BA English Language and Linguistics: modules and course structure

The below information is relevant for both our single honours English Language and Linguistics course (Q3Q1) and any dual honours courses with Linguistics (QT12, QV15 and QR60).

Over the course of each academic year at Sheffield, you will need to study modules that equate to the value of 120 credits. Some of these credits will be taken up by our core modules, which are designed to give you the breadth of knowledge and ways of thinking necessary to the degree being awarded. For your remaining credits, you will be able to choose from an extensive range of optional modules, allowing you to shape your degree to the topics that interest you.

In the first year, single honours students will take four core modules (worth 20 credits each) that cover material from four important sub-areas of linguistics: theoretical linguistic structure, historical linguistics, language use, and experimental linguistics. A grounding in research methods is embedded throughout all your core modules.

If you are a dual honours student, you will take 60 credits of Linguistics modules including: Sounds of English, Structures of English, and two other core modules of your choice. You must also fulfil the core module requirement for your other subject.

Your remaining credits can be chosen from our optional modules. Alternatively, you can take up to 40 credits from across the School of English or the wider University. Optional modules available in the School of English for first year students are detailed below.

Core modules

Sounds of English and Structures of English

Core modules, 10 credits each (20 credits total)

Sounds of English

This module is an introduction to the sub disciplines of Linguistics known as Phonetics and Phonology, focusing specifically on the sounds of the English language. It is designed to provide a sound basic understanding of the key concepts and terminology necessary to describe and explain the sounds of English and of other languages. It will equip students with the practical skills necessary to transcribe and write about sounds.  It serves as an essential basis for more advanced linguistic study.

Structures of English

This module provides an introduction to basic sentence structures and related linguistic terminologies, comparing  the morphological and syntactic structure of contemporary dialects of English to those of other languages. It runs in parallel with its 10-credit sister module Sounds of English (ELL112), and is designed to provide a firm grounding in the description and analysis of sentence structure(s). The module will also offer a brief introduction to English semantics, serving as an essential basis for more advanced linguistic study.

History of English

Core module, 20 credits

This module traces the history of the English language from the fifth century AD through to the present day. Students will learn about the development of English over this period, looking at the factors which have shaped the language, and learning a variety of techniques for studying the language. The module will also introduce students to the range and variety of the English language at all periods, and to the ways in which English influences, and is influenced by, other languages.

Linguistic Theory 

Core module, 20 credits

This module explores how language is structured by examining central issues in linguistic theory, building upon the concepts introduced in Sounds of English and Structures of English. Students will be instructed in (1) foundational theories and concepts in areas such as phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics, (2) the linguistic evidence that informs these approaches, (3) the analytical techniques required to apply these theories to language data, and (4) the relevance of such theoretical models for the wider study of language. The module will develop analytical tools in using linguistic theory, training students to rigorously interpret language data within theoretical frameworks.

This module is a prerequisite for the following second year modules: Syntax (ELL221), Semantics (ELL222), Language Acquisition (ELL226) and Phonology (ELL232).

Varieties of English 

Core module, 20 credits

This course explores the extraordinary diversity of the English language today, and is concerned with describing the features, use and status of contemporary varieties of English in Britain and around the world. Extraterritorial varieties are located within histories of expansion, colonialism, and globalisation, and considered in relation to the role of English as an international language. We investigate developments which led to the social and geographic distribution of certain present day varieties in Britain. Students will apply tools of description for all linguistic levels, and develop awareness of sociolinguistic aspects of language such as social indexing, attitudes and standardisation, as well as the relationship between variation and change.

Optional modules

Early Englishes

Optional module, 20 credits

Early Englishes works backward over a whole millennium of English, 1600 to 600. Each week's lectures and seminar focus on one century and one text representative of that century (for example, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Beowulf). We will use a variety of techniques - literary, linguistic, anthropological, cultural historical - to analyse each text, thereby opening up discussion of the issues that preoccupied the English of the time, from glorious monster-slaying to the slow surrender of pagan belief to terror at the imminent arrival of Antichrist and on to the first expressions of love and desire. Texts will initially be studied in translation so no prior knowledge of Old or Middle English is necessary, but students will also be given the opportunity to examine texts in the original language.

