In our so-called ‘post-truth’ era of fake news and alternative facts, words have become removed from their original meanings and journalists face a number of challenges in today’s globalised world.
Our BA English Language and Journalism degree introduces you to the scientific study of the English Language and allows you to examine human communication in different contexts. You’ll develop a range of journalistic skills while exploring the ways language reflects society and how it is used for different purposes.
In your first year you’ll be introduced to the practical craft of journalism and explore the law and ethics surrounding journalism alongside core English Language modules. You’ll also explore the diversity of use of the English language including regional variants, pidgin and creole English, language and ethnicity, and slang and street English.
Our journalism team are highly experienced practitioners, who’ll help you develop the skills to produce work in different styles and for diverse markets. You’ll learn how to source stories and get hands-on experience as part of a vibrant student community and through work placements. You’ll take part in News Lab workshops, conduct interviews, write features and join lively group discussions.
Core modules in your second year focus on English grammar and the sounds of English. You can explore theories of how and why language developed and study language-related real-life problems such as plagiarism and crime investigation in forensic linguistics. You’ll also have the opportunity to specialize in news or feature writing, radio journalism or social media.
In your final year you can follow modules in different topics, including child language and communication, clinical linguistics, gender and language, and formulaic language, informed by our academics’ own research specialisms. You’ll also develop your journalism skills portfolio, examine journalism, government and the people.
A flexible programme of study, allowing you to concentrate on areas you find especially interesting
A supportive, research-active academic team
Access to huge online databases to underpin your original research projects
A guaranteed post-graduation interview with the School of Education
I had overwhelming support from my lecturers. Whenever I had interests that lay beyond the topics covered, they always gave me the freedom to explore those subjects and weave them into my coursework. This individuality has really helped me find out what I want to do in life.
Laura de Haan
English Language & Communication with Journalism (2018)
Our English Language students benefit from being part of a supportive, research-active academic community. From tutorials and group work to eye-opening psycholinguistic experiments, we use a range of engaging, student-centred teaching methods to help you work confidently and creatively.
You’ll dive into real-life data, get involved in research and learn from guest experts. You’ll have the opportunity to get involved in activities that will complement your studies, such as working for the student newspaper or radio station. Not only do these enhance your experience, they also make for a more impressive CV.
Our journalism students gain practical skills through work placements and writing for the University’s newspaper, TV or digital channels. You’ll be able to network with invited speakers and take short industry summer courses.
Taking a year’s study abroad is an excellent opportunity to broaden your understanding of the world. Living in another country opens up fresh perspectives and helps create global citizens. For our English Language and Journalism students, it will enable you to develop your skills in your chosen language and immerse yourself in the culture and every day life of that country. Recent students have studied in Japan and Korea.
Introduction to Media Communications - 15 Credits
The aim of this module is to provide an insight to the various fields of media practice and communication studies. It will also introduce students to some of the key theories used in understanding media cultures. Students will learn about different economic and political structures that underlay the UK media system and engage with some of the conceptual frameworks for understanding media communications.
The module is structured in three parts. In the first sessions, students are introduced to the basics of media communications. The sessions might cover topics such as the different types of media and models of communications. The second part – Audiences, Industry and Politics – takes a closer look at Media Effects and Audiences, News Values, media biases as well as industry structures. The final part will enable student to explore some of the key theorists that have written on media, for example Marshall McLuhan and Stuart Hall.
Introduction to Journalism - 15 Credits
Students will explore newsgathering, news writing, feature writing and interviewing.
The module will introduce students to a diverse range of publications including broadsheets, tabloids and magazines. Students will critically assess the material and identify the different styles and approaches taken to news articles and features.
The fundamentals of practical journalism will be explored, including using English effectively and developing editing and proofreading skills.
Skills taught will include: sourcing ideas; researching a story; how to employ a variety of methodologies; how to target different the audiences and readers; how to structure news and feature articles, with effective introductions and endings.
