University of Chester

Programme Specification
English Language BA (Hons) (Single Honours)
2017 - 2018

Bachelor of Arts (Single Honours)

English Language

English Language

University of Chester

University of Chester

Chester campus

Undergraduate Modular Programme

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

3 years

7 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities English

No subject specific benchmark for English Language, so refer to ‘Linguistics’ Benchmark statement

Not applicable

English MAB

Wednesday 4th December 2013

  • Provide students with the relevant descriptive terminology at the key levels of linguistic analysis – phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and discourse.

  • Enable students to apply the linguistic tools to the analysis of spoken and written language in context.

  • Train students in recognising the relationships between linguistic forms and functions in a broad range of spoken and written, literary and non-literary, historical and contemporary discourse.

  • Encourage students to engage critically in debates about the nature of language, attitudes towards language use and varying approaches to language and linguistic study.

  • Give students the confidence to collect, select, present, discuss, and analyse data which represents specific examples of language forms and functions using a variety of quantitative and qualitative research methods appropriate to the field.

  • Provide students with opportunities to specialise in areas of linguistic study which are of particular interest to them.

  • Offer students the means and skills to conduct independent research in language study by indicating and providing a range of resources suitable for data collection and academic study.

  • Help build students’ confidence and communicative skills by creating a culture of constructive and supportive mutual support and advice.

  • Use a variety of modes of assessment to provide students with the broadest possible range of opportunities to present their knowledge, findings and analyses.

Key knowledge areas include: an introduction to the core frameworks of linguistic analysis – phonetics / phonology, morphology and syntax; the description and analysis of a wide range of varieties of spoken and written, literary and non-literary English discourse; the relationships between varieties of language forms and their social implications in context; the nature of language, and the relationship between language and meaning (semantics and pragmatics).

FHEQ Level 4: introduction to description, analysis and theories of language – all core modules

  • EN4301 (core linguistic frameworks)
  • EN4302 (application of frameworks to discourse analysis)
  • EN4303 (relationship between language use and social context)
  • EN4304 (the nature of language

Specialist knowledge at this level includes: the roots and development of English; child language acquisition; the power of language; the nature of ‘creative’ English; further insight into varieties of English; advanced insight into semantics and pragmatics; a detailed overview of various research methodologies.


FHEQ Level 5: in-depth knowledge of historical English and more discrete domains of English

  • EN5302 (language acquisition)
  • EN5303 (creativity in English)
  • EN5306 (language and power)
  • EN5310 (varieties of English)
  • EN5311 (semantics and pragmatics)
  • EN5312 (research methods)
  • EN5314 (history of English – core module)

Specialist knowledge at this level includes: advanced understanding of syntax and phonetics/phonology; exploring the nature of media discourse; understanding and application of corpus linguistic methodologies; the nature of controversies and conflicts in English; cognitive stylistics.


FHEQ Level 6: in-depth knowledge of structures and discourses of English, and debates about nature and usage of English.

  • EN6301 (debates about English)
  • EN6302 (media discourse)
  • EN6305 (advanced phonetics and phonology)
  • EN6307 (cognitive stylistics)
  • EN6308 (corpus linguistics)
  • EN6311 (advanced syntax)


In the dissertation module (EN6310) students will be capable of applying research methods and analytical knowledge learned in previous years (using either quantitative, qualitative or mixed methodology) to complete a substantial piece of advanced independent research.


Thinking and cognitive skills are expected to develop across the three years of study, with progression from an emphasis on clear description and understanding, to demonstration of analytical and critical skills by the end of the studies. Students will develop the ability to understand language frameworks and apply them to the analysis of a broad variety of English discourses in context, and learn how to synthesise information and data from various sources.

