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BSc (Hons) English Language & Communication

Learn how language influences and creates social change. You'll study how language works, where it comes from, how we learn it and how we teach it and understand why people say what they say, in the way that they say it. This degree starts in September 2023.

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Practical learning and embedded qualifications

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Entry requirements

Three A-levels at grades CCC or above

Or BTEC triple grades MMM or above

Or Access 23-45 with min 6D

Or T-level Pass (C or above on the core)

And GCSE English Language at grade 4 or grade C or above.

See full entry requirements

UCAS points 96

UCAS code X391

UCAS institution code P63

Duration 3 years full-time and part-time options available

Small class sizes

Entry requirements

Three A-levels at grades CCC or above - English Language and/or Psychology A-level are helpful but not essential

Or BTEC triple grades MMM or above

Or Access 23-45 D/M with min 6D

And GCSE English Language at grade 4 or grade C or above

Applicants with other qualifications and/or experience will be considered on an individual basis

UCAS points 96

UCAS code B621

UCAS institution code P63

Duration 3 years full-time or up to 6 years part-time

Course Summary

Communication is at the heart of everything we do as humans. Studying English language and communication delves into topics from advertising to autism, from body language to bilingualism, from creativity to cognition, from diversity to disorders, from English past to English present, from form to function and so on. This fascinating and practical degree covers the science of language and linguistics, the psychology of language and even some aspects of speech and language disorders in children and adults, to help you understand what happens and how people can be helped.

At the practical level, you’ll learn how to describe language in terms of linguistic structure, sound systems and communication theory. You will analyse what people say and the way they say it, in conversation, politics, media and advertising. If you want to learn about language, human beings and the way they interact, this degree is perfect for you!

Why this course at Marjon?

Focus on how language can be used to change or improve people’s experiences

Placement opportunities to give you confidence in the work environment

Includes elective and shared modules from across the university

Varied placements including with schools, businesses or refugees

Apply theory to real life environments

Small class sizes enable you to get involved

Modules for this course

Course Snapshot

Your first year is spent describing language and speech and is very ‘hands on’ with many practical sessions. You also start learning about how human communication works; what the pitfalls are and how people talk in various professional environments like medicine, education and business. In your second year you build on this knowledge to learn in-depth about language in the mind, in social life and across the world. You’ll have an amazing opportunity to put those skills into practice in a work placement that you can choose for yourself, or do a project on something that really grabs you! Your third year questions might include; what are the ‘rules’ of conversation? How do children and adults learn language? How and why might language disorders occur? Why are some things people say considered rude? Why do people battle illness, say cheer up, and talk about floods of migrants?
Dr Stephen Disney - Course Leader

Please note: optional modules have been marked by an *

1st Year

Introduction to linguistics
An introduction to morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics, which, forms the foundation for your skills for describing language. This module is shared with the Speech & Language Therapy programme.
Phonetics and phonology
The terminology for describing the sounds of language and what sound systems are. We examine connected speech, the acoustic properties of speech, and some clinical issues. This module is shared with the SLT programme.
Language & the life-course*
From learning language as a child, to language loss in old age, the role of language is central to life and your evolution as a person. This module introduces the basics of acquisition and disorders.
Human communication
What are the basic ‘rules’ in human communication? Does anything go, or are there constraints? What do we actually do with language and are there basic patterns that can be observed and described?
Developing skills for life
This is the first of your professional self-development modules. We focus on communicating in a university context and develop your written and presentational skills. You carry out a project that you have designed on a topic of your choice.
Beyond words*
This module considers animal communication, body language & gestures, semiotics & photography, sign languages and other ways of communicating thoughts and attitude. :-)

2nd Year

Language in the mind*
How is the brain wired for language? How does this help children learn language so easily? What effect on language does a damage to a particular part of the brain cause? Traditionally the field of psycholinguistics.
Diversity in english*
Clinical linguistics
Language in (inter)action
People talk. A lot. They seem to do so without consciously applying ‘rules’ of conversation. But we all know immediately when something goes wrong in communication; people can be seen as rude or unusual just because they don’t seem to know these unwritten ‘rules’. This is one of our core communication modules.
Language & Memory
Research methods in social science
How do we know all these things that we know about language? Well, we can’t just guess, so we need to research people using language in real situations to find out! Here you learn about the basics in how to research communication and some aspects of data reporting and representation.
Communication at work (with placement)
This is the second of your professional self-development modules. We focus here on communicating in a professional context and develop your ability to communicate about communication in a real life environment outside of the classroom in a work or business location of your choice. Alternatively, you may choose to do a communication based project or volunteer helping people. The assignment will still focus on what you learn about communicating, whatever you decide to do.

