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Frequently asked questions

General admissions

I'm confused by all the various degree types. Can you summarise?

The MA/MSc courses are one year long. The taught MA/MSc courses consist of assessed coursework and a research project that is written up as dissertation (max. 15,000 words for the MA/MSc in Linguistics, and MSc Forensic Speech Science; 10,000 words for the MAs in Psycholinguistics). On the MA by Research there is no coursework: the programme involves researching and writing a thesis of a maximum of 25,000 words. The PhD programme is three years long and involves researching and writing a thesis, which must be a substantial and original contribution, of up to 80,000 words. In all cases, you will be provided with research training.

I'm not a native speaker of English, what sort of English language requirements do I need to meet?

If your first language is not English, you will need an IELTS score of 7 (or equivalent) overall, including a score of 6.5 in both the written and oral assessment components. There is more information on other accepted qualifications on the university's English Language Requirements page.

If you don't meet these requirements, the International Pathway College (IPC) offers a range of pre-sessional courses that you can apply for. These language courses take place in the summer before the start of taught programmes for students who need to improve their English slightly before admission.

I have an IELTS score of 7, but I'm still concerned that my English is not good enough. Do you offer language tuition?

No, but the International Pathway College (IPC) offers a range of pre-sessional courses that you can apply for. These language courses take place in the summer before the start of taught programmes for students who need to improve their English slightly before admission.

There are also excellent academic English courses taking place during the academic year through the Writing and Language Skills Centre.

What sort of languages can I work on?

Apart from historical and modern varieties English, our staff members have worked on Arabic, Chinese, Estonian, Finnish, French, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean and Swedish, amongst others. Having said this, we are happy to work with you on any language in any of our research areas.

Do I need to speak more than one language?

No, you only need to be proficient in English. Of course, speaking other languages may benefit you if you conduct cross-linguistic research.

How much does it cost to study in York?

Fees and living expenses change from year to year.  The most current information can be found on the university's Fees and Funding page.

What sort of funding opportunities are available?

This varies from year to year. More information on funding opportunities available for prospective postgraduate students in our department can be found on our fees and funding page. 

Do any of your courses deal specifically with language teaching?

Not specifically.  We can provide supervision for an MA by Research or PhD in certain areas of Applied Linguistics but the main research interests of our staff in these areas do not include language teaching.  Two of our MA programmes allow you to take modules in language acquisition (both first and second).  There are some more language teaching oriented programmes in Applied Linguistics on offer in the Department of Education.

Does the department offer related job experience?

MSc in Forensic Speech Science students will observe the working practices of the laboratory, as well as cognate institutions such as courts, on site visits. As for research students, the department is sometimes able to offer jobs, which may be paid or unpaid. For example, you may be asked to help with undergraduate teaching or marking, editing our working papers (York Papers in Linguistics) or organising a workshop or conference.

Do you offer part-time registration?

In most cases, yes, in which case, the registration length is doubled (2 yrs for MA/6 yrs for PhD). Part-time MA students take approximately half the number of required modules taken by full-time students in any one year, but it is not always possible to split the years evenly.  If you are considering part-time study, please feel free to contact us with individual queries.  Please note that students who require a Student Visa to study in the UK are only eligible to apply for full-time study.

MA study

I'm not sure if I want to stay in academia. Can I start with an MA and then continue to a PhD?

It is possible for MA candidates who show good performance and who are able to develop their research interests into a suitable PhD topic to be allowed to advance their studies to an MPhil or PhD. Your supervisor will be able to advise you on the best course of action.

Do I need a background in Linguistics to study for a taught MA or MSc?

Not necessarily - the answer depends on which programme you are applying for.

We accept applications for our MA in Linguistics and MA Psycholinguistics programmes from candidates who do not have a prior background in Linguistics, but who hold or expect to gain a First or 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant (broadly defined) subject area.

To apply for one of our specialist programmes MSc Linguistics or MSc Forensic Speech Science you must be able to demonstrate prior experience in your chosen area.

Prospective applicants can contact us at to discuss whether your background study is suitable for entry to that programme.

I have already completed some PG modules elsewhere - do you accept credit transfer?

We accept a diverse range of qualifications, this includes considering prior learning as credit towards your York degree. This means you can apply to be exempt from taking certain modules on your York degree, if you have previous relevant qualifications or experience.

Find out more about credit transfer and recognition of prior learning.


Should I apply for a taught MA or an MA by research?

Our taught MAs are research training degrees, which will equip you with all you need to pursue further research in your chosen area.  They should be your first choice if you have little or no research experience.  The MA by research is suitable only for candidates who already have a sound grasp of some area of linguistics and are able to conduct independent research.  Additionally, the department must be able to provide a suitable supervisor for your proposed area of research.

Completing an MA by research does not mean that you will be unable to attend any classes.  Your supervisor will advise you on the suitability of attendance at any taught modules but you will not take assessment in these.

PhD study

Does the department provide financial support for conferences?

There is typically some financial support for research postgraduates who present at conferences. Applications for conference funding are evaluated on a case by case basis.

Are there opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration?

Yes, in collaboration with the Departments of Education, Psychology and Sociology the department also offers MPhil and PhD degrees in Language and Communication. Apart from this, students pursuing research degrees can potentially collaborate with the departments of Education, Philosophy, Psychology or Sociology and the School of Physics, Engineering and Technology (PET) in other ways. Due to administrative constraints however, collaborative efforts are evaluated on a case by case basis.