Applied Linguistics - BA (Hons)

Full Time (1 year)
September 2019
£12,300 per year for International Full Time 2019 entry (view all fees)

Applied Linguistics seeks to solve real world problems using the application of linguistic theory. It concerns itself with issues of inequity in the relationship between social categories and language.

This can cover areas as diverse as language and the law, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, corpus linguistics, language and discourse and empirical research methods.

This course is designed for independent learners who have a strong interest in, and commitment to, linguistics and its real world applications. You will have the chance to learn about different theories of language acquisition and use, and to apply these theories to legal situations, social situations and educational situations.

In your year here you will cover a range of ways in which theories of language can help solve real world problems. Students in the School have gone on to be TEFL instructors, teachers at all levels, editors and researchers in the social sciences.

Your tutors are enthusiastic about their specialisms, which fosters an invaluable knowledge transfer within the programme. They work on areas including corpus linguistics, forensic linguistics, applied sociolinguistics and language and masculinity.

What's covered in the course?

English as a discipline continues to be relevant to the lives we lead and is central to a wide range of contemporary and social contexts. It is this fact on which the School has built its philosophy and approach to English as a subject, which has interdisciplinary reach beyond its own boundaries.

Identifying how language works in practice, engaging with multiple forms of communication, examining how language and literature engage with societies and cultures past and present, and the place of English in a global context, are all vital aspects in understanding how the discipline connects with the wider world, enabling you to focus on the production, interpretation and negotiation of meaning and to understand the world from a variety of perspectives.

You will benefit from student-focused and research-informed teaching in a friendly and supportive learning environment where you will be taught by world-leading academics and expert practitioners who foster a community of experimentation, innovation and inclusivity.

Our graduates are characterised by their extensive subject knowledge, critical thinking and intellectual curiosity, reflected in the skills and abilities that enables them to adapt to a wide range of career paths and employment opportunities.

The School is committed to contributing to the cultural life of Birmingham and the wider West Midlands. We do this through working closely with partner colleges and schools, by maintaining close links with cultural institutions such as the Birmingham and Midland Institute (BMI) and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG), and by working with agencies such as Writing West Midlands. In all of this we seek to widen participation and provide opportunities for the community to engage with the discipline and the University.

Why Choose Us?

  • The School of English was established in the 1950s and has a long track record of success. Alumni include writer Jim Crace and comedian Frank Skinner.
  • Our work developing corpus tools such as eMargin and WebCorp was judged ‘world leading’ by the UK Research Excellence Framework.
  • 77% of our research was rated world-leading or internationally excellent in the last Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014). You will be taught directly by these researchers.
  • In the same exercise, 100% of the School’s research that had an impact beyond academia, was judged to be ‘outstanding’ or ‘very considerable’ in reach and significance.
  • You will get the chance to take courses in TEFL and to teach learners yourself.
  • You will also take part in a diverse range of teaching activities, attending miniconferences, research seminars and public lectures.

This course is open to International students

Where our students go

School of English students have gone on to work in jobs such as:

  • Authors, writers and translators
  • Marketing associate professionals
  • Primary and nursery education teaching professionals

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements

Applicants would have completed 3 years of a diploma or degree programme in English and have obtained 240 (or equivalent) credits.

Applicants will have a minimum of 6.5 IELTS (6.0 in all areas).

Applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis to ensure that students’ existing learning has prepared them to continue on to this course.

Worried? Don't be!

Worried about exams? Don't be.

We've put together a whole host of resources including student tips and expert advice to help you nail your exams. You can even get a free revision guide.

Get exam and revision help

Don’t meet our entry requirements?

You could apply for a foundation course or a course at our International College. These routes have lower entry requirements and act as the bridge to a full degree. To find out more, please select your status:

Home student International student

UK or EU students

Sorry, this course is not available to UK/EU students.

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2019 FT 1 year £12,300 per year

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead. Fees for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

International students

There are two ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and Equal Opportunities Form, and submit them together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

2) Through a country representative

Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.

Personal statement

Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.

The personal statement gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on your course. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

View additional costs for this course

What's included in your course fees

As a BCU student you will have access to corpus software and free workshops with experts to train you in using it. You will also have the chance to attend research seminars with staff and to hear invited external speakers from all over the UK and beyond.

All students are provided with access to the online training site This provides a wealth of video tutorials to supplement your activities in the studio and allow you to be supported during your self-directed study.

Worried about personal statements?

Worried about personal statements?

