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MA Psycholinguistics

Investigate the psychology of language

Year of entry: 2019


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2019 (term dates)

Explore the human mind through the structures and processes of language and communication. 

Our MA in Psycholinguistics will provide you with a detailed foundation in the key theories and questions in psycholinguistics, while giving you practical training in the techniques, methodologies, and quantitative analysis methods associated with this field. You’ll analyse the ways in which language is represented and processed in real time, and study the factors that enable us to comprehend and use language. You'll have the opportunity to develop your interest in areas such as bilingualism, syntactic and semantic processing, and early phonetic and phonological development.

With world-class tutors you'll gain knowledge, and be introduced to research questions and methodologies. You'll also be able to perform original research in psycholinguistics, and you'll apply your skills and knowledge to linguistic data.

This programme offers different routes to suit your level of experience studying linguistics.

Choose your route

We offer different study routes if you have already studied linguistics at undergraduate level, or if you are new to linguistics.

Course content

You can choose your modules depending on whether you already have a background in linguistics or psycholinguistics. If you have not studied these subjects before you'll study modules that provide introductions to the core areas. You'll study taught modules worth 120 credits, and complete your dissertation which is worth 60 credits.


Core modules

  • Key Ideas in Linguistics (20 credits)
    You'll gain an overview of some key ideas in linguistic research from the 20th century and beyond. You'll explore a wide range of literature in linguistics. This module will take you from seminar discussion around key pieces of research in linguistic theory to practical sessions to equip you to undertake either a theoretical project, or an empirical project.
  • Research Training (20 credits)
    This module is taught by various members of staff which brings you the benefit of our combined expertise in a range of linguistics research skills. You'll cover research design and writing skills in linguistics, and will have subject-specific workshops. You’ll be able to develop and present research plans, and you’ll learn how to communicate your research to others.

Route modules

There are two different routes in Autumn Term, depending on your prior background. When you apply we will help you to determine which route you should take.

Route A

If you have no prior background in linguistics or psycholinguistics you'll take the modules in Route A:

  • Quantitative Methods (10 credits)
    This module will give you a firm grounding in the theory and practice of quantitative data analysis, which you will be able to use in your own research.
  • Language Acquisition (10 credits)
    This module introduces the field of language acquisition research, including language acquisition research methods, data, and theory. The module focuses on child first language acquisition of phonology and syntax, but covers at least one additional area of language acquisition, such as adult second language acquisition or child bilingualism.
  • Psycholinguistics (10 credits)
    This module introduces you to central areas of psycholinguistic theory and research. You'll learn about speech perception, language production, language comprehension, language and the brain, language in special populations and theoretical approaches. The module will explore issues in the study of language as a source of evidence about the human mind, touching upon a large variety of topics: animal language experiments, language disorders, language acquisition and processing, language evolution. The discussion will cover a variety of theoretical approaches, including behaviourism, nativism, and usage-based linguistics, as well as experimental methods and evidence.

Choose either Syntax or Phonetics and Phonology for your fourth module:

  • Syntax (10 credits)
    This module introduces you to the scientific methodology employed in syntax. You’ll gain an understanding of a theoretical framework within which syntactic investigation can be undertaken. You’ll also begin to develop skills in data analysis and syntactic argumentation.
  • Phonetics and Phonology (10 credits)
    This module will give you practice at using articulatory and acoustic phonetic terminology to describe English and other languages. You’ll learn about the International Phonetic Alphabet and the principles of its use; you’ll be introduced to some simple notational devices for the phonological analysis of speech. This module will also prepare you for further modules in phonetics and phonology.

Route B 

If you already have some background in these subjects you'll take Route B:

Choose 30 further credits from among the modules below and the modules in Route A:

Option modules

In Spring Term you will take two 20-credit modules from a choice of options. These may include:

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


In Summer Term and over the vacation you'll prepare and complete your dissertation of between 8,000 and 10,000 words (60 credits), supervised by a member of staff. You'll submit your dissertation in September.

Topics have ranged from:

  • Syntactic Processing Deficit in Dyslexia and its Impact on Language Performance
  • Preservation of Syntax in Alzheimer's
  • The Acquisition of 'any' by Polish speakers learners of English: How the Knowledge Changes with Proficiency
  • Subjacency violations in Second Language Acquisition: Some Evidence from Chinese Mandarin Speakers of L2 English

More recent MA dissertation topics.

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

Read more on what our students say about us.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2019/20

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year)£7,810£17,370
Part-time (2 years)
Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.
year 1 fee
year 1 fee

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.

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. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

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.


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. You'll submit four short assignments over the course of the Key Ideas in Linguistics module. 

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, especially those lecturers who I have had contact with, has been excellent. I have always been welcomed into their offices 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

Read more on what our students say about us.

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, often going directly into employment. 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 higher/further education
  • 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

You should have, or be about to complete, a 2:1 undergraduate degree or equivalent qualification.

If you are unsure about your eligibility, or want an informal chat about whether this course would be suitable for you, please contact us.

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:

  • IELTS: 7.0, with a minimum of 7.0 in Writing and Speaking and no less than 5.5 in all other components
  • PTE Academic: 67, with a minimum of 67 in Writing and Speaking and no less than 51 in all other components
  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 185, with a minimum of 185 in Writing and Speaking and no less than 162 in all other components
  • CAE (before January 2015): 75, with 'Very Good' in Writing
  • CPE (before January 2015): B
  • TOEFL: 96, with a minimum of 24 in Writing and Speaking, 17 in Listening and 18 in Reading
  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with Distinction in all components

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.


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.

Apply for this course

Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Learn more

Department of Language and Linguistic Science

Related courses

If you are new to the field or have only minimal prior background:

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

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