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Applied Linguistics - BA (Hons)

Currently viewing course to start in 2023/24 Entry.

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


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.

University has been the most rewarding experience. I’ve loved being able to indulge my interest in language while expanding my knowledge and challenging myself in ways I hadn’t thought possible. The staff at the School of English (both academic and otherwise) have really helped to make my time here memorable, by infusing their passion for the subject, and BCU into their work. Their support, patience and knowledge has been invaluable.

Chloe Derry, 2017 School of English graduate

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.
  • Our teaching staff are also expert researchers in English Language and Literature. 94% of research in English at BCU was judged to be either world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*) in REF2021.
  • 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.

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day this spring. It’s your chance to learn about our courses, chat to students and explore our campus and accommodation. Before the event we’ll post you an event programme to help plan your day and find your way.

Next Open Day: Saturday 25 March 2023

Book Your Place

Entry Requirements

These entry requirements apply for entry in 2023/24.

All required qualifications/grades must have been achieved and evidenced at the earliest opportunity after accepting an offer to help confirm admission and allow for on-time enrolment. This can also include other requirements, like a fee status form and relevant documents. Applicants can track their application and outstanding information requests through their BCU mySRS account.

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

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Sorry, this course is not available to UK students.

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £13,980 in 2023/24

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.


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.

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):

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

Download course specification

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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


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.

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.


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:

Facilities & 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

Professor Andrew Kehoe

Professor of Corpus Linguistics / Director of Research

Andrew Kehoe is Professor of Corpus Linguistics and Director of Research in English. 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...

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

Reader in Modern and Contemporary 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...

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...

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...

More about Ross