Linguistics BA

Year of entry

2024 course information

Open Days 2024

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2025
Delivery type
On campus
3 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBC at A Level and pass Access to Leeds
Full entry requirements

Course overview

Students in the Language Zone

Linguistics is the scientific study of language, exploring language structure, language use in sociocultural contexts and the representation of language in the mind, as well as explaining mechanisms of language production and transmission of sounds.

Language plays a pivotal role in all human affairs, and this degree will introduce you to the fundamentals of understanding how it works, including theories of grammar and the production of speech sounds.

On this course, you’ll choose from a range of optional modules to pursue the areas that interest you. You can study in more depth topics such as how children acquire language, how bilinguals process two languages and how language changes over time. You could also explore issues around how language is used in different social contexts, or for different types of discourse such as social media or more formal written communication.

Combining theoretical study with both quantitative and qualitative research experience, including learning how to collect your own data, this course equips you with a wide range of skills as well as a deep and broad understanding of a crucial facet of human behaviour.

Specialist facilities

Leeds has fantastic resources for studying a linguistics degree, with a unique focus on understanding speech production and interaction. Our facilities include a fully equipped phonetics lab for speech analysis, a recording studio and a range of other resources to help with experimental and corpus-based research.

You'll be encouraged to make use of these facilities for module projects or your Final Year Project, giving you valuable experience of different types of research, and helping you develop useful transferable skills to support your future employability.

Our libraries are valuable assets for your studies, including archives of specialist manuscripts, and a huge range of digital sources, books, journals and corpora of written and spoken language. You’ll have access to free classes and workshops on how to use these resources to provide you with excellent digital literacy skills.

Take a look around our libraries:

Course details

In Year 1, you’ll take compulsory modules introducing you to the main principles of linguistics. You’ll also select from a choice of discovery modules from other courses within the school or across the University.

It’s all valuable knowledge for you to build upon in Year 2, when you’ll take compulsory modules on phonetics and syntax. You’ll then choose from a range of optional modules, covering three key broad areas:

  • formal analysis of language structure and sound

  • language processing, development and evolution

  • discourse studies and sociolinguistics

You’ll continue to benefit from the range of choice on offer in Year 3, selecting optional modules and pursuing independent research to present in your Final Year Project.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

Year 1 compulsory modules

Languages of the World (20 credits) - This module introduces you to varieties of English and non-English languages. You’ll develop key transferable skills of teamwork and group presentations as well as discipline-specific language analysis skills and presentation of linguistic examples. You’ll communicate the results of your research in the form of verbal presentations and written reports. You’ll also co-organise a conference and write an individual report on a language variety of your choice.

Language: Meaning and Use (20 credits) - This module introduces you to the scientific study of language use. It covers how language is acquired (language acquisition) and processed in the mind (psycholinguistics), how meaning is conveyed through language (semantics and pragmatics), and how language use varies across time, geographical areas and social settings (sociolinguistics). You'll be confronted with language data from English and other languages, and gain an understanding of how skills in linguistic analysis can be applied to a range of social and psychological phenomena.

Key Skills in Linguistics (20 credits) - The module introduces you to over-arching ideas in academic study and to specific study skills and critical approaches you'll need during their undergraduate course. Topics covered include thinking critically, writing and reading in academic study, referencing others' work, gathering data for linguistic research and basic research methods in linguistics and phonetics.

Language: Structure and Sound (20 credits) - This module introduces you to the scientific study of language structure and speech sounds. It covers core concepts in linguistics and phonetics, focusing on how speech sounds are produced (phonetics) and function as part of the sound systems of languages (phonology), on the internal structure of words (morphology) and on the internal structure of sentences (syntax). You'll gain insights into how language and speech work, and how language and speech patterns vary across the world’s languages.

Year 2 compulsory modules

Phonetics (20 credits) - This module looks at how the human vocal mechanism works to produce the sounds we observe in the world’s languages. You’ll learn how to describe and classify speech sounds on the basis of their articulatory characteristics. Some basic concepts in acoustic phonetic analysis are introduced. You’ll also learn how to use the International Phonetic Alphabet to transcribe speech sounds, and are trained in the production and perception of the sounds associated with the Alphabet’s symbols.

