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  • Learn about the nature of language and gain an in-depth understanding of the forces that have shaped it over time
  • Gain transferable and cognitive skills for lifelong personal and professional development
  • Explore the practical application of language through analytical work, experimentation and quantitative analysis
  • Use your forensic skills to support police investigations in trying to solve crimes
  • Extend your degree by one year and complete a professional work placement giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market

Forensic linguists are the Sherlocks of the language world. They analyse the way people use slang, dialect words, vocabulary and punctuation to establish a linguistic ‘fingerprint’. As a forensic linguist, you could be called upon to identify a criminal through the examination of his or her writing style, or determine if a person is lying through linguistic analysis of speech.

Our English Linguistics with Forensic Linguistics programme is a more specialised version of the English Linguistics course. While you receive a solid grounding in all areas of English Linguistic study, more time is reserved for the understanding of linguistics within the forensic context. This might mean studying confessions, phone call transcripts, suicide notes, ransom letters, witness statements, police interview transcripts, and, increasingly, texts and emails. 

In Year 1, the three Understanding Language modules provide you with the analytic building blocks for language study. You are also offered optional modules from the BA (Hons) Forensic Studies course.

In Year 2, you begin to apply your knowledge to language and discourse in the world around you and to both historic and contemporary texts. Core modules include Research Methods, Forensic Linguistics, and Fakes and Forgeries. Optional modules include Language and Identity, and Sociolinguistics.

During Year 3, you undertake a placement or complete a dissertation. You study core modules in Language Crimes and Forensic Psychology and you choose from specialist optional modules covering topics such as Speech and Language Disorders or Crafted Text.

You have the opportunity for an additional sandwich year to explore possible careers and return for your final year with a defined career path. There is a lot of flexibility, but options may include the British Council (language teaching abroad), language schools, the Houses of Parliament, the Stroke Association or similar charities, council work, schools, the NHS, marketing and PR businesses, and the courts.

On our Linguistics degree you cultivate skills in analysis and presentation, critical thinking and the use of statistics and IT. This expertise is valuable for a broad range of careers.

While the forensic linguist/scientist as supporter of police investigations has become increasingly popular, an understanding of language, the law and forensic methodologies can be used in many other areas such as immigration investigations and the identification of historical documents.

Our linguistic Sherlocks go into careers in law, the police, and forensic services, but also work in the charitable sector, and become information analysts, emergency call operators, teachers, social researchers, journalists and speech and language therapists.


94.4% of our 2015/16 graduates (first degree and other undergraduate courses) were in employment and/or further study six months after completing their course (The Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey). 

Pre-approved for a masters

If you study a Bachelor Honours degree with us, you will be pre-approved to start a Masters degree at Winchester. To be eligible, you will need to apply by the end of March in the final year of your degree and meet the entry requirements of your chosen Masters degree.


Suitable for applicants from:

UK, EU, World

Study abroad

Our BSc (Hons) English Linguistics with Forensic Linguistics course provides an opportunity for you to study abroad in the United States of America (USA), or Europe (The Czech Republic, Germany or Poland) via Erasmus.

For more information see our study abroad section.

Learning and teaching

Our aim is to shape 'confident learners' by enabling you to develop the skills needed to excel in your studies here and as well as onto further studies or the employment market. 

You are taught primarily through a combination of lectures and seminars, allowing opportunities to discuss and develop your understanding of topics covered in lectures in smaller groups.

In addition to the formally scheduled contact time such as lectures and seminars etc.), you are encouraged to access academic support from staff within the course team, your personal tutor and the wide range of services available to you within the University.

Independent learning

Over the duration of your course, you will be expected to develop independent and critical learning, progressively building confidence and expertise through independent and collaborative research, problem-solving and analysis with the support of staff. You take responsibility for your own learning and are encouraged to make use of the wide range of available learning resources available.

Overall workload

Your overall workload consists of class contact hours, independent learning and assessment activity.

While your actual contact hours may depend on the optional modules you select, the following information gives an indication of how much time you will need to allocate to different activities at each level of the course.