FHEQ Level 4

  • Find, read and understand a range of texts on English language and linguistics, including primary sources, and reference them according to the English Language Guide to Referencing and Style (EN4302, EN4303, EN4304)
  • Understand basic data collection and analysis techniques (EN4302, EN4303)
  • Transcribe spoken English according to the principles of the International Phonetic Alphabet (EN4301)
  • Draw basic syntax trees to show an understanding of phrase and clause structure (EN4301)
  • Show awareness of different theories of the nature of language (EN4304)
  • Be able to write data analyses and discursive essays using standard academic English (EN4302, EN4303, EN4304)

FHEQ Level 5

  • The ability to apply knowledge of the structures of English to the analysis of varieties of discourse in context, including Old and Middle English, contemporary literary and non-literary spoken and written English (EN5302, EN5303, EN5306, EN5310, EN5311, EN5314)
  • The ability to understand, synthesise and accurately represent key ideas in a variety of academic writings on English language and linguistics, using the appropriate referencing conventions (EN5310, EN5312, EN5314)
  • Understand and apply the appropriate analytical frameworks to a range of English discourses (EN5302, EN5303, EN5306, EN5310, EN5311)
  • Adapt their writing styles for a variety of academic purposes and audiences, citing evidence appropriately (all modules)

FHEQ Level 6

  • Show advanced awareness of data collection and complex analysis techniques (all modules)
  • Consider varying intellectual approaches to language study, and determine the appropriateness of each approach according to requirements (all modules)
  • Show increasing ability to apply a critical stance to the reading and reporting of research and other texts (all modules)
  • Be able to write in a sophisticated academic style appropriate to the nature of the task and the target audience (all modules)
  • Follow and participate in coherent arguments in seminar discussions, presentations and written assignments (all modules)

Students will demonstrate the ability to manage their time, and to plan, conduct and report research in a variety of formats. They will apply, under guidance, techniques such as the eliciting of data by questionnaire, recording of word lists, collection of data by participant observation, organising and exploitation of electronic databases using the procedures of corpus linguistics and the analysis of spoken and written data. They will learn to recognise the ethical issues involved in the collection of data from informants in the field.
Students will gain further experience in the oral and written presentation and analysis of data, including the use of various computer software packages (e.g. corpus linguistic and acoustic phonetic software). They will learn to work efficiently on their own, and to collaborate in study groups and for the purposes of presentations and similar tasks. They will also learn to critically evaluate their own work and the work of others.

FHEQ Level 4

  • Basic data collection methodologies (EN4302, EN4303)
  • Ethical data collection issues (EN4303)
  • Undertake self-directed study and learning, with appropriate time management (all modules)
  • Interpret information presented in the form of diagrams, tables and graphs (EN4303)

FHEQ Level 5

  • Ability to collaborate with others (EN5302, EN5310, EN5312)
  • Enhanced oral presentation skills (EN5302, EN5303, EN5310)
  • More sophisticated and independent data collection methods (EN5303, EN5306, EN5312)

FHEQ Level 6

  • Consider a range of English language data collection methodologies and choose the one appropriate to the task (EN6302, EN6305, EN6307, EN6308, EN6310)
  • Plan, manage, conduct, and report a complex individual project in English language and linguistics (EN6310)
  • Work in English language dissertation study groups to foster collaborative and collegiate spirit and peer-review of strengths and weaknesses of thesis development at various stages (EN6310)
  • Use appropriate audio-visual and computer software packages to conduct qualitative and quantitative research into various aspects of English language and linguistics (e.g. corpus linguistic, acoustic / auditory and news database software) (EN6302, EN6305, EN6308, EN6310)

Students are given the opportunity to develop their oral and written communication skills by presenting their work in a variety of assessed and non-assessed environments. These might include: standard discursive essays; analysis of spoken and written examples of English; phonetic transcription; syntax trees; oral seminar presentations supplemented by handouts and slides; written texts aimed at a non-academic audience (e.g. blogs).