If you've got no idea where to start or just want to check you're on the right track, we’ve got expert advice and real examples from our students to help you nail your personal statement. You can even download our ultimate personal statement guide for free.

Get personal statement advice

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Year one

Grammar and Sounds (core module)

In this module you will learn more about the models proposed by theorists to explain variation in grammar and its acquisition. You will also learn how to use the International Phonetic Alphabet and to discuss the sound system of Received Pronunciation and other accents of English. Using these skills you will carry out an independent research project on an aspect of grammar or phonology in English.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (option module)

In this module you will learn more about the English language pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar knowledge required for TEFL. You will apply TEFL and second language acquisition theories to create teaching materials. As part of your assessment you will then design a lesson plan and activities for a student-centred session, incorporating materials from a course book with additional creative materials adapted to learner needs.

Language in Society (option module)

This module covers variation in language along the axes of sex, gender, class, race and ethnicity, to name just some. You will cover theoretical frameworks which seek to account for and explain this variation, and in collaboration with your peers, present orally at a poster conference on original data which you have analysed together. You will complete the module with a written assessment focusing on one or more aspects of variation and the theoretical constructs that have been proposed to explain them.

Language and Gender (option module)

This module looks historically across explanations for gender based language variation in the world’s cultures. It discusses early theory and covers the three waves of feminist action, looking at the evolving theories which have accompanied each wave. It deals also with language and its hypothesised links to masculinity around the world. Working first on comparative theory and later with original research data which you collect, you will learn to critically evaluate theory and apply this to data where language and gender interact.

Child Language Development (option module)

This module introduces you to both generativist and constructionist models of language acquisition. You will cover acquisition of lexis, phonology, grammar and pragmatic norms, looking also at bilingual acquisition and non-normal development. You will carry out a critical and then a comparative review of studies in the field, debating the merits of the competing models which seek to explain language acquisition. In class you will work both with theory and natural language data to see how one can be applied to the other and how theory should also answer to empirical data.

Language and Cognition (option module)

You will explore the theories surrounding lateralisation, categorisation and domain specificity. The module equips you to identify and explain the areas where language interfaces with domains of human cognition. Through empirical analysis of language you will show the role of cognitive factors in the patterning of language. You will also become familiar with the theoretical positions on the relationship of language and other cognitive capacities.

Discourse Analysis (option module)

This module aims to introduce you to the field of Discourse Analysis, a field of linguistic enquiry that concerns itself with examining the relationships between language use and society. The module will begin by introducing and outlining various definitions and theoretical approaches to discourse, considering how language can be used to do things in the world and shape (and be shaped by) society and social phenomena.

Course Structure

Your year of study with the School will consolidate your previous work on English Language and Linguistics. You will apply your skills to a range of modules concerning the application of linguistic methodologies to real world situations.

You will be taught through a series of modules, which provide you with the knowledge to further explore this exciting discipline.

You will develop skills and understanding that encompass the analysis, presentation and interpretation of linguistic data both qualitative and quantitative. You will develop skills of analysis and critical evaluation as well as developing your independent study skills. Your spoken and written English skills will be augmented as you work alongside peers and experts to make sense of real world problems involving language.

Hours in the classroom

The number of hours varies depending on the type of activity and the number of modules taken in a given semester. Each module has three hours of class-based teaching each week. This is supplemented by activities delivered through our virtual learning environment and student-directed learning.

Teaching breakdown

30 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
70 Time in independent study RoyalBlue

Teaching and learning activities

Teaching and learning activities may include lectures, seminars, workshops, fieldtrips and guided independent study. You will also have access to a wide range of extracurricular opportunities, including seminars by prestigious guest speakers and published authors and a programme of scholarly and creative events. Online facilities, such as the University’s Virtual Learning Environment Moodle, are used to guide, support and enhance your learning experience.

You will benefit from tutorial support and spoken or written feedback on your learning and preliminary work to help you in preparing for and reflecting on your assignments. A wide range of assessment methods are used in the programme, including essays, presentations, exhibitions, conferences and creative portfolios, giving you the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills.

77 per cent of research undertaken by lecturers from the School of English, classed as world-leading or internationally excellent.
The Research Excellence Framework (REF2014)


The School maintains close links with cultural institutions such as the Birmingham and Midland Institute (BMI) and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) and works with agencies such as Writing West Midlands.

Learn from industry experts

The school regularly organises talks and visits that will provide you with the chance to learn from industry experts with guest masterclasses and visiting authors.