Journalism, Law and Ethics - 15 Credits
In this module, students will be introduced to key laws impacting on journalists, including defamation, copyright and Freedom of Information. They will also explore the Human Rights Act as it affects journalists and compare defamation law across different countries. Students will also investigate the ethical dilemmas that may impact on journalists in any Western liberal democracy and look at the codes of conduct that have been put in place to encourage ethical behaviour.
Communication, Interaction, Context - 15 Credits
The focus of this module is on “language in inter-action”. It sets out to maximise awareness of the factors at play when we communicate with others. Language is used to ‘do’ things in communicative situations and we look at several theories that seek to explain how this is achieved, e.g. Grice’s (1989) Theory of Cooperation and Politeness Theory (Brown and Levinson 1987). We also explore how we understand what someone is saying to us when much of the language we use is ambiguous, implied or figurative. Communication involves more than a code, and we explore the role of context, the knowledge we bring to conversations and the importance of ‘Theory of Mind’ in understanding what someone says to us. The first part of the module will be concerned with face to face communication, but in the second part, we will focus on computer mediated communication including communication through social media.
Global Media and Society - 15 Credits
This module considers the relationship between the media and their social context. Throughout the module students will discuss the ways in which the media reflect and shape social attitudes and challenge their own assumptions about society and the media. Through discussions of issues such as class, race and gender this module will consider how different groups are represented in mediated images. The module will also examine the public role of the media and students will be asked to think analytically and critically about concepts such as free press, media impartiality or bias, and the relationship of the media with commercial and political institutions. The module further analyses different Global media systems, organisations and institutions and allows students to make a series of comparisons between local and international media systems. It places an emphasis on the relationships between products and the socio-political construction of their different audiences.
Investigating Language - 15 Credits
This module will give students on the English Language and Linguistics Programme the opportunity to develop a variety of skills necessary to be successful in their chosen modules and to thrive in a university environment. You will develop your skills of academic reading, writing, researching, analysing and communicating with others. The learning sessions are designed to foster a sense of community within the student cohort and, at the same time, develop each individual’s communication skills whether that be when working in small groups or when giving oral presentations.
Introduction to English Linguistics 1 - 15 Credits
This module introduces you to the fundamentals of English Linguistics. We will explore the origins of modern linguistics as a discipline and discuss core concepts of linguistic analysis, including, but not limited to, phonemes, morphemes and parts of speech.
In this module you will be provided with the basic knowledge pertaining to different properties of language and how these are described, theorised and investigated.
This module is taught in workshops and will give you ample opportunities to engage in hands-on practical tasks that will hone your knowledge and understanding of the core concepts of linguistics and equip you with the analytical skills so that you are able to apply them in different contexts across other modules in your studies of the subject of English Language and Linguistics.
Introduction to English Linguistics 2 - 15 Credits
This module introduces you to the fundamentals of English Linguistics and builds on 4HUM1150. We will discuss different approaches to grammatical and syntactical analysis and how meaning is theorised, constructed and analysed both on a lexical and text level. We will also explore language change, revisiting and expanding on some of the concepts introduced in 4HUM1150. Finally, we will explore how the fundamental concepts of linguistics are used in one or more areas of applied linguistics.
The workshops for this module will provide you with ample opportunities to put your newly gained knowledge into practice by applying it in various tasks.
Language and Mind - 15 Credits
The aim of this module is to enable you to gain an insight into the relation between language and mind. We start with a characterisation of communication systems and with a discussion in what ways human language differs from animal communication. In the light of studies that have tried to teach language to chimpanzees we further explore the question whether the ability for ‘grammar’ is unique in humans. We then look at particular brain structures that are important for language functions and what happens when these structures are affected by a stroke. We will also look at the question whether language influences the way we think. Children’s acquisition of language and cases of language deprivation are other topics on this module. The notion of a ‘critical period’ in language acquisition will be applied to first and second language acquisition and we will conclude with a discussion of different approaches to language learning.
