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MSc Linguistics

Build a thorough foundation in the science behind how we communicate.

Year of entry: 2024 (September)


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2024 (semester dates)

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Linguistics today is a centrepiece of cognitive science. Study with us and uncover the science behind language, that which differentiates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom.

At York, you'll be taught by expert staff who are active researchers in their fields, meaning you'll be kept up to date with the latest research methods and techniques. You'll build on your existing linguistics knowledge and gain in-depth knowledge of different areas of linguistics but, crucially, how they interface, cross-fertilise and inform one another. You'll learn how properties of sound, structure and society are needed in order to understand a range of phenomena, and how meaning, modality and morphology connect to give an account of communicative acts.

You can tailor your course to your interests and deepen your existing knowledge and understanding of phonetics and phonology, theoretical and comparative syntax, semantics, sociolinguistics or language.

York is one of the highest-ranked centres for research in linguistics in the UK, and the strength and diversity of our research is reflected in our teaching.

York was my top choice because of its world-renowned Linguistics programme and their reputation for excellent research.
Daniel, MA Linguistics

Read more about what our students say.

Linguistics pathways

Our course is designed to be flexible, allowing you to design a bespoke programme for yourself that aligns best with your own interests. You can choose one of the three following pathways and will take core modules in your chosen pathway.

Course content

Over the year, you'll study modules in key areas of linguistics and choose these from a range of different options. You'll hone existing skills in analysis and linguistic investigation and apply them to your dissertation at the end of the year. Our course focuses on high-level skills of analysis, such as collecting, collating and managing data, as well as problem solving and the presentation of results in the form of reports.

You'll be taught by expert academics who are passionate about their subjects and are active researchers.

You'll be able to tailor your course to your own academic interests in Linguistics. You'll choose to focus on one of three pathways:

  • Semantics and Syntax
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Phonetics and Phonology



Over the year, you'll take six modules alongside your dissertation.

You'll choose at least two modules from your chosen pathway, plus any other modules of your choice for a total of six modules. You may choose up to a maximum of two non-specialist option modules.

Syntax and Semantics pathway

Sociolinguistics pathway

Phonetics and Phonology pathway

Historical Linguistics pathway

Other specialist modules

Non-specialist option modules

You can choose a maximum of two non-specialist option modules. Examples may include:

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff, and in line with Department/School academic planning.


You'll prepare and write a research dissertation over Semester 2 and the vacation. This will be supervised by a member of staff. You'll submit your dissertation in September.

Topics have ranged from:

  • A phonetic and acoustic analysis of English vowel realisations by a group of adult Hausa immigrants living in Britain
  • Deaccenting in L2
  • An investigation into Long Distance Scrambling: Minimalism, Case and Labelling
  • Argument/adjunct asymmetries in wh-questions in Mandarin Chinese
  • A Probabilistic Semantics for Causality in Counterfactuals
  • Comparative study of written and spoken code-switches in Malaysia
  • Claiming identity in interaction: A discursive analysis

Recent MA dissertation topics

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Approach with confidence intricate, complex and unfamiliar phenomena from different perspectives including comparative, crosslinguistic or quantitative perspectives, discern and analyse relevant patterns in the data, and convey their significance effectively and with appropriate technical conventions.
  • Select and deploy appropriate advanced research methods acquired through the study of linguistic data of various languages and dialects and gain a global understanding of the processes at play in each area of specialisation.
  • Formulate research questions and problems at a high level and propose creative, principled, and rigorous solutions to problems in the relevant area, within a coherent theoretical framework, and contribute them effectively to written reports, and other media.
  • Communicate clearly and effectively the nature and relevance of research questions and controversies in their area and the pivotal significance of linguistic investigation and results in the understanding of human cognition, society, and culture.
  • Demonstrate advanced reasoning and critical perspectives on linguistic and cultural diversity by synthesising and critically engaging with arguments from a variety of standpoints.
  • Use specialist software, databases, and other relevant research and quantitative tools in order to carry out research on large datasets whether these are sets of languages, corpora, or original data.
  • Create detailed and persuasive, academically and ethically informed, project proposals, and initiate, develop and complete a substantial independent research project.
  • Manage their own development as researchers and professionals, demonstrating the ability to reflect on their own practice and on feedback received, and seeking assistance where appropriate.
The support from the staff has been excellent. Staff in the department have given me excellent advice and encouraged me to trust myself.
Eloi, MA Linguistics