Practical Stylistics

Optional module, 20 credits

On this module, we will explore the language of literary texts and find out how we can use a range of linguistic models to investigate different textual effects. We will look at a wide variety of prose fiction, dramatic, and poetic texts, taken from a range of literary genres and periods. The module also investigates the language of newspaper journalism and politics. In particular, we will think about:

  • The linguistic patterns contained within literary texts
  • How literary worlds are created and structured
  • The development of narrative and how different perspectives are presented in texts
  • How power is communicated and manipulated through language

Among other things, you will learn how Jane Austen constructs voices and personalities for her characters, how Tony Harrison uses pronouns to move his readers, how Kurt Vonnegut manipulates our expectations of narrative structure, and how politicians use language to win the trust of disillusioned voters. The module takes a practical and hands-on approach and it will equip you with the linguistic and analytical tools you need to undertake your own stylistic analyses and uncover the inner workings of literary language.

 Celtic Languages and Literatures: an Introduction

Optional module, 20 credits

In this module students are introduced to the Celtic languages and literatures of the British Isles from the earliest times to the present. Students gain a basic understanding of the relationships between the various Celtic languages and major developments within them. The literature studied spans a broad chronological range from early medieval texts such as the Welsh Gododdin and the Irish Cattle Raid of Coooley to the work of modern authors, and students will develop an understanding of the broad outlines of the Irish-language and Welsh-language literary traditions. All texts will be read in translation.

Other optional modules in the School of English

Contemporary Literature

Optional module, 20 credits

This module introduces students to a diverse range of contemporary texts in English (prose, poetry, and film). Texts will be chosen to provoke thinking and debate on topics that might include: globalisation and neoliberalism; ecology and animal lives; artificial intelligence and the post human; political activism and social justice; migration and displacement; state violence and armed conflict. We will discuss formally and conceptually challenging works, raise ethical and philosophical questions and begin to discover how current critical and theoretical approaches can help us to engage with literature of ‘the now’.

Introduction to Creative Writing

Optional module, 20 credits

The aim of this module is to help students to develop their expressive and technical skills in writing poetry and prose, and to improve their abilities as an editor and critic of their own and other people's writing. Students will be guided in the production of new work and encouraged to develop an analytical awareness of both the craft elements and the wider cultural and theoretical contexts of writing. This module explores poetic techniques for creating new poems and narrative techniques for generating some prose work through the critical study of published examples, imaginative exercises, discussion and feedback on students' own writing. This exploration will help students to develop their own creative work while sharpening critical appreciation of published poetry and modern and contemporary fiction. The course is designed to give students the experience of being workshopped as well as to establish basic creative writing techniques to prepare students for creative writing modules in years two and three. 

Shakespeare

Optional module, 20 credits

This module introduces students to the plays and poetry of William Shakespeare. Students will read a wide range of his works and will analyse them in the context of the cultural and historical energies of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England.  We will consider the range of dramatic styles and genres that he engages, alongside the conditions of performance, kinds of publication, and the characteristics of the language in which he worked.  We shall also relate the texts to critical methods that help illuminate the relationships between drama and the culture, politics, and religion of the period.

Introduction to Cinema

Optional module, 20 credits

This module gives the student the opportunity to study a series of films from a variety of national cinemas of the 20th and 21st centuries. In a series of weekly lectures and seminars, students will develop an understanding of the fundamental institutional and industrial characteristics of film history and production well as of the conventions of style in a range of contrasting national cinemas.

