An 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 like doctor-patient interactions, interviewer-interviewee dialogues, and courtroom exchanges.
This course will give you the unique skillset of using data science to tackle these topics by engaging with tools such as analysing large corpora of texts, conducting experiments, statistical analysis, and machine learning. It will allow you to develop your research and IT skills by collecting and analysing linguistic data using state-of-the-art technology, and a combination of team-work and independent projects will enhance your communication, problem-solving, and management skills.
At Essex, you will acquire a broad foundation in the study of language. Our diverse research looks at this uniquely human phenomenon from several angles: the structures that exist in the world’s languages, the variation in how people speak them, how humans process and understand language, and how languages are learned and best taught.
If you have a global outlook, are interested in human interaction and want real-world practical skills, welcome home.
Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.
Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.
If you spend a full year abroad you’ll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won’t pay any tuition fees to your host university.
On a placement year you can gain relevant work experience within an external business, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. You will be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and our Employability and Careers Centre.
If you complete a placement year you’ll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.
Our expert staff
Our staff maintain excellent student-staff ratios with capped language-specific seminars.
In theoretical linguistics, Kyle Jerro and Hannah Gibson work on the structure of words and sentences, focusing on English and other languages while Faith Chiu, Yuni Kim and Nancy Kula work on sound structure.
In sociolinguistics, Peter Patrick, Rebecca Clift, Enam Al Wer and Ella Jeffries all work on different aspects of how language varies, and investigate which factors cause such variation. Peter is also involved in language rights, and offers expert opinions in asylum cases where language is used to determine origin.
In applied linguistics, Florence Myles, Monika Schmid, Hassan Khajavy, Karen Roehr-Brackin and Adela Gánem-Gutiérrez focus on the learning of second and further languages, whilst Tracey Costley, Christina Gkonou and Neophytos Mitsigkas focus on issues to do with the classroom teaching of English as a foreign language.
In psycholinguistics, Claire Delle Luche and Laurie Lawyer use experimental techniques such as eyetracking and EEG to understand how children learn language, how adults process language, and what happens when language ability is impaired by brain disorders or other factors (e.g. hearing impairment).
In all of these areas, we combine a theoretical approach with high-level, qualitative and quantitative, empirical and experimental technique; in particular, we have a strong interest in recent developments in inferential statistics.
The study of linguistics provides the opportunity for plenty of hands-on experience as well as theoretical work. You might be studying texts, listening to interviews, or analysing sounds, so we provide extensive facilities to allow you to fully engage with a wide variety of linguistic methods:
- Our ‘Visual World’ Experimental Lab records response times and eye movements when individuals are presented with pictures and videos
- Our Eye-Tracking Lab monitors eye movement of individuals performing tasks
- Our Psycholinguistics Lab measures how long it takes individuals to react to words, texts and sounds
- Our Linguistics Lab has specialist equipment to analyse sound
- 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
- Meet other language enthusiasts through our student-run Linguistics Society
The purpose of the BA Linguistics with Data Science is to boost your employability by equipping you with solid foundations in the skills needed to work in the digital economy while also providing you with the substantial content of a linguistics degree that is valued by employers for its transferable skills relating to communication ability, critical and thinking skills as well as the broad cultural and social knowledge needed to analyse and curate content for social media.
Our Department’s graduates have gone on to have careers in a wide variety of fields, including teaching, journalism,, advertising, marketing, travel, communications, publishing, speech and language therapy, and business administration.
For example, some of our department’s recent graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of high-profile companies including:
- The British Council
- English in Action
- Cambridge University Press
- Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
- Royal Bank of Scotland
- Norfolk Constabulary
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
- You’ll receive a unique skillset combining data science analytics with thorough linguistic comprehension
- We’re a leading UK university for language and linguistics research (REF 2014) and were recently ranked 13th in the UK for Linguistics in the QS World University Rankings by Subject (2020)
- To study on our course, you don’t need an English A-Level; our courses are designed to take you from the ground up – our courses are about what you can learn, not what you already know
Our BA Linguistics with Data Science example course structure is still being finalised. We will update this information when the course and its modules have final approval.
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.
On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree. Our Programme Specification gives more detail about modules on your year abroad.
- Teaching is arranged to allow freedom in how you organise your learning experience
- Examples of practical work include digitally recording dialect speakers in a small traditional fishing community, or scouring digitised child language databanks
- Other teaching methods include lectures, demonstrations and learning by teaching others
- In your final year, you conduct research on a topic chosen with one of your lecturers, for your dissertation. Your lecturer supports you throughout your project and is an expert in the research area.
- You’re assessed through a combination of coursework (assignments, essays and tests) and end-of-year examinations.
- Weighted 50% coursework and 50% exams depending on which modules you choose.
- Other assessment methods include quizzes, presentations, portfolios, group work, and projects.