Year 1 (Level 4): Timetabled teaching and learning activity*
  • Teaching, learning and assessment: 240 hours
  • Independent learning: 960 hours
Year 2 (Level 5): Timetabled teaching and learning activity*
  • Teaching, learning and assessment: 264 hours
  • Independent learning: 912 hours
  • Placement: 24 hours
Year 3 (Level 6): Timetabled teaching and learning activity*
  • Teaching, learning and assessment: 240 hours
  • Independent learning: 960 hours

*Please note these are indicative hours for the course. 

Students will have artefact handling sessions and site visits for material culture elements of the course and museum visits to see anthropology as presented to the public.


Taught elements of the course take place at King Alfreds or West Downs, Winchester.


Our validated courses may adopt a range of means of assessing your learning. An indicative, and not necessarily comprehensive, list of assessment types you might encounter includes essays, portfolios, supervised independent work, presentations, written exams, or practical performances.

We ensure all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes. Further details on assessment types can be found by attending an Open Day or contacting our teaching staff.

Percentage of the course assessed by coursework

The assessment balance between examination and coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. The approximate percentage of the course assessed by different assessment modes is as follows:

Year 1 (Level 4)*:
  • 57% coursework
  • 9% written exams
  • 34% practical exams
Year 2 (Level 5)*:
  • 62% coursework
  • 6% written exams
  • 32% practical exams
Year 3 (Level 6)*:
  • 59% coursework
  • 8% written exams
  • 33% practical exams

*Please note these are indicative percentages and modes for the programme.


We are committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to you on your academic progress and achievement in order to enable you to reflect on your progress and plan your academic and skills development effectively. You are also encouraged to seek additional feedback from your course tutors.

Further information

For more information about our regulations for this course, please see our Academic Regulations, Policies and Procedures.



2018 Entry: 104-120 points 

A GCSE A*-C or 9-4 pass in English Language is required.

An A Level A*- B pass is required in an English subject. This can be in English Literature, English Language, English Language and Literature, or Creative Writing

International baccalaureate: 26 points including 5 points at Higher Level

If English is not your first language: Year 1/Level 4: IELTS 6.0 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in writing or equivalent

Course enquiries and applications

Telephone: +44 (0) 1962 827234

Send us a message

International students

International students seeking additional information about this programme can send an email to or call +44 (0)1962 827023

Visit us

Explore our campus and find out more about studying at Winchester by coming to one of our Open Days

Year 1 (Level 4)

Modules Credits

Language CSI 15

The investigation of language has become more prominent in forensic investigations within the last decades. Some of these areas of investigation, such as plagiarism cases and author identification, are also relevant in an academic context. This module will utilise such links between academic scholarship and forensic case studies in order to introduce the students to some of the most vital pitfalls and most necessary skills in relation to their language degree. The investigation of a (supposed) case of plagiarism, for example, will allow us to explore the nature of plagiarism and the dangers of academic misconduct as well as methods for their detection.  The module therefore offers a first glimpse into the field of Forensic Linguistics alongside an introduction to academic practice.

History of the English Language 30

The history of the English language is a long and complex one. It covers several centuries and several continents, and encompasses a wealth of linguistic, cultural, and technological changes. This module will look at the different stages of the English language and explore the features which characterise each of them. It will also look closely at how these features change between each of these stages, and how we can describe and discuss them quantitatively and qualitatively. In doing so, we will consider the most appropriate methods for dealing with the various types of data, and what limitations there are on our interpretations and analyses.

Understanding Language 3: Semantics and Pragmatics 15

The Understanding Language modules will introduce you to the main levels of analysis that we use in linguistic investigations. You will revisit concepts from them throughout your degree.

This module will introduce you to what meaning is and how we create and shape it in and through our language. We will find out whether meaning is attached to a word, or what our mind has to do with it. Or is it a social construct? How does figurative meaning work, and how does that help us to make sense of texts? Are meanings related? And where is the logic in all of that? We will also look at some aspects in which semantics and the neighbouring field of pragmatics overlap. This will include some work on speech acts, and will show us how much of what we say and understand is a question of perspective.