Studying Theatre: A History of Dramatic Texts in Performance

Optional module, 20 credits

This module introduces you to key dramatic texts from Ancient Greece to the present. Each week you will study a particular play, and the historical, ideological and social contexts that informed its composition, its first performances, and its theatrical afterlife. We will talk about the play in performance, and the processes that underlie its production - about acting, directing, design and economics – with the emphasis on theatre as a complex and practical discipline. In recent years the course texts have included work by playwrights such as Sophocles, John Vanbrugh, William Shakespeare, Alfred Jarry, Bertolt Brecht, Samuel Beckett, Caryl Churchill and Debbie Tucker Green. The aim is to develop your understanding of a range of seminal Western theatre texts and further your ability to analyse the connections between different styles and forms of theatre and the societies out of which they have emerged. This relationship is something you will return to throughout your degree as we examine how theatre and performance represent, critique and illuminate the society that produces them.

Foundations in Literary Study: Biblical and Classic Sources in English

Optional module, 20 credits

The Bible, Greek and Roman mythology represent some of the central sources for European literary imaginations.  Their themes inform writing of all periods and genres, from Dante Alighieri to Philip Pullman, from phrases like 'a wolf in sheep's clothing' to Virginia Woolf. Their authors have inspired the creation of figures such as Aeneas, Beelzebub, Faustus, Odysseus and Satan; the representation of Eve and Judas, of 'sin', 'betrayal', 'the underworld' or 'hell'; of 'redemption', 'metamorphosis' and a variety of allegorical modes.  When we understand the ways in which biblical and classical writers shaped their narratives, and how creative authors revised, resisted or radicalised their themes, we have several important keys to unlock crucial facets of English literary tradition. When we appreciate the rich linguistic heritage of sources like the 1611 King James Bible we can recognise the origin of many familiar and reworked phrases (not all of them tasty): 'bite the dust'; 'forbidden fruit'; 'skin of my teeth'; 'fatted calf'.

Renaissance to Revolution

Optional module, 20 credits - students wishing to take this module must begin it in the Autumn semester

This module surveys the poetry and prose from the early modern period in England.  We will look at different genres, from court complaint to sonnets, prose fiction, erotic verse, restoration drama and the works of writers such as Donne, Herbert, Spenser, Marlowe, Dyrden, Milton and Pope. The texts studied will be related to critical methods that help us understand the relationships between literature and its cultural, political and historical contexts.

Having developed core skills in your first year, you are given the freedom to choose from a wide selection of modules in your second year.

Here is a list of modules currently being offered for second year English Language and Linguistics students. For a list of other optional modules available across the School of English for second year students, please visit our English Literature modules web page.

Phonetics

Optional module, 20 credits

This module aims to provide a detailed understanding of all aspects of speech sounds. The first year module Sounds of English will be expanded on in order to give a practical knowledge of a much broader range of speech sounds, how they are produced and how they are (and have been) analysed. A working knowledge of phonetics is fundamental to the wider study of linguistics, both theoretical and applied, and the discipline draws its methods and insights from a range of other areas of study including physics, biology and medicine. As well as furnishing students with necessary linguistic skills, this module will also give straightforward access to other bodies of knowledge which are often denied to students of the humanities, such as the biological and physical sciences.  As part of the module, students are expected to learn to accurately produce, perceive and transcribe sounds as presented on the alphabet of the International Phonetic Association, including sounds rarely if ever encountered in English.

Syntax

Optional module, 20 credits. You must have studied Linguistic Theory (ELL120) in your first year to take this module.

This module builds on what students have learnt in the Level 1 modules ELL113 Structure of English and ELL120 Linguistic Theory, providing a more in-depth look at the structure and organising principles of sentences. We develop the tree structures students learn in first year, and see in more detail how these structures form a system of representation that can be used for any language. This involves thinking about the universal constraints on the grouping of words into phrases, and consideration of various operations that move elements around inside sentences to generate the word orders we see written or hear spoken, while at the same time ensuring that sentences satisfy formal constraints. In other words, the module provides an opportunity for students to think in more depth about why sentences are structured the way that they are.

