also available in 2018
A Level Requirements
see all requirements
see all requirements
Full time 3 Year(s)
You’ll study various aspects of language using a wide variety of methods – from computerised study of language corpora, through acoustic analysis of sound patterns, to analysis of texts, interviews and audio-visual recordings of natural dialogues. Many of the issues addressed by Linguistics are of central relevance to our society – for example, the relationship between dialect and social prestige, the problems of education in a multilingual environment, or the development of voice recognition technologies.
During your studies, you’ll address intriguing questions, such as how language relates to thought, how a child first acquires language and how our language is similar to and different from social signalling systems used by animals. You’ll also be able to take a wide range of other courses, depending on your strengths and interests.
In your first year, your studies include a single unit of Linguistics and two other subjects of your choice.
You’ll take compulsory courses in the Structures of Language and Topics in Linguistics Theory as well as optional modules including: Forensic Linguistics, Language Acquisition and Language Origins, and Language Change in English and Beyond. You can also study up to two units in another subject
In your final year, you’ll also write an independent dissertation in an area that especially interests you, with one-to-one supervision.
A Level AAB
IELTS 6.5 overall with at least 5.5 in each component. For other English language qualifications we accept, please see our English language requirements webpages.
International Baccalaureate 35 points overall with 16 points from the best 3 Higher Level subjects
BTEC Distinction, Distinction, Distinction
We welcome applications from students with a range of alternative UK and international qualifications, including combinations of qualification. Further guidance on admission to the University, including other qualifications that we accept, frequently asked questions and information on applying, can be found on our general admissions webpages.
Contact Admissions Team + 44 (0) 1524 592028 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
Many of Lancaster's degree programmes are flexible, offering students the opportunity to cover a wide selection of subject areas to complement their main specialism. You will be able to study a range of modules, some examples of which are listed below.
This module will introduce students to areas and topics across the full breadth of the linguistics discipline. The core areas of phonetics, phonology, morphology and syntax will be covered in some depth, whilst semantics and pragmatics will also be included. In relation to these areas, students will get an appreciation of some of the nature of some of the major theoretical debates, whilst they will also acquire some actual analytical skills, using data not only from English, but crucially also from other languages.
In addition to these core areas, a number of important sub-fields of linguistics will be dealt with, including Sociolinguistics, the study of language acquisition and learning, historical linguistics, and linguistic typology.
Finally, a number of applications will be discussed. Indicative topics here are; forensic linguistics, educational linguistics, and language testing.
This module will introduce students to the English language – how to describe it, how it varies and how it functions in a variety of contexts. You will not only study the traditional linguistic areas of English (e.g. lexis, grammar, phonetics), but also areas that are often overlooked (e.g. letters, spellings) and areas that have more recently come to the fore, such as pragmatics or conversation analysis.
You will learn about and apply linguistic frameworks in the analysis and explanation of variation in English, both present-day and, to a lesser extent, historical. In order to study this variation, you will become conversant with crucial descriptive concepts, such as accents, dialects, registers, genres, and styles, as well as possible explanations for variation.
You will learn about the role of practices and contexts in shaping the English language, for example, how new TV genres have come about; and also about the functions of English, for example, how it can be creatively exploited for the purpose of constructing a joke. Finally, you will learn about the teaching of English, especially as a foreign language.
LING200 is a short course which provides support for students transitioning from Part I to the more independent work expected in Part II. It gives students the opportunity to reflect on the feedback from their coursework and exams in Part I, as a foundation for developing the level of academic writing required in Part II coursework. It also develops students’ awareness of the resources available from the library and how these may be accessed and used, particularly for independent research in coursework and the dissertation, and offers early alerts to the Careers service and planning for life after university. All majors and joint majors with either Linguistics or English Language must take this course in their second year.
Information for this module is currently unavailable.
In this module you will learn to produce, describe, and transcribe all the sounds in the World's languages. We will describe the physiology of how different sounds are produced and will look at the acoustic characteristics of particular sounds. You will practise transcribing all sounds within the International Phonetic Alphabet, and will learn examples of where sounds are used. For example, we spend time looking at the occurrence of click sounds in South African languages and at how pitch variation is used in tone languages. Seminars will cover the practical aspects to sound production, and we will also spend some time learning how to use computers for speech analysis.
