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Applied Linguistics - BA (Hons)

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....

  • Level Undergraduate
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School School of English
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

Course overview

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.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this 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.

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.

Fees & How to Apply

  • International students

Sorry, this course is not available to UK students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Free access to Rosetta Stone

All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.

LinkedIn Learning

Free access to LinkedIn Learning, which offers over 5,000 in-depth and bite-sized courses.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.

Placement expenses (optional)

If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.

Field trips (optional)

This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.

Personal stationery and study materials (optional)

Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £30 for each year of your studies for your personal stationery and study materials.

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.

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.

Course in Depth

Year one

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete ONE of the following CORE modules (totalling 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.

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):

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.

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.

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).

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

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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)


Links

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

Employability

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.

Placements

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

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.

International Students

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.

Facilities and Staff

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

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.

More about Derek

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.

More about Andrew

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.

More about Sarah

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.

More about Joseph

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.

More about Joseph

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.

More about Dave

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.

More about Ross