Language in the Media - 15 Credits
In this module, you will develop a range of skills which will enable them to undertake the linguistic analysis of media taken from various sources, including new media sources such as digital media, social media/ online identity, multimodal communication, mobile communication; as well as other media genres such as films, T.V shows and music. You will develop the ability to approach the language in the media critically to understand the importance and powerful effect of the media in our society.
English Grammar - 15 Credits
This module examines what grammar is and is not, and presents a detailed description of the grammar of English. It looks at the different word categories, constituent structure of sentences, grammatical functions and the structure of complex sentences and different sentence types. It aims at providing you with the knowledge necessary to conduct grammatical analyses.
This module is a prerequisite for study of English Language & Communication at Level 3.
Sounds of English - 15 Credits
This module will offer you the chance to study the sounds of English at two levels: the surface level (phonetics) and the underlying mental level (phonology). We will start by looking at the physiological apparatus involved with the production of speech before examining in more detail how individual speech sounds are made (articulatory phonetics). We will then turn to the organisation of speech sounds at the underlying mental level. Here we will identify the distinct 'sound concepts' of English and explore the various ways they each may be realised phonetically. We will then move on to analysing syllables and stress. The module offers you an important descriptive tool for further language study as well as essential knowledge for careers in areas such as speech and language therapy. This module is a prerequisite for study of English Language and Communication at level 3.
Graduate Skills - 0 Credits
You will be offered a variety of employment enhancing workshops and online activities such as interview skills workshops, personality profiling and career planning in order to improve your employment prospects after graduation and make you aware of current areas of strength and weakness in relation to employability.
You will also have the opportunity to learn about self-employment options, graduate schemes and will attend speaker sessions with successful professionals in areas of employment appropriate for Humanities graduates so you can learn about the skills and attributes required for these areas and how to enhance your prospects of entering such areas.
You will be required to undertake a certain number of activities chosen by you from a career “menu” and to reflect on what they have learnt in order to complete the module successfully.
Journalism Skills: Features - 15 Credits
In this module students will be introduced to researching and reporting techniques for writing features and will be developing and extending the skills in writing acquired at Level 4.
Workshop sessions will enable students to gain hands-on practise of writing features in a simulated magazine or supplement environment.
Journalism Skills: News - 15 Credits
In this module students will develop their news research and writing techniques for news reports, developing and extending the skills in writing news acquired at level 4. Workshop sessions will enable students to gain hands-on practice in writing news reports in a simulated newsroom environment. There will be an emphasis on the use of ICT to research stories and students will be encouraged to use the Internet and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and other advanced sites, for research and seeking comment.
Students will write at least 3 articles, through which they will explore, in greater depth, the key elements of news journalism.
Learning and Teaching Language 2 - 15 Credits
This module is the second of two that look in some depth at issues in the learning and teaching of language, with special reference to English. In this module, more emphasis is laid on teaching.
The module takes a broadly historical approach to language learning and teaching. The starting-off point will be a resume of the state of EFL as a result of the professionalization of teaching at the end of the C19 and the effects of the Reform Movement. Thereafter there will be examination of such trends and approaches as the grammar / translation 'method', behaviourism, the audio-lingual approach, the communicative approach, the Natural Approach and the Lexical Approach. Connections will be made in each case with the key concepts discussed in the preceding module.
A final session looks at classroom generated research and at what teachers can hope to learn from it.
Language and Species - 15 Credits
Research into the evolution of human communication has been controversial. Shortly after the publication of Darwin's masterpiece in 1859, the topic w as banned by the London Philological Society. Recent advances in genetics, anthropology and cognitive science, however, have together resulted in renewed interest and more rigorous investigation and the birth of a new field.
Evolutionary Linguistics is an interdisciplinary field which draw s upon linguistics, evolutionary theory, biology, anthrolopology, primatology and psychology in order to answer three key questions: Why do we communicate? When did language evolve? What are the origins of language? In this module, students are first introduced to the basics of evolutionary theory before focusing on the questions raised above. Additional questions addressed include: How do other species communicate? Could Neanderthals speak? Can chimpanzees lie?
