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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)

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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 of the key theories, controversies, and research methods, and you’ll develop skills in understanding and designing experiments. You’ll apply your skills to psycholinguistic data, and learn to perform original research in psycholinguistics.

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

In Term 1, there are two route options: Route A for those who are new to linguistics and psycholinguistics; and Route B, for those having completed an undergraduate degree in linguistics. On Route A, you begin with intensive training in core areas of linguistics and psycholinguistics. On Route B you expand your prior linguistic knowledge, selecting from a flexible range of options.

In Term 2, both routes progress to two specialist modules of your choice. Through these options, you deepen your subject knowledge while also developing your abilities in dealing with controversial proposals, evaluating the quality of the arguments, and articulating your own conclusions.

Across Terms 2 and 3, you also get practical training in statistical analysis, and in building experiments for psycholinguistic research using techniques such as eye-tracking and self-paced reading.

Across all three terms you'll study a Research Training module. You'll complete the programme with a dissertation over Term 3 and the vacation. The programme is 180 credits overall.


Term 1

Route A: For students who have minimal linguistics or psycholinguistics background

Psycholinguistics (10 credits)
Language Acquisition (10 credits)
Phonetics and Phonology (10 credits)
Syntax (10 credits)

If you have already studied the equivalent of any of the above modules, you may be able replace them with options from Route B.

Route B: For students with prior background in linguistics or psycholinguistics, choose up to 40 credit from among the Route A modules and the following

Advanced Syntax (10 credits)
Advanced Phonetics (10 credits)
Advanced Phonology (10 credits)
Directed Readings in Phonological Development (10 credits)
Phonological Development (20 credits)

Term 2

Choose two from a range of options. We are planning the following modules for 2019–2020:

Bilingualism (20 credits)
Learning Mechanisms in Phonological Development (20 credits)
Advanced Topics in Psycholinguistics (20 credits)
Syntactic Theory (20 credits)
Prosody of English (20 credits)
Articulatory and Impressionistic Phonetics (20 credits)

Terms 2–3

Experimental Methods in Psycholinguistic Research (10 credits)
Quantitative Methods (10 credits)

Terms 1–3

Research Training Seminar (20 credits)

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 12,000 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 psycholinguistics allowed me to explore how language is processed in my mother tongue and second language. This splendid programme provided me with a specialist toolkit to explore the relationship between linguistic behaviour and psychological processes, from theoretical approaches to research techniques. You might encounter some challenges but you will be fully supported by staff.
Xingyi, MA Psycholinguistics

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.

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.

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.


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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Next steps

Contact us

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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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