MA in Phonetics and Phonology

As a student on our MA in Phonetics and Phonology, you will study the sounds and sound patterns of the languages of the world from cognitive and social angles, combining theory and data. You will be guided by academics who are recognized experts in their field, with specialisms in language change, acquisition, prosody, spoken interaction and sociophonetics.



Why do the sounds of languages change over time? How do we learn the phonologies of our first and second languages? Why do we have different accents? What information do fine details of everyday speech convey?

These are some of the many questions that you can pursue on our MA in Phonetics and Phonology. This MA programme is designed to familiarise you with a broad range of topics within phonetics and phonology and give you the necessary skills to develop your own research in these fields. You will learn how to collect and analyse phonetic and phonological data, and how to use it to answer theoretical questions.

You will be taught by a diverse group of researchers drawing on traditional and time-tested methods of analysis as well as cutting-edge technological advances. Our own research combines a focus on careful data analysis with a strong interest in theoretical questions. We hope to instill the same attention to theoretical and empirical detail in our students.


­­Our MA in Phonetics and Phonology will:

  • Deepen your knowledge of phonetics and phonology;
  • Give you practical training in using auditory and instrumental techniques in phonetic analysis, as well as a range of computational methods;
  • Provide you with a strong background in quantitative and qualitative data analysis;
  • Enable you to apply your skills and knowledge to linguistic data;
  • Train you to carry out original research in phonetics and phonology.

Course structure

Course structure

Autumn Term

The Autumn Term serves to consolidate your background in phonetics and phonology, as well as quantitative data analysis. You will take three 10 credit core modules and an elective module (also for 10 credits).

The typical core modules are:

  • Advanced phonology (10 credits)
  • Advanced phonetics (10 credits)
  • Quantitative methods (10 credits)


  • One module from a range of linguistics options

Spring Term

The Spring Term allows you to focus on particular subfields within phonetics and phonology and develop your own specialism. You will choose two 20 credit modules from a range of offerings, which will include some of the following:

  • Articulatory and impressionistic phonetics (20 credits)
  • Computational phonology (20 credits)
  • Multimodality: language and the body (20 credits)
  • Phonological variation and change (20 credits)
  • Prosody of English (20 credits)
  • Topics in phonological development (20 credits)

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

Summer Term and Summer vacation

  • Dissertation (80 credits)

All terms

  • Research training seminar (20 credits)


Teaching and assessment

Teaching methods

We aim to give you practical training in the skills that are essential for phoneticians and phonologists as well as a firm grounding in theory. Our teaching methods reflect these goals: you will attend a variety of lab sessions, ear training classes and discussion groups besides more conventional lectures and seminars. You will also work closely with a supervisor who will help you develop your own research programme.

We encourage our students to be an active part of the research community here at York. You will have the opportunity to interact with researchers from within and outside the department, and to attend departmental colloquia where you can broaden your view of phonetics, phonology and linguistics in general.


This MA programme comprises an overall 180 credits. A large part of this is made up by the dissertation, which is worth 80 credits. As a result, the decisive factor in determining the outcome of the MA is the dissertation.

For the taught modules, assessment is typically by an exam, a dossier of exercises or a short essay for the Autumn Term Modules, and by a 5,000 word essay or equivalent for the Spring Term Modules.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

This course assumes a strong interest in phonetics and phonology, and familiarity with the terminology and methodology of these fields. You should normally hold or expect to receive at least a 2:1 or equivalent in your first degree, which should include formal training in phonetics and phonology.

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 Phonetics and Phonology

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.