University College for Interdisciplinary Learning

Introduction to British Sign Language - Part 1

Course Code


Course details

The unit aims to give you a basic knowledge of British Sign Language (BSL), together with practice in signing, so that you are able to participate in simple everyday communicative situations with members of the deaf community. The unit may be of particular value if you are seeking a career in health or education, or if you have contact with deaf people through work, friends or family. It may also be of intrinsic interest to linguists.

The unit covers the signs and skills needed to achieve basic communication in the following areas: meeting people; the weather; time, age and money; families, work and interests; transport, direction and buildings; colours, clothes and people; animals, objects, furniture. In addition, students learn about basic deaf awareness and deaf culture.

"Starting the course I was excited yet apprehensive at how I would learn BSL when all seminars were to be taught in Sign - no speaking allowed. The classes were very relaxed and open and I think I can speak for everyone in my class by saying we all surprised ourselves in how comfortable we became in understanding our tutor and developing our Signing. The course took us from complete beginners to having full conversations and confidently give presentations. I particularly enjoyed the course as it allowed me to meet students from courses and years that I had never previously mixed with. Having thoroughly enjoyed my BSL studies I am keen to carry on this new skill and gain recognised qualifications. I firmly believe BSL will enhance my CV and employability skills past University, and above all allow me to interact with the Deaf Community and raise the status for BSL."

Sophie Paulson

3rd Year


Sadia Grabham

Course structure

  • Level: 2
  • Credit Load: 10
  • School/s: School of Arts, Languages and Cultures


  1. Independent project 750 words: 20%;
  2. Presentation 3 to 4 minutes in length (weeks 9/10): 25%;
  3. Comprehension (week 11): 25%;
  4. Practical interactive tasks (week 12): 30%

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will:

  • Be aware of current issues related to the deaf community;
  • Be aware of the non-hearing experience;
  • Analyse the requirements of a given language learning task and select appropriate strategies for making an effective response;
  • Identify linguistic patterns within BSL and apply as appropriate to the learning of this;
  • Be able to understand short, simple messages in BSL;
  • Be able to make themselves understood using BSL in simple, routine situations;
  • Demonstrate an ability to use a basic vocabulary and a simple grammar.
  • Ability to work in pairs and groups;
  • Enhanced linguistic and communicative awareness;
  • Appreciation of deaf culture.


Due to the nature of this course, there is very strict (100%) attendance policy.

This course is only open to undergraduate students.

In order to apply, please visit the University Language Centre website:

You are strongly recommended to read the Frequently Asked Question section of their website before you apply to understand the requirements of the course and ensure you are registered successfully as the process differs to other University College course units.

University College course units are available to take on programmes which have 'free choice' options available to them. (i.e programmes which allow you, as part of the degree programme, to take a number of credits from subject areas outside of your home school).

If you are not sure whether you will be able to enrol in University College courses, please contact your School Undergraduate Office to find out whether these options are available for your degree programme.


Group 1:
1 - 12Tuesday10:00 - 12:00
Group 2:
1 - 12Wednesday14:00 - 16:00

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