Understanding Language 2: Phonetics and Phonology 15

The Understanding Language modules will introduce you to the main levels of analysis that we use in linguistic investigations. You will revisit concepts from them throughout your degree. This module will discuss how language sounds are produced (phonetics) and how we use them in order to make sense of them as English language units (phonology). The module will introduce basic linguistic principles and terminology as well as methods for the transcription and analysis of phonetic / phonological features.

Understanding Language 1: Syntax and Morphology 15

The Understanding Language modules will introduce you to the main levels of analysis that we use in linguistic investigations. You will revisit concepts from them throughout your degree. This module explores two building blocks that hold language expressions together: words (morphology) and sentences (syntax). We will discuss how words are created and then changed into other words, and how the way sentences are strung together influences what they mean. We will learn how we can take them apart to identify the parts, and how that can help us clarify ambiguities or to compare different ways of saying similar things.

Approaches to Language Study 15

This module serves as main introduction to English Language Studies. It combines an overview of the relevant fields of study within the discipline with first training in some of the methods you will be using throughout your time at university. Some of the topics you might recognise, such as Discourse Analysis or Language Acquisition. Others, like Cognitive Linguistics, for example, might be new to you. The methods and skills we train will include how to do a field study and how to make the most of the library. We will also explore how to write essays and work on your presentation skills.

Optional Credits

Optional Modules

Introduction to Forensic Evidence – 15 Credits

A History of Forensic Science – 15 Credits

Year 2 (Level 5)

Modules Credits

Fakes and Forgeries 15

This module examines concepts of authenticity when applied to a range of material culture such as documents, adulterated or mislabelled food, art, alcohol, and antiquities. The module draws upon criminological concepts in relation to white collar crime and organised crime and the agencies involved in their detection and prosecution. The module provides grounding for a number of techniques for the investigation of counterfeiting, forging, and fraudulent activities; these processes include art and antiquity provenancing, DNA analysis, radio carbon dating, isotope analysis, and document analysis. By the end of this module students will have gained a better understanding of the range of crimes and investigative methods at work in this important area of forensic investigation.

Forensic Linguistics 15

This module will introduce you to a relatively new linguistic discipline which is highly relevant for the professional world. Forensic Linguistics explores the language of law and legal discourse as it happens in courts and the sphere of law enforcement. We will look at the language of law-making and how comprehensible (or not) it is. Exchanges between experts in these fields and non-experts will provide material for investigation. Equally important in this field is the question of authorship. How can you identify the author of a written text, for example? Question such as this relate to issues of plagiarism (and its detection) but also legal texts, such as confessions.

Introduction to Corpus Linguistics 15

Corpus linguistics is the discipline of working with big sets of real-world data in order to see how language is actually used. It involves examining corpora – searchable collections of language usage, sometimes in particular capacities (e.g. in newspapers or in TV soaps) – and this module will teach students how to use the various corpus tools available and how to formulate feasible research questions to pose to corpora. The module will range over contemporary as well as historical corpora. The starting point will be the disjunction between how we think we use words versus how words are actually used, and the module will move into covering semantic, phonetic and syntactic questions frequently answered by corpora.

Research Methods 15

The module will acquaint students with a variety of research methods and help them develop an understanding of the appropriateness of them in any given context. For this reason, the module is designed around a larger-scale research project which will help to prepare students for LG3001 Dissertation. Building on knowledge from earlier, topical modules students will acquire more insight into diverse research methodologies relevant for linguistic study and allow them to apply these to a problem. Hypothesis formulation and evaluation, statistics, and experimentation will be an integral aspect of the module. Picking their own topics, students will work with each other in groups from the beginning and provide peer support through the research, analysis and writing process.

Optional Credits

Optional Modules

Applied Phonetics

Old English

Old Norse

Discourse Analysis

Language and the Mind

Cognitive Linguistics

Introduction to Sociolinguistics

Language Acquisition

Middle English: Texts in Context

Language and Identity

Volunteering for English Language

Placement Year – 120 Credits

Students need to declare their interest at the end of Level 4 and must have a guaranteed and vetted placement at least three weeks before the start of the third academic year in which it will take place.

