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Applied Linguistics - BA (Hons)

  • Level: Undergraduate
  • Starting: September 2021
  • Study mode: Full Time (1 year)
  • Location: City Centre

Studying with us in 2021/22

It is possible that the 2021/22 academic year may be affected by the ongoing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Any arrangements put in place by the University for the 2021/22 academic year will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

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.

Open Days

Our next Open Day is taking place in Summer 2021. It's the perfect opportunity to tour our facilities, hear from some of our staff and get a feel of what it's like to study at BCU.

Register your interest

This course is open to International students

English Right Column

Discover the School of English

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

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).

If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.

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.

Mature Applicants

Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.

Worried? Don't be!

Worried about teacher assessments?

However you're being assessed this Summer, it can be a stressful time. We've got a load of tips on revision skills and time management to help you feel as prepared as possible.

Get 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 students
  • International students

Sorry, this course is not available to UK students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £13,200 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. 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.

Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for your personal stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

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

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete ONE of the following CORE modules (totalling 40 credits):

40 credits

This module will introduce you to the field of Applied Sociolinguistics and how sociolinguistic research can contribute to improving human well-being. You will learn to critically evaluate the role of sociolinguistics in addressing linguistic and social inequalities and how language shapes all aspects of social life. You will work with an external partner and investigate the application of sociolinguistic research to the solution of practical, educational and social problems of all types. You will learn how evidence-led sociolinguistic research can be applied in a variety of settings, including healthcare, law, tourism, the workplace, and other non-academic contexts. The module will develop your skills in leveraging sociolinguistic research to produce demonstrable changes in practice and teach you to how to engage a variety of external stakeholders and end-users in your research.

40 credits

This module will deepen your knowledge and understanding of the core foundations of the English language and allow you to research intellectually challenging concepts using a variety of methodological approaches. You will focus on the description of English grammar, morphology, phonetics and phonology as well as analyse linguistics phenomena in context. You will develop your analytical skills and capacity to be reflective and critical when synthesising complex information. The module will build your linguistic skills and thus promote graduate work readiness.

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete ALL of the following CORE modules (totalling 80 credits):

20 credits

This module will introduce you to the main critical debates, concepts, and research approaches in the field of language and gender. You will discuss a variety of key theoretical areas, supported by relevant scholarly research, and you will learn to critically evaluate the role that language plays in gender relations and gender stereotypes. You will carry out independent fieldwork on a topic of your own choice related to language and gender, and you will develop your skills in data collection, analysis, and evaluation. The module makes use of a variety of data sources, including electronic corpora, written, visual and spoken media, questionnaires, and you will learn to apply your knowledge of language and linguistics to investigate and analyse such data. Over the course of the module, you will also acquire a range of skills which will support your long-term personal and professional development, including self-direction in problem solving, communication skills (written and verbal), independent critical thought, and effective time management.

20 credits

This module will provide you with the knowledge and skills to critically analyse linguistic data and apply the results of the analysis to legal settings, focusing mainly on legal discourse, courtroom discourse, police interviewing, authorship analysis, and plagiarism detection. You will study a wide range of topics which will provide you with a broad understanding of different sub-disciplines of forensic linguistics and language and the law, each with its own methodological approach. You will develop skills necessary for interdisciplinary research at the intersection of linguistics, forensic sciences, legal studies and psychology. You will focus on how to ensure your data is representative, to develop robust methodological approach, and to present your results in a logical way meeting the requirements set by relevant bodies in a range of legal contexts.

20 credits

The module is based on experimental and experiential techniques allowing you to encounter TEFL teaching methods, as well as improve your knowledge of phonetics and phonology, grammar and vocabulary, syntax and punctuation. The module will equip you with a solid understanding of TEFL approaches alongside a practical skill set for planning lessons and courses, assessing language proficiency, facilitating the learning process, and managing classroom dynamics. The module will help you utilise skills and linguistic knowledge gained during your first two years of study in the applied settings of teaching English as a second/foreign language. You will also draw on literature, drama and creative writing strands of the programme due to the emphasis on the inherent value of cultural and literary experiences in the foreign language acquisition process. You will focus on developing engaging teaching materials for potential learners and practise completing tasks similar to those required as part of the interview selection process for TEFL jobs. Throughout the module, special emphasis will be placed on continuous professional development as well as identifying career options in the UK and abroad. You will be provided with several voluntary opportunities, including providing language support for international students, teaching English classes for international students within the Faculty, or observing commercial classes in Birmingham (e.g. Brasshouse Language Centre).