Language and Cognition

Optional module, 20 credits

This module explores the relationship between language and the mind. You will be introduced to some of the most groundbreaking theories and frameworks in cognitive linguistics and investigate the different ways in which recent advances in the study of human cognition can enhance our understanding of the production and reception of discourse. We will also consider how the ‘cognitive revolution’ in linguistics has impacted upon controversial debates about the nature of language itself. You will be introduced to a range of cutting-edge concepts from cognitive science, including embodiment, prototypes, mental representation and conceptual integration. You will also have opportunity to apply your new knowledge in the analysis of a wide variety of discourse, including newspaper journalism, TV sitcoms, political speeches, advertisements, interviews, song lyrics and lonely hearts ads.

Historical Linguistics

Optional module, 20 credits

Language change is a fact of all living languages, and historical linguistics is just as much about the present and future of any given language as it is about its past. This module introduces historical linguistics as the study of how and why languages change, and how languages are related. Students are encouraged to reflect on the ways in which studying historical linguistics bears on other areas of linguistics, and the subject will be approached by 1) levels of linguistic inquiry, e.g. semantic, phonological, morphological, syntactic and pragmatic change; but also 2) 'big questions', e.g. language families and linguistic prehistory, the role of acquisition in change, methods of linguistic reconstruction, and historical sociolinguistics.

Sociolinguistics

Optional module, 20 credits

Sociolinguistics explores the relationship between language and society, and this module will introduce you to variationist approaches to this discipline. Variationists are concerned with measuring the relationship between language features and social identities. We will address (and challenge) questions such as: Why do working class people use more localised language features than middle class people? Do women use more linguistic innovations than men? To what extent do speakers adapt their speaking style and what causes them do so? We will also consider how language change occurs over time and explore how language change spreads across social groups. Who are the movers and the shakers in language change? We will begin by exploring the origins of the field (in particular, exploring sociolinguists’ criticisms of mainstream linguistics) and go on to consider the quantitative research methods developed by sociolinguists to explore the relationship between key social factors (social class, gender, age, ethnicity) and language. This course will train you in sociolinguistic techniques and provide you with the skills to undertake your own research in the third year. 

Exiles and Monsters: An Introduction to Old English

Optional module, 20 credits

This module teaches students to read and translate the earliest written English, texts from over a thousand years ago. The course will give an introduction to basic Old English grammar and enable you to develop your translation skills. Throughout the semester, we will translate a selection of texts (prose and poetry) chosen by you. We will also address literary conventions and cultural aspects of these texts as we work our way through them. The course typically recruits equal numbers of literature and language students, and assessments allow both approaches. All teaching is in small groups with a lively atmosphere.

First Language Acquisition

Optional module, 20 credits. You must have studied Linguistic Theory (ELL120) in your first year to take this module.

This course investigates how children acquire their first language with ease, even before mastering relatively simple tasks like tying their shoes or adding two numbers. We’ll look at how linguistic abilities develop in the first few years of life, and see how children make certain, predictable errors, while avoiding others we might predict. You’ll evaluate theories to explain language development in light of these empirical facts and consider how language development is researched, through sessions dedicated to research methods, in you’ll study experimental techniques that have been devised by acquisitionists.

Phonology

Optional module, 20 credits. You must have studied Linguistic Theory (ELL120) in your first year to take this module.

This module builds upon the first year modules Sounds of English and Linguistic Theory, focusing upon Phonology, one of the key aspects of language processing and linguistic theory. The module aims to examine phonological theories and the data on which they are constructed, exploring phonological organisation and processes in different languages. We investigate the many possibilities once we acknowledge that languages are not just made up of any old sounds in any old order, but have structured phonological systems, e.g. phonemes and allophones, phonological features and rules, syllables and words. Segmental and prosodic (e.g. syllable-based) phenomena will be analysed, using rule- and constraint-based frameworks.