Language in Society - 15 Credits
Sociolinguistics is the study of language in society. This module will introduce you to the major issues in sociolinguistics. We will start by addressing the relation between language and society and the nature of variation. We will address varieties of language use at the level of the group and the individual and explore three kinds of lectal variation: regional, social and functional. We will consider how and why users vary their language according to different social settings as well as the social pressures that cause language change. Further topics to be studied include accents and dialects, language and ethnicity and language and gender. This module should appeal to anyone interested in the way language is used to signal identity and negotiate society.
Radio Journalism - 15 Credits
In this module, you will source original stories specifically suitable for radio and learn how to write, interview and structure reports for this media type. You will learn how to tell stories with the aid of audio techniques.
All teaching will take place in workshops and you will acquire knowledge and understanding of radio journalism and the technical skills needed to produce effective radio broadcasts.
Moreover, this module will introduce you to terminology used in broadcast environments; it will expand your critical understanding of news values and agendas; legal and ethical requirements specific to broadcast journalism (balanced and impartial reporting, compliance, etc.); and your awareness of the converging media landscape.
By the end of the module, you will be able to tell stories with the aid of audio techniques; have gained confidence in presentational skills; demonstrate knowledge of the technical skills required to edit audio files; and work effectively in a team to produce a radio programme.
Social Media - 15 Credits
Social media has opened up new opportunities for journalism while also challenging the traditional understanding of public participation and potentially empowering audiences and civil society organisations by offering new platforms for free expression and social activism.
The media industry has also expanded and commercial organisations such as BP and Tesco are using social media as part of their communications strategy to connect with their customers. This module explores social media and its impact on new business models and critically evaluates the transformative claims for platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
The lectures may include the following topics:
Social media and democracy, digital journalism, law and ethics for social media, economy of new media, citizen journalism, business models for social media.
Forensic Linguistics - 15 Credits
In this module we will be concerned with real examples of language use in legal contexts. Specifically, the module will first give an introduction to discourse analysis and then apply the methods of discourse analysis to Forensic Linguistics, the application of linguistics in order to understand conversation in legal contexts and establish authorship, authenticity and veracity in forensic texts. The talk and texts we will analyse will be taken from court proceedings, police interviews, witness statements, confessions, emergency calls, hate mail and suicide letters.
Language Competencies in Career Development - 15 Credits
In order to be able to take this module, you need to have found a suitable work placement opportunity by the end of Semester A (1st December) and not have taken a work experience module in a different subject area. The module provides you with an opportunity to reflect on the experience you are gaining in EL&C related work experience. One the one hand, you will focus on subject specific skills applied in the work experience as well as communicative events in the workplace, on the other you will reflect on personal and key skills that the experience has helped you to develop and articulate the ways in which it has enhanced your career development. Suitable work experience includes: communication support volunteer for the stroke association, assistant supporting school students in literacy and English language skills, assisting with the teaching of English Language and Culture to adults, mentoring international students.
History of the English Language - 15 Credits
In this module you will study how English as a language has developed from Old English to its present form. We will discuss evidence for the earliest form of English together with the development of Old English dialects and the influence from a variety of languages. We will relate linguistic change such as the Great Vowel shift to the difficulties of the standardisation of spelling from the 15th century onwards. Vocabulary changes in the Early Modern Period are linked to contemporary history and the beginnings of the establishment of English on the world stage. The theoretical input is balanced by the study of contemporary texts in Old English, Middle English and Early Modern English, concluding with a view of how present day English has changed within living memory.
Research Methods in English Language & Communication - 15 Credits
This module provides you with a broad overview of research skills and the theoretical and empirical issues involved in carrying out research. We will focus on how to perform systematic literature reviews and to synthesise information, as well as on both empirical and non-empirical research methods. You are introduced to current research strategies used in English Language & Communication and will develop the skills (including IT skills) required in order to collect, code and analyse pre-existing, naturalistic, experimental and questionnaire data. Data archives and computer based analysis programs as well as psycholinguistic experiments are explored. The module will prepare you for the kinds of work you will undertake at level 6, as well as for conducting a long or short project.