FHEQ Level 4

  • Describe, discuss and analyse examples and theories of English language using clear, standard written academic English (all modules)
  • Orally present either individually or as part of a group, results of data collection exercises using basic visual aids with text and graphics and relevant IT tools  (EN4303)
  • Use IT skills to communicate by email, find and lodge information on the internet, search electronic databases and store the results of such searches, to produce electronic documents (all modules)

FHEQ Level 5

  • Adequately summarise the writings of others, using relevant direct and indirect quotations, and the appropriate referencing system (all modules)
  • Continue to develop an awareness of the various types of academic summative assessments in the study of English language and linguistics and adopt the appropriate register and style for the task accordingly (all modules)

FHEQ Level 6

  • Present an oral and/or written discussion based on information collected from various sources and synthesised into a coherent whole, by means of graphs, tree diagrams, tables, and other kinds of diagrams with appropriate acknowledgments and lists of sources (EN6302, EN6305, EN6307, EN6308, EN6310, EN6311)
  • The ability to critically evaluate and comment on the oral and written skills of peers (EN6301, EN6302, EN6307)
  • Plan, design and execute an extended piece of original written research, under supervision, either as a member of a group or independently, and present this in a sophisticated writing style which conforms to academic writing conventions (EN6310)

The programme is structured to provide students with both core knowledge and understanding of the key principles, concepts and methods of study in English Language and Linguistics, and options to specialise as they progress through the programme. The modules have also been designed to acquaint students with some of the research skills essential to the study of language. The core modules at Level 4 are designed to introduce students to different aspects of language study from which they can choose specific pathways through Levels 5 and 6.  For instance EN4301 Structures of English deals with fundamental levels of analysis, such as phonetics, phonology, morphology and syntax. Knowledge of these descriptive tools can be applied both to language analysed in other modules at that level – e.g. EN4302 Language and Text – and can also be strengthened at a theoretical and applied level in later  module options such as EN6305 Topics in Sociophonetics and EN6311 Topics in Syntax. Students who prefer a discourse analytical approach to both ‘literary’ and ‘non literary’ texts which starts at Level 4 with EN4302 Language and Text can follow a pathway that takes in EN5303 Creativity in English, EN6307 Cognitive Stylistics, EN6302 English and Media Discourse and EN6308 Corpus Linguistics. The core module EN4303 Introduction to Language and Society is designed to show students the social significance of varieties of language use in context, which they can choose to follow up in for instance EN5310 Accents and Dialects of English, EN5306 The Power of Language or EN6302 English and Media Discourse. The role of the other Level 4 core module EN4304 The Nature of Language is to introduce students to some of the theoretical premises and foundations of language study including its relationship with other fields of knowledge such as philosophy, psychology, and politics and also looks at some of the key academic figures in linguistics. Students with an aptitude for abstract and critical thought might prefer to build on this by choosing EN5302 Language Acquisition, EN5311 Semantics and Pragmatics, EN6301 Language Debates and EN6307 Cognitive Stylistics. These are not, however, prescribed pathways, and students can pick and choose whichever modules they feel suit their needs.

In addition to their academic studies in Level 5, students have the opportunity of taking a module in 'Work-Based Learning', which may involve a work placement relevant to their desired career. Alternatively, for those students wishing not to make this choice, the English department offers experiential modules (of which students may choose one). They are: EN5308 Professional and Academic Development: Linguistics Study Placement (Germany), a three-month study placement with the Department of Anglophone Studies at the University of Duisberg-Essen and EN5201 Professional and Academic Development: Varieties of Writing, a module that will enable students to work on their critical and creative writing skills. Further options delivered by Modern Languages are ML5210 Introduction to TESOL/TEFL, which is designed for students intending to spend a year abroad and/or considering teaching English as a foreign language during that time, and SP5230 Spanish for Beginners which allows students to study basic Spanish.

All students of English Language will have an opportunity to study abroad at a partner university either for a term or an academic year by opting for one of the following modules: WB5004 or WB5008.

