BA (Hons) English Language and Linguistics - University of Portsmouth
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BA (Hons)

English Language and Linguistics

UCAS codeQQ31

full time3yrs

placement option1yr

The English language in context

Course Overview

Why take this course?

Are you interested in analysing and using the English language in the real world? This course explores English in a broad range of real-life environments, giving you the ability to understand the ways in which the language works on listeners or readers, and skills in producing your own texts.

Plus, if you are interested in becoming a teacher of English as a foreign language, you can choose to follow a special strand which will lead to the award of the Trinity Certificate in TESOL.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Follow a professional teaching strand in English as a foreign language
  • Undertake work or research placements, volunteer roles and internships alongside your study
  • Take up the option of some foreign language study

What opportunities might it lead to?

The course gives you the opportunity to enhance your employability skills, reflect on the ways in which you've done so and  learn to express this to potential employers. You will develop communicative and professional skills used in careers across the private and public sectors. You may enhance your graduate employment opportunities, owing to our strong partnerships with organisations across the globe.


Shannon Thwaites, BA (Hons) English Language and Linguistics student

Being able to do the Trinity CertTESOL gave me a qualification that will allow me to get a job in many places around the world - and doing it part time gave me time to consolidate the knowledge I gained. Teaching units gave me knowledge and activities that are immediately practical in my classroom, while others gave me an in-depth understanding of the English Language. The support I received on the course and the standards of teaching were incredible. I really did learn something new every day!

Shannon Thwaites, BA (Hons) English Language and Linguistics student


English and Journalism

Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • Getting the chance to develop practical skills alongside learning the theory
  • The high-quality teaching and flexibility of options that enables you to tailor your course to your own interests
  • The passion and knowledge of the lecturers that makes studying so enjoyable

Browse all courses in English and Journalism

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Structure & Teaching

Year one

In the first year you will be introduced to the fundamentals of linguistic analysis and how to 'do things' with language. You will also learn the methods for carrying out language-based projects and how to properly report their findings. Emphasis is also placed on making sure that you become familiar with the conventions of academic writing in the area of English and linguistics. The first year consists of core courses to ensure that you have a firm foundation for further study.

  • Language, Society and Mind
  • Working with Texts
  • How Language Works
  • Language, Learning and Teaching
  • Studying at University (Studying the English Language)
  • Starting Language Research

Year two

You will refine the knowledge that you acquired in year one and become familiar with the subtle links between language structure and meaning. You will be working with a wide range of texts in order to understand and appreciate how language is used and manipulated in different contexts and for different purposes in the media, advertising, literature and so on.

  • English Forms & Functions
  • Meaning In English

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Analysing Media Discourse
  • Forensic Linguistics
  • Clinical Linguistics
  • Managing Across Cultures
  • TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)
  • Trinity Certificate Teaching Practice
  • Intercultural Perspectives on Communication
  • The Language of Literature
  • Second Language Acquisition
  • Foreign Language
  • Learning from Experience

Level 5 students accepted on the Cert TESOL must take TESOL and they must also take Trinity Certificate Teaching Practice. This unit may either be taken as part of the degree programme or as an additional unit. In this case an extra fee will be charged. Acceptance on to the Cert TESOL is based on meeting professional requirements.

Year three*

Year three focuses on communication theory and practice, as well as the way in which language is used in professional contexts. You will also be able to study the historical evolution of English, how it has become a global language and the varieties that have emerged as a result of its spread. You will also research your own topic for the dissertation with the help of a supervisor. This will form a substantial part of your work.

Core unit:

  • Dissertation

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Workplace Discourse
  • Researching English Vocabulary
  • English in an Historical Perspective
  • Writing to Persuade
  • Using Technology in Language Teaching
  • Creative Activities in the Language Classroom
  • Digital Communication
  • Gender, Language and Sexuality
  • English in the World
  • Introduction to Teaching
  • Learning from Experience Plus

We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.

*This course is also available as a 4-year sandwich (work placement)

Placement year

A great way to gain work experience, where you will spend the year working with a company or organisation, for a minimum of 30 weeks, in the UK or abroad. If you choose to do a Placement Year, this will be between your second and your final year of your course.


We provide a varied, creative and stimulating learning environment, with highly motivated and research active staff. You will take part in blended learning, with online activity supporting the knowledge and skills you gain via traditional class contact in lectures and seminars.