3rd Year

Language acquisition and disorders
Here you explore everything from babbling to the acquisition of complex grammatical structures. You also look at what these aspects of language learning tell us about the brain and how child disorders can occur. A fascinating journey indeed!
Power, persuasion & politeness
The title of this module absolutely speaks for itself. Every relationship involves power differences, with people trying to persuade people about ideas or actions. All that is managed carefully by judging what level of politeness is needed and what strategy to use. Get these wrong, and nothing you can do or say can save you! This works at an individual level and also at a social level. So let’s get started; our subject open day talks may give you a sample of this in action!
Mind, metaphor and meaning
Speech & language disorders
Your chance to become an expert in a topic of your choosing. This is a guided independent large piece of work, with a presentation at the end to tie it all together. What really makes your mind explode? Research it, write it, love it!

This course is perfect if you’re curious about

How do people persuade and influence others using language?

How can we describe language and what does language tell us about being human?

How is language used to include and exclude people and groups?

How do we teach language and can we fix it when it goes ‘wrong’?

How does language change through the life stages?

How is language used to persuade?

See where our graduates are now

Harriet Ogier

“My job is exciting, fast paced and creative. I hold various responsibilities and feel trusted and valued, I create the newsletter, coordinate the PR and create marketing materials. Gaining work experience while studying is my main advice, as this also helped me to prepare for work. Marjon has so much to offer students in this area. Going to university allowed me to grow my skills and mature, I felt self-assured going into the workplace with my degree behind me.”

Harriet is now Digital Marketing Communications Executive at Healthxchange.

Beth Riggs

"What I enjoyed most about the course was the small teaching groups. It meant that you were able to ask questions easily, and discuss aspects with other people, without feeling intimidated by a large group. I also really enjoyed writing my dissertation. I loved that we were able to work on it throughout the academic year, enabling ideas to develop and improve, with the help of very supportive lecturers and tutors."

Beth is now studying PGCE Primary Education.

Karen Davies

"My experience at Marjon included a caring, holistic learning experience, studying in a friendly, inclusive environment and the lecturers passion for linguistic study. My continuing interest in sociolinguistics led me to go on to achieve an MA in Modern English Language and I will soon be commencing PhD study.

Karen is now a PhD student at Lancaster University.

What might you become?

You will excel in careers where strong communication is crucial. You might move into teaching, counselling or language therapy or teaching English in another country. You'll have the skills to go into careers such as advertising, management and publishing that need good language and good communication skills. Many other graduates work freelance or are employed as proof readers, translators or technical writers. There is also a growing need for work on ‘plain English’ documentation.

How you’ll be taught and assessed?

How will you be taught?

Includes lectures, small seminars, one to one and group tutorials and lots of practical workshops and placement opportunities.

How will you be assessed?

We have a range of assessments that look at the theory of language and communication in a huge variety of social and individual contexts. Other assessments are highly practical working with the real language data, which you can collect yourself based on your interests.

Dr Stephen J Disney

Course leader

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Steve has taught English in Poland, Qatar and Japan. His PhD from Lancaster University was in usage-based linguistics and he is principle investigator for a project on migrants’ healthcare and ‘fitting in’ experiences. He is interested in how people do things with words.

Fees and funding

Fees UK students: £9,250 per annum

Fees for International students: £12,500 per annum

This fee covers your tuition and access to course-specific equipment and facilities, as well associated services including access to the library, study skills support, IT support, student support and wellbeing services and membership of the Student Union. There may be additional costs by course.

Funding available for this course

Our Student Funding Advisors offer confidential and impartial advice about your funding options.

Learn more


Dr Sally Bates

Senior Lecturer in Speech and Language Therapy

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Sally is a dual trained phonetician and speech and language therapist with a clinical specialism in developmental speech disorders. She teaches clinical linguistics and phonetics, psycholinguistics and developmental speech and language disorders.

Dr Hazel Bending

Senior Lecturer

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Hazel is a chartered member and associate fellow of the British Psychological Society, and a senior fellow of the HEA.  She teaches psychology, mental health and wellbeing and neuropsychology. Her research focuses on identity, student engagement and hidden disabilities.

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