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 English Language programme, you will be provided with a rigorous grounding in the analysis of the English language.

Thus 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 (e.g. word+image+sound) texts that predominate in contemporary and new 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 programme that you can personalise to your own requirements. We provide a set of carefully-designed core modules that guarantee 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 programme 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.

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.

The School prides itself on nurturing a friendly, personalised and supportive environment for its students, with staff spending a great deal of time at various points in the semester in individual one-to-one meetings with students.

Key facts

UCAS CodeQ313
Entry pointSeptember 2016
Duration3 years
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), excluding English Literature or English Language and Literature, or Creative Writing for English Literature degrees.
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.
QAA subject benchmark

The Programme that we offer cuts across three different Benchmark Statements: English Studies, Linguistics and Communication.

Admissions tutor(s)

Dr Michelle Aldridge-waddon, Admissions Tutor

Mrs Anna Birt, Course Administrator

Important Legal Information: The programme information currently being published in Course Finder is under review and may be subject to change. The final programme information is due to be published by May 2016 and will be the definitive programme outline which the University intends to offer. Applicants are advised to check the definitive programme information after the update, to ensure that the programme meets their needs.

The degree programme is organised in a way that provides the solid grounding needed to allow you to choose in an informed way from among the options available.

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

Year one

You will take 80 credits in  English Language and then the remaining 40 credits can all be taken in English Language, or you can choose to do up to 40 credits in either English Literature (excluding Creative Writing) or Philosophy, or 20 credits in each.

For English Literature you will require an A-level in English Literature, or English Literature and Language, or equivalent qualification.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Introduction To Human CommunicationSE110720 credits
Introduction To Language & SocietySE111020 credits
Introduction To Media CommunicationSE110820 credits
Introduction To LanguageSE110920 credits

Year two

The ten optional 'Foundation' modules in Year Two provide engaging introductions to a range of key areas of study in English Language: sociolinguistics, language and culture, language and mind, history of English, phonology, functional grammar, language and mind, 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
Sound, Structure and MeaningSE141120 credits
DiscourseSE136220 credits

Module titleModule codeCredits
Visual CommunicationSE137320 credits
SociolinguisticsSE136920 credits
Research MethodsSE131820 credits
History of EnglishSE139820 credits
Language & CultureSE140220 credits
Language & the MindSE140420 credits
Language & GenderSE140320 credits
International Study Abroad (60 credits) AutumnSE625160 credits
International Study Abroad (60 credits) SpringSE625260 credits
Words & MeaningSE137020 credits

Year three

The Year Three modules are offered in the subject areas in which staff are currently working, thus giving you a unique insight into some of the most up-to-date and innovative work in English language research. These modules also often require you to gather and analyse your own data. Currently the modules address areas such as communication disorders, forensic linguistics, persuasive communication, second language acquisition, language and ideology, digital literacy, health communication, stylistics, discourse of broadcasting, phonology, and language and ecology. There are also opportunities to undertake a project or dissertation in your chosen area of research.

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.

The Cardiff BA in English Language will be taught using the following methods:

  • Weekly lectures
  • Weekly small group seminars
  • Teaching via Virtual Learning Environments.

We use a variety of different forms of assessment, such as:

  • Academic essays
  • Project-based coursework
  • Formal written exams
  • Oral presentations
  • Research-based projects and dissertations
  • Technical exercises
  • Practical design and computer work

Many of our modules are 50% coursework and 50% exam but there are also many modules with 100% coursework.

The School of English, Communication and Philosophy provides its 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, TEFL, marketing and PR, sales and advertising, the civil service and public administration.

As a graduate in English Language at Cardiff you will have shown yourself to be able to:

  • Grasp complex issues with confidence
  • Ask the right questions of complex data and texts
  • Have an imaginative appreciation of different views and options
  • Analyse these critically and reflectively
  • Identify and apply relevant data
  • Propose imaginative solutions of your own that are rooted in evidence and critical analysis
  • Express yourself clearly, concisely and persuasively in writing and speech
  • Work to deadlines and priorities, managing a range of tasks at the same time
  • Articulate well-researched ideas with the right degree of assertiveness
  • Learn from constructive criticism and incorporate its insights in revising your work and in future work on different topics
  • Demonstrate enterprise and initiative in researching your topics and developing your point of view
  • Work as part of a team, developing qualities of respect for the ideas and arguments of others and a collaborative approach to inquiry and problem-solving
  • Develop a range of communicative skills, including the use of IT programmes and digital media, where appropriate

School of English, Communication and Philosophy 

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 graduation.


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


3 Year(s)

Next intake

September 2016

Places available

Typical places available

120 places for Single and Joint Hons programmes that include English Language.

Applications received

Typical applications received

There were 227 applications for the Single Hons BA English Language for entry 2013.


QAA subject benchmark

QAA subject benchmark

The Programme that we offer cuts across three different Benchmark Statements: English Studies, Linguistics and Communication.

Overview and aims of this course/programme

English Language is concerned with the structure, use and significance of language, with a particular focus on the English language as it is spoken and written across the world in many different social and professional settings. It studies spoken, written and multimodal texts but also how speakers and hearers learn, interpret and evaluate language and communicational contexts. Studying for a degree in English Language develops abilities to analyse and critique the language and communication that surrounds us but also helps develop strong skills in communicating clearly and effectively. English Language graduates are known for their ability to combine the best of social science skills, such as technical analysis and systematic method, with the best of humanities skills, such as flexibility, communication and critique.