The time you spend in teaching activities may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:

  • Year one students: 21% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 79% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year two students: 23% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 77% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year three students: 8% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 92% studying independently and 0% on work placement


Our assessment methods are varied, with relatively few formal examinations. Most assessment is done through submission of essays, reports, case studies, book reviews or other pieces of written work. Some units are assessed by means of projects, which can be particularly useful to build up your career profile. Oral presentations are also occasionally used to ensure that you are able to present a topic of your choice in front of a small audience.

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year one students: 15% by written exams, 8% by practical exams and 77% by coursework
  • Year two students: 28% by written exams, 3% by practical exams and 69% by coursework
  • Year three students: 0% by written exams, 10% by practical exams and 90% by coursework

Tutor's view


Dr Mario Saraceni
English Language and Linguistics

You'll learn how English works as well as how it is used in practice in a variety of areas such as in the media, professional settings, literature and the courtroom.

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Facilities & Features

Research-Active Staff

You will be taught by specialist staff who are actively undertaking research in this field, ensuring you are kept abreast of the latest developments. Staff are members of the Centre for European and International Studies Research (CEISR).

Learning Resources Centre

You will have access to the Learning Resource Centre where you will be able to watch live satelite broadcasts, access our extensive foreign film and documentary archive, as well as books, magazines and other resources. There is also a multimedia workshop where you are able to create rich presentation and assignment materials such as videos and podcasts.


University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

Other costs to consider

For the study abroad or overseas placement, you will be required to pay all additional costs. These will be in the region of £1000.

You will also be required to meet any extra tuition costs for units of study that are taken outside of your agreed study abroad programme. These costs will be in the region of £200. The Trinity College London Certificate in TESOL can be taken as an additional unit for £320.

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Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Career prospects
Where next?

The knowledge and skills you will acquire on this course will be useful in a variety of fields including advertising, education, communication, media, marketing, publishing, and technical writing. If you choose the Teaching English as a Foreign Language pathway, you will be able to teach English as a foreign language anywhere in the world. In addition, this degree can also be your ideal springboard for postgraduate study.

Your time at the University of Portsmouth will also help you to develop a wide range of skills in analysis, criticism and argument. During your course, you will have the opportunity to develop transferable skills that are valued by prospective employers such as communication, research, time management, teamworking and problem solving.

Work experience

Work experience
Employment boosting opportunities

You will have the opportunity to find work experience related to your degree and enhance your employability skills, reflect on the ways in which you've done so and learn to express this to potential employers. You can do this through a placement year, where you may gain work experience with a company or organisation in the UK or abroad, or through the Learning from Experience (LiFE) unit, which lets you earn credits toward your degree for work/research placements, volunteer roles or internships undertaken alongside your studies. 

Career planning

Career planning

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

Graduate profile

My thesis focussed on patient doctor communication, and it was during my time researching this particular area that I decided that I wanted to go into medical communication. After graduating I began working for Oxford University, in the Nuffield Department of Population Health. Along with managing social media accounts, updating website content and publishing scientific research, I also created websites. I learnt to create films and how to edit video and audio footage, along with acting as an interim events coordinator. I had never imagined that I could have used my degree for such variety; it was challenging, exciting and certainly exceeded my expectations of my first graduate job.

I now work for the Oxford Martin School, a centre focussed on multidisciplinary research projects that address global challenges. Some examples of what I do now are: write news stories, update website content, liaise with journalist and manage social media content. Although I enjoy this role very much, I miss the scientific side and would very much like to learn more about medical communication in the way of journalism, so I have just applied to study a masters in Medical Humanities. If successful, I hope to use this qualification to gain a great understanding of the language side of science and medicine, whilst further developing my language skills; ideally, this will lead into medical journalism. The skills that I learnt as an undergraduate are invaluable, and the support received from tutors and my supervisor in particular, helped me gain the confidence to go into the field of work that I now love and enjoy so much.

Natasha Bowyer

Natasha Bowyer

Natasha Bowyer
BA (Hons) English Language and Linguistics

I had never imagined that I could have used my degree for such variety

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Apply now or visit us

Apply for 2018 entry

To apply, you'll need this course's UCAS code, which is at the top of this page, and the University of Portsmouth institution code – P80.

Apply now

After you apply, we'll invite you to an Applicant Experience Day where you’ll get to speak to lecturers and meet your future classmates.

Open Days for courses starting in 2019

Come to an Open Day and explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

Book your Open Day

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

University of Portsmouth
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Portsmouth PO1 2UP

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