This module will cover central concepts around word order, case marking, agreement, alignment, animacy, definiteness and valency changes and teach you to analyse new data from the world’s languages in terms of these topics. You will learn to critically evaluate the extent to which the structures of the world’s languages are shaped by cognition and communication. You will also learn how linguists provide explanations for why languages are structured the way they are, given the functions they serve. It is expected that you will acquire a better understanding of the structure of English as a result of seeing how English differs from other languages.
This course examines explanations of how we acquire our first language. We bring psycholinguistics and theoretical linguistics together to describe and explain the processes a child goes through in learning their first language. We also look at some more advanced issues such as bilingualism, language impairments, and language development in deaf children. The course is an introduction to language acquisition studies, psycholinguistics and theories of mind and language – looking particularly at the wide spectrum of different explanations for language acquisition..
While this course is intended for students of both English Language and Business, the focus is on language and its use by and in companies, focusing on key areas such as intercultural, gendered and leadership communication. This will be complemented by input on methods and genre, with a view to enabling you to apply the knowledge in your own assessed work.
On successful completion of this module, you will:
The course aims to introduce students to the critical analysis of spoken and written discourse in contemporary social contexts. It provides a range of resources and techniques for analysing texts, and enables students to apply them in looking at use of language as one aspect of social processes and change in postmodern society. Methods include functional grammatical analysis of clauses and sentences, analysis of text cohesion and generic structure, conversational and pragmatic analysis of dialogue, and intertextual and interdiscursive analysis. While Term 1 will focus on spoken data and conversation analysis, Term 2 will address written texts and introduce Critical Discourse Analysis and provide a focus on institutional discourse. We anticipate that if you follow this course you will:
The course will cover important aspects of English grammar, stressing the sense in which grammar (in English and in general) is not an abstract system of arbitrary rules but is motivated by meaning and shaped by usage. We will apply this so-called functionalist perspective not only to present-day English but also to the way in which certain grammatical constructions have developed over time. Topics typically include:
This course will provide students with an introduction to the phonetics of English. The first part of the course will cover the initiation, articulation and transcription of speech. We will learn about vocal anatomy and physiology, including the oral cavity, the larynx, and the extrinsic and intrinsic muscles of the tongue. We will also address how sounds are produced, and how to transcribe phonetic variation using the International Phonetic Alphabet. The second half of the course will cover acoustic phonetics and the ways in which we can represent and analyse sounds using computers. Students will learn how to describe the acoustic properties of speech and acquire competence in carrying out particular forms of acoustic analysis. Throughout the course, we will apply some of the above concepts to understanding phonetic variation in English, including various kinds of social and geographical variation.
The purpose of these courses is to allow students to pursue interests which are not represented in, or central to, established courses, subject to the availability of qualified staff. Students will engage in a programme of supervised reading and produce an extended piece of coursework (the length will depend on which course is being taken).
This module provides an opportunity for students to explore language, learning and teaching. A particular focus is on classroom language, including whole class, paired and group work situations. This includes consideration of the role of technologies. We will look at a wide span of educational contexts, as we examine language and learning from the early years of schooling to looking at talk in tertiary education. We will see that language varies greatly in character and purpose according to who is involved and for what purpose. We will compare the language and learning opportunities that arise in whole class situations with pair and group work. What do students gain when they work collaboratively to help one another? What kind of teacher questions and responses promote greater learning opportunities? Do some kinds of interaction limit the potential for learning?
Using data from actual primary, secondary and/or post-secondary classrooms, students will develop their ability to analyse classroom language to explore how language fosters and/or sometimes hinders learning. This course will be of particular interest to those students who are curious about language and education, or who are considering working in educational contexts.
This course is complemented by the module Literacy and Education, which runs in alternate years.
This course examines explanations of how language evolved in humans. We explore the evolution of the human language capacity drawing on evidence from linguistics, evolutionary theory, primatology and (paleo)anthropology. We consider language as a cognitive adaptation and ask what it is an adaptation for, e.g. instruction in tool making, as a form of social bonding, or as a means of winning a potential mate. We consider the phylogenetic development of language within the species as well as what cognitive and communicative abilities in non-human primates might reveal about the origins and functions of human language.
This module focuses on the role of literacy in relation to education. The module introduces students to different understandings of what literacy is and how it can be taught. We will look at literacy policy in English-speaking countries and how governments seek to convince teachers, parents and the wider public of its preferred method for teaching reading and writing. The importance of literacy in education, as both curriculum aim and curriculum tool, will be discussed in relation to pre-school, primary, secondary, further, higher and adult education. The module will also discuss how digital technologies have changed how people read and write and what role digital technologies play in schools.