Novelist Jim Crace delivered a series of workshops with students, giving feedback on their work and an insight into the world of professional writing and the publishing industry. Student Nabiyah Saddique said: "It was beneficial to students like me who want to write and be an author by career, to see how his experiences have shaped him and how he has created such beautiful pieces of work from these experiences."

Jim also enjoyed the chance to work with the students: "Everybody tried their hands at pitching an idea, writing the opening paragraphs of a novel, and line editing. It was testing and daunting but nobody fell short. The level of commitment and ability was astounding. London publishers should be beating a path to the School of English; it houses writing talent in abundance."

View more examples of student work...

Overseas Opportunities  

We encourage you to consider taking the opportunity provided by the Erasmus scheme during your time with us. Recent graduate, Charlotte Keogh, studied for a semester in Austria as part of her undergraduate degree.

Charlotte said: "Going to live and study in Austria was the single most terrifying and tremendous experience of my life. I left England with a self-taught basic knowledge of German (meaning I could say “hello”, “goodbye” and “can I have a glass of water please?”) and left being able to hold conversations with the gorgeous old ladies who shared my tram journeys through the city every morning."

Read Charlotte's story

Further Study

After completing your undergraduate degree, you might want to progress to one of the many postgraduate programmes offered at the University, from a PGCE in English to become a teacher, the Graduate Diploma in Law to put your career on a legal track, through to a wide variety of business and media related degrees in areas such as PR, journalism, marketing and HR.

For further information on courses contact Birmingham City University Choices - Tel: 0121 331 5595 Email:

students on the grass in front of Curzon

School of English Blog 

A blog that offers you an insight into life as a student at the School of English at Birmingham City University.

Visit the blog 

Enhancing employability skills

Linguistics and English Language study can assist across the range of employment opportunities.

Detailed ability to analyse and describe linguistic patterns develops an ability to use language precisely and effectively, boosting performance in all sectors of the workplace. Using corpora for language study and applying linguistic theory to real world data gives transferable skills concerning language in use which lend themselves to health professionals, journalists, educators, business leaders, and any profession where communication is paramount.


Several language modules have explicit employer and industry engagement (TEFL), where you are encouraged to adopt industry-standard practices to facilitate connections and links independently with external partners.

Moreover, you are supported in your employability goals through the University Career Service, Graduate+, Student Employability Mentors, and Career networking events organised within the School. 

As part of our Continuing Professional Development programme, all staff in the School of English maintain skills relevant to their particular industry, and we regularly seek out opportunities to build further links with partner organisations in the region (Creative Black Country, Birmingham Literature Festival, Birmingham Museums Trust, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Black Country Museum Trust, Arvon Creative Writing Foundation, Flatpack Film Festival, West Midlands Screenwriters' Forum, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire), in addition to publishers, charities, third sector organisations, and more beyond Birmingham.


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Links to Industry

We regularly seek out opportunities to build further links with partner organisations in the region, including Creative Black Country, Birmingham Literary Festival, Birmingham Museums Trust (including Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery), Black Country Museum Trust, Arvon Creative Writing Foundation, Flatpack Film Festival, West Midlands Screenwriters' Forum, and other Schools within the University, in addition to publishers, charities, third sector organisations, and more, in Birmingham and beyond.


BCU Graduate+

Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.

Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.

More about Graduate+

Graduate Jobs

Our graduates are characterised by their extensive subject knowledge, critical thinking and intellectual curiosity, reflected in the skills and abilities that will enable them to adapt to a wide range of career paths, employment opportunities, or further study at Masters or PhD level. Graduates go on to careers in teaching, librarianship, marketing, journalism and public relations.

Students come to study in the School of English from Europe and beyond, and the University has links with institutions across the globe.

Students on our MA in English Linguistics are from countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Fiji.

If you are a student from these countries or any other you should consider studying with us as we offer a wide curriculum that has internationalization built into the modules. We actively encourage teaching and research on language globally and have established relationships with colleges and industry overseas.

Many of the issues Applied Linguistics grapples with in the 21st century relate to globalisation and international movement, and our School is a reflection of that, with a diverse staff body from across Europe and research links around the world.

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations

The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations for international students.

The first-class experience offered by universities are reflected in the world’s largest survey of international students. International students are more likely to recommend the UK than any other leading English-language study destination.

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Online facilities, such as the University’s Virtual Learning Environment Moodle, are used to guide, support and enhance your learning experience.