Read more about what our students say.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2024/25

Study modeUK (home)International and EU
Full-time (1 year) £11,110£25,080
Part-time (2 years) £5,555£12,540

Students on a Student Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

For courses which are longer than one year, the tuition fees quoted are for the first year of study.

  • UK (home) fees may increase in subsequent years (up to a maximum of 2%).
  • International fees may increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

Fees information

UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.

Find out more information about tuition fees and how to pay them.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2024/25 throughout the year.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Funding opportunities

Find out more about funding specific to Language and Linguistic Science.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Teaching format

You'll be taught through a combination of lecture-based modules and small group, hands-on seminars. Your learning journey will take place among a community of internationally recognised experts in every area. You'll have the opportunity to take part in lab and research group meetings, gaining first-hand experience of research in the making with foremost leaders in the field.

Your modules will provide a chance to practice your skills and gain useful feedback on your progress and understanding. A member of the teaching staff will act as your supervisor throughout the degree, to help guide your studies and monitor progress.


Our state-of-the-art Language and Linguistic Science facilities are used to deconstruct and analyse language. We have three main areas:

Psycholinguistics lab

Comprising two experimental booths with black-out blinds so you can measure pupil response using the world’s most precise video-based eye trackers. Two additional workstations are used for behavioural experiments. These are equipped with multiple E-prime software licences, devices for recording response times and technology for controlling auditory stimuli. The lab also has a generous multi-purpose computer laboratory with access to linguistics software for experimental design and coding.

Speech lab: Articulograph and ultrasound

Using ultrasound imaging and electromagnetic articulography, you can track the movement of the tongue and lips in real-time to analyse speech.

Recording studio

Our professional recording studio can produce clear, quiet, professional recordings suitable for academic use.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Language and Linguistic Science on Campus West. Most of your contact hours will be in or close to Vanbrugh College, with some additional teaching in other locations on Campus West.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

A range of assessments formats are used, including:

  • group exercises
  • essays
  • examinations
  • presentations

Careers and skills

Through our MSc in Linguistics, you'll learn how to approach highly complex data and understand and explain the underlying generalisations. You'll also develop effective communication, critical thinking and project management skills, which translate readily into any work context.

Career opportunities

  • linguist
  • foreign languages teacher
  • clinical and forensic linguist
  • journalist
  • teacher
  • content developer


Transferable skills

  • The capacity to analyse data and evaluate competing interpretations of evidence
  • Development of a hypothesis from the predictions of a theory or model
  • The ability to design a research project and present data
  • Reflective independent learning and time management
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Problem solving
  • Intercultural awareness

Entry requirements

Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2.1 or equivalent, in a degree with relevant Linguistics background
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS (Academic and Indicator) 7.0, minimum 6.5 in each component
Cambridge CEFR C1 Advanced: 185, with 176 in each component
Oxford ELLT 8, minimum 7 in each component
Duolingo 130, minimum 120 in all other components
LanguageCert SELT C1 with 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert Academic 75 with a minimum of 70 in each component
KITE 495-526, with 459-494 in all other components
Skills for English C1: Pass overall, with Pass in each component
PTE Academic 67, minimum 61 in each component
TOEFL 96, minimum 23 in each component
Trinity ISE III Distinction in all component

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you haven't met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


You can apply and send all your documentation online. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

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Department of Language and Linguistic Science

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