MA in Linguistics

The MA in Linguistics aims to give you a general foundation in the central areas of modern linguistics, while at the same time allowing you to develop your own particular areas of interest.


The MA in Linguistics will:

  • Impart a general foundation and background in linguistics
  • Give you a practical training in techniques used in linguistic analysis
  • Enable you to apply your skills and knowledge to linguistic data
  • Introduce you to research questions and methodologies in linguistics
  • Enable you to perform original research in linguistics

Course structure

Course structure

The Autumn term comprises four modules in core areas of linguistics. In the Spring term you will choose two modules from a range of options, and begin a further core module on key ideas in linguistics which you will complete in the Summer term. The programme is completed with a research dissertation.

The modules in the Autumn term assume no prior knowledge and provide introductions to the core areas.   The modules in the Spring term provide preparation for the research area in which you will complete your dissertation. 

Autumn Term

Students take modules worth 40 credits in Autumn Term. The typical Autumn Term modules are:

  • Language variation and change (10 credits)
  • Semantics (10 credits)
  • Syntax (10 credits)
  • Phonetics and phonology (10 credits)

Spring Term

In the Spring Term you will take two 20-credit modules of your choice. Your options may include:

  • Articulatory and impressionistic phonetics (20 credits)
  • Bilingualism (20 credits)
  • Multimodality: language and the body (20 credits)
  • Phonological variation and change (20 credits)
  • Prosody of English (20 credits)
  • Second language syntax (20 credits)
  • Semantic theory (20 credits)
  • Syntactic theory (20 credits)
  • Topics in language variation and change (20 credits)

Note that module offerings may vary from year to year.  Not every module is offered every year.

If you have covered substantial parts of the taught MA programme in your undergraduate degree, please talk to us about whether one of our specialist degree programmes may be more appropriate.

Summer Term and Summer vacation

  • Dissertation (60 credits)

All terms

  • Key ideas in linguistics (20 credits)
  • Research training seminar (20 credits)



Autumn Term

The Autumn Term modules are generally assessed by essays or exercises submitted at the start of the Spring term. 

Spring Term

Each of the option modules is generally assessed by a 5,000 word essay handed in at the start of the Summer term.

Spring and Summer Terms

The Key ideas in Linguistics module is assessed by assignments due at the end of the Spring term, and a report due in the middle of the Summer term.


The course culminates in a sustained period of independent research and the production of a dissertation of between 8,000 and 10,000 words. 

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 Linguistics

You can apply for this course using our online application system. If you've not already done so, please read the application guidance first so that you understand the various steps in the application process.