There are six compulsory core modules without which we feel a student of English Language and Linguistics would be missing an essential area of language study. EN4301 and EN4303 are both 40 credit modules covering a number of major topic areas which lend themselves to both the knowledge transfer of weekly lectures and follow-up discussion and exercises in seminars. EN4302 and EN4304 are 20 credit modules, based on the premise that some of their themes and concepts are followed through into two core modules at Level 5 as well as several options. The two core modules at Level 5 are designed to focus on the development of English at the historical national and international level, and research methods for exploring English further. EN5314 Roots and Development of English is a 20-credit core at Level 5 which develops students’ knowledge of where English originated historically and the variety of forms it has taken both as regional dialects and in the evolution of genre types such as fiction and news texts. Knowledge of the sound and grammatical systems introduced in EN4301 will be covered, as will an awareness of the roots of prescriptive attitudes to English, established in EN4303 Introduction to Language and Society. The other core module at Level 5 - EN5312 Research Methods in English Language and Linguistics - provides students with a number of theoretical and practical research frameworks for the collection and analysis of language data in order to provide a robust foundation on which to base their Level 6 compulsory dissertation thesis (EN6310). Some of the modules at Level 6 draw on the latest developments in the field, such as EN6308 Corpus Linguistics which relies on computer software programmes to process large amounts of data (sometimes millions of words) and EN6307 Cognitive Stylistics which might appeal to students combining English Language with English Literature and outlines some of the latest cognitive stylistic approaches to analysing fiction and poetry.

Many of the modules rely on the collection by students of original language data for analysis in a variety of projects. It is expected that the research skills encouraged in these forms of activities and assessment will provide a good training ground for the final 40 credit dissertation at Level 6 (EN6310) and progression to post-graduate study in English Language and linguistics.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
EN4301 4 Structures of English 40 Comp
EN4302 4 Language and Text 20 Comp
EN4303 4 Introduction to Language and Society 40 Comp
EN4304 4 The Nature of Language 20 Comp
EN5201 5 Professional and Academic Development: Varieties of Writing 20 Optional
EN5204 5 Professional and Academic Development: Presentation Skills 20 N/A
EN5302 5 Language Acquisition 20 Optional
EN5303 5 Creativity in English 20 Optional
EN5306 5 The Power of Language 20 Optional
EN5308 5 Professional and Academic Development: Linguistics Study Placement (Germany) 20 Optional
EN5310 5 Accents and Dialects of English 20 Optional
EN5311 5 Semantics and Pragmatics 20 Optional
EN5312 5 Research Methods in English Language and Linguistics 20 Comp
EN5313 5 Professional and Academic Development: Researching Cestrian English 20 N/A
EN5314 5 Roots and Development of English 20 Comp
ML5210 5 Introduction to TESOL/TEFL 20 Optional
SP5230 5 Applied Spanish for Beginners 20 Optional
WB5004 5 Learning in the Wider World 20 Optional
WB5007 5 International Exchange Module – Full academic year 120 N/A
WB5008 5 The Study Abroad Experience 120 Optional
WB5101 5 Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning 20 Optional
EN6301 6 Language Debates 20 Optional
EN6302 6 English and Media Discourse 20 Optional
EN6304 6 Psycholinguistics 20 N/A
EN6305 6 Topics in Sociophonetics 20 Optional
EN6306 6 The Grammar of Words 20 N/A
EN6307 6 Cognitive Stylistics 20 Optional
EN6308 6 Corpus Linguistics 20 Optional
EN6310 6 Dissertation 40 Comp
EN6311 6 Topics in Syntax 20 Optional
EN6312 6 English Phonetics and Phonology 20 N/A

  • 120 credits at Level 4 lead to the award of Certificate of Higher Education
  • 240 credits including 120 at Level 5 lead to the award of Diploma of Higher Education
  • 360 credits including 120 at Level 6 lead to the award of Bachelor of Arts (Single Honours)

The latest entry requirements at time of completing this version of the Programme Specification (June 2017) are as follows: 

  • A minimum of 112 UCAS points from GCE A Levels or equivalent.  The Department requires one of the following subjects at GCE A level: English Language, English Literature, English Combined (Language and Literature).
  • BTEC Extended Diploma/Diploma: merit/distinction profile plus one of the GCE A Level subjects listed above
  • Irish Highers/Scottish Highers: B in 4 subjects, including English
  • International Baccalaureate: 26 points, including 5 in HL English
  • Access to HE diploma, to include 45 credits at level 3, 30 of which must be at merit (including 15 in English Language or English Literature)
  • OCR National / Extended Diploma: Distinction/Merit profile plus one of the GCE A Level subjects listed above

Please note: A BTEC National Award or the Welsh Baccalaureate (core) will be recognised in our tariff offer.

The above requirements are subject to annual review.