This course is complemented by the module Language and Pedagogic Practice, which runs in alternate years.
The course is concerned with the linguistic analysis of literary texts, and particularly with the relationship between linguistic choices on the one hand and readers’ interpretations on the other. It deals with all three main literary genres: poetry, prose fiction and drama. Topics typically include:
We all know when an ad has caught our attention, and whether it works for us or not, but what precisely is responsible for these effects? In this course, we will learn how to take ads apart using tools taken from linguistics, rhetoric, and semiotics. We will explore how ad writers make use of the different levels of language: for instance, how they exploit sounds and spellings; how they toy with word meanings and word associations; how they manipulate, and sometimes break, the rules of standard grammar. We will also explore how ads interact with other texts and consider the relationship between words and pictures. As well as analysing ads themselves, we will also learn how to test out our intuitions about them, by investigating how the words, structures and visuals used in the ads are employed in other kinds of texts.
The course provides approaches to analysing media discourses and practices, through introductory readings and detailed case studies. We will critically examine a variety of methods to investigate 'old' and 'new' media, engaging with a diversity of modes and technologies.
There will be an emphasis on language and the internet including Wikipedia, websites, blogging, Twitter and Mumsnet. We also investigate news discourse, the history of broadcasting technology and the Edwardian postcard. Activities in lectures, seminars, and assessments will centre on analysing media texts and practices around them. Seminar tasks will be posted online.
The course seeks to provide a closer look at selected aspects of language structure and how they are analysed within various theoretical frameworks. It aims to develop a critical awareness of theoretical constructs and the extent to which they influence not only analyses but also the choice of data to be analysed. Students will also be taught to evaluate the appropriateness of specific analyses for individual languages or facets of language. By the end of the course, you should have a good knowledge of the basic principles, notions and structures of Cognitive Linguistics, particularly of Cognitive Grammar.
In addition, you should develop:
LING301 is the module in which you will carry out your dissertation research. The first part, LING301a, is taught in the second term of the second year. The principal focus of LING301a is the planning and designing of research in Linguistics and English language. It will cover topics including identifying and accessing relevant literature; formulating answerable research questions; working with data; and ethics and responsibilities in research. LING301a is assessed through a short dissertation proposal, submitted at the start of the final year, which constitutes 10% of the assessment for the module. In the second part, LING301b, you will carry out the research project planned in your proposal, working independently but with guidance from a supervisor, mostly in terms 1 and 2 of your final year. This is assessed through a written dissertation which constitutes 90% of the assessment for the module.
This module investigates some of the theoretical aspects to speech production and sound structure across the World's languages. We will spend time discussing and evaluating different frameworks for modelling phonetics and phonology, for example generative and usage-based approaches. Then, we will examine some case-study areas which challenge existing theories, for example intonational phonology and the study of historical sound change. This course aims to contribute to questions such as 'How are groups of sounds structured so that we can understand language?' or 'How are sounds stored and processed in the mind?'
This module investigates a range of theoretical and practical issues in the phonetics of English, with a focus on the perception of speech. This means that we will be investigating questions such as: Is perceiving speech different from perceiving music or other sounds? How does our knowledge of language influence what we hear? How do people evaluate different voices and accents? In doing so, we will engage in discussion of key theoretical issues, as well as practical computer-based work, such as designing experiments to test aspects of speech perception.
This course focuses on the contemporary field of English Language Studies. In particular, it will look at corpus linguistics - a research specialism at Lancaster University - and its application to areas such as the description of English grammar.
The course's programme of lectures will begin with a detailed introduction to the method before moving on, later in the term, to discuss the applications and implications of the method. Meanwhile, lab-based seminars will allow students to acquire and exercise practical skills with the computational tools (such as concordance software) required by the area of study.
The module will cover the two main sub-areas of the field, i.e. forensic phonetics and forensic linguistics more generally. Following a general introduction on the nature and history of forensic linguistics, lectures will focus on the two main questions forensic linguists concern themselves with: what does a text say, and who is (are) its author(s)? The issues of trademarks and lie detection do not fit into either of these, but will be covered as well. All aspects of the field will be illustrated with reference to specific (court) cases, which will also help shed light on the evolving status of forensic linguistic evidence in courts of law.
This course is about sociolinguistics, and in particular about how language relates to identities at different levels – for example, how individuals use language to signal their membership of particular social groups, and how different kinds of social groupings – for example peer groups, communities and nations – identify themselves through language.
