Undergraduate BA (Hons)

English Language

School of Arts and Media




Three year

Next enrolment

September 2019

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In a nutshell

Life without language is unthinkable because language is definitional to being human, and the more we understand about it, the more we understand about our nature and identity. This exciting course focuses on the properties, varieties, history, as well as acquisition and use of the English language, and how it relates to other human faculties. In studying these themes, you will study English—and language overall—as a cultural, social and psychological phenomenon.

During the course, you will be given the skills and specialist knowledge required to analyse the English language from different perspectives: how it is structured and acquired, how it varies across speakers and geographic regions, how it influences the way in which we communicate with others and think about the world, and how it is used in context.

You will develop hands-on experience in collecting and identifying patterns in English language data and texts, and learn to critically analyse evidence and arguments. You will also acquire key skills for employability in research methodologies, information technology, critical thinking, and written and oral communication.

This course is just one of our English and Creative Writing programmes, which have risen ten places in the 2020 Guardian university league tables. What's more, overall satisfaction with the course among students is 91% (University of Salford analysis of unpublished NSS 2019 data).

You will:
  • Appreciate how the study of English language draws on and informs other academic disciplines such as psychology, sociology, communication and history, as well as areas of applied interest such as teaching and the creative industries
  • Learn from a dedicated team of internationally recognised researchers with an excellent track record in research-led teaching and student support
  • Develop a strong skillset for success and transferable knowledge most valued by employers in today’s job market

students accepted

This is for you if...


You are interested in the study of language in general, and English in particular


You have a passion for the written word and have an active, analytical mind


You are looking for a route to a variety of rewarding careers

Course details

All about the course

The flexible structure of this course is designed to give you a thorough foundation in English language in the first year of study, and then to allow you to specialise or to study the full breadth of the subject in the second and third years. This flexibility allows you to tailor your degree to suit your developing interests and career goals.

The course covers a range of aspects of the study of language including topics specific to the description of English. You can also choose to study ‘outside’ modules in English Literature and Creative Writing, as well as a modern foreign language. This can be an excellent opportunity to develop a broad range of skills that will further enhance your employability.

If you are interested in travelling and broadening your experience, this course also offers you the opportunity to complete part of your programme of study at one of our European partner institutions under the ERASMUS exchange scheme.

Year one

Foundations of Language I

This module is a basic introduction to the grammatical properties and sound patterns of English. It starts with the description of speech sounds, it moves to the study of word structure, and it ends with a description of the basic architecture of sentences in the language and develop the ability to discuss language in relation to its historical and social contexts.

Foundations of Language II

Communication is possible because languages are meaningful. This module offers a general introduction to the concepts and methods in the study of meaning and its role in human communication. You will examine how meaning is conveyed in language and how context affects the way in which sentences are understood.

Varieties of English

Do you think you have an accent? This module will show you that you do! Starting with an investigation of the difference between an accent and a dialect, you will examine the structure of a number of different varieties of English and will consider how these fit into the wider study of English Language.

Language through Literature

You will be introduced to the social and cultural history of the English language and explore the ways in which linguistic theories can inform textual interpretation. You will examine historical and ongoing changes in the uses of English words and develop the ability to discuss language in relation to its historical and social contexts.

Psychology of Language

This module will introduce you to the psychological underpinnings of language acquisition, comprehension and production. You will gain hands-on experience of experimental methods and develop an understanding of the mental processes and representations involved in learning and using language.

Researching English Language

This module will equip you with an understanding of how English language as an academic field of enquiry developed and introduce you to a number of the sub-disciplines of linguistic study. It will also foster an appreciation of how research in English language and linguistics is carried out, enabling you to understand how original research impacts upon the body of linguistic knowledge and see the direct links between the discipline, the skills it develops and the world of work.

Year two

Structure of English

Starting from an investigation of a wide range of grammatical phenomena and constructions in modern standard English, you will develop a firm grounding in the analysis of the structure of English sentences. You will learn how to analyse and think critically about data, how to formulate rules and hypotheses, and how to test them.

History and Diversity in English

You will be introduced to key periods in the history of the English language and characteristic features of the language in these periods. You will explore language change with reference to the different levels of language and regional variation and change in English dialects.

Sounds of English

The sound system of English is organised by subconscious principles that shape the content of speech sounds and their patterns of occurrence. This module introduces you to the sounds of speech, syllable structure and word stress in English. You will learn how to describe and classify consonants and vowels, transcribe speech sounds, and identify and analyse syllable structure and word stress.

Truth and Meaning

How can we understand the meaning of sentences we have never heard before? You will examine the role that truth plays in the study of meaning, and learn how to analyse the meaning of English words and sentences. The module will also prepare you to seek answers to further questions about meaning in English.

You will also choose two modules from the below:

Language in Society

This module will introduce you to the intricate relationship between language use and aspects of social structure. Building on the work done in previous modules, you will examine the role of linguistic variation in the negotiation and construction of individual and group identity. Topics studied include multilingualism, bilingualism, language contact and language change.

Corpus Approaches to Language

The British National Corpus is a vast collection of over 4,000 English texts, providing a unique record of contemporary spoken and written English. In this module you will gain hands-on experience in using this and other computer-based corpora of English to answer questions about language structure and use.

Attitudes to English

This module will trace the origins and development of prescriptive attitudes and linguistic insecurity, and the extent to which these ideas are relevant to contemporary users of English. Topics include received pronunciation, grammar and ‘morality’, and politically correct language.

Language Acquisition

Children master the basics of their first language without formal instruction from a very early age. How do they do it? What exactly do they learn? What stages do they go through? You will examine the answers to questions like these by studying the cognitive mechanisms behind the acquisition process.