20 credits

This module will introduce you to the different intersections of language and society and outline the ways in which language can vary according to class, gender, and age. You will develop your understanding of how to collect, analyse and present language data and results in an ethically responsible and methodologically sound way. You will also examine how language is used to construct social identities, the role of language in wider contemporary society and how sociolinguistic research can be utilised in a non-academic context. You will develop your skills of visual communication, data analysis and data presentation, alongside a careful understanding of the body of research literature within sociolinguistics and how it informs your own work. This module will ultimately allow you to critically evaluate different approaches to the study of linguistic variation and apply your knowledge in designing a research project to investigate language in society.

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.

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.

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 Derek Littlewood

Senior Lecturer

Derek Littlewood gained his PhD, a theoretical study of speech and writing in Charles Dickens, from the Open University and his MA on D. H. Lawrence from Birmingham University.

He is currently researching the relationships between photography and literature, from the inception of the photograph until the onset of digital technology.

He is particularly interested in the aesthetics of modernist photography and writing. He has written and given conference papers on James Joyce, James Clarence Mangan and John Banville.

Andrew Kehoe

Dr Andrew Kehoe

Associate Professor / Director of Research

Andrew Kehoe is Director of Research in English 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: the creation and study of a collection of texts (or corpus) in order to extract new knowledge about language in use. Andrew’s particular emphasis is on the use of the web as a source of natural language data and on the development of software tools to facilitate this.

Dr Sarah Wood

Head of Birmingham Institute of Media and English

Sarah Wood holds degrees from JMU, the University of Liverpool, and Birmingham City University, where she gained her PhD. Her research interests are in feminism and science fiction.

She has an article on Octavia Butler forthcoming in FEMSPEC and is working on further studies of Butler as well as of Nalo Hopkinson and slave narrative.

Read Sarah's full profile

Joseph Anderton

Dr Joseph Anderton

Senior Lecturer in English Literature

Joseph Anderton is the author of Beckett’s Creatures: Art of Failure after the Holocaust (Bloomsbury, 2016), which considers conceptions of the ‘creature’ and ‘creaturely life’ as they appear in Samuel Beckett’s literature and drama. Joe is currently working on his second book, Writing Homelessness: Rough Sleeping in Contemporary British Fiction.

Joseph is the Course Director for BA English Courses. Before joining BCU in 2017, he taught at the universities of Nottingham, Lincoln, and Leicester.

Joseph Anderton

Dr Joseph Anderton

Senior Lecturer in English Literature

Joseph Anderton is the author of Beckett’s Creatures: Art of Failure after the Holocaust (Bloomsbury, 2016), which considers conceptions of the ‘creature’ and ‘creaturely life’ as they appear in Samuel Beckett’s literature and drama. Joe is currently working on his second book, Writing Homelessness: Rough Sleeping in Contemporary British Fiction.

Joseph is the Course Director for BA English Courses. Before joining BCU in 2017, he taught at the universities of Nottingham, Lincoln, and Leicester.

Dave Harte

Deputy Head of School and Associate Professor in Journalism and Media Studies

Dave Harte is Associate Professor in Journalism and Media Studies. He researches the emerging trend of local community ‘hyperlocal’ news websites and has published widely on the subject. Within the School of Media he leads on teaching and learning initiatives and teaches modules on Journalism Studies, Social Media, and Alternative and Community Media. He supervises PhDs in the areas of journalism and community media.

Read Dave's full profile

Ross Hawkes

Ross leads the journalism pathway. He was previously a sports writer, sub-editor, page designer, news reporter, web editor, features writer and editor, before leading Trinity Mirror's digital programme in the Midlands. He also founded and currently runs award-winning hyperlocal website, LichfieldLive, which has been used an example of excellence in the hyperlocal scene.