The course will focus on three important areas of variation in language within society: gender, ethnicity and class, and will discuss the key research in each of these. Both theoretical and applied aspects of topics will be covered. The notion of ‘Identity’ provides the course with a unifying theme.
This course aims to broaden and deepen your capacity for language analysis applied to real social issues and problems and to encourage you to evaluate research critically and undertake your own data collection and analysis.
This module introduces students to the study of language change. It aims to show how language change can be investigated and explained, particularly in the light of the most recent developments in (functionally oriented) historical linguistics. English is the primary focus of the course but examples from other languages will be used as well. All levels of language will be covered, from phonetics and phonology, via changes in the lexicon and word meaning to grammar and pragmatics. The module is not only theoretical (how can linguistic theory account for the changes we can observed?), but also has a strong practical component, especially in the seminars, where students will get the opportunity to apply the theories and concepts that were introduced in the lectures to actual data, prominently including data related to ongoing change.
This module introduces some key areas in which language study and social science studies of interaction can help us understand practices in a range of workplaces. It is intended to complement the module Corporate Communication (although this is not a prerequisite for this module). The topics in this module will be applicable to institutions such as social services, non-governmental organizations, technical services, and schools, and be relevant to a wide range of communication-centred jobs including human resources, technical writing, public relations, training, and management.
The course combines classic philosophical approaches with recent state-of-the-art experimental evidence to address a central topic in modern cognitive science: Does the language we speak affect the way we think? And as a result, do speakers with different cultural and linguistic backgrounds think differently? These questions form the core of the so-called linguistic relativity hypothesis, which will be the focus of this module. The course begins by laying down the foundation of the cognitive mechanisms underpinning the interaction between language and thought, such as working memory, semantic memory, and the structure and nature of meaning representations in the brain. The course then examines in detail the different ways in which language may affect thinking and give rise to cross-cultural and cross-linguistic differences between different populations, different individuals, and during first and second language development. Throughout, emphasis will be given to the different experimental methods used and the kinds of evidence that can inform our understanding of the linguistic relativity hypothesis.
Psycholinguistics is the study of the psychology of language, which is one of the abilities that makes humans unique. It can cover topics in social psychology, developmental psychology, cognitive psychology and neuropsychology. The exact topics we cover vary each year depending on who is teaching on the course, but we aim to balance these areas and include topics on how children learn language and to read, how language is used in social interaction, how adults process sounds, words and sentences, and what happens when children fail to learn language normally or when adults suffer from brain damage.
This module will provide students with an opportunity to work as classroom volunteers in primary or secondary schools over the course of one term. The module will operate in partnership with LUSU Involve (Lancaster University’s Volunteering Unit).
Lancaster University offers a range of programmes, some of which follow a structured study programme, and others which offer the chance for you to devise a more flexible programme. We divide academic study into two sections - Part 1 (Year 1) and Part 2 (Year 2, 3 and sometimes 4). For most programmes Part 1 requires you to study 120 credits spread over at least three modules which, depending upon your programme, will be drawn from one, two or three different academic subjects. A higher degree of specialisation then develops in subsequent years. For more information about our teaching methods at Lancaster visit our Teaching and Learning section.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
Over 70% of our undergraduate students attain a graduate level position six months after graduating. Recent Linguistics graduates have gone to work or train as speech therapists, teachers of English, computer programmers and consultants, bankers, chartered accountants, personnel managers, journalists and social workers. A sizeable proportion of our graduates take up employment overseas.
Our Linguistics degree cultivates skills in data analysis and presentation, critical thinking and the use of statistics and IT. This expertise is valuable for careers in education, language teaching, speech therapy and translation as well as information technology, management, the mass media, creative arts, social work and counselling.
Lancaster University is dedicated to ensuring you not only gain a highly reputable degree, but that you also graduate with relevant life and work based skills. We are unique in that every student is eligible to participate in The Lancaster Award which offers you the opportunity to complete key activities such as work experience, employability/career development, campus community and social development. Visit our Employability section for full details.
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2019/20 entry fees have not yet been set.
As a guide, our fees in 2018 were:
Some science and medicine courses have higher fees for students from
the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. You can find more details here:
For full details of the University's financial support packages including eligibility criteria, please visit our fees and funding page
Students also need to consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation it may be necessary to take out subscriptions to professional bodies and to buy business attire for job interviews.
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Typical time in lectures, seminars and similar per week during term time
Average assessment by coursework