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English Language and Linguistics BA

School of English

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You are viewing this course for 2022-23 entry. 2021-22 entry is also available.

Key details

Course description

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This degree is designed to give you a solid foundation in linguistic theory, and to link this theory to the huge array of real-life contexts in which language is used. Our mix of core and optional modules means that you will have the freedom to design the course that suits you, building on the topics that most capture your imagination.

In your first year, you take modules that encompass the fundamentals of linguistic research: linguistic theory, historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, and research methodology. Our modules focusing on linguistic theory and the structure and sounds of English will allow you to learn about how language actually works and how linguists study it. You'll then apply this knowledge to modules that examine the history and varieties of English, teaching you about how language varies in space and time.

How you choose to build on this foundation throughout the remainder of your degree is up to you: expand on any (or all) of these four areas, and take modules from the other degree programmes within the department or from across the University.

In second year, you will have the chance to study modules in formal linguistics such as phonetics and syntax, as well as modules that deal with the history of language and linguistic thought, language and society, and how language is acquired and taught.

Your third year will allow you to further specialise your interests in topics that inspire you. You'll have the opportunity to continue your interest in formal linguistics by developing your thinking about language and the mind. You can build on your passion for the history of English by learning about the latest thinking on the development of the language. Your interests in language and society can be developed as you take modules exploring the relationship between language and gender, discourse, and place.

Because language is used in every facet of human life, linguistics links to every other field of study. As well as taking an extensive range of optional modules available within the School of English - such as literary linguistics, language teaching pedagogy, and creative writing - you can combine linguistics with other modules from across the University, including in human communication sciences, psychology, modern languages, computer science and mathematics.

Through the Centre for Linguistic Research, Sheffield's English Language and Linguistics programme has links to these other departments, and we encourage you to explore the area of language you are most passionate about.Book an open day

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Modules

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.

The modules listed below are examples from the last academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course. For the very latest module information, check with the department direct.

Choose a year to see modules for a level of study:

Title: English Language and Linguistics BA course structure
UCAS code: Q3Q1
Years: 2021

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

Your remaining credits can be chosen from our optional modules. Alternatively, you can take up to 40 credits in guided modules 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.

Try a new subject

The flexible structure of your first year at Sheffield means that you also have the chance to experience modules from outside of history - you can choose up to 40 credits of modules from a list approved by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. A provisional list of guided modules for 2020-21 is available here. A final guided module list is made available to new students when you select your modules as part of registration.

Core modules:

Varieties of English

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.

20 credits
The Sounds of English

This module is an introduction to the subdisciplines of Linguistics known as Phonetics and Phonology, focusing specifically on the sounds of the English language. It is designed to provide a solid understanding of how speech sounds are made and how they function in use. The lectures will present descriptions of English speech sounds and theories to explain their behaviour in a range of different accents and contexts, and the workshop classes will provide hands-on experience in using and thinking about the sounds of English. The module serves as an essential basis for more advanced linguistic study.

10 credits
The Structures of English

This module is an introduction to the syntax of natural languages, focussing on the syntactic structure of contemporary English. This module is intended as a sister module to the 10-credit 'Sounds of English' module, which runs in parallel. It is designed to provide a firm grounding in the descriptions of English sentence structure(s), and to introduce students to the main theories and methods of syntactic argumentation. The lectures will cover major topics in the formal description of English sentences, while the workshop classes will provide hands-on experience in analysing and thinking about sentence structure. The module serves as an essential basis for more advanced linguistic study.

10 credits
History of English

This module traces the history of the English language of 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.

20 credits
Linguistic Theory

This module explores how language is structured by examining central issues in linguistic theory, building upon the concepts introduced in EL112 Sounds of English and ELL113 Structure 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

20 credits

Optional modules:

Early Englishes

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, Beowulf and Piers Plowman). 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.

20 credits
Practical Stylistics

How are literary effects created through language? How can we describe these effects? This course will aim to provide literature students with a gentle introduction to language, and provide language students with experience of applying linguistic analysis to literary texts. The emphasis will be upon a practical hands-on approach, and topics covered will include sentence structure, lexical choice, cohesion, narrative structure, discourse analysis (with reference to drama and dialogue) and point of view in narrative fiction. The texts studied will be predominantly literary and twentieth century, and will include extracts from novels, plays, poetry and short stories.

