English Language (BA)

English Language at Cardiff has a distinctive character. As well as providing you with a rigorous grounding in the analysis of the English language, this course will train you to analyse multimodal forms of communication – word, image and sound - that predominate in contemporary media.

English language at Cardiff has a distinctive character. As would be expected of any good course, you will be provided with a rigorous grounding in the analysis of the language.

You will learn such essential linguistic tools as phonetics, grammar and discourse analysis from those who are helping develop those fields. Since we take a broad approach to language, you will also learn how to analyse the types of multimodal texts (for example combining word, image and sound) that predominate in contemporary media.

Language analysis, though, is just the starting point. What makes Cardiff special is our focus on the intersection of language with culture, society, politics and mind. While arming you with technical skills of analysis, we then expect you to grapple with exciting theories that will enable you to take into account the multifarious aspects of the context of language use and interpret the communication in a complex and meaningful way.

We aim to provide a course that you can personalise to your own requirements. We provide a set of carefully-designed core modules that offer a solid base for all, but then allow you, with advice from your personal tutor, to carve out a programme that will best fit your interests and career aspirations.

The course is organised to match a wide range of relevant career options. As a student in the School of English, Communication and Philosophy at Cardiff you will be taught by leading researchers in the subject.

We pride ourselves on nurturing a friendly, personalised and supportive environment for our students, with staff spending a great deal of time at various points in the semester in individual one-to-one meetings with students.

Distinctive features

The distinctive features of the course include:

  • core modules that offer a solid base for all but then allow you, with advice from your personal tutor, to carve out a programme that will best fit your interests and career aspirations
  • teaching by leading researchers in the subject
  • individual meetings with academic staff, supportive academic progress meetings with your personal tutor and an opportunity to attend research seminars and careers activities

I've really enjoyed studying at Cardiff, due mainly to the fantastic variety of interesting modules on offer. With modules on sounds of speech, accents and dialects to the visual communication of advertising, to the history of the language from Celtic varieties to Present Day English, there's a module for everyone.

Adam Duce, BA English Language

Key facts

UCAS CodeQ313
Next intakeSeptember 2017
Duration3 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School of English, Communication and Philosophy typically has 350 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School of English, Communication and Philosophy typically receives 1450 applications.
Typical A level offerABB (General Studies is not accepted).
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerWBQ core will be accepted in lieu of one A-level (at the grades specified above).
Typical International Baccalaureate offer34 points including 6,5,5 in Higher Level subjects.
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Specific admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme can be found online. Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course
Admissions tutor(s)

This full-time course lasts for three years with two semesters per year. There are 120 credits a year. Most modules are worth 20 credits.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2017/18 academic year. The final modules will be published by July 2017.

Year one

Two core modules, Introduction to Language and Introduction to Language & Society, provide an excellent grounding in language description, analysis and interpretation, and in sociolinguistics. You will then choose from four optional modules to complete your credit requirement.

If you wish, you can choose to study up to two modules in English literature and/or philosophy instead of those listed above.

Year two

Two core modules cover all the essential elements of phonetics, grammar and lexical semantics (word meaning), and all the major theories of discourse analysis, building a common stock of knowledge and understanding.

The optional ‘foundation’ modules in year two provide engaging introductions to a range of key areas of study in English language. Topics currently include sociolinguistics, language and culture, history of English, child language development, language and gender, research methods, stylistics and others.

The training provided by these modules prepares you to make your choice from among the more specialised, research-led ‘extension’ modules available in year three.


Module titleModule codeCredits
DiscourseSE136220 credits
Sound, Structure and MeaningSE141120 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
SociolinguisticsSE136920 credits
Research MethodsSE131820 credits
History of EnglishSE139820 credits
Language & CultureSE140220 credits
Language & GenderSE140320 credits
International Study Abroad (60 credits) SpringSE625260 credits
Words & MeaningSE137020 credits
Style & GenreSE141620 credits
Chivalry and Subversion in Medieval LiteratureSE246420 credits
Children, Language & CommunicationSE131220 credits
The Robin Hood TraditionSE236720 credits
Reading Old EnglishSE244120 credits

Year three

Third year modules are offered in the subject areas in which staff are currently working, giving you unique insight into some of the most up-to-date and innovative work in English language research. These modules often require you to gather and analyse your own data.