A Sense of Place: Local and Regional Identity

Optional module, 20 credits

This module takes an interdisciplinary approach to issues of regional and local identity in contemporary Britain. Classes will focus on different aspects of the ways in which language is involved in the creation, dissemination and commodification of regional and local identity. A number of different ways of thinking about and conceptualising place will be covered, including topics under the following headings: 'Changing places', 'Describing places', 'Identifying places', and 'Enregistering places'. This module has a project element, and students will work in teams with representatives of local organisations (cultural and heritage organisations, local businesses, charities, or museums) to solve real life problems.

Special Subject

Optional module, 20 credits. Topic varies annually. 

Writing the Real

Optional module, 20 credits. You must have studied Practical Stylistics (EGH102) in your first year to take this module

This module explores the often problematic relationship between literature and 'the real world', using a range of stylistic approaches. We will consider why 'realism' is such a difficult term to get to grips with; why describing a fictional or dramatic text as 'realistic' can be a very politically charged act; how ideas of 'the real' have changed over time; and what effects the inclusion of 'real' materials into fictional works may have. We will explore 'the real' in a wide range of prose and drama texts, including works by George Eliot and Kurt Vonnegut. 

The History of Persuasion

Optional module, 20 credits. This module will draw on and develop work covered in the year one module ‘Practical Stylistics’. 

We shall look at a number of text-types associated with particular domains: journalism, advertising, political speaking, science writing, and preaching. We shall use the tools of stylistics and textual analysis to look at what counts as authoritative or persuasive communication in each area. For example, contemporary journalism makes use of very distinctive methods of structuring narrative, while in science writing it is common to write in a highly impersonal style rarely found in other contexts. We shall think about why these stylistic characteristics have come to be associated with these different types of writing, looking at the history of each and also its status in present-day culture and society.

In your third year, you are again given the freedom to choose from a wide selection of optional modules.

You will also be given the opportunity to undertake an independent research project, which can be written up as a dissertation. This is an optional component of our degree programme and those who choose to do a dissertation find that the organisational skills it requires serve them well in their future careers.

Here is a list of modules currently being offered for third year English Language and Linguistics students:

Language and Gender

Optional module, 20 credits

This module will explore the relationship between language use and gender identity. We will consider how gender has been defined in social and linguistic research and examine a variety of theoretical perspectives, methodologies and findings (incorporating both quantitative and qualitative linguistic work). The approach is interdisciplinary (drawing upon sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology and discourse analysis) and will address the issues of power, status, socialisation and ideology.

Approaches to Discourse

Optional module, 20 credits

The course aims to introduce students to the critical analysis of spoken and written discourse in contemporary social contexts. It provides a range of resources and techniques for analysing texts and dialogue, enabling students to apply them to real life data drawn from a wide variety of contexts. Instruction will cover classical theoretical approaches to the analysis of discourse and genre, including functional grammatical analysis of clauses and sentences, the generic structure of texts, conversational and pragmatic analysis of spoken discourse, and intertextual and interdiscursive analysis. Throughout the topics covered, the students will be encouraged to reflect upon the role of discourse in the structuring of social practices and power relations.

Historical Pragmatics

Optional module, 20 credits

Pragmatics is an area of language study that is focussed on communication in context. In this module we look at how the everyday communication reflected in historical familiar letters tells us things about past speech communities, in terms of how they interacted and used language to be polite, to insult, and to imply things in ways particular to their context and historical moment. We also discuss how pragmatics have changed over time, and what this says about change in English language and culture. The module introduces some of the basic concepts in historical pragmatics (e.g. (im)politeness theories, speech act theory, and inference and implicature) and we will apply these to the study of the letter-form in English, looking closely at letter-texts ranging from medieval love letters to present-day emails.

