assessment (homework assignments and quizzes) and on testing knowledge (unseen exams). The emphasis then shifts to progressively larger and more independent projects (essays and presentations) culminating in a dissertation. Assessed components include both individual and group work.

The development of subject-specific knowledge is supported early on through regular homework assignments and continuous assessment and later through increasingly complex research projects. The latter also support the development of intellectual, academic and research skills. Practical and transferable skills (IT, library, and time management) are developed throughout implicitly; teamwork and leadership skills are particularly developed through group projects; the ability to communicate orally is developed through the inclusion of group work and presentations in the mix of assessments.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

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Undergraduate Virtual Open Days

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The foundation of your career

Many Linguistics graduates from UCL continue studying at graduate level, often with a view to pursuing an academic career. Linguistics connects with many other disciplines and a number of graduates go on to work in these areas, e.g. natural language processing, teaching languages, especially English as a first or foreign language, speech therapy, advertising or the media.


In addition to subject-specific skills, you will also acquire the analytical, investigative and study skills essential for most graduate careers, which could include law, computing, commerce and industry. The year abroad can give you deep insights into a different country's culture and could allow you to improve your knowledge, academic connections, or a foreign language.

The programme is designed to teach many transferable skills: how to acquire data in a controlled fashion; how to analyse it and develop abstract models of complex sets of facts; how to present a structured argument; how to express yourself clearly both in writing and orally; how to undertake independent research. Innovative teaching methods support the development of necessary skills such as teamwork.

The academic skills developed on the degree are transferable to a wide range of careers including language teaching, translation and interpreting, marketing, communication, speech and language technology, journalism, management, and law. In addition, the degree provides excellent preparation for postgraduate study in linguistics and related fields for students who wish to pursue an academic career.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £9,250
Tuition fees (2024/25) £28,100

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2024/25 academic year. The UK fees shown are for the first year of the programme at UCL only. Fees for future years may be subject to an inflationary increase. The Overseas fees shown are the fees that will be charged to 2024/25 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below.

Full details of UCL's tuition fees, tuition fee policy and potential increases to fees can be found on the UCL Students website.

Additional costs

There are only minimal costs other than those covered by tuition fees. Some modules make use of textbooks, but these are typically available (in hard copy or electronic version) through the UCL library. Students who pursue experimental work as part of their dissertation are eligible to have costs refunded up to a set budget.

A guide including rough estimates for these and other living expenses is included on the UCL Fees and funding pages. If you are concerned by potential additional costs for books, equipment, etc., please get in touch with the relevant departmental contact (details given on this page).

Funding your studies

Various funding options are available, including student loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students whose household income falls below a certain level may also be eligible for a non-repayable bursary or for certain scholarships. Please see the Fees and funding pages for more details.


The Scholarships and Funding website lists scholarships and funding schemes available to UCL students. These may be open to all students, or restricted to specific nationalities, regions or academic department.

Next steps

How to apply

Application for admission should be made through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Applicants currently at school or college will be provided with advice on the process; however, applicants who have left school or who are based outside the United Kingdom may obtain information directly from UCAS.


For further information on UCL's selection process see: How we assess your application.

We value the experience that candidates who do not have standard qualifications may bring, and encourage you to contact us if you are interested in the programme.

Further information is available at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/pals/study/undergraduate/bsc-experimental-linguistics.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.