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Department of Linguistics

BA Linguistics and ...

Duration: 3 or 4 years depending on precise combination


2016 Entry Requirements

  • A Levels: AAB-ABB
  • IB: 35 (665 at HL)
  • Access to HE: Minimum of 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction
  • Scottish Highers: AAABB
  • Scottish Advanced Highers: AAB
  • Irish LC: 340 points from 5 Higher level subjects at grade C1 or above
  • Advanced Placement: 4 4 5 (Two semesters - UCAS Group A) plus US HSGD with GPA 3.0
  • Euro Bacc: 80%
  • French Bacc: 14/20
  • German Abitur: 2.0
  • Italy DES: 80/100
  • Austria Mat: 2.0
  • Polish Mat: Overall 75% including 3 extended level subjects

Minimum Entry Requirements: A language at A-level or equivalent is desirable but not essential.

Interview Policy: Candidates with ‘non-standard’ qualifications usually invited

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Modern linguistics is the scientific study of all aspects of the world’s languages from their sound systems and grammatical structure through to the interaction of language with culture, the study of meaning in language, and the use of language in modern technology. Linguists try to establish what types of structures are shared by different languages and the extent to which languages may differ from each other.

Linguistics can be taken as a combined subject degree or a single-subject degree. The list of possible subject combinations for the BA Linguistics and... degree is given above. SOAS is unique in the UK for being able to offer a range of subject combinations that include the opportunity to study the languages, literature, and cultures of Africa, Asia and the Near and Middle East. The study of linguistics may also be combined with a range of other disciplines in which the School has proven excellence such as music, law, development studies, economics, politics, religious studies, anthropology, art and archaeology and history. SOAS offers students an unparalleled range of options in choosing their second subject of study.

The linguistics component of the combined subject degree is designed to develop a comprehensive understanding of the way that languages are universally structured and trains students to master all the basic skills necessary for the analysis of different sound systems and semantics (the study of meaning in language). In addition, students may also take units dealing with language and social communication (focusing on the interaction of language and social groups), morphology (the structure of words), historical linguistics (the historical development of languages), phonetics and the structure of an African or Asian language.

Key Information Set Data

The information for BA, BSc, or LLB programmes refer to data taken from the single subject degrees offered at SOAS; however, due to the unique nature of our programmes many subjects have a separate set of data when they are studied alongside another discipline.  In order to get a full picture of their chosen subject(s) applicants are advised to look at both sets of information where these occur.

Please see the Unistats data for the various combinations of this programme under the Combinations tab.


May be combined with

Key Information Set data

Click on a combined programme to load KIS data


Learn a language as part of this programme

Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.

In linguistics, the introductory modules introduce key concepts in semantics, syntax, phonology and phonetics, and lay the foundation for work in succeeding years when intermediate, advanced and more specialised optional modules are available. Among the introductory cmodules in linguistics, Introduction to Phonology and Introduction to Grammatical Structure are core modules (i.e. modules which students must satisfactorily complete and pass in the summer examinations before being permitted to proceed to the next year of their degree). Compulsory units are obligatory.

All BA students must take 4 module units per year. Over the course of the degree, single-subject degree students take a minimum of 9 units in linguistics and combined subject degree students take a minimum of 5 units in linguistics.

4 year Programme Structure with 1 unit of Linguistics in year 1

Students who are required to take 3 language units in their 1st year, take General Linguistics 152900069 as their 4th unit. This imbalance is redressed in the 3rd year (when the year abroad is in the 2nd year) or in the 2nd year (when the year abroad is in the 3rd year) where they will take 3 units in linguistics and only one in the language. Please see the structure set out in the Programme Specifications PDF at the bottom of this page for more detailed information.

3 or 4 year Programme Structure that allows for 2 units of Linguistics per year

Year 1
Core Modules

Core modules must be passed in order to proceed to the following year of study.

Other Subject

Students take two units from their other subject.

Year 2
Core Module

Core moduless must be passed in order to proceed to the following year of study.

Core Module

Choose one of the following:

Optional Modules

Choose a 0.5 unit module from List A.

Other Subject

Students take two units from their other subject.

Year 3 (or Year 4 for combined degrees with a year abroad)
Compulsory Modules

Choose one of the following modules:

Compulsory Modules

Choose one of the following modules:

Optional Module

Choose modules to the value of one unit from List A or B or an open option.

List A (modules for year 2 or 3)
The following module is also available in year 1, available in year 3 only by permission of the Associate Dean Learning & Teaching
List B (modules for year 3 only)


Teaching & Learning

Year abroad

If linguistics is studied with a language, the second or third year of the degree is usually spent abroad.

Teaching & Learning

Each unit generally involves a 2-hour lecture and a tutorial, a 1-hour small-group discussion class each week. The tutorial is intended for further discussion of points made in the lecture and for the development of linguistic problem-solving skills.

Assessment varies according to the nature of the unit. Introductory modules are assessed in the end of year exams in May/June. Other units may involve written examinations, practical tests, course work, essays or a combination of these. 

SOAS Library

SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world. The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.


SOAS BA Linguistics students gain the ability to engage in analytical thought, to carry out research-like work on unfamiliar data and to control and understand the use of language. Graduates leave SOAS not only with linguistic and cultural expertise, but also with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and management careers, both in business and in the public sector. These include written and oral communication skills, attention to detail,analytical and problem-solving skills, and the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources.

Studying a combined honours degree gives students to blend a solid grounding in another discipline or subject area which enables them to place the knowledge they gain as part of their degree within a specific regional, cultural or disciplinary context. 

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

A Student's Perspective

I think the variety at SOAS is one of its strongest aspects – simply being a student at SOAS has taught me a lot about cultures and has given me the opportunity to meet so many great people.

Lialin Rotem-Stibbe