There is no Benchmark Statement for English Language, which is broadly subsumed under the Honours Benchmark Statement for Linguistics (2007). The following section quotes sections of that Statement either broadly or directly relevant to English Language, with a response [in square brackets] indicating the programme’s fulfilment of such aims and objectives as are implied or stated. The situation of the relevant sections from the Benchmark Statement is in brackets.

‘Linguistics is concerned with language in all its forms, spoken, written and signed. Because language appears to be a uniquely human attribute, the questions of what language is, how human beings come to have it, and how they use it, have been pursued for over 2,000 years. Inquiry into language has raised fundamental questions about human cognition and behaviour ever since. Perhaps the key insight of linguistics is just that language and linguistic behaviour are highly structured, and the guiding principle of modern linguistics is that the nature of these structures can be elucidated by systematic study through a range of theoretical and empirical methodologies,’ (Section 2.1). [At the heart of the programme is a concern with the study of the forms and functions of language varieties, the nature of language both historically and psychologically, and the structures of language (EN4301, EN4302, EN5314, EN5302, EN5303, EN5306, EN5310, EN5311, EN6301, EN6302, EN6305, EN6307, EN6308, EN6311)]‘Graduates with a first degree with honours in linguistics will be expected to have an appreciation of the basic concepts, modes of analysis and theoretical approaches in more than one of the areas of study which are traditionally distinguished within structural approaches to linguistics and which we term 'levels of analysis': phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics and discourse. In addition they will be expected to have an appreciable control of theory and practice in a range of other areas of study which bring to bear perspectives on language which have developed out of concerns for the role of language in society, its nature as a cognitive domain, the way it is acquired, the way it changes and the way it forms part of a gamut of communicative modalities’ (Section 3.2). [The ‘levels of analysis’ form the basis of the Level 4 core module Structures of English EN4301. Theoretical and practical issues are covered in all other modules. For instance the role of language in society forms the basis of specialist modules such as EN5306, EN5310, EN6301 and EN6302. The nature of language as a ‘cognitive domain’ is dealt with specifically in EN5302, EN6301 and EN6307. The way language is acquired is the focus of the whole of the core module EN5302, and the way language changes, the core module EN5314. Finally, the ‘gamut of communicative modalities’ are covered in a range of modules including core module EN4302, plus optional modules EN5303, EN5306, EN6302 and EN6307.]Sections 3.4 – 3.19 in the Benchmark statement describe a range of language levels and topic areas which full and combined honours programmes are likely to choose from. These are as follows, with the relevant section from the Benchmark statement in round brackets and  some of the relevant modules in the proposed degree programme in square brackets:  ‘phonetics’ (3.4) and ‘phonology’ (3.5) [EN4301, EN5302, EN6305]; ‘morphology’ (3.6) and syntax (3.7) [EN4301, EN4304, EN5314, EN5302, EN6311]; semantics (3.8) [EN4301, EN5302, EN5311, EN6301,]; ‘pragmatics’ (3.9) [EN5303, EN5306, EN5311, EN6302]; ‘discourse’ (3.10) [EN4302, EN5303, EN5306, EN6302, EN6307, EN6308], ‘the lexicon’ (3.11) [EN4301, EN5314, EN5302, EN6308], ‘sociolinguistics’ (3.12) [EN5314, EN5310, EN6305]; ‘historical linguistics’ (3.13) [EN5314, EN6301]; ‘psycholinguistics’ (3.15) [EN4301, EN5302, EN6307]; ‘language acquisition’ (3.16) [EN5302, EN6301], ‘computational linguistics’ (3.18) [EN6308]; ‘language in education’ (3.19) [EN5302, EN6301,].

Subject-specific knowledge and skills outlined in the Benchmark Statement (Section 4.1) include ‘the nature of a theory […] central analytical concepts and methods […] the need for a systematic approach to linguistic phenomena […] the basic techniques for collecting data […] practicalities of organising and carrying out fieldwork […] ethical issues […] technical issues […] [and] basic techniques for the analysis of data […]’. We believe every module proposed in the programme covers some or all of these skill areas.

