This flexible distance-learning course will provide you with an overview of the field of descriptive English linguistics, incorporating both synchronic and diachronic perspectives and covering a wide range of linguistic methods and approaches. The course will enable you to reflect critically on issues in the study of language and undertake independent research in the field. It will provide you with analytical skills which are necessary for the teaching of English and are also relevant in a wide range of other employment contexts.
The course has been going strong for 20 years and was taught by distance from the outset. It continues to evolve and is now delivered via the Moodle virtual learning environment, with online study materials to guide you through the topics covered and provide links to other resources. You will also need to use textbooks, and a full reading list is provided with each module syllabus.
You will have regular contact with your module tutor by email, telephone, fax or post, or even in person if appropriate. An online discussion forum is available so that you can contact other students if you wish. In addition, we offer periodic seminar talks where you can meet the course team and other students.
All distance learning students have the use of the facilities of the University’s library, including off-campus access to electronic databases and e-books. For students in the UK, the library operates a postal loan service (postal charges apply; postal loan service not available to distance learners outside the UK - more details).
You will be fully supported throughout the course by a tutor assigned to you when you begin each module. The course is taught by some of the leading authorities in the field. We pride ourselves on the level of support we offer and have often been praised for the quality and promptness of our responses.
Each module takes around 200 hours to complete (including the assignments). Although this is described as a 'part-time' course, you decide how much time to devote to your studies and you can study full-time if you wish. You have up to 8 months to complete a module, but it is possible to do so in around 4-5 months with 10-12 study hours each week. On this basis, the PG Diploma could be completed in 2-3 years. The maximum registration period is 7 years.
You would normally have a UK or internationally recognised honours degree, or its equivalent, in any relevant subject. An alternative would be an ordinary degree/teaching certificate and two to three years' teaching experience.
For anyone who has studied at undergraduate level in a non-English-speaking country, we also require an English Language qualification equivalent to a British Council IELTS score of 7.0.
You can apply for this course using the online application form at any time. Those students accepted on to the course are free to begin their studies on the first working day of any month of the year. There are no set start dates or application deadlines.
Fees and Finance
Fees for students from the UK or EU countries?
|Aug 2013||OL||2 - 7 years||MA||See below|
Fees for students from non-EU countries (International)?
|Aug 2013||OL||2 - 7 years||MA||See below|
Most of our undergraduate and postgraduate courses start in September/October, at the beginning of the academic year. However, some courses also have January/February or April start options. Short courses take place throughout the year.
Many of our courses can be studied on a Full-Time (FT) or Part-Time (PT) basis.
We also offer a Sandwich (SW) option for some courses – this usually involves two periods of Full Time study separated by a 'sandwich' placement spent working in an occupation related your course.
Online Learning (OL) courses can be studied remotely, usually using online learning tools.
Fees quoted are only for the academic year or start date stated. Fees may change in future years.
The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.
£400 per 15-credit module
£800 per 30-credit module
£1,600 for 60-credit dissertation
Fees are payable on a module by module basis as you progress through the course. You are not required to pay for the whole course upfront.
Please note that the above fees are for all students - Home, EU and International.
Postgraduate students must find ways of funding their tuition fees and living costs rather than relying on government grants and loans. We offer further information on possible financial support.
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 reputation for excellence is soaring globally, thanks to the superb links we forge with industry, our international alliances, and our focus on practical, vocational learning.
Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:
- Explore some of the good reasons why you should study here.
- Find out how to improve your language skills before starting your studies.
- Find all the information relevant to applicants from your country.
- Learn where to find financial support for your studies.
- Discover what current and former international students have to say.
University Approach to Employability
Our close links with business and the professions mean that our courses are always relevant, up-to-date and meet the exact needs of the current marketplace. Wherever possible, we involve employers in planning the curriculum, while many of our lecturers come from and maintain their links with industry, ensuring they are up to speed with the latest developments.
Employability will be an integral outcome of your studies.
The School of English is very active in research, with excellent 2008 RAE results. MPhil and PhD opportunities may be available. Please get in touch for more information. For further information on courses contact Birmingham City University Choices. Tel: 0121 331 5595. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or go direct to the courses section of the website.
The course is made up of two components: 'taught' modules and a dissertation. Successful completion of each module will gain you a number of credits. As you progress through the course, the accumulation of credits will enable you to gain a series of staged qualifications as follows:
Language Description (15 credits) Core module
Language and Social Variation (30 credits) Core module
Option I (30 credits)
Option II (30 credits)
Data, Theory & Method (15 credits) Core module
Dissertation: 15-20,000 words (60 credits)
For the PG Diploma, you will take five modules. There are three core modules and a further two optional modules. On successful completion of these modules, you can proceed to the dissertation.
- Language Description
- Language and Social Variation
- Data, Theory and Method in Linguistics
The course is assessed entirely by coursework. For each module you will have two assignments that count towards your overall mark. You will need to gain an average of 50% in order to pass the module. The assignments are of many different kinds, including essays, reports, transcription and other analytical exercises. Many of these encourage you to develop and carry out your own research projects so that you can relate the modules to your own context and experiences.
The dissertation is a small scale research project that you will carry out under the guidance of a supervisor assigned to you from the course team.
Dr Ursula Lutzky
Ursula Lutzky studied English, French and Finnish at the University of Vienna, where she completed her MA in English and French studies and her PhD in English linguistics. Her PhD thesis, which was awarded a DOC-scholarship by the Austrian Academy of Sciences, contributes to the field of historical pragmatics, dealing with the use and distribution of the discourse markers marry, well and why in Early Modern English. This project involved the extension of the Sociopragmatic Corpus (Jonathan Culpeper, Lancaster University) through the annotation of 16 and early 17 century drama texts, showing that corpus methods can reveal new insights into socio-pragmatic phenomena.
Ursula Lutzky previously worked as a lecturer and research assistant at the English department of Vienna University (2005-2010). She has presented and organised workshops at numerous international conferences, published in the field of her research interests and adopted several editorial responsibilities, having been a member of the editorial boards of the Vienna English Working Papers and Folia Linguistica Historica.
Prospective students from the UK or EU
- Take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions for answers to a range of questions about our courses and studying here.
- If you need further help, you can contact the Course Enquiries Team online by using the Course Enquiry Form.
- Alternatively, call us on +44 (0)121 331 5595.
Prospective students from non-EU countries
- International enquirers from non-EU countries may enquire via the International Enquiry Form.
- Alternatively, call us +44 (0)121 331 6714.
For an overview of our postgraduate courses and a range of other information please download a PDF of our Prospectus (6Mb).
Tel: +44 (0)121 331 7279 (Admissions Officer)
Tel: +44 (0)121 331 5636 (Admissions Tutor)