English Language

BA (Hons) Combined

In an era when access to an extraordinary variety of written and spoken forms of English seems to be constantly expanding, knowledge about how language works is indispensable.

Why study Combined Honours English Language at Chester?

The study of the English Language combines perfectly with any other discipline: all subjects depend on language to some extent and linguistics is interested in all aspects of discourse. Whether your other subject is in the creative arts (one popular combination is English Language and Creative Writing), the humanities (the English Language programme is located in the Department of English within the Faculty of Humanities, which includes the Department of Modern Languages) or the sciences (aspects of linguistics are, of course, scientific), English Language is a natural choice.

IMPORTANT NOTE – One obvious ‘combination’ is English Language and Literature but that ‘combination’ of subjects has its own dedicated Single Honours programme – see the web pages for English Language and Literature (BA Single Honours).

English itself is perhaps the most widely-spoken language in the world, with hundreds of millions of speakers - truly a global language, and a growing one. Currently only Mandarin Chinese has more speakers, but by 2025 the number of English-speaking Chinese is likely to exceed the number of native English speakers in the rest of the world. English is the official language of more countries than any other, and is the preferred international language of use for business, politics, education, and the arts and sciences. Whatever your other choice of subject for your degree, the study of English Language crosses over into many other disciplines, so you can also learn about English history, literature, psychology, philosophy, sociology, and even a bit of physiology (e.g. how we articulate sounds).


  • In the Department of English all staff are active researchers, writing and publishing in various academic fields, but our priority is always best practice in learning and teaching. The Department puts its theory of student-centred support into practice throughout all its programmes, and will even offer you extra-curricular voluntary sessions (in writing skills, for instance). The human aspect of our provision remains the most important. You will find your tutors, who are available every week for one-to-one appointments, accessible, helpful, and ready to support you in any way they can.
  • Our commitment to innovative methods of learning and teaching means you will have a dynamic and stimulating experience of studying at university. Our teaching rooms are supplied with all the necessary technology and equipment for presentations and multimedia experiences. Our library is newly stocked with the most up-to-date English Language and linguistics text books, specialist journals and electronic resources. On-line resources include e-books, newspaper archives, journals, and the complete Oxford English Dictionary. For students wanting to record and transcribe spoken data we have state-of-the-art digital voice recorders in the Department available for loan.
  • The analysis and discussion of language within workshops and seminars is at the heart of what we do, and you will experience a variety of settings for debate (working in both small and whole groups with your fellow students). We think that the study of English Language offers an exciting and dynamic undergraduate experience, and we will do everything we can to make sure that you enjoy your studies and acquire all the necessary subject skills of analysis, interpretation and argument. But we do not neglect the basic skills of speaking, listening, reading, writing and IT, as these make our students so employable when they graduate.

The modules given below are the latest example of the curriculum available on this degree programme.  Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to change from time to time as part of the University’s commitment to curriculum enhancement.

Programme Structure:

This exciting degree programme explores the English language in all of its multifaceted forms and uses. You will learn theoretical frameworks and concepts drawn from linguistics to enable you to analyse spoken and written English discourse - ranging from the language of the internet and TV interviews to poetry, news reporting and political speeches. You will also investigate the historical and social nature of language - where English comes from and how it has changed; how it can both indicate and shape individual and group identity; and how language can be used to control and empower.

Each year you will take 120 credits worth of modules. Modules are worth either 20 or 40 credits. In combining English Language with another subject you share these credits with modules from your other course. At Level 6 (Year 3) a combined honours student can choose to take either 40 credits (‘Minoring'), 60 credits (‘Equalling') or 80 credits (‘Majoring') of English Language.

As a Combined Honours English Language student, in your first year half of your studies will be spent studying English Language in two compulsory core modules. In the following year you can choose to study more of one of your two subjects, and then, in your final year, you can ‘Major' or ‘Minor' in one (or opt to do an equal amount of both). The Combined Honours programme, therefore, gives you the opportunity to balance your studies to suit your developing interests.