Key Concepts and Skills in TESOL

This module introduces you to key concepts underlying TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) methodology. You will become familiar with the basic approaches, materials and procedures and the principles of lesson planning and classroom management.

Year three - You will choose any six modules from the below:

Language and Communication

How does communication work? In this module you will examine key aspects of communication which result from the interaction of linguistic meaning, context and principles of human cognition. You will study how language is used in context by analysing data drawn from your own experience in communication.

Northern Voices

What does it mean to be ‘northern’? Where is the north and where does it begin and end? Using both archive and contemporary recordings of northern speech, this research-based module will enable you to carry out a project on an aspect of northern identity as expressed through language in the interactional and media domains.

Contemporary Trends in the Study of Language

This is a ‘hybrid’ module that builds on concepts, theories and methods you have studied in your degree programme, further developing your knowledge of the latest research in English language and linguistic inquiry. Some of the themes you will study are the following: The relation between language and thought; language and its relation to other systems of the mind; atypical language development. You will also be introduced some of the most important theoretical debates in the study of language in the 20th and 21st century such as the contrast between Chomskyan linguistics and earlier Structuralist and Behaviourist approaches, and the contrast between formalism and functionalism.

Current Issues in Pragmatics

You will examine issues of current relevance in the study of language use from the interdisciplinary perspective of psychology, linguistics and the philosophy of language, such as the relationship between explicit and implicit aspects of communication or the interpretation of figurative language.

The Grammar of Words

Words play an integral part in our ability to use language creatively. This module is a detailed introduction to the study of words. You will explore the processes of word formation in the language and the rules governing the internal structure of English words.

Critical Issues in TESOL

You will develop an understanding of the global context of English language teaching and of the approaches, materials, and techniques of English language teaching to non-native speakers. You will be introduced to language learning needs analysis and develop the ability to plan and manage sequences of English language lessons.

The Language of Names

Names are all around us, and this module explores the linguistic structure, history, development and political significance of names and naming, focusing on the UK but with reference to other countries as well. You will have an opportunity to examine the names of people and places in real life and in literary and other creative contexts.


The Dissertation is a key feature of the course and provides you with an opportunity to undertake an independent and challenging research project under the guidance of a member of academic staff. Your research topic is defined in second year and in third year you focus on analysis and interpretation in preparation for the written submission. The dissertation expands and hones your research skills, strengthening your ability to engage with complex materials in a productive way and preparing you for further study or a career in the workplace.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?


This course is delivered through a combination of:

  • Lectures: Presentations or talks on a particular topic
  • Seminars: Discussions or classroom sessions focusing on a particular topic or project
  • Tutorials: Meetings involving one-to-one or small group supervision, feedback or detailed discussion on a particular topic or project
  • Project supervisions: Meetings with a supervisor to discuss a particular piece of work
  • Practical classes and workshops: Sessions involving the development and practical application of a particular skill or technique
  • External visits: Visits to a location outside of the usual learning spaces, to experience a particular environment, event, or exhibition relevant to the course of study


You will be assessed through a combination of:

  • Coursework exercises
  • Essays and reports
  • Group presentations
  • Portfolios of work
  • Written examinations

School of Arts and Media

The School of Arts and Media is the largest school at the University of Salford with more than 4,000 creative students. Across sites at MediaCityUK and the University's Peel Park campus, we offer a huge variety of courses, from Fashion Image Making and Styling, Television and Radio, Creative Writing and Music to Journalism, Animation, Design and Performance.

This broad range of disciplines offers enhanced opportunities for specialist and interdisciplinary study, including collaborative work across subject areas.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?


The knowledge and skills you will gain in this course are marketable in most career areas. This course is tailored to the needs of employers and is your route to a variety of rewarding careers, including (but not limited to): teaching English in the UK (in the primary, secondary, and further education sectors) and abroad, business and management, the Civil Service, human resources, finance, and specialised areas such as counselling, speech and language therapy, library and information management, journalism, lexicography, publishing, advertising, marketing, media, PR and communications.


A taste of what you could become

A writer

A teacher

A journalist

A publisher

And more...

Career Links

This course responds to the needs of industry in developing subject expertise and transferable skills appropriate to a wide range of careers.

The English Subject Group has close associations with industry and professional bodies such as:

  • The BBC and ITV
  • The International Anthony Burgess Foundation
  • The Working Class Library Museum
  • The Imperial War Museum North
  • The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
  • The Octagon Theatre, Bolton
  • Oxford University Press
  • The Linguistics Association of Great Britain
  • The Linguistic Society of America
  • The British Library
  • The National Library of Scotland
  • Scottish Language Dictionaries
  • The Scottish Parliament
  • The Salford Institute of Dementia
  • The Stroke Association 

There are also employability-linked opportunities with a large number of primary and secondary schools, enabling vital experience for would-be teachers.


What you need to know


We are looking for creative, enthusiastic and highly motivated individuals who are genuinely interested in the English language. You should be comfortable working with others, have good communication skills and read widely.

You do not need to be a published writer or experienced performer, but your passion for the written word should be evident.


International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in  English. An IELTS score of 6.0, with no element below 5.5, is proof of this.

Standard entry requirements


English Language and Maths at grade C/level 4 or above (or equivalent). You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.

A level

104-120 points

UCAS tariff points

104-120 points

BTEC National Diploma


BTEC Higher National Diploma

104-120 points

Access to HE

Pass Level 3 Access to HE Diploma with 104-120 points 

Scottish Highers

104-120 points

Irish Leaving Certificate

104-120 points

International Baccalaureate

30-31 points

European Baccalaureate

Pass Diploma with 60% overall 

Alternative entry requirements

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home/EU 2019/20 £9,250per year
Full-time international 2019/20 £12,660per year
Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Apply now

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Enrolment dates

September 2019

September 2020

UCAS information

Course ID Q303

Institution S03