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MA Phonetics and Phonology

Explore the meaning of the languages of the world through their sounds

Year of entry: 2020
Show year of entry: 2019

Length

1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2020 (term dates)

Applications for 2020/21 entry open on Monday 30 September at 10am.

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Study the sounds and sound patterns of the languages of the world from cognitive and social angles, integrating theory and data. Explore the social, interactional, perceptual, and phonological importance of phonetic detail, why sounds of language change over time and why we have different accents. Investigate how we learn the phonologies of our first and second languages. 
 
Learn about a broad range of topics within the field, and be equipped to develop your own original research. Taught by a diverse group of researchers, you'll gain practical training in essential skills for phoneticians and phonologists, as well as a firm grounding in theory. We are recognised experts in our field, with specialisms in a wide range of areas including sociophonetics, language change, acquisition, prosody, articulation, corpus phonetics, and spoken interaction.
 

World top 100

We are in the world top 100 for linguistics (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019).

Choose modules to suit your interests

We offer modules on articulatory and impressionistic phonetics, bilingualism, learning mechanisms in phonological development, and prosody of English, among others.

The core modules provide good grounding in the prevalent theories and research methods, and the optional modules cover a comprehensive set of specific areas, so there is a great deal of freedom to specialise further during the course. The faculty and staff at York are enthusiastic and knowledgeable. They go out of their way to help students and make the programme a really enjoyable experience.
Yinglun Sun, MA in Phonetics and Phonology

Course content

In Term 1 you'll consolidate your background in phonetics and phonology with two 10-credit core modules and a 10-credit option module. In Term 2, you'll focus on particular subfields within phonetics and phonology and develop your own specialism through two 20-credit option modules.

Your core modules will equip you with skills to evaluate theoretical claims and hypotheses in phonology, and generate novel hypotheses in this area. You'll also learn the fundamentals of speech acoustics and articulation, and their relation to phonological representations and speech perception.

Throughout the course, you will develop both qualitative and quantitative research skills in order to apply them in your dissertation project. You'll complete your dissertation in Term 3 and the summer vacation. You'll take 180 credits overall. 

Modules

Core modules

Term 1

Term 1-3 

Term 2-3

Option modules

Term 1 

You'll take one module from options which may include the following:

Term 2

You'll take two modules from options which may include the following:

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Dissertation

In Summer Term and over the vacation you'll prepare and complete your dissertation of between 12,500 and 15,000 words (80 credits), supervised by a member of staff. You'll submit your dissertation in September.

Topics have ranged from:

  • Variation in Voice Onset Time (VOT) on the Scottish and English border
  • Clicks in Chilean Spanish conversation
  • The perception of phonological variation in the York vowel system
  • The acquisition of geminates in Japanese
  • Production and perception of ‘smiling voice’
  • The intonation of Punjabi English

More 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 and unfamiliar patterns in complex real-world data sets from the areas of phonetics and phonology.
  • Select and deploy appropriate qualitative and quantitative methods acquired through the study of speech sounds to evaluate and carry out primary research.
  • Manage autonomously and independently specialist equipment and software for the purposes of recording and analysing speech at a professional level.
  • Propose creative and principled solutions to phonetic and phonological problems, appealing to linguistic theory where appropriate.
  • Communicate your ideas clearly and effectively to specialists and a lay audience through presentations and written reports.
  • Apply advanced reasoning and critical perspectives on linguistic and cultural diversity by synthesising and critically engaging with arguments from a variety of standpoints.
  • 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.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2020/21

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year) £8,040£18,240
Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.
£4,020£9,120

Students on a Tier 4 Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Funding information

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

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

Home/EU students

International students

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.

Studying phonetics allows me to appreciate the fine details of human speech: the rhythms, intonations, sudden stops and breathy starts. It trains your ear to identify sounds you’ve always heard, yet never really heard before. It equips you with the skills to transcribe these sounds and share them with others. Believe me: after taking phonetics, you'll never view conversation in the same way again.
Daniel, MA Linguistics

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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 with a mixture of lectures, seminars, workshops and practical training. You'll have approximately three contact hours a week for each module. For some modules you’ll complete collaborative group work outside your classes. You’ll be set essential reading, and will complete weekly assigned exercises.

A Research Training module runs throughout the Autumn, Spring, and Summer Term teaching periods, to support your development in academic skills as a linguist.

All modules, including the Research Training module, offer developmental assessments that do not contribute to your final mark. These provide a chance to practice your skills and gain useful feedback on your progress and understanding, before you take the final assessments. A member of the teaching staff will act as your supervisor throughout the degree, to help guide your studies and monitor progress.

We encourage you to be an active part of the research community here at York. You'll have the opportunity to interact with researchers, and to attend departmental events where you can broaden your view of phonetics, phonology and linguistics in general.

Facilities

All of our modules have Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) websites where all crucial materials—reading lists, handouts, discussion boards—are accessible.

We have our own departmental e-Lab for the teaching and study time of our students. Here you will have access to a variety of resources, including specialist linguistics software, corpora of different varieties, and online language-learning materials. 

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. You’ll submit exercises or short essays, or take examinations, for your Autumn Term modules. You'll produce 5,000 word essays for your Spring Term option modules. For the Research Training module you'll take one examination, and write a methodological critique of a linguistics research paper. You will also complete a dissertation.

The support from the staff and lecturers who I had contact with has been excellent. I have always been welcome to talk about both academic and personal aspects. During the Masters degree, I constantly asked myself a question: and now? what's next? Staff in the department have given me excellent advice and encouraged me to trust myself.
Eloi, MA Linguistics

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Careers and skills

Effective communication, critical thinking and project management skills are central to most careers. The study of linguistics at York equips you with these skills and others, which translate readily into any work context.

Our graduates have an excellent record of pursuing fulfilling paths after graduation. Their work spans advertising, teaching English as a foreign language, IT, accountancy, broadcasting, clinical and forensic linguistics, retail management, and other careers.

Apart from your knowledge of linguistics, you will leave with the confidence and skills that come from successfully completing a demanding course and participating fully in university life.

Career opportunities

  • Marketing and communications
  • Publishing
  • Broadcasting and journalism
  • Academic research and further study
  • Local government and public service
  • Finance and accountancy
  • Teaching
  • Clinical and forensic linguistics
  • Law
  • Software development

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

Qualification Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent, which should include formal training in phonetics and phonology.

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:

Qualification Minimum requirement
IELTS 7.0, minimum 6.5 in each component
PTE Academic 67, minimum 61 in each component
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 185, minimum 176 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've not 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 IELTS 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.

Applying

You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. 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

Related courses

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If you have considerable prior background we offer other specialist MA programmes:

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