Postgraduate courses in British Sign Language

British Sign Language helps those who are deaf or may have hearing impairments. A beautiful way to be inclusive, communicate and educate. 

The first historical mention of BSL was in 1576 when a wedding ceremony was carried out with parts of it in BSL as the groom was deaf. Since then, it has continued to develop and be used by adults and children across the UK.

BSL has been recognised as an official language since 2003 and since then opportunities for deaf people to gain access to education and services has improved. If you would like to be a part of the continuous development and provide these services then stick around.

We have some courses for you to choose from below as well as the basics you’ll need to know while on your search for your postgraduate course. 

What is British Sign Language?

Sign language is a visual way of communicating and is used by those who are deaf or have hearing impairments. Sign language uses gestures, facial expressions and body language to communicate the desired message. 

British Sign Language is the sign language that is used in the UK. It is the first language of some deaf people in the UK and is a preferred language for many. BSL uses its own grammatical structure and syntax. It is not overly dependent or related to the English language. More than 150,000 people use BSL in the UK today. 

Courses

There are many courses on offer in the area across the UK. Some courses offer the opportunity to study either part time or full time. Universities may have certain restrictions in place due to Coivd-19 and may offer courses online. Courses available include:

British Sign Language/English Interpreting and Translation

A postgraduate course in this area is based on the theory of language, linguistics and culture which allow us to gain an understanding of different languages and how to interact and interpret them. Courses like this one allow students to learn how to engage in inter-relationships between the National Registers of Communication Professionals and Deaf and Deafblind people. Students who take a course such as this one will gain the necessary skills in order to produce high quality services and communication and learn high quality interaction skills. Modules include Developing BSL Performance, Interpreting as a Profession, Principles of Sign Language Interpreting, Critical Interpreting Analysis, English as a source and Target Language and From Translation to Simultaneous Interpretation. 

Language and Social Justice with British Sign Language

A postgraduate course in this area will give students the opportunity to explore the world of language and its contribution to social justice. Main focuses of a course like this are to gain a deeper insight into different theories and approaches in relation to language analysis and apply that to social justice. Modules include Intensive British Sign Language, Language Myths and Approaches to Critical Discourse Analysis to name a few. 

Entry requirements 

Entry requirements may differ from course to course or university to university. Therefore, it is important to research your specific course in detail to ensure you meet the entry requirements. As these courses are postgraduate courses, you will need a bachelor’s degree. Some courses may accept a 2.2 degree while others will require a 2.1. For some courses students will need intermediate British Sign Language skills and a degree in a relevant area, for example, linguistics. 

Salary 

Your salary in this area depends on the route you take. We will look at the role of a BSL interpreter as an example. Salaries can differ and change in this role so it is hard to put an exact figure on what you will earn. It is believed that you could earn anything between £20,000 to £30,000 in this role. Starting close to £20,000, overtime and with experience your salary may rise. All figures are intended to be used as a guide only. 

Skills and requirements 

Skills and requirements helpful in this area include:

  • Ability to work well with others
  • Strong communication skills
  • Ability to teach others
  • Organization skills
  • Confidence
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Problem solver
  • Ability to use computer software
  • Sensitivity and understanding
  • Open to change
  • Ability to design courses
  • Good decision maker
  • Patience
  • Motivation skills
  • Leadership skills

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