The University of Wolverhampton

BA (Hons)Interpreting (British Sign Language/English) with Foundation Year

Why choose this course?

The Interpreting (BSL/English) plus foundation degree is a four year course and, for the final three years of study, follows the same aims and content as the Interpreting (BSL/English) degree. These pages will give you specific information about the first year of study.

The extra year of study on this course enables students with no or little prior knowledge of sign language to develop the skills they need for the BA (Hons) Interpreting (BSL/English) degree. Some of our students have already achieved a basic BSL qualification, but choose this route in order to gain confidence and a deeper knowledge of the language.

In one academic year, students will be guided from Basic through to Intermediate Sign Language and will cover a range of topics including environmental and political issues, travel, and health. Students are given the time and support to develop both expressive and receptive skills, with considerable focus placed on understanding and applying essential grammatical structures.

Experienced and enthusiastic teaching staff use a range of interactive and innovative teaching and learning methods in class and online, and students also have the opportunity to attend interpreted theatre performances and other cultural events.

An enhanced DBS is required prior to attending the final year work placement modules (See the Entry Requirement tab for more information)

Further information about the final three years can be found on the Interpreting (BSL/English) pages.

What happens on the course?

This intensive year will develop your receptive and expressive skills in BSL with a strong focus on grammatical features. It will expand your knowledge of the English language and introduce practical and theoretical translation skills. Your year covers many aspects of language learning in both first and second language competencies, as well as an introduction into translation and interpretation. You will explore a range of areas such as culture, deaf history, the environment, politics, and legal and interpreting-related issues, whilst simultaneously developing your awareness of language variation in the d/Deaf community. Topics are relevant and wide-ranging and could include discussions on the environment, visits to the art gallery and going to trial in a BSL court of law.

Why Wolverhampton?

You will taught by both deaf and hearing staff who are experts in their field, the course is aimed at people with no prior knowledge of BSL, you will benefit from innovative and highly interactive teaching which continues outside the classroom through a diverse range of online activities. You will also have access to an extensive range of digitised BSL video resources that have been collected over many years and offer valuable insight into the variety that exists within this non-standardised language.

The University of Wolverhampton is placed at the heart of a thriving deaf community and has an active Sign Language Society. Our subject has strong links to deaf events, interpreted theatre performances and the internationally regarded ‘Deaffest’ – an annual deaf film festival, all of which provide you with excellent volunteering opportunities.

Comment from our External Examiner on provision:

For Interpreting (British Sign Language/English) with Foundation Year:

"The curriculum is very well developed and all materials pertaining to the courses that I have reviewed are clearly structured and highly relevant to the profession".

"The variety of assessments used is commendable and there are many innovative approaches to assessment evidenced in the materials that I have reviewed.....the assessments often reflect a good deal of innovation and creativity on the part of the lecturers".

What our students think

“The foundation year has been both challenging and fun. I can’t believe how much I’ve learnt in such a short amount of time.”

“I’d already learned BSL for a couple of years before I came on this course, but I’ll never regret doing the foundation year first. It has improved my confidence no end and given me a real insight into BSL grammar that I just didn’t have before.”

“I can’t get over how much I’ve progressed in just one year. I watched the first BSL video I made when I first came here and it made me realise how far I’ve come.”

“The lecturers and students from other years are really supportive and encouraging.”

Career path

Successful completion of this year will allow you to progress on to the three year BA (Hons) Interpreting (BSL/English) course. Many students who graduate from the BA go on to become registered interpreters and have the potential to work in a range of environments e.g. education, health, social services, theatre, international events, TV, or any setting where Deaf people who use BSL as their preferred language wish to communicate with hearing people. Previous graduates have also gone on to become community project workers, policy advisors, teachers, social workers (with further qualifications) and employment/careers advisors. Please see the Interpreting (BSL/Eng) pages for information about professional accreditation.

Comment from our External Examiner on employability:

For Interpreting (British Sign Language/English) with Foundation Year:

"I believe that the placement module that I reviewed is one of the best developed in any interpreter training programmes that I am familiar with. It is highly developed and well thought through and offers students a wonderfully well-defined introduction to working in their chosen field....student work suggests that the candidates internalise a great deal of awareness of professional standards. I cannot emphasise how highly I rate this module. It is a gem and I strongly recommend that Wolverhampton consider how they can disseminate widely the process and outcome of their approach in this area, as it is a real credit to the department".

What skills will you gain?

As a graduate of this course you will be able to:

  • communicate effectively by producing and understanding opinions and facts in BSL at an intermediate level
  • identify, describe, understand and produce key grammatical features of BSL
  • apply knowledge of BSL linguistic features to efficient and effective translations between BSL and English at an intermediate level
  • demonstrate awareness of personal learning strategies and skills through research and presentations in signed, spoken and written modalities
  • show understanding of spatial grammar by expressing concepts visually and communicating opinions and facts cohesively in BSL
  • demonstrate a competent level of digital literacy through participation in online interactive tasks in both signed and written modalities.

Entry requirements

2016 Entry

  • 240-280 UCAS points with a minimum of 180 points from at least two ‘A’ levels
  • BTEC National Diploma grade MMM
  • BTEC QCF Extended Diploma grade MMM
  • Access to HE Diploma full award (Pass of 60 credits - of which a minimum of 45 credits must be at level 3 including 18 at Merit or Distinction).
  • If you've got other qualifications or relevant experience, please contact The Gateway for further advice before applying.
  • International student language requirements and application guidance can be found at

Other Requirements

Enhanced DBS

An Enhanced DBS is required prior to attending the final year work placement modules. Your tutors will notify you when to start this process.

The DBS does not form part of the entry conditions but students are made aware of possible difficulties with regards to work placement site allocations and registration as an interpreter with the Professional Registration Body (NRCPD) if any issues arise. This is to avoid the situation where students study part of the course or complete the course but cannot find employment in the sector due to DBS issues.

Students must have studied a minimum of two years post GCSE level. However, it is expected that some applicants will be mature students with work experience, who wish to further their career development. These applicants will be processed through standard procedures, which may involve an interview as part of the process. Please see for further information.

Those who do not meet the entry requirements may be offered an alternative course.

Upon graduation in order to work as a sign language interpreter you will be required to register with the professional body the NRCPD - The National Register of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind people.

The"NRCPD regulates communication professionals who work with deaf and deafblind people. Our job is to safeguard the wellbeing and interests of people who rely on those professionals."

When applying to the 3 or 4 year interpreting programme, please ensure you are familiar and aware of the NRCPD requirements for registration. These can be found on the NRCPD's website, and also include 'Restrictions on Practice', Professional Indemnity Insurance, Enhanced Disclosure and Barring System check, and a 'Fit and Proper Person's Declaration'

Please go to the NRCPD website, click on the tab for 'Registering' and then 'Sign Language Interpreter' and you will find the above information there. Should you have a difficulty locating this information, then please type the item into the NRCPD search box.

If you have any queries in relation to the above information and your application to the course, please contact the Course Leader for the Interpreting Subject of your chosen programme.

Course fees and finance

2016/7 Home/EU International
Full time £6,000 £11,250

Degrees which include foundation year will be charged at the lower foundation rate for the first year. Subsequent years will be charged at the University Standard Degree rate.

The University also offers a range of Bursaries and Scholarships in addition to other financial support packages

These fees are applicable for new entrants in 2016/7. If you have any queries regarding the fees listed please contact 01902 321137

These fees are for the current academic year only. Any subsequent years may be subject to an annual increase, usually in line with inflation.

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01902 32 22 22



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