The School of English is based in a purpose built building with PCs available for use, lecture capture technology and private study rooms available for use. Curzon Building hosts the Library for Birmingham City University, with a wealth of both physical and e-resources relating to linguistics and a subject specific librarian to advise.

The Curzon Building
Curzon Building entrance
Lecture theatre in The Curzon Building.
ADM English Discussions
ADM English Discussions 2
Curzon Building - Social space
Entrance to Curzon Library, which is open 24 hours a day during term time.
A selection of books in our six storey library.
English Drama Workshop 3
English Drama Workshop 1
English Drama Workshop 2
English Drama Workshop 4
Drama room controls 1
Drama room controls 2
The ASK desk – your first point of contact for all queries related to university life.
The light filled atrium leads into the café and restaurant.
The restaurant has a diverse menu with affordable and high quality food.
Curzon Building - Eagle and Ball bar
Eastside Park

Our Staff

All staff are published researchers and active in their fields. Their research interests span corpus linguistics, forensic linguistics, multilingualism, sociophonetics and discourse analysis. The Research and Development Unit for English Language Studies includes staff designing eMargin, an annotation program for electronic readers, and WebCorp, the corpus tool for web based content. Staff teaching is grounded in their current research and focuses on the representation in law of those whose first language is not English; links between masculinity and language, the discourse of asylum seeking in the UK and online discourse in forums.

Dr Robert Lawson

Associate Professor

Robert completed his PhD in 2009 at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, where he examined the language use of Glaswegian adolescent males, focusing on fine-grained phonetic variation and the linguistic construction of social identity in interaction. During the course of his PhD, he studied at the University of Arizona for a year, teaching a range of undergraduate courses at the University of Glasgow and University of Stirling, and present at a number of international conferences.

In 2009, Robert took up a post as lecturer in English Language at Birmingham City University, where he continues to research language use in Scotland and the UK. In the academic year 2012/13, he was seconded to the University of Pittsburgh as the recipient of the Fulbright Scholar's Award in Scottish Studies. During this time, he completed a major edited volume about sociolinguistic research in Scotland, as well as a number of peer-reviewed journal articles.

In 2013, he was promoted to Senior Lecturer in Sociolinguistics and BA Course Director, with responsibility for the administration and organisation of the undergraduate BA course. More recently, his research has been on two main areas. The first is language in the media, where him and his colleagues have been looking at gender, interruption and turn-taking in the television show Mock the Week and the broader issue of institutional sexism in the entertainment industry. The second area is language in the public eye and the application of sociolinguistic research beyond academia. This programme of research has resulted in a landmark volume which examines the different ways in which sociolinguistic research can be leveraged for the improvement of human wellbeingand has been a key part of growing the field of applied sociolinguistics.

Read Robert's full profile

Dr Tatiana Tkacukova

Senior Lecturer and MA English Linguistics Course Director
Dr Tatiana Tkacukova has been working as a Lecturer in English Language at Birmingham City University since September 2015. Prior to joining the School of English, she was a Marie Curie Research Fellow working on the EU-funded project on communication challenges of self-represented litigants at the Centre for Forensic Linguistics, Aston University.

Read Tatiana's full profile

Dr Andrew Kehoe

Associate Professor, Deputy Head of School, Director of Research

Andrew Kehoe is Deputy Head of School, Director of Research, and Director of the Research and Development Unit for English Studies (RDUES). He studied at the University of Liverpool, gaining qualifications in both English and Computer Science. He researches in the field of Corpus Linguistics, with a particular emphasis on the use of the web as a source of natural language data and on the development of software tools to facilitate this. Andrew was lead software developer on the WebCorp project and manager of the JISC-funded eMargin project, building an online collaborative text annotation tool for use in teaching.

He has co-edited two volumes on Corpus Linguistics, and published a series of articles and chapters which have explored in depth the nature of web texts and the issues involved in extracting linguistic examples from them. Andrew is an elected member of the executive committee of University English and the executive board of the International Computer Archive of Modern and Medieval English (ICAME). He led the School of English return to REF2014, and is a member of the ESRC Peer-review College.

Dr Mark McGlashan

Lecturer and BA Course Director

Dr Mark McGlashan is Lecturer in English Language in the School of English. He holds several postgraduate research degrees in language and linguistics from Lancaster University. His interests predominantly centre on Corpus-based (Critical) Discourse Studies and the application of corpus methods to the analysis of a wide range of social issues including nationalism, racism, sexism, and homophobia.

Read Mark's full profile