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BA (Honours) English Language

This degree explores human communication by focusing on the English language, its history, diversity and flexibility. You’ll learn what distinguishes machine language from human language and how people adapt and change their ways of communicating in multilingual and multicultural contexts. You’ll investigate how language works from written texts and conversations down to words and the smallest units of sounds, through words, conversations and written texts. You’ll also explore English as a creative medium to express humour, thoughts and emotions. It’s not, however, designed to teach English to speakers of other languages.

Key features of the course

  • Explores the history of English, its contemporary diversity, its role as a global language and its use in various parts of the world.
  • Engages in debates surrounding the historical and contemporary position of English in relation to other languages.
  • Teaches strategies that promote critical evaluation of texts in relation to the social, artistic and cultural contexts they’re produced in.
  • Develops you as a competent communicator: able to synthesize information, assemble logical arguments and write coherently.
  • Reveals how the English language works, and how the choice of words and grammar affect the message.

Course Summary

+Shortlist Course

Degree

Degree

  • Also known as an undergraduate or bachelors degree.
  • Internationally respected, universally understood.
  • An essential requirement for many high-level jobs.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of your subject – and the tools to investigate, think critically, form reasoned arguments, solve problems and communicate effectively in new contexts.
  • Progress to higher level study, such as a postgraduate diploma or masters degree.
Course code
R54
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
360
How long it takes
Part time – 6 years
Full time – 3 years
Time limit – 16 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

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.

Prepare for OU study with an Access module

We offer two starting points depending on how confident you are or how long it’s been since you last studied. Choose to dive straight in with an OU level 1 module, or if you’d prefer some extra preparation, you can get started with an optional Access module. See Entry requirements for more details.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

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.

Stage 2 (120 credits)

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.

Stage 3 (120 credits)

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 23 September 2020.


Accessibility

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

Credit transfer

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.

Regulations

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. 


Compare this course

Entry requirements

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?

  • Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
  • This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner

Preparing for study with an Access module

Students who start their study with an Access module are more likely to be successful when they advance to an OU level 1 module. They’re specially designed to give you a gentle introduction to OU study, boost confidence in your study skills, and help you gain a broad overview of your chosen subject area.

You'll also benefit from:

  • feedback from your tutor through regular one-to-one phone tutorials
  • support from a dedicated team throughout your study
  • detailed written feedback on your work.
The Access module we’d recommend studying in preparation for this qualification is our:

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

In this section:
How much will it cost?
Ways to pay for your qualification and other support

How much will it cost in England?

We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread, or even reduce, the cost.

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification up front.
  • A qualification comprises a series of modules, each with an individual fee. Added together, they give you the total cost.
  • If, like most OU students, you study part time at a rate of 60 credits a year, you'll take six years to complete an honours degree.
  • Our current fee for 60 credits is £3,096*.
  • Our current fee for 120 credits – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study – is £6,192*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £18,576*.

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2021. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees.

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

If your income is not more than £25,000 or you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit, you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after you start studying.

Residential schools

This qualification includes optional language modules that include a residential school. For each residential school you must pay an additional charge of £300 (2020/21) to cover the cost of accommodation and meals. You’ll pay this charge when you book the residential school, after you’ve enrolled on the module. You must also pay for your travel to and from the venue. If you can’t attend the school for reasons beyond your control, there will be an online alternative (to which the additional charge doesn’t apply).

If this qualification also includes science modules, they could include or be associated with an optional residential/laboratory school. For each school you choose to attend, you must pay an additional charge to cover costs such as tuition, accommodation and meals (see individual module descriptions for more information). You must also pay for your travel to and from the venue.


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.

Career relevance

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.
  • Education.
  • Legal work.
  • Business, banking and retail.
  • Human resources.
  • Charities and campaigning.

Other careers

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):

  • Teacher.
  • Museum curator.
  • Civil servant.
  • Advertising account manager.
  • Journalist.
  • Publisher.
  • Public relations manager.
  • Charity campaigner.
  • Retail manager.
  • Human resources manager.
  • Politician.
  • Librarian.
  • Information archivist.
  • Media researcher.
  • Local government and NHS management.
  • Further education lecturer.
  • Advice worker.
  • Arts administration.
  • Marketing officer.
  • Tourist officer.
  • Business manager.

Thinking of studying this course?

It is not possible to register for this qualification at the moment. We expect to open for registrations in March. If you would like to be kept updated, register your interest.


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