Social Sciences Admissions
+44 (0)131 451 3284
In this programme British Sign Language (BSL) is studied to professional level. Students are trained to work as BSL/English Interpreters and Translators and to use BSL proficiently in related professional areas.
The programme focuses on practical and applied language skills, interpreting and translating skills, communication studies, linguistics, translation and interpreting studies and Deaf studies. Uniquely in this programme during year 3 students can either undertake full-time, compulsory placements working in the UK signing community with organisations in the field (self-financed), or study abroad at one of our partner universities. In year four students have the additional opportunity to work closely with professional interpreters in real-life situations on placement, gaining vital work-place experience.
Graduates successfully completing all specified components of the programme are able to register as full Members of the Register of Sign Language Interpreters with NRCPD, the national registration body in the UK for sign language interpreting, and with SASLI, the Scottish Association of Sign Language Interpreters. (NB to be eligible for full registration with SASLI, students must achieve a minimum of grade D for all Level 4 courses.)
Entry to the programme is open to applicants with or without previous BSL experience.
Accredited by the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI).
Accredited by the National Registers of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind People (NRCPD) for the purpose of fulfilling the educational requirements to become a Registered Sign Language Interpreter.
Course contentDetailed course guide
Students take two intensive, practically-oriented courses in British Sign Language, one course in Introduction to Deaf History and Culture, one course in Introduction to Languages and Intercultural Studies, and two Elective courses.
Students again take two intensive, practically-oriented courses in BSL Advanced (which includes language tuition and an introduction to translation and interpreting skills), and one course each in Deaf People in Society and Comparative Studies, General Linguistics, Sign Linguistics and Working with Deaf Communities.
This year is usually spent in two placements, where students work in the signing community with organisations in the field, further developing their language skills and cultural awareness. This placement is self-financed.
As an alternative, in each semester students can opt for a study-abroad placement, to study sign language interpreting or a related subject at one of our partner universities.
The honours year includes two courses each in BSL Proficiency, Advanced Interpreting Skills, and Translation & Interpreting Studies and the International Context, one course in Interpreting in the Community and a final placement course, in which students work closely with professional interpreters.
You might be interested in…
Our Edinburgh Campus has some of the best purpose-built sports facilities in the region, as well as an active Student Union and lots of student clubs and societies.
Heriot-Watt consistently achieves high ranking across a number of key university league tables.