There’s a couple of months leading up to starting university that are a blur of car journeys, train stations, parking lots, pretty average campus shop meal deals and watery free coffee. Most of it happens in a haze because you had to begin your day at 6am to get half way across the country for a 9am talk about accommodation at a university that, in all probability, you won’t even go to.
As a student, whose own Open Days are still a fresh hellish memory and who has worked as a student ambassador for the Language and Linguistic Science department at York, I will give you a virtual Open Day from the comfort of your own home. In case you couldn’t come to a York Open Day, or you could but what you were told is somewhere in the haze with that third cup of coffee, I’ll (re)answer a few of the most FAQs.
What modules will I do? How many contact hours do you have a week?
No matter which degree course you follow at York, you’ll study 6 modules in your first year.
In degrees that include two languages, that’s two modules in language A, two modules in language B, and two linguistics modules if you’ve done both languages at A-level. York also allows you to study German, Spanish and Italian ab initio (from the beginning). If you choose to do this then you will have three modules in your ab initio language and only one linguistics module. If you choose to study Italian this can only be studied ab initio, and French can only be studied from A-Level.
In single language degrees you will study two modules in your language (this includes English Language), and four linguistics modules.
If you choose to study straight linguistics you will do the four core linguistics modules, and have two elective options. You can fill these spots with other modules from the department or elsewhere.
York also offers degrees split between our department and another department, like History and French, French/German/Linguistics and Philosophy or Linguistics and Mathematics. In these degrees you will do half of your degree in your language (two language modules and one linguistics module or three linguistics modules in the case of Linguistics/Philosophy and Linguistics/Mathematics) and half with the other department. I can’t accurately comment on how many hours per week your other department will have, so it’s best to check with them!
You will have a one hour lecture and one hour seminar in each of your modules per week, giving you twelve hours of contact time in your first year. In your second and third years each persons degree will begin to vary much more, but as a general rule the number of contact hours per week slightly decreases each year (I have 9 in my second year, for example).
Here is some more information about how each program is broken down.
What grades do I need to get in? And will I still get in if I don’t get the grades? (How important is my personal statement?)
I’ve parenthesized that final question in here because it is relevant, and I will come to it in a second. The most common grade requirements for degree programs in our department is AAB, although they do make some offers at ABB, and there are some programmes, like History and French, that require AAA.. Of course York will be looking for the students who meet those entry grades first, but don’t think that you’re completely out of a chance if you miss the mark. York will offer some places to people who didn’t quite get the grades – my degree course requires AAB and after my English Literature exam didn’t go as planned, I was accepted with grades of A*BC. Don’t make this the plan, but don’t make any assumptions about acceptance until UCAS actually emails you!
This is where your personal statement can really help you out. The Language and Linguistics department are looking for students who are curious and eager to learn more about the subject; if you can get this across in your personal statement it could go a long way.
If you have any questions about admission you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
What are the staff like?
The staff in the Language and Linguistics department are incredible (and I’m not even biased). If you did manage to come to an Open Day you might remember a table full of books; these were all examples of work published by the same people that will be teaching you. They are all experts in their own field, and it’s a privilege to be taught by them.
As mentors and figures of academic support, they’re equally brilliant. I’ve yet to come across a member of the department who won’t reply to your email as quickly as they can, even out of hours, or won’t arrange an appointment outside of their office hour to help you. It’s obvious how much they prioritise their students in their busy schedules, and I don’t think that should ever be taken for granted.
There’s not enough room in one post to gush about The Language and Linguistic Department at York. If you have any more questions you can post them in the comments, and I’ll leave you with a list of resources that should make choosing York a little bit easier for you!