The programme uses a wide range of learning and teaching methods, including:

workshops; small-group discussions; large-group discussions; seminars; lectures; talks; resource-based learning; tutorials; presentations; data collection exercises including fieldwork.

The programme uses a wide range of forms of assessment including:

discursive essays of various length; data collection and analysis, including fieldwork; seminar presentation and written report (including on-line blogs); short seminar-based exercises; reading of academic texts and discussion exercises; close analysis of texts; research projects; dissertations; and some exams.


The programme aims to place graduates in a position to develop careers in a range of professional contexts where good communication, research and analytical skills are a pre-requisite. Though graduates may not become professional linguists or researchers, they will bring to other professions many of the skills that a student of English Language and Linguistics can command. The critical skills students will have acquired and developed will enable them to interpret, analyse and evaluate different types of textual (and other) material. Graduates will be very good communicators, with good expressive and listening skills, who can present, discuss and share their ideas and the ideas of others with individuals and groups of various sizes, in formal and informal settings. They will be able to see projects of work through from conception to completion, working well to deadlines. They will be able to respond well to advice and guidance but will also be autonomous learners able to work independently, and able to show self-discipline and good time management in their approach to their responsibilities. They will have a highly developed self-critical faculty, having worked through drafts of a variety of written projects, and taken into account assessment grades and comments on written and oral work as they progress through the course, responding to the criticism of their tutors and peers. Graduates will understand the importance of presenting their work to a high standard and will able to use all the necessary technological skills, such as word-processing and data-processing skills, to achieve this.  

Typical career paths would include: teaching, publishing, proof-reading, journalism, advertising, public relations, customer services, speech therapy, marketing, equal opportunities and personnel management.

The English department complies with the University’s commitment to the active promotion of equality of opportunity both as an employer and an educational institution.  For this purpose it has an Equal Opportunity Policy and appropriate Codes of Practice which encompass the 36 Acts of Parliament, 52 Statutory Instruments, 13 Codes of Practice, 3 Codes of Guidance and 16 EC Directives and Recommendations that apply to equality law (as of June 2006) 

The aim of the policy is to ensure that all students and all members of staff at the University have equality of opportunity and are treated solely on the basis of their aptitude, ability and potential to pursue a course of study or to fulfil the requirements of a job.  The policy also aims to eliminate discrimination which is unlawful or unfair. 

In particular, the University will ensure that no member of the University Community will be disadvantaged or discriminated against on the grounds of:

  • Gender Identity and/or Expression,  
  • Age (subject to the University retirement policy),  
  • Disability or Specific Learning difficulty 
  • Marital or parental status 
  • Sexual orientation
  • Racial group (race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins) or creed 
  • Religious, political or personal beliefs or principles 
  • Membership or non-membership of a trade union 
  • Socio-economic background.  

Students with Disabilities

The English department complies with the University of Chester’s commitment to providing access and support to students with disabilities, eliminating unlawful discrimination and promoting equality of opportunity amongst disabled and non disabled persons. 

The University recognises its duties under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995, in particular Part IV of the act more commonly known as the Special Educational and Needs Act (SENDA) 2001, and its amendment acts and regulations including the DDA Amendment Regulations 2003 and the DDA 2005.


In line with the University’s commitment to access and support, students with Disability / Specific Needs are offered specific information, guidance and advice in the pre-entry, entry, progression and transition phases of their University career and personal development. 

Support and assistance available at the University include (though not exclusively): 

  • Disability Support Services  located in Student Welfare including the Disability and Specific Needs Support Workers and the Mental Health Coordinator,
  • Study Skills support for students with specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia is provided by the Learning Support Services,
  • A network of disability link tutors within each academic department assist with the implementation of reasonable adjustments,
  • Learning Resource Centres  provide a range of assistance including a Disability and Specific Needs Support Assistant and the facility to lend equipment such as laptops,
  • Extra time and other provisions are provided during examinations by Registry Services,
  • Accommodation Department has a number of adapted rooms available for students to rent during the academic year,
  • There are a number of disabled parking bays located across the main campuses,
  • And a multitude of appropriate authorities and other university departments work together to support the University’s commitment to providing equality of opportunity and appropriate support provisions.

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