Support networks and resources in LAEL

by Sonia French

The jump from secondary school and college to university can definitely be a bit of an unnerving one. Smaller class sizes to large lecture theatres of students can definitely be a bit of a shock to the system, so for all the linguists and language lovers out there, here’s some advice on all the support services and resources the Linguistics and English Language Department at Lancaster (LAEL) has to offer…

Sources of support

Over my time at Lancaster I’ve become more and more aware of all the people and helpful services that my department has to offer. One of the first is academic advisors. At the beginning of my first year I was assigned an academic advisor who is a lecturer in the department. I had meetings with them once a term: however, it is warmly welcomed that you can be in touch with them as often as you like and talk to them about anything– whatever suits you!

Much like advisors, lecturers and seminar tutors are also great people to go to if you’re a bit stuck. LAEL has course convenors as well as co-ordinators who are the best people to approach for queries and concerns from technical to personal difficulties that may be affecting your studies. I found that when it came to assignment planning and writing, my seminar tutors were super helpful. If I had any problems, they were always willing to offer advice. Sometimes I even had 1-1 meetings to discuss points I was unsure of.

Another great port of call is the Writing Space, which is available to all Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences students. It offers 1-1 sessions for essay planning help and writing. They also provide helpful resources for essay writing, advice about marked coursework and writing groups. Having used the service a couple of times myself over the course of my degree, I can safely say my essay writing has hugely improved and they are a lovely and very useful service to have!

As a study abroad student, the Linguistics and English Language Study Abroad Advisor was a great port of call for sorting out my modules and queries about going away. They were also frequently in touch when I was on my exchange. It was super reassuring to know I could still reach out to them even while I was overseas.


Much like the jump from college to university life, the type of work you do as a university student changes, being much more independent with often longer essays to write and work structure than maybe you’ve been used to. Moodle, Lancaster’s online portal for modules, grades, contacts and more, is a place I use most frequently. Lancaster Uni Library both in person and online is also a fab resource for all the readings I need for lectures, seminars and essays.

The Writing Space, which I mentioned before, offers online resources for help with prompt documents for critical writing, connectives, timetabling, introductions and referencing. I also found when writing my dissertation this year, the department had provided sample dissertations to look at, as well as advice on structure, content and what makes a good dissertation. Members of department are also always happy to answer questions when it comes to assignments and dissertations.

Where can I work?

The English Language and Linguistics department is located on C Floor in County South. There are small open areas to work in the department, however, like many other people, I enjoy working in the library. My favourite spot is C Floor East overlooking the tree, or enjoying the new extension on C Floor! If you like less silence and more of a buzzy atmosphere, the Learning Zone or even college bars in daytime are great places to do some work with friends.


Sonia is a third year undergraduate at Lancaster University, and is studying Linguistics.

Lancaster University employs students to create authentic content from a student perspective. All views expressed in this article are those of the students, and do not necessarily reflect the views or position of Lancaster University.