The English Language programme at Cardiff combines a strong foundation in linguistic and communicational analysis with plenty of opportunities for students to pursue specific academic and career-related interests. We offer modules in descriptive traditions of language, such as the study of phonetics, grammar and child language, but also in critical traditions such as the study of discourse and the relation between language and power. We also offer a number of modules that are directly relevant to career areas in education, the media, health, and the legal process.

What should I know about year five?

Students are expected to attend and participate in lectures and seminars for all modules on which they are enrolled. They are expected to devote 200 hours of study to each 20-credit module, consisting in a combination of formal contact hours and independent study.  In line with University policy, attendance will be monitored at specific ‘points of engagement’ throughout the year.  Students with good cause to be absent should inform their module leaders, who will provide the necessary support.  Students with extenuating circumstances should submit the Extenuating Circumstances form in accordance with the University’s procedures.

Students are expected to adhere to the Cardiff University policy on Dignity at Work and Study.

How is this course/programme structured?

The programme is offered in full-time mode over three academic years or part-time mode over four to nine academic years.  360 credits are studied (120 credits per year).  The first year consists of 80 core credits (40 credits in English Language and 40 credits in Communication).  A further 40 credits are chosen from another Humanities subject group.  Students in their second year take 40 compulsory credits in Discourse and Sound, Structure and Meaning, plus a further 80 credits from the range of English Language modules available. Students in their final year choose all 120 credits from the range of English modules available.  Students must pass each academic year before being allowed to proceed.

What should I know about year four?

There is no specific equipment required to enable study on this Programme.

What should I know about year three?

Students will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are discipline specific and more generic ‘employability skills’.

What should I know about the preliminary year?

A diverse range of teaching and learning styles is used throughout the programme. Students attend lectures, participate in seminars and carry out independent research in preparation for each session. Modules usually last one semester and mostly consist in 2 lectures and 1 seminar per week, as well as independent study.

A few of the modules on the programme are core but most of the modules are optional. Students may take a project or dissertation in Year 3 if they meet the entry requirements as indicated in the Course Guide.

The learning activities will vary from module to module as appropriate, but may include such activities as: interactive lectures, seminar discussions of prepared texts/topics, student presentations or group presentations and small-group work within seminars. Students are expected to do the reading and other relevant preparation to enable them to take a full part in these activities and are encouraged to explore the resources of the library as appropriate.

In the final year of the degree students have the option of choosing to write a dissertation on a topic of particular interest to them.

What should I know about year one?


The taught modules within the programme are assessed through a variety of methods:

  • Traditional academic essays
  • Data-based essays
  • Projects involving data collection and transcription
  • Formal exams
  • Oral presentations
  • Practical creative projects

The form(s) of assessment for individual modules are set out in the relevant Module Description. Most modules are assessed by assessed essay and/or examination, but some include other forms of assessment such as design tasks or presentations. The assessment strategy is structured to lead students from specimen question papers towards the production of an informed answer. Emphasis in assessment is placed on the writing of clear, persuasive and scholarly essays presented in a professional manner and submitted on time. Details of any academic or competence standards which may limit the availability of adjustments or alternative assessments for disabled students are noted in the Module Descriptions.


Students will receive individual written feedback on written coursework and group written feedback on exams. Students are encouraged to discuss their ideas with module tutors in seminars and, where appropriate, on a one-to-one basis in office hours.

Other information

Every student is assigned a personal tutor and will meet him/her for regular Academic Progress Meetings (one per semester). There is a form to fill in before each Academic Progress meeting which is designed to help you reflect on the written feedback and the reasons for the marks you have received from the previous round of assessment. You will discuss this feedback and your reflections on it with your personal tutor.

In addition, all staff have weekly office hours during teaching weeks and students may make appointments to see their personal tutor or module leaders on a one-to-one basis about any issues. Staff may also be contacted by email. Details of the office hours and email addresses of staff are provided in the Module Guide for each module.

Use of Learning Central, the University’s Virtual Learning Environment, will vary from module to module as the module leader feels appropriate for the specific contents of the module but will normally at least include making lecture handouts available online.

Distinctive features

Graduates from this programme will be able to:

·                  Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of core areas of English language studies, including phonetics, grammar, semantics, pragmatics and discourse analysis

·                  Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a range of empirical linguistic phenomena and of the relevant descriptive terminology so as to have a practical understanding of what language is and how it works in actual use

·                  Demonstrate responsiveness to the central role of language in the creation of meaning and a sensitivity to the affective power of language

·                  Demonstrate awareness of how different social and cultural contexts affect the nature of language and meaning

·                  Critically evaluate ideas, arguments and empirical research

·                  Collect, evaluate, synthesise and interpret qualitative and/or quantitative data

How will I be taught?

We have a number of opportunities to study abroad in Europe and the United States, including Erasmus programmes.

Admissions tutors

Dr Michelle Aldridge-waddon, Admissions Tutor

Mrs Anna Birt, Course Administrator

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.


Get information and advice about making an application, find out when the key dates are and learn more about our admissions criteria.

How to apply
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