Year 3 (Level 6)

Modules Credits

Language Crimes

Leading on from the second year introduction to Forensic Linguistics, this praxis oriented module will use the study of individual cases or specific methodologies as a basis around which a more contextual understanding is developed. There will be room for a variety of linguistic skills, including pragmatics, semantics, document analysis, phonetics and more. As a group we will consider lying and manipulation, trolling, hate speech, incitement to crimes and terror, document forgery, undercover police work, and more.

We will also consider the place of the forensic linguist in the forensic team as a whole.


The dissertation is an extended, independent research project on a topic of the student’s choice (subject to approval). While study is primarily student-driven, supervision will be provided by tutors who teach and/or research in the respective subject area. The ‘taught’ sessions focus on IT skills, editing and time management skills appropriate for a project of this kind. In addition, employability-focused sessions will provide support for activities, such as interviews or CV writing.

Optional Credits

Optional Modules

Syntax and Augmentation: The Syntax-Semantics Interface


Evolution of Language

Speech and Language Disorders

Old English 2: From Manuscript to Annotated Edition

Crafted Text

Cognitive Stylistics

Language Death, Revival and Change

English on the Periphery

English and the World

History of Linguistics




Forensic Psychology

Please note the modules listed are correct at the time of publishing, for full-time students entering the programme in Year 1. Optional modules are listed where applicable. Please note the University cannot guarantee the availability of all modules listed and modules may be subject to change. For further information please refer to the terms and conditions at
The University will notify applicants of any changes made to the core modules listed above.

Course Tuition Fees 

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man

If you are a UK or EU student starting your degree in September 2018, the first year will cost you £9,250. Based on this fee level, the indicative fees for a three-year degree would be £27,750 for UK and EU students. Remember, you don't have to pay any of this upfront if you are able to get a tuition fee loan from the UK Government to cover the full cost of your fees each year. If finance is a worry for you, we are here to help. Take a look at the range of support we have on offer. This is a great investment you are making in your future, so make sure you know what is on offer to support you.

Full-time £9,250 p/a

Total Cost: £27,750 (3 years) | £28,450 (sandwich option)

UK/EU Part-Time fees are calculated on a pro rata basis of the full-time fee for a 120 credit course. The fee for a single credit is £77.08 and a 15 credit module is £1,156. Part-time students can take up to a maximum 90 credits per year, so the maximum fee in a given year will be the government permitted maximum fee of £6,938

International Students

Full-time £12,950** p/a
Total Cost: £38,850** (3 years) | £39,550** (sandwich option)

International part-time fees are calculated on a pro rata basis of the full-time fee for a 120 credit course. The fee for a single credit is £107.92 and a 15 credit module is £1,620. Fees for students from Vestfold University College in Norway (who receive a 10% reduction) and NLA are £11,655.


Additional costs

As one of our students all of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of student support and IT services.

There might be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying. The following highlights the mandatory and optional costs for this course:


Sandwich year placement

Students on a sandwich year placement will incur travel expenses and may also need to wear appropriate clothing at their own cost. Cost for travel £5-30 per day. Clothing costs dependent upon students existing wardrobe and their placement. 


Students may incur travel costs on optional volunteering placements in the second year of study. Cost £5-30 per day. 

Field trips

Module leaders may choose to take students on short field trips. Students would be expected to cover the cost of travel to the field trip location. Cost <£50


Core texts

Multiple copies of core text are held within the library and e-books are identified where possible, however due the nature of the course sometimes students are recommended to purchase a copy for their own use. It is also possible for students to purchase second hand copies. Cost £50-250.

Printing and binding

Students are required to pay for the costs of printing some assignments, and for the costs of printing and binding two copies of their dissertation. Cost <£10 per assignment.

Course specific bursaries/scholarships

We have a variety of scholarship and bursaries available to support you financially with the cost of your course. To see if you’re eligible, please see our Scholarships and Awards page.

Key course details

UCAS code
3 years full-time; 4 years full-time (sandwich); 6 years part-time
Typical offer
104-120 points (2018 Entry)
King Alfred or West Downs, Winchester