Learning and Teaching Language 1 - 15 Credits
This module is the first of two that look in some depth at issues in the learning and teaching of language, with special reference to English. In this module, more emphasis is laid on theories of second language development and the learner, while greater emphasis is placed on the teaching of a second language in the second module.
The module examines both naturalistic methods of learning and classroom learning, discussing the impact of and typical outcomes for the learner in each condition. It considers the work of contemporary theorists, and examines factors such as the role of the L1, the different aspects of L2 knowledge and the interplay of variables that contribute to successful second language development.
Child Language & Communication - 15 Credits
This module provides a detailed investigation of how children acquire their first language and the theories that seek to explain the process. We will look at child language from the pre-linguistic stage through to the acquisition of words, morpho-syntax and inflections. You will also explore the relation between language and cognitive development, as well as the acquisition of communication skills. These topics will be considered for both monolingual and bilingual children.
Clinical Linguistics - 15 Credits
This module examines the effects of developmental and acquired disorders of language and/or communication on the acquisition and use of language. Different kinds of linguistic disorders are presented in an attempt to explore the nature of language and communication. Topics include, for example, the study of: phonological disability, stuttering, grammatical impairment, semantic/pragmatic disorders, hearing impairment, Downs Syndrome and autism. The module also looks at other language modalities, such as British Sign Language and addresses issues concerned with the assessment of comprehension and production and the use of computer programs and databases in language analysis.
Language & Communication Project - 30 Credits
In this module you undertake an individual project on a topic of your choice. The project is the opportunity for you to demonstrate your ability to use many of the skills developed over your previous studies, and to take those skills to a higher plane.
Language Processing - 15 Credits
Learning outcomes will be achieved through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and directed tasks.
The module introduces you to the theories and methodologies of psycholinguistics relating to language processing. You will consider psycholinguistic models of the mental lexicon and of language production and comprehension. You will be taught how to critically examine this work, looking not just at the results but how they were obtained - the underlying assumptions, what counts as evidence. You will assess the contribution that linguistics can make. You will also collect and analyse relevant data, commenting on difficulties
The module will distinguish five ways of approaching the mental lexicon: how lexical information is acquired, how it is stored, how it is accessed in production, how it is accessed in comprehension, and how it is lost. The module will focus on questions of storage and access, but will make reference to acquisition and dissolution as appropriate. Students will be introduced to the modularity/connectionism debate; they will then explore the modularity model of the organization of the mental lexicon in some detail. Key models of lexical processing in word production and in word comprehension will be examined, and some conclusions drawn.
Sentential processing will be considered, both from the point of view of production and of comprehension. Questions of serial/parallel, autonomous/interactive processing will be explored. In each case, production and comprehension, the strategy will be to see to what extent a serial, autonomous model can be maintained.
Speech errors and hesitation phenomena will provide the main evidence for production, and lexical and syntactic ambiguities the main evidence for comprehension. The strengths and limitations of psycholinguistic modelling will be assessed
Communication and Cultures - 15 Credits
The module gives you an opportunity to bring to the surface some of your personal / social cultural assumptions and working beliefs, and to see how they map onto those of other cultures, with specific attention to a specified domain of each student's choice. In particular, you are encouraged to look at inter-cultural communication, in the forms of face-to-face conversation, interviews, group encounters, formal situations such as conferences, e-mail and other forms of written communication, in order to see how other cultures, and especially a culture of your own choosing, articulate, disguise, hide and express beliefs.
Meaning and Context - 15 Credits
This module is concerned with meaning in language and communication. It introduces students to different types of meaning and different theoretical approaches to studying meaning in the philosophy of language and linguistics. A key issue will be the distinction between semantics and pragmatics, where the boundary between them lies, and the way in which the two realms interact in the communication of meaning.
