MA in Phonological Development

The MA in Phonological Development will provide the opportunity to gain practical experience in linguistic methods of analysis of child data, from English and other languages.



Our research area

Read more about our research in Phonological Development.


The MA in Phonological Development will:

  • Introduce you to research questions and theoretical approaches in phonological development
  • Introduce you to linguistic methods of analysis in phonological development
  • Introduce you to current psychological research on development and on learning mechanisms in adults and children
  • Provide hands-on experience with data collection and analysis
  • Enable you to develop your own areas of interest and expertise in phonological development
  • Enable you to carry out original research in phonological development


The first term comprises three core modules, Directed Readings in Phonological Development, The Emergence of Structure from Use, and Research Methods, along with one open option. The second term comprises Topics in Phonological Development and Learning Mechanisms. The programme is completed with a research dissertation.

Course structure

Course structure

Students follow a two-term programme of lectures, seminars and tutorials.

Autumn Term

Students lacking some aspects of the expected background will take bridging modules.

  • Phonological development (10 credits)
  • Directed readings in phonological development (10 credits)
  • The emergence of structure from use (10 credits)
  • Quantitative methods (10 credits)

Students with prior background in phonological development will take the following modules:

  • Directed readings in phonological development (10 credits)
  • Emergence of structure from use (10 credits)
  • Quantitative methods (10 credits)

And one open option from:

  • Phonetics and phonology (10 credits)
  • Language variation and change (10 credits)
  • Psycholinguistics (10 credits)

Spring Term

  • Topics in phonological development (20 credits)
  • Learning mechanisms (20 credits)

Summer Term and summer vacation

  • Dissertation (80 credits)

All terms

  • Research training seminar (20 credits)



Autumn and Spring Terms

Assessment will vary by module, with essays (3500-5000 words) required for most of the modules but an exam for research methods. Formative work will be assigned during term in each module.

Summer term

Summer term work is assessed by an essay – covering either preliminary data collection or a literature review - that will typically form a separate (already marked) section of the dissertation.


The course culminates in a sustained period of independent research and the production of a dissertation of up to 15,000 words. You can see more detail on the programme and the department in the current postgraduate handbook.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

You should normally hold or expect to receive at least a 2:1 or equivalent in your first degree.

If your first language is not English and your first degree was not taken in an English speaking country, you will need to show evidence that you meet our English Language requirements.  We accept an IELTS score of 7, including 7 in both the written and oral assessment components.  Full details of other accepted qualifications are given here.


Applying for the MA in Phonological Development

All applications are made through our online admissions service, 'Select'.

In your application, you will need to include details of your academic qualifications.  If you have already completed your first degree you should upload a final transcript and degree certificate to your application.  If you have not yet completed your degree, you should include an interim transcript showing marks to date. 

You will also be asked to give the contact details, including e-mail addresses, of two academic referees. 

If your first language is not English, you will be asked to provide proof that you meet our English language requirements.  Where available, this should be uploaded when you make your original application, but if you are waiting for the results of a language test, please make a note of when you plan to provide details of the outcome.  You can then upload the relevant certificate at a later date.

You can also find more details on the application process from the Postgraduate Admissions web pages.‌‌