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Develop Transferable Skills – University of Reading

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Develop Transferable Skills


In the Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics we aim to not only equip students with valuable knowledge about language analysis and use, but also we want to make our graduates stand out from the crowd when applying for work.

In order to achieve this, we offer all our students the opportunity to develop the best set of transferable skills, i.e., skills which can be used in the world of work. All the modules offered in the Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics enable students to practise and improve skills such as effective written and oral communication, critical thinking, working as part of a group, giving oral and poster presentations in front of an audience, negotiating in groups and giving and receiving constructive feedback. In addition, we offer career-oriented modules, for example 'Core Issues in English Language Teaching' and 'Teaching the Language Skills'.


Our graduates have gone on to a wide range of careers including:

• Teaching (both in the UK and abroad)

• Speech therapy

• Publishing and journalism

• Events co-ordinating

• The Civil Service

• The media (including advertising, marketing and public relations)

• Information technology


The Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics also gives students the opportunity to do a work placement as part of their degree. We offer three school wide placement modules:

  • Literature, Language and Education
  • Literature, Language and Media
  • Communications at Work

These modules enable students to apply the knowledge gained in their course in a workplace environment and reflect upon their professional development. This, in turn, enhances students' potential employability on graduation by providing practical experience in the employment market.

What our students think about the work-placements module:



"I carried out a work-placement at a charitable organisation for aphasia. This organisation helps people with communication impairments to have better conversations. As I have aspirations to become a speech therapist, this experience was invaluable and gave me an insight into the roles and responsibilities involved with careers within this field. The project I undertook as part of the work-placement was a fantastic preparation for completing my dissertation on my third year. This has enabled me to feel more confident and prepared."

Abigail Songhurst, BA English Language


You have the option to do an academic placement on many of the modules that you study in the second or third year of our degree, thanks to our pioneering Academic Placement scheme. This scheme gives you the opportunity to complete a two-week professional placement connected to one of your modules, on which you'll write a placement report. This report becomes part of your assessed work, usually taking the place of one of your coursework essays. Placements give you a fantastic opportunity to explore potential future careers and to put your academic learning to work in a professional context.

British Council 'Thailand English Teaching Programme' (TET)

Recently, we have established collaborations with the British Council for the 'Thailand English Teaching Programme' (TET). The TET programme brings around 300 UK students and recent graduates to work as English Language Assistants in Thailand. Successful applicants can spend 2 months during the summer period in schools and vocational colleges across Thailand. For more information about the programme and how to apply visit the TET Website.

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP)

We also involve our students in our research activities, helping them to enhance their knowledge in specific research areas and improve their transferable skills. The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP) Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP) provides exciting opportunities for undergraduates to work with staff on research projects across the University, contributing directly to the creation of knowledge and strengthening the link between teaching and research. UROP placements last for six weeks over the summer break of Year 2 and are open to all students. After the completion of the placements, students participate in the Undergraduate Research Showcase; in this showcase students produce a poster presentation explaining to a non-specialist audience the aims and the outcomes of the project. If they wish, students can also participate in the annual British Conference of Undergraduate Research.

The Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics has been 100% successful in obtaining funding for UROP placements and, so far, students have had the opportunity to work on the following projects on multilingualism:

UROP 2018

Title: To take or not to take? An interdisciplinary investigation into the language of adherence to medicines from health professional and patient perspectives

Student: Sabi Ghale; Supervisors: Dr Sylvia Jaworska & Prof Kath Ryan (School of Pharmacy)

UROP 2017

Project 1

Title: The Voice and Representation: transgender speakers

Student: Iona Jacob; Supervisor: Jane Setter; Rodney Jones

Publication: Setter, J. (submitted). Your Voice Speaks Volumes: it's not what you say, it's how you say it. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Expected publication date: September 2019.

* Winner in the 'Prosperity and Resilience' category. Iona presented her work the British Conference of Undergraduate Research (University of Sheffield)

Project 2

Title: Brexit and Big Social Data: The language of affect ON Twitter in the run-up to the EU referendum

Student: Tigran Sogomonian; Supervisor: Dr Sylvia Jaworska & Dr Marina Della Giusta (Economics)

Publication: Jaworska, S. and Sogomonian, T. (2019). After we #VoteLeave we can #TakeControl: political bonding and imagined collectives on Twitter before the Brexit vote. In: Lutzky, U & Nevala, M. Reference and Identity in Public Discourse. Amsterdam, Benjamin (in press).

Project 3

Title: Analysing the semantics of verbs from two spoken registers: a corpus-based study

Student: Elena Crowle; Supervisor: Dr Jacqueline Laws

Publication: Semantic category classification of verb-forming suffixation in spoken British English: actual and novel derivatives (To be submitted in February 2019)

Project 4

Title: Tolerance or exclusion? Attitudes towards the multilingual Linguistic Landscape of Reading at the time of Brexit.

Student: Dennis Perry; Supervisor: Dr Christiana Themistocleous

Publication: In preparation

UROP 2016

Project 1

Title: Gender and everyday narratives of pain

Student: Samuel Genovese; Supervisors: Dr Sylvia Jaworska & Prof Kath Ryan (School of Pharmacy)

Publication: Jaworska, S. and Ryan, K. (2018) Gender and the language of pain in chronic and terminal illness: a corpus-based discourse analysis of patients' narratives. Social Science & Medicine, 215. pp. 107-114. ISSN 0277-9536 doi: (Impact factor: 2.733)

Project 2

Title: Superdiversity and the linguistic landscape of Reading

Student: Beatrice Jupe; Supervisor: Dr Christiana Themistocleous

Winner in the 'Heritage and Creativity' category at the UROP showcase. Beatrice presented her work at the British Conference of Undergraduate Research (Bournemouth University)

Summer 2012

'Investigating language production and comprehension in bilingual first language acquisition' (supervised by Dr Francesca La Morgia)

'Documenting linguistic diversity in Reading's public services: An ethnographic study' (supervised by Dr Christiana Themistocleous)

Summer 2014

'Attitudes towards old and new myths on multilingualism' (supervised by Dr Christiana Themistocleous in collaboration with Dr Sylvia Jaworska and Dr Francesca La Morgia)

Representations of multilingualism in public discourse in Britain 1980-2013 (supervised by Dr Sylvia Jaworska in collaboration with Dr Christiana Themistocleous and Dr Francesca La Morgia)


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