What do you need to know about the English language to teach it? How do you teach English in a variety of different contexts? Do you want to understand more about the types of contexts English Language teachers work in? Do you want to graduate with a professional qualification as well as a degree? Are you interested in starting a career in TEFL and in English Language Teaching in the UK as well as in international contexts?
You explore a broad range of topics that give you a thorough grounding in English language, teaching methodologies as well as practical training in TEFL. You study topics including:
- Second language learning
- Foundations of TEFL
- Language in Society
- Practical training in TEFL methods linguistics and sociolinguistics
- The structure of the English language
In each year it is possible to take a modern foreign language option, if you wish, instead of an English language option.
In your second year, you take three practical TEFL modules where you learn about teaching methodology, receive guided preparation sessions, and engage in teaching practice. Taken together, these modules are worth 60 credits and provide the content required for a TEFL-initiate qualification. On successful completion, you’re awarded a stand-alone certificate in TEFL which will help you start your teaching career.
We are a leading UK university for language and linguistics research (REF 2014), 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.
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 to Essex.
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 placements team.
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.
- 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
Studying language and linguistics allows 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 enhances your communication, problem-solving, and management skills.
Graduates of our department have gone on to have careers in a wide variety of fields, including teaching (in the UK and abroad), journalism, branding, advertising, marketing, travel, communications, publishing, speech and occupational therapy, interpreting, translating and media.
For example, one of our department’s recent graduates is now an Assistant Editor at Scholastic, whilst another teaches English in South Korea. Other graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of high-profile companies including:
- The British Council
- English in Action
- Cambridge University Press
- Macmillan Publishers
- Cambridge University Press
- Decisive Media Ltd
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
- In your second year, you take teaching practice modules. On successful completion, these give you practical experience and a TEFL-initiate qualification recognised by the British Council.
- You are taught by lecturers who are internationally recognised for their research.
- Tailor your degree to suit your interests and career goals thanks to our wide range of optional modules
We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.
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
- 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.