In this module you will find out what a formulaic sequence is, why they play such an important role in native speaker (L1) communication, and how and why they are stored in and retrieved from memory as a whole. We will look at different types of language data produced by children and adults, including, but not limited to, the British National Corpus, Aviation English, sports commentaries, sitcoms, cookbooks and weather reports. We will also discuss why second language (L2) learners rely heavily on these sequences during the early stages of second language development (SLD), only to then find that they are the "biggest stumbling block to sounding nativelike" (Wray 2002: ix) in later stages of SLD.
Gender in Language and Communication - 15 Credits
We will begin the course with a study of the historical and theoretical background to the study of language and gender within the larger area of sociolinguistics.
We will examine various theories that attempt to account for gendered differences in language, and look at the key pieces of research in this area. This will include a focus on the following: sexism in language; gender differences in pronunciation and grammar; sex and convert prestige, discourse features and turn taking, narratives and storytelling, and politeness. We will then move on to contemporary theories in the area that move beyond the binary distinction of men and women to how speakers can perform their gendered identity. This includes a focus on workplace discourse to examine how leadership and power are enacted within masculine and feminine workplaces.
Recent changes in language and gender studies, such as the incorporation of the Community of Practice framework to analyse language use, will also be addressed.
Online Journalism - 15 Credits
The course will consist of 12, two-hour workshops in which students will - through a mix of, demonstrations, discussion and practical tasks - learn the basics of Online Journalism. This will include an appreciation of the massive impact that digital communications technologies have had on the publishing industry, as well as a detailed understanding of how writing for the internet differs from so-called ‘off-line’ Journalism.
Students will also learn, through the use of a Content Management System (CMS), how to upload and format content – both written and multimedia – which is suitable for publication.
Journalism Skills Portfolio - 30 Credits
This module content enables you to practise your journalism skills in real world settings, enhancing your employability and developing an awareness of the variety of uses for those skills.
You spend at least five days, generally more, in the first semester either working for a relevant company e.g. a newspaper, magazine, PR company or freelancing and gain an understanding of the media world from that perspective.
You also create a varied portfolio of journalism pieces including a news piece, feature and interview to showcase the skills you have learnt.
Global Englishes - 15 Credits
This module will focus on the global spread of the English language, which is no longer used only by native speakers but increasingly by speakers from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Despite these changes, the native speaker continues to dominate in English Language Teaching. This module will explore various issues in the spread of English, including: the influence of other languages on English; the rise, standardisation, ideology and ownership of English; varieties of English across the world (including ‘New Englishes’, English as a Lingua Franca, pidgins & creoles); attitudes towards varieties of English and the pedagogical implications of these issues for English Language Teaching in the context of Global Englishes.
International Politics and Reporting Global News - 15 Credits
Corpus-based Studies in English Language - 15 Credits
In this module you will learn how to use electronic databases (corpora) to address research questions in English Language & Communication. We will look at a range of different corpora (spoken, written, different genres and speakers) to see how they are adapted for research both qualitatively and quantitatively. We will explore areas of English Language (including word use, collocations, discourse, gender, language change, language teaching, translation), select suitable corpora for investigation and analyse the data output. In this module we will also address issues in the compilation of corpus data and the way corpus investigations can impact on theories of language.
*Tuition fees are charged annually. The fees quoted above are for the specified year(s) only. Fees may be higher in future years, for both new and continuing students. Please see the University’s
Fees and Finance Policy (and in particular the section headed “When tuition fees change”), for further information about when and by how much the University may increase its fees for future years.
GCSE Maths grade 4 (D) and English Language grade 4 (C) or above.
The University of Hertfordshire is committed to welcoming students with a wide range of qualifications and levels of experience. The entry requirements listed on the course pages provide a guide to the minimum level of qualifications needed to study each course. However, we have a flexible approach to admissions and each application will be considered on an individual basis.
All students from non-majority English speaking countries require proof of English language proficiency, equivalent to an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each band.