Year 1 (Level 4)

Core modules

Structures of English (40 credits):

You will be introduced to core concepts in the study of English Language and tools of linguistic analysis: the sounds of speech (phonetics and phonology) and the structure of words and sentences (morphology and syntax).

Language and Text (20 credits):

You will apply your knowledge of language structures and functions to the analysis of spoken and written discourse, whether it be poems, speeches, reviews, text messages or news reports. You will be introduced to conversation analysis including ways of recording and transcribing speech. You will also study genre, style and audience.

Year 2 (Level 5)

Core module

Roots and Development of English (20 credits):

Where English comes from, how it has changed, and where it is going.

Optional 20-credit modules

  • Creativity in English - is there such a thing as 'literary' language?
  • Language Acqusition - how children acquire and learn to use language
  • Accents and Dialects of English - exploring regional and global varieties of English
  • The Power of Language - investigating the power of persuasive and manipulative language
  • Semantics and Pragmatics - the study of meaning, through logic and in context

Additional experiential modules (20 credits)

  • Professional and Academic Development: Linguistics Study Placement (Germany) - a chance to study English Language in Germany for three months
  • Professional and Academic Development: Presentation Skills: build your confidence in presenting ideas in a clear and interesting way
  • Professional and Academic Development: Varieties of Writing: an opportunity to experiment in writing in a variety of creative, critical and commercial genres
  • Enhancing your Employability through Work-Based Learning: a seven-week work experience placement

Year 3 (Level 6)

Optional or core module

Dissertation (40 credits):

In the final year students may choose - depending on how many credits of English Language they take - to do a research-based Dissertation in a language and linguistics-related subject of particular interest to them 

Optional 20-credit modules:

  • Language Debates - exploring controversies and disagreements in the public and academic worlds of language and linguistics
  • English and Media Discourse - investigating spoken and written discourse in the mass media
  • Cognitive Stylistics - studying the relationship between stylistic features of texts and how the mind contributes to meaning and interpretation
  • Topics in Syntax -  an advanced course investigating syntactic structure from a theoretical perspective
  • English Phonetics and Phonology - - an advanced course on phonological theory and acoustic phonetics
  • Corpus Linguistics - a computer-based approach to large bodies of data

Assessment methods vary. You will write standard essays and give short seminar presentations, and also be encouraged to collect your own original language data for analysis as part of a coursework assignment.

You may be asked to record and transcribe spoken data. Although the majority of assessment is coursework based, some modules include formal examinations.

You will be equipped with transferable skills which are valued by employers such as:

  • working independently;
  • time management skills;
  • ability to plan and research written work;
  • leading and participating in discussions and have confidence in your own opinions;
  • working with others;
  • effectively conveying arguments and opinions;
  • using negotiation skills;
  • using judgement when weighing up different options and alternative perspectives;
  • skills in critical reasoning and analysis.

If you are studying this course on a combined basis you should look at options with both subjects.

For further information please visit:



UCAS points: 280 UCAS points from GCE A Levels or equivalent. Typical Offer - BCC/BBC
GCE A Level:

The department recommends one of the following subjects:

GCE A Level: English Language, English Literature, English Combined (Language and Literature)

BTEC: BTEC Extended Diploma/Diploma: merit/distinction profile plus one of the GCE A Level subjects listed above
Irish/Scottish Highers: B in 4 subjects, including English
International Baccalaureate: 26 points, including 5 in English
Access Access to HE Diploma (must include English Language or Literature at Level 3) and to include 45 credits at level 3, 30 of which must be at Merit
OCR: OCR National Extended/Diploma: Distinction/Merit profile plus one of the GCE A level subjects listed above
Extra Information:

Please note that we accept a maximum of 20 UCAS points from GCE AS Levels and that the Welsh Baccalaureate (core) and A Level General Studies will be recognised in our offer. We will also consider a combination of A Levels and BTECs/OCRs.

Contact us

For details about your course or your application please get in touch.

Combine this course

You can choose to combine two subjects together, and make your qualification as unique as you.

Alyson O'Hare

Studying English at Chester has been a joy. I feel I have matured intellectually and my passion for English has continued to grow."

English Language StudentAlyson O'Hare