Advanced Syntax

Optional module, 20 credits

This module builds on the material covered in Syntax (ELL221), focusing on both the universal and language-specific rules that govern syntactic structure in human language. The topics covered will expand our understanding of areas of structure that could not be explained in Syntax, including further instances of movement, a more nuanced understanding of verbal structure, and a greater emphasis on data from languages other than English.

TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)

Optional module, 20 credits

The module provides an introductory course to theory and practice of teaching English to second language learners. It familiarizes students with principles and methods of teaching core language skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening, and introduces them to general principles of teaching grammar and vocabulary to second language learners. The course also covers such aspects of the topic as use of materials and resources in second language classrooms, classroom management, outlines constructs of motivation and learning styles, and introduces students to basic principles of error correction and feedback in second language settings.

World Englishes

Optional module, 20 credits

The module gives an introduction to the historical and social development of the English language, leading on to consideration of global spread of English in different parts of the world, including postcolonial contexts and the development of ‘new’ Englishes and creoles. The module provides an analysis of linguistic features (phonology, grammar and lexis) of several varieties of Englishes, and leads on to critically examine issues such as multilingualism, language contact and change, language planning/policy, attitudes towards variation; and globalisation and identity in the classroom. Throughout the module, students are encouraged to draw on their own experiences of linguistic diversity.

Theolinguistics

Optional module, 20 credits

This module examines the ways in which people talk to and about God, the supernatural and what they hold sacred, both in overtly religious and ‘secular’ contexts. This module takes a functional approach to language, first asking, what does religious language do for us? Among the topics that will be covered are definitions of religion and religious language, a functional approach to religious language, linguistic features of religious language (for example, archaic language, intertextuality, metaphor and unique vocabulary), and the use of religious language in a wide range of contexts (contexts could include overtly religious contexts as well as politics, news media, advertising, sport, pop culture). 

There will be opportunities each week to examine religious language in a variety of contexts, using specific analytic tools. In the assessments, students will have the freedom to develop these skills further by analysing texts of their choice, taken from contexts that suit their interests. The tutor will provide support in finding and selecting these texts.

Overall, this module aims to examine the porous boundaries between the sacred and the secular. In so doing, we will consider the language not just of those looking to a sacred supernatural but those who articulate ultimate significance to values and priorities without adherence to organized religion.

Second Language Acquisition

Optional module, 20 credits

This module will introduce students to major theoretical notions and assumptions in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) – a theory that investigates how language speakers acquire a second language both in adulthood and childhood. The module focuses on the SLA theories that are believed to be constrained by Universal Grammar. It provides a historical overview how SLA theories have evolved and examines influential concepts to explore how different arguments have been developed and how they have been investigated empirically. At the same time, the module offers students with hands-on training in analyzing second language learner data, using their knowledge of Linguistics. Through this, students will also learn how to build predictions and argumentation.

Dialect in Literature and Film

Optional module, 20 credits

This module will explore the way in which non-standard varieties of English are represented in literature and film, and how these representations have changed over time. We will examine a range of texts and films, investigating both how dialects are represented, and why writers and filmmakers choose to use these dialects in these ways. Authors studied will include Charles Dickens, Angela Carter and Ben Aaronovitch. Films and television shows studied will include Saturday Night, Sunday Morning, The Full Monty and Sherlock.

Text-Worlds

Optional module, 20 credits

This module introduces students to Text World Theory, a cognitive-linguistic framework which aims to understand how human beings create mental representations, or ‘text-worlds’, of discourse in their minds. The module provides an opportunity to explore the text-world approach to the analysis of language, as well as a range of related ideas and frameworks from the disciplines of linguistics, psychology, philosophy, narratology, and stylistics. We will examine, for example, the influence of context on the production and reception of language; how knowledge is deployed during the discourse process; the linguistic means through which text-worlds are built and developed; how text-worlds can become immersive and emotionally affecting; and the ways in which multiple text-worlds can be constructed and embedded across extended stretches of language. Students will be introduced to the core components of Text World Theory and will develop the skills necessary to apply this approach to a range of different text types in a practical and systematic manner. In both their class discussions and their assessments, students will have the freedom to use Text World Theory to explore both literary and non-literary discourse of their own choosing and to suit their own interests. 