Syntax (20 credits) - This module introduces you to principles of syntactic theory and trains you to carry out basic practical syntactic analysis with reference to English and other languages. You’ll gain a better understanding of the language(s) they speak, and become aware of the often surprising structural similarities between languages. The module introduces you to formal systems and develops your ability to build an argument and to identify supporting or conflicting evidence.

Year 2 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Psycholinguistics (20 credits) - This modules focuses on non-human communication, innateness and the biological basis for language and language acquisition. In exploring these issues, several important questions are addressed, such as: Are humans biologically endowed with the capacity for language? How do children acquire language? What can we learn about the way the brain processes language by looking at language and other cognitive impairments? The module provides a foundation for further, more specialised study of psycholinguistic topics.

The Life Cycle of Languages (20 credits) - This module introduces you to the major issues concerning language origins, diversity, endangerment and death. Topics covered include: language origins and evolution, biological models of evolution and biodiversity as they apply to languages, linguistic diversity, language and population genetics, social, historical and political factors leading to language endangerment and death, and language documentation and revitalisation.

Language and Gender (20 credits) - This module explores the relationship between language, gender and sexualities by engaging with (English) texts and media that sustain cultural ideas about gendered identities. The module specifically considers the suggestion that men and women use spoken language in different ways, taking into account early approaches to work in the field of language and gender. The module also covers areas of spoken and written language that contribute to the construction of ideas about masculinity and femininity against a backdrop of heteronormativity and cultural assumptions about gendered roles.

Year 3 compulsory modules

Language Dissertation (40 credits) - You’ll carry out and complete a piece of original research in linguistics guided by a supervisor, thus gaining in-depth knowledge of a specific area chosen by themselves.

Year 3 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Languages in Contact (20 credits) - This module enhances your understanding of languages in contact. It also develops a set of critical as well as creative skills in relation to bilingual and multilingual practices so that you’ll be able to understand what it means to know and use multiple languages. The emphasis in this module is on cognitive, pragmatic and sociolinguistic aspects of language contact, interrogated through examples from multilingual realities in Europe and beyond.

Experimental Syntax (20 credits) - This module develops advanced research and analytical skills in generative syntax. Looking at data from English and other languages, you’ll investigate theories of argument structure, thematic relations, anaphora and movement. You’ll also explore how theoretical predictions can be tested experimentally, using empirical data from child or adult language acquisition, language processing, or language impairments.

Language and Gender (20 credits) - This module explores the relationship between language, gender and sexualities by engaging with (English) texts and media that sustain cultural ideas about gendered identities. The module specifically considers the suggestion that men and women use spoken language in different ways, taking into account early approaches to work in the field of language and gender. The module also covers areas of spoken and written language that contribute to the construction of ideas about masculinity and femininity against a backdrop of heteronormativity and cultural assumptions about gendered roles.

Discovery modules

Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area. This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

Our tutors are experts in their fields and are leaders in their areas of research. You'll benefit from their knowledge and experience through a wide variety of learning and teaching methods including lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops.

Our teaching is highly interactive and research-based, with a rich mix of face-to-face work and high-quality innovative and digital technology-based activities, to ensure an inclusive and rewarding learning environment.

Independent study is also an important part of the degree, since it gives you the chance to work on your research skills and think critically about what you find. We offer plenty of support and the University library offers great training courses to help you make the most of our excellent resources.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


We use a variety of types of assessment including: essays, exams, research projects and analysis tasks. In some modules you may also be assessed on components using group work or oral presentations.

We offer support in these areas as well, including extra classes on skills such as public speaking, structuring essays and exam technique, that you’ll be able to attend throughout your course.

We build substantial formative practice into our teaching, ensuring students are well prepared for final assessments. We ensure topics are relevant, useful and interesting, based on contemporary questions around authentic uses of language, and flexible enough to be engaging to all our students.

