Your first year at Essex studying BA Language Studies and Linguistics (including Foundation Year) will be with Essex Pathways. In your second year of study, you will join the Department of Language and Linguistics for the remaining three years of study.
Explore both the theoretical aspects of the language we use, and acquire the practical ability to speak another language. Any understanding of language enhances our self-awareness, inspiring us to address fundamental questions about our communication as human beings.
Linguistics is an increasingly important subject, impacting on areas in psychology, philosophy, education and artificial intelligence. It has real-world applications in such diverse fields as human rights, computer-assisted language learning, and the study of institutional language in settings such as doctor-patient interactions and interviewer-interviewee dialogues.
You will explore a wide range of core topics in linguistics, mastering key concepts in phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics, and also investigate specialist areas including:
- Multilingualism and language impairment
- Language, identity and gender
- Metaphor, irony and style
- Language and the mind
- American languages
You also study up to two of the languages offered at Essex: French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese, completing at least one language to a minimum of Proficiency level. These languages are widely used in the business world, and so having acquired near fluency, many of our graduates go on to develop successful global careers with international firms.
We also offer a month-long summer course with fees paid for by us if you start a language from scratch via the intensive route.
We are a place where talented students become part of an academic community in which the majority of research is rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, placing us firmly within the top 10 departments in the UK (REF 2014).
If you want a global outlook, are interested in human communication, and want to study for a degree with real-world practical value in a world-class department, welcome home.
Our expert staff
Our staff are internationally renowned. Their books are often found as key texts on reading lists at other universities and are used as the basis of our teaching in the Department. All our language teachers are native or bilingual speakers, we maintain excellent student-staff ratios, and we language learning is integrated with linguistics in this joint course.
In addition to helping you acquire practical foreign language skills, our staff share their expertise with you in the areas of professional translation, interpreting and subtitling, film and art, business, and culture.
- Access to multimedia language teaching labs which are fitted with computers integrating audio-visual projectors and large screens and equipped with WinCaps software for subtitling
- A Conference Interpreting lab for training and hosting students interpreting conferences
- An exciting programme of research seminars and other events
- Our Albert Sloman Library houses a strong collection of books, journals, electronic resources and major archives
- Our Languages for All programme offers you the opportunity to study an additional language alongside your course at no extra cost
Companies and organisations in the UK and abroad are struggling to find university graduates who are fluent in at least one other language, apart from English.
Being an Essex modern languages graduate places you in a very advantageous position. You will be able to speak and write fluently, or to a very competent standard, in up to two languages.
Our graduates go on to become teachers, translators, administrators and journalists amongst other jobs. The language skills they acquire enable them to work in diverse fields including banking, entertainment, media, education and tourism, as well as for a host of UK and international companies.
For example, one of our recent graduates is now a newspaper editor in Spain, while another teaches modern languages in Southampton.
We also work with the University’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
Why we’re great
- Great flexibility and choice: You can study up to two languages choosing between French, German, Portuguese*, Italian and Spanish from beginner or post-A level.
- You are taught by lecturers who are internationally recognised for their research.
- You will combine practical language study to a high level with a current, relevant academic discipline.
The nature of this course is such that your individual programme will differ depending upon your pre-existing language qualifications/ the language(s) you choose to study during your course. Below is just one example structure from the current academic year of a combination of modules you could take.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed are subject to change. To view the compulsory modules and full list of optional modules currently on offer, please view the programme specification.
Teaching and learning disclaimer
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.
- Teaching methods include lectures, presentations and learning by teaching others
- Assessment is by a combination of coursework (assignments, essays, presentations and tests) and end-of-year examinations
- Other assessment methods include quizzes, presentations, portfolios, group work, and projects