Researching Readers

Optional module, 20 credits

This module is centrally concerned with how data from real readers can be used in text analysis. You will be introduced to some of the qualitative methods which can be used to investigate real readers’ responses to texts, including empirical tasks, questionnaires, discussion groups and internet resources. We will consider how this data can contribute to key questions in literary linguistics, such as: how does characterisation work? how do readers interpret narrative voices? how do patterns in poetry affect our interpretation? how does literary language influence our emotions? This module has a practical focus, so in class you will be involved in testing and evaluating various data collection methods and exploring your own and other people’s responses to texts. For your assessment you will conduct a small-scale investigation of reader responses to a text of your choice. Upon completing the module, you will have an understanding of how to design, conduct and reflect upon your own stylistic investigation of real readers.

Psychology of Language

Optional module, 20 credits

This final-year module in psycholinguistics examines the relationship between the human mind and language, addressing both theoretical and methodological issues. We look at the processes involved in speaking, listening and reading, exploring the ways in which we represent and store linguistic knowledge. The core linguistic modules will be investigated: phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics. Evidence from speech errors, language impairments, and neuroscience, alongside classic psychological experimental work in the field will be considered. Students will gain a firm grounding in psycholinguistic theory and practice, and should acquire the tools to undertake their own research in the future, through a session in the Humanities Laboratory (HumLab).

Experiments in Digital Storytelling

Optional module, 20 credits

This module focuses on experimental uses of digital technology for story-telling. It offers students the opportunity to engage in critical reading of narratives written by others and also to develop experimental narratives of their own. We’ll look at several different kinds of digital works including texts that have non-linear and branching structures, narratives that take the form of site-specific installations, and narrative games. Students will also work in a small group on an experimental narrative of their own. (Note that the technical skills needed for this work will be basic and will be taught as part of the course.) In short, the module offers the opportunity to learn about digital story-telling both by reading the work of others and by developing your own creative project.

Special Subject

Optional module, 20 credits. Topic varies annually.

Research Practice

Optional module, 20 credits

‘Research Practice’ is normally taken in combination with the ‘Dissertation’ module, and, together, these two units give students the opportunity to spend a whole year researching a topic of particular interest to them, engaging with new data or primary sources, and working on material more advanced than that normally covered in taught modules. ‘Research Practice’ focuses on the planning of the larger project. Students receive appropriate support and training in workshops and one-to-one sessions with a supervisor. By the end of the module, students have designed an appropriate programme of research and are ready to implement it.

Dissertation

Optional module, 20 credits

The 'Dissertation' module is usually taken in combination with the 'Research Practice' module and, together, these two units give students the opportunity to spend a whole year researching a topic of particular interest to them, engaging with new data or primary sources, and working on material more advanced than that normally covered in taught modules. The final results is a dissertation of between 8,000 and 10,000 words. Students receive support and research training throughout the year, attending workshops and one-to-one sessions with a supervisor. In the process, they develop research and communication skills valuable in academic and professional contexts.

Teaching

Throughout your degree, you will be taught through a mixture of lectures and seminars. Lectures are designed to give you a grounding in a particular topic and to introduce you to the surrounding theories, concepts and ideas. Seminars give you the chance to explore these topics in greater depth, to develop your own ideas and to share these through discussion with your tutors and fellow students.

Assessment

As well as written essays and more traditional timed exams, you’ll also experience a range of other assessment methods depending on the modules you choose. These can include: group presentations, reports, data visualisation, data mining, research planning or designing posters.


The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, outcomes of reviews, and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Information last updated: 30 September 2019