20 credits

Other optional modules in the School of English

Contemporary Literature

This module introduces students to a diverse range of texts in English (prose, poetry, and film) with a focus on texts published since 2000. Texts will be chosen to provoke thinking and debate on urgent and controversial topics that might include: globalisation and neoliberalism; ecology and animal lives; artificial intelligence and the posthuman; 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 contemporary texts.

20 credits
Introduction to Creative Writing

The aim of this unit 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 expereince of being workshopped as well as to establish basic creative writing techniques on Level 1 to preparing students for the challenges of Creative Writing Level 2.

20 credits
Shakespeare

This unit 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.

20 credits
Introduction to Cinema

This module aims to study a cross-section of the most important American films up to the present day and to develop both a formalist and an institutional analysis of these works. Its intention is to study the growth of the classical Hollywood style, a matter of a sophisticated range of technical stratagems as well as of a genre-based cinema, and of the institution of Hollywood itself, the most significant force in cinema to-day.

20 credits
Studying Theatre: A History of Dramatic Texts in Performance

Covering classical, contemporary and popular texts, Studying Theatre; A History of Dramatic Text in Performance aims to turn an interest in theatre and theatre-going into a more thorough appreciation of the ways in which playwriting, acting, design and performance have shaped theatre's development. Each week students will study a particular play and the historical context that informed its first performances and its theatrical afterlife. The course emphasis is on theatre as a social practice and practical discipline. Seminars and lectures will focus on the play in performance, and the processes that underlie production. Students do not need previous knowledge or experience, but should be prepared to try some new approaches to texts, for example through practical workshops.

20 credits
Foundations in Literary Study: Biblical and Classical Sources in English Literature

This module provides foundational knowledge about the treatment of Biblical and Classical sources in English Literature. It is an important unit for the study of literature and the Humanities, preparing students for work at higher levels. Typically a Biblical or Classical source and a literary text will be discussed together, to expose a range of meanings and to prepare participants for their own research about both the Bible and Classical material as literature and the treatment of Bible and Classical material in Literature. It will also prepare students for independent research. It is recommended that all students of English take this module.

20 credits
Renaissance to Revolution

This module surveys the poetry and prose from the early modern period in England, i.e., that written between the beginnings of the sixteenth century through the seventeenth century to the late eighteenth century. 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 the culture, society, and politics of the period in which it was produced.

40 credits

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's 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. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.

Learning and assessment

Learning

You will learn through a mix of lectures and smaller group seminars. We keep seminar groups small because we believe that's the best way to stimulate discussion and debate. All students are assigned a personal tutor with whom they have regular meetings, and you are welcome to see any of the academic staff in their regular student consultations if there's anything you want to ask.

We invest to create the right environment for you. That means outstanding facilities, study spaces and support, including 24/7 online access to our online library service.

Study spaces and computers are available to offer you choice and flexibility for your study. Our five library sites give you access to over 1.3 million books and periodicals. You can access your library account and our rich digital collections from anywhere on or off campus. Other library services include study skills training to improve your grades, and tailored advice from experts in your subject.

Learning support facilities and library opening hours

Our staff are researchers, critics, and writers. They're also passionate, dedicated teachers who work tirelessly to ensure their students are inspired.

Assessment

In addition to writing essays and more traditional exams, our modules use a range of innovative assessments that can include designing websites, writing blog posts, delivering presentations and working with publishing software.

Programme specification

This tells you the aims and learning outcomes of this course and how these will be achieved and assessed.

Find programme specification for this course

Entry requirements

With Access Sheffield, you could qualify for additional consideration or an alternative offer - find out if you're eligible

Standard offer
Access Sheffield offer

The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
AAB

The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
ABB

A Levels + additional qualifications | ABB + B in the EPQ ABB + B in the EPQ

International Baccalaureate | 34 33

BTEC | DDD in a relevant subject DDD in a relevant subject

Scottish Highers | AAAAB AAABB

Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels | B + AA B + AB

Access to HE Diploma | 60 credits overall in a relevant subject, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 36 credits at Distinction and 9 credits at Merit 60 credits overall in a relevant subject, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 30 credits at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit

Mature students - explore other routes for mature students

English language requirements

You must demonstrate that your English is good enough for you to successfully complete your course. For this course we require: GCSE English Language at grade 4/C; IELTS grade of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component; or an alternative acceptable English language qualification

Equivalent English language qualifications

Visa and immigration requirements

Other requirements
  • Evidence of interest in language and linguistics, demonstrated through a personal statement is also required

We also accept a range of other UK qualifications and other EU/international qualifications.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

School of English

We're a research-intensive school with an international perspective on English studies. Students can specialise in their chosen subject, whilst taking modules from other programmes, forging interdisciplinary connections. We are famous for our pioneering work with communities, locally and internationally. We encourage our students to get involved and to apply their academic learning, working in partnership with external organisations both within the city of Sheffield and beyond.

Our staff are researchers, critics, and writers. They're also passionate, dedicated teachers who work tirelessly to ensure their students are inspired.

We keep seminar groups small because we believe that's the best way to stimulate discussion and debate. Our modules use a range of innovative assessments and can include designing websites, writing blog posts, and working with publishing software, in addition to writing essays and delivering presentations.

We're committed to providing our students with the pastoral support they need in order to thrive on their degree. All students are assigned a personal tutor with whom they have regular meetings. You are welcome to see any of the academic staff in their regular student consultations if there's anything you want to ask.

The School of English is based in the Jessop West building at the heart of the university campus, close to the Diamond and the Information Commons. We share the Jessop West Building with the Department of History and the School of Languages and Cultures.

School of English

Why choose Sheffield?

The University of Sheffield

  A Top 100 university 2021
QS World University Rankings

  Top 10% of all UK universities
Research Excellence Framework 2014

  No 1 Students' Union in the UK
Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2019, 2018, 2017


School of English

1st for research environment

Research Excellence Framework 2014


Graduate careers

School of English

The academic aptitude and personal skills that you develop on your degree will make you highly prized by employers, whatever your chosen career path after university:

  • Excellent oral and written communication
  • Independent working
  • Time management and organisation
  • Planning and researching written work
  • Articulating knowledge and understanding of texts, concepts and theories
  • Leading and participating in discussions
  • Negotiation and teamwork
  • Effectively conveying arguments and opinions and thinking creatively
  • Critical reasoning and analysis

Our graduates are confident and articulate. They have highly developed communication skills, equipping them for a wide range of careers in journalism, the charity sector, marketing and communications, theatre and television production, PR, copywriting, publishing, teaching, web development, accountancy, and speech and language therapy, among other fields.

Many of our students go on to postgraduate study, research, and an academic career.

Placement/study abroad

Work experience

You can study our courses with the Degree with Employment Experience option. This allows you to apply for a placement year during your degree where you’ll gain valuable experience and improve your employability.

Study abroad

There are opportunities to study abroad, for a semester or a year, as part of a three or four year degree programme. We have exchange agreements with universities in the USA, Australia, Canada, Singapore and throughout Europe.

Fees and funding

Fees

Additional costs

The annual fee for your course includes a number of items in addition to your tuition. If an item or activity is classed as a compulsory element for your course, it will normally be included in your tuition fee. There are also other costs which you may need to consider.

Examples of what’s included and excluded

Funding your study

Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for a bursary, scholarship or loan to help fund your study and enhance your learning experience.

Use our Student Funding Calculator to work out what you’re eligible for.

Visit us

University open days

There are four open days every year, usually in June, July, September and October. You can talk to staff and students, tour the campus and see inside the accommodation.

Open days: book your place

Taster days

At various times in the year we run online taster sessions to help Year 12 students experience what it is like to study at the University of Sheffield.

Upcoming taster sessions

Applicant days

If you've received an offer to study with us, we'll invite you to one of our applicant days, which take place between November and April. These applicant days have a strong department focus and give you the chance to really explore student life here, even if you've visited us before.

Campus tours

Campus tours run regularly throughout the year, at 1pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Book your place on a campus tour

Apply for this course

Make sure you've done everything you need to do before you apply.

How to apply When you're ready to apply, see the UCAS website:
www.ucas.com

The awarding body for this course is the University of Sheffield.

Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

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Explore this course:

    2022-2023