Currently the modules address areas such as communication disorders, forensic linguistics, persuasive communication, language learning and teaching, language and ideology, corpus linguistics, phonology and media discourse.

There are also opportunities to undertake a project (20 credits) or extended dissertation (40 credits) in your chosen area of research (subject to performance in year two).

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

We offer a supportive learning environment, where you are enabled to acquire a range of skills and a wealth of specialist knowledge. Our courses foster intellectual skills such as critical thinking, close analysis, evaluating evidence, constructing arguments, using theory and the effective deployment of language in writing and in debate. We also help you gain experience in team working, independent research and time management

You will be taught both by lecture and seminar. Lectures provide an overview of the key concepts and frameworks for a topic, equipping you to carry out independent research for the seminars and to develop your own ideas. Seminars provide an opportunity for you to explore the ideas outlined in the lectures.

Seminars usually consist of about 15 students and the seminar leader (a member of the teaching team). Seminars may take various formats, including plenary group discussion, small-group work and student-led presentations.

How will I be supported?

Your scheduled contact hours will be supplemented by the opportunity for individual meetings with academic staff, by supportive academic progress meetings with your personal tutor and by the opportunity to attend research seminars and careers activities.

You will have access through the Learning Central website to relevant multimedia material, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion circles.

The University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.


We’ll provide you with frequent feedback on your work. This comes in a variety of formats including oral feedback during tutorials, personalised feedback on written work, feedback lectures, generic written feedback and feedback on tutorial performance

Coursework will be marked by your module tutor and your tutor will give you written feedback on your work. You will also have a feedback class after each assessment. Students will be given general feedback in relation to examinations following the May/June examination period and you will be able to discuss your overall performance with your personal tutor as part of the monitored student self-assessment scheme.

How will I be assessed?

A range of formative and summative assessment methods are used, including essays, examinations, presentations, portfolios and creative assignments.

Essays and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing your capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments. Dedicated essay workshops and individual advice enable you to produce your best work, while written feedback on essays feeds forward into future work, enabling you to develop your strengths and address any weaker areas.

The optional final-year dissertation provides you with the opportunity to investigate a specific topic of interest to you in depth and to acquire detailed knowledge about a particular field of study, to use your initiative in the collection and presentation of material and present a clear, cogent argument and draw appropriate conclusions.

What skills will I practise and develop?

As a result of engaging fully with this course, you will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are discipline specific and more generic ‘employability skills’. These will allow you to:

  • grasp complex issues with confidence
  • ask the right questions of complex texts
  • have an imaginative appreciation of different views and options and analyse these critically
  • identify and apply relevant data
  • propose imaginative solutions of your own that are rooted in evidence
  • communicate clearly, concisely and persuasively in writing and speech
  • work to deadlines and priorities, managing a range of tasks at the same time
  • learn from constructive criticism and incorporate its insights
  • work as part of a team, developing a collaborative approach to problem-solving
  • use IT programmes and digital media, where appropriate
  • take responsibility for your own learning programme and professional development

We provide our students with a highly satisfying academic experience that assists their development as critically-minded, culturally-aware citizens whose high analytic skills, powers of expression and progressive self-reliance make them extremely attractive to employers.

Degrees in English Language combine the best of humanities skills (flexibility, communication, critique) and social science skills (technical analysis and systematic method). Common destinations include primary and secondary school teaching, teaching English as a foreign language, (digital) journalism, marketing and public relations, sales and advertising, the civil service and public administration.

In 2013/14, 91% of the School’s graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduating.



  • Speech & Language Therapy Assistant
  • Writer
  • Teacher
  • Lecturer
  • Research Assistant
  • Reporter

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2017/18)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Students from outside the EU (2017/18)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

You will not need any specific equipment.

Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.