Entry requirements

A-level: ABB

Other course specific tests:

Where an applicant is taking the EPQ in a relevant subject this might be considered alongside other Level 3 qualifications and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you are taking A Levels, this would be BBB at A Level and grade A in the EPQ.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Pass diploma with 60 credits overall, including at least 45 credits at level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. An interview and a piece of written work may also be required.



Cambridge Pre-U

M1, M1, M2 to D3, M1, M2 preferably including a foreign language

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall with 16 at Higher Level

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

H2 H2 H2 H3 H3 H3

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

BB in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers OR B in Advanced Highers and AAABB in Highers OR AABBBB in Highers TO AB in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers OR A in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers OR AAAABB in Highers

Welsh Baccalaureate

The Welsh Baccalaureate is not typically included in the academic conditions of an offer made to you for this course. If you choose to undertake the Welsh Baccalaureate we would strongly encourage you to draw upon these experiences within your personal statement, as your qualification will then be taken into account both when your application is initially considered by the selection panel and again when reviewed by the admissions tutor at the time your A-level results are passed to us.

Other Qualifications

European Baccalaureate: 75%

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is a contextual admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and contextual admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds offer: BBC at A Level and pass Access to Leeds.

Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year

This course is designed for students whose backgrounds mean they are less likely to attend university (also known as widening participation backgrounds) and who do not currently meet admissions criteria for direct entry to a degree.

The course will give you the opportunity to be taught by academic staff and provides intensive support to enable your development of academic skills and knowledge. On successful completion of your foundation year, you will progress to your chosen degree course. Find out more about the Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year course.


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. Contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: To be confirmed

International: To be confirmed

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will be £9,250 for students starting in 2024/25.

The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only, as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2025/26
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students starting in 2025/26 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. When the fee is available we will update individual course pages.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2024/25 and 2025/26
Tuition fees for international students for 2024/25 are available on individual course pages. Fees for students starting in 2025/26 will be available from September 2024.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

Read our guidance about applying.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

School of Languages, Cultures and Societies

Contact us

School of Languages, Cultures and Societies Undergraduate Admissions


Career opportunities

A linguistics degree will equip you with a wide range of skills. You’ll be able to study different approaches, some of which will be more arts-focused and others more science-oriented. It means you can cultivate skills in several areas that employers highly value.

You’ll be able to study and analyse different types of data, both qualitative and quantitative, test your hypotheses and use technology to solve problems. You’ll also be a critical thinker with an advanced understanding of communication.

As a result, graduates have gone into a range of careers including: coding, data analytics, advertising, education, marketing, human resource management, publishing, broadcasting, journalism, PR, tourism and the civil service.

Others have studied for a postgraduate qualification in Linguistics to pursue a linguistics-based career or to prepare for PhD study, or undertaken further training in careers such as law, teaching, speech and language therapy, forensic linguistics, and speech technology.

We are committed to helping you achieve your career ambitions. The School of Languages, Cultures and Societies careers and employability support includes promoting internships, providing opportunities to work for the School and employer-led workshops and events.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons University of Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers. In linguistics, we embed employability skills training and advice into key modules, including your Final Year Project, to enhance your student employability options.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

Specialised online platforms, such as Leeds PebblePad, offer you a unique tailored resource to help you build up a useful record of skills and expertise, ready to launch you into the workplace.

The School of Languages, Cultures and Societies regularly hosts employability events where you can listen to Leeds alumni talking about their careers and ask them for advice.

Study abroad and work placements

When studying linguistics and phonetics, or combining linguistics with English language or philosophy, you'll have the opportunity to spend time abroad. This is usually an extra academic year taken after your second year of study and extending your degree to four years.

Find out more about a residence abroad.

Recent students have secured employed and volunteer placements at a leading autism research centre, a major producer of alcoholic beverages in Paris, a speech and language therapy clinic, and at primary and secondary schools in the UK and internationally.

Find out more about work placement opportunities.