Experimental Linguistics (International Programme) BSc

London, Bloomsbury

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 (e.g., language acquisition, psycholinguistics, multilingualism).

The third year of this four-year course will be spent at a partner institution abroad.

UK students International students
Study mode
4 academic years
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Fees to be confirmed
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
Fees to be confirmed
Programme starts
September 2025
Application deadline
29 Jan 2025
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 4.

Contextual offer information

Contextual offers are typically one to two grades lower than the standard offer. Grade and subject requirements for contextual offers for this programme will be published in Summer 2024.

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

Contextual offers are typically one to two grade boundaries (equivalent to A levels) lower than the standard offer. IB Diploma grade and subject requirements for contextual offers for this programme will be published in Summer 2024.

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

On this four-year course, you will develop your knowledge and expertise in linguistics theory. It is essentially the same curriculum as our three-year Experimental Linguistics BSc course but you will complement your studies at UCL with a year spent abroad studying at one of our partner institutions (currently in Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, the Netherlands, and the USA). Please note that year abroad options are subject to change without notice.

The course shares many core elements with the Linguistics BA programme.

Throughout your studies, you will develop your 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)
  • Semantics and pragmatics (what sentences mean and how they are used)

In your first year, all your modules are compulsory, so you will develop a thorough understanding of the linguistics theories that will inform your education in Year Two and Year Three.

From Year Two, you will be able to tailor the course to pursue your personal interests in linguistics, language and beyond. Optional 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. Students can also take elective modules from outside of the department, with many students choosing to study psychology, language sciences, or a foreign language.

The third year is the year abroad. You will gain further linguistic knowledge with exposure to research and education from another leading linguistics department. Places at individual partner institutions are subject to availability and competitive. In order to qualify for the study year abroad, you must maintain an average mark of 60% during your first two years.

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 course is designed to equip you with a solid knowledge of modern linguistic theory and experimental methods. You will be trained to develop your own hypotheses, gather evidence from a variety of sources, carry out statistical analyses using a variety of statistics tools and statistical tests, reason clearly, and to write in a structured and lucid way.

What this course will give you

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

Your home department is based at Chandler House, a dedicated building for linguistics and language sciences. There are social and study spaces for students, with events and talks happening throughout the academic year, as well as sound-proof booths and eye-tracking facilities to conduct psycholinguistic experiments.

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 acquire 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 will gain hands-on experience with experimental design and statistical analysis.

In your third year, you will study abroad at one of our partner institutions. They are internationally recognised for their excellence in linguistics with locations including Canada, China, Italy, the Netherlands and the USA. The year abroad allows you to deepen and broaden your understanding of linguistics, to experience a new culture, and potentially to improve your knowledge of a foreign language.

Our focus on small-group teaching helps create a friendly and supportive atmosphere. The department runs a mentoring scheme whereby second-year or final-year students support new students.


  • We are the top ranked university for Linguistics in London (The Guardian University Guide 2023).
  • UCL is consistently ranked as one of the top ten universities in the world (QS World University Rankings 2010-2024).
  • UCL is 2nd in the world for Social Sciences (General) in the National Taiwan University Rankings for scientific papers (2023).

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 480 credits, you will be awarded a BSc (Hons) in Experimental Linguistics (International Programme).


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 compulsory. 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 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 Two, you will take a further three modules in core aspects of linguistic analysis. You will also take three modules on language processing and another statistics module. You can take two further elective modules from a substantial pool offered by the department and beyond, including modern foreign language modules.

The third year of the Experimental Linguistics (International Programme) BSc is spent studying abroad at one of our host institutions. You will follow their academic timetable and study alongside their existing students with opportunities to explore a new country and experience student life at another university.

In the final year (Year Four), you will take a further experimental module. You have the possibility of tailoring your degree with two elective modules and you will also be allowed to choose in 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 5 – 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 course 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 course.

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.

Teaching and learning methodologies at your host institution in your study year abroad will be available to review when making your applications for your year abroad.

You will typically have between 8-12 contact hours per week during term time while at UCL, depending on year of study and module choices. You will be expected to undertake additional hours of self-directed learning which will include reading research articles and preparing for lectures/assessments.


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, and 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, and the ability to communicate orally is developed through the inclusion of group work and presentations in the mix of assessments.

Assessment at your partner institution for your year abroad will broadly follow the same methods as above.


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.


Undergraduate In-person Open Days

Visit UCL in person to explore the programmes we offer, chat with students and staff, learn about student life at UCL and ask any questions you may have. At this year’s event, you will get the chance to explore UCL’s rich and radical history at both our historical Bloomsbury and the new East campuses. You only need to attend one of the two dates, but you are welcome to visit us at both locations. Book your place and start planning your visit on our Undergraduate Open Days page.

The foundation of your career

Your knowledge of linguistics and the variety of transferable skills you will gain will support you pursuing a variety of career destinations. The experiences that you gain from your study year abroad may also expose you to different research interests and networking opportunities to support your future career or study goals.

Graduates from our Experimental Linguistics BSc have gone on to work as data analysts, IT managers, researchers and so on. They have worked in sectors such as publishing and journalism, IT and technology, at charities, and in research.

Data is from the Graduate Outcomes survey carried out by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), looking at the destinations of UK and EU graduates from 2017-18 to 2020-21.

Many Linguistics graduates from UCL continue studying at postgraduate level, often with a view to pursuing an academic career in research. 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 and language 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 course 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.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) Fees to be confirmed
Tuition fees (2024/25) Fees to be confirmed

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.

In addition, please note that if you study abroad during your programme at UCL, this is likely to incur additional costs. Studying abroad may cost between £200–£1,000 per month depending on where you choose to study. The cost of studying abroad can be difficult to predict as it will depend on your priorities and choices. There is more information available on the UCL Study Abroad website.

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

Your application

Aside from meeting the entry requirements for this course, we particularly welcome applications from students who are passionate about studying language and linguistics from an academic and research perspective. The course will engage students who particularly enjoy developing and running experiments.

If you have work experience that you want to include in your personal statement, we recommend that you include this, but it is important that you make this relevant to the field of linguistics.

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 here.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.