This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits:
- You’ll start Stage 1 with a 60-credit English language module, followed by two 30-credit modules from English language and modern languages.
- Next, in Stage 2, you'll study another 60-credit English language module and choose a 60-credit module from modern languages, English literature and creative writing.
- Finally, in Stage 3, you’ll study a further two 60-credit English modules from a choice of three.
Optional Access module – visit Entry requirements to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.
This first stage will introduce you to the study of language and communication in English. You’ll also choose two further complementary modules from a selection of English language and modern language modules.
In this second stage, you’ll examine the history of the English language and its position in the world today. You’ll also choose one further complementary module from English literature, creative writing and modern languages.
In the final stage, you’ll choose two of three modules. They’ll expand your knowledge of English in a variety of contexts and genres from everyday humour to poetry, from children’s literature to graffiti.
We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 17 March 2020.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BA (Honours) English Language uses a variety of study materials and may have the following elements:
- A mixture of printed and online material.
- Online learning resources may include, for example, websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes.
- Group work with other students.
- Language analysis.
- External/third party material online.
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer.
Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment
This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:
- Knowledge and understanding.
- Cognitive skills.
- Practical and professional skills.
- Key skills.
The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
If you’ve already completed some study at another university, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – reducing the number of modules you need to study.
You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. Just tell us what you studied, where and when, and we’ll compare this against the learning outcomes for your chosen course.
For more details and an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.
Classification of your degree
On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you'll be awarded the BA (Honours) English Language degree. The class of degree (first, upper second, lower second or third-class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.
You'll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.
There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification.
You don’t need any prior knowledge about the English language to start this qualification. However, it’s not designed to teach English to speakers of other languages, so you’ll need adequate reading and writing skills.
If you're interested in taking a modern language(s) module, there’s a choice of starting points – your choice will depend on your current level of confidence and proficiency. See our guidance on choosing the right modern language level, which includes a self-assessment quiz to help you decide between beginners’ or intermediate French, German, Italian and Spanish.
How much time do I need?
Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner
- Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
- This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
Preparing for study with an Access module
If your study skills are a bit rusty or you want to try out Open University study before committing yourself, don’t worry! The OU offers Access modules designed to introduce the subject area, build your confidence and prepare you for further study, and you may be eligible to study an Access module for free! You'll get:
- a personal tutor providing regular feedback with one to one telephone tutorials
- support from a dedicated team throughout your study
- detailed written feedback.
For this qualification we recommend:
Arts and languages Access module
What you will study
This multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the arts, humanities and languages. It's perfect preparation for your study with The Open University as you'll develop both your subject knowledge and your study skills. It explores a range of subjects, including art history, English, English language studies, history, modern languages, and also touches on the areas of creative writing and religious studies.
View full details of Arts and languages Access module
Skills for career development
Employers value the communication skills acquired through studying English language. You’ll sharpen your IT, writing, and independent thinking skills, develop your ability to respond to feedback and sharpen your time management. These are key skills in complex organisations, greatly sought after in the world beyond study – whether you’re already working, volunteering, or changing career.
Study of the English language requires an understanding of the diverse national and cultural environments in which it is used as well as the historical and political circumstances around its development and spread around the world. The breadth of study and understanding of social, cultural and political influences on communicative contexts create graduates who are critical global citizens able to evaluate information relevant to a variety of national and international interactions. This makes this degree course relevant to a wide variety of careers, including:
- Public administration, local government, the civil service, and social services.
- Advertising, journalism, publishing, creative industries and public relations.
- Legal work.
- Business, banking and retail.
- Human resources.
- Charities and campaigning.
Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.
Exploring your options
Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice, including: online forums, a website, interview simulation and vacancy service, as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.
In the meantime, if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree):
- Museum curator.
- Civil servant.
- Advertising account manager.
- Public relations manager.
- Charity campaigner.
- Retail manager.
- Human resources manager.
- Information archivist.
- Media researcher.
- Local government and NHS management.
- Further education lecturer.
- Advice worker.
- Arts administration.
- Marketing officer.
- Tourist officer.
- Business manager.