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MA Sociolinguistics

Investigate the relationship between language and society

Year of entry: 2020

Length

1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2020 (term dates)

Postgraduate opportunities

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Explore the social aspects of language and communication. Consider the roles of society, social class and gender in the context of a speech community. Investigate social motivations for language change.

Our course will provide you with a detailed foundation in the key theories and questions in sociolinguistics, while giving you practical training in the techniques, methodologies, and quantitative analysis methods associated with this field.

You’ll analyse the ways in which social factors affect language, and investigate the social, geographical and stylistic differences in spoken language. You'll have the opportunity to develop your interest in areas including language change, language and gender, attitudes to language, language planning, bilingualism and sociophonetics. You will be able to study contemporary and historical data.

With world-class tutors you'll gain up-to-date knowledge of the field, and be introduced to research questions and methodologies. You'll also have the opportunity to conduct original research in sociolinguistics, and apply your skills and knowledge to linguistic data.

 

World-class faculty

The Department is part of our Faculty of Arts and Humanities, ranked 34th in the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

World top 100

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

Course content

You'll gain an intensive foundation in core areas through the Autumn Term modules Language Variation and Change, Syntax, and Phonetics and Phonology. In the Spring Term, you will deepen and refine your knowledge through the advanced modules Sociophonetics and Topics in Language Variation and Change. At the same time, you will develop statistical analysis skills through the Quantitative Methods module.

A Research Training module runs over all three terms, offering training in linguistic writing and presentation skills, research design, software for data collection, and other practical skills. You will apply your skills and knowledge to your own research project: a dissertation of between 12,500 and 15,000 words, which concludes the course.

Modules

Term 1

Term 2

Terms 2–3

Terms 1–3

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:

  • A sociolinguistic study of the phoneme /t/ in the accent of Poles living in Nottingham
  • Attitudes, Exposure, and the English Pronunciation of Dutch Learners
  • The Only Way is Essex: a case study exploring what 'constructed reality' television programmes are doing for attitudes towards and awareness of different varieties of English in the United Kingdom
  • Language Choice and Language Use in Computer Mediated Communication: Code Switching and Script Switching in Libyan Arabic

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 linguistic and sociolinguistic phenomena, discern and analyse patterns in data collected for sociolinguistic purposes, and convey their significance effectively and with appropriate technical conventions.
  • Select and deploy appropriate advanced quantitative and qualitative research methods and techniques acquired through the study of the relationship between language and society to gain a holistic and multifaceted understanding of sociolinguistic phenomena.
  • Propose creative and principled solutions to sociolinguistic issues, appealing to linguistic and social theory where appropriate, demonstrating initiative and originality in problem solving through contributions to written reports and other media.
  • Communicate clearly and effectively at an appropriate level for different audiences the nature and relevance of sociolinguistic questions and controversies, the pivotal significance of language for humans as social beings, and the ways in which attitudes to and beliefs about language are tied to social structure, inequality and social identity.
  • Demonstrate advanced reasoning and critical perspectives on linguistic, social and cultural diversity, including the role of language in social organisation, by synthesising and critically engaging with arguments (from the literature) from a variety of standpoints.
  • Create detailed and persuasive, academically and ethically informed, project proposals at a professional level, 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.
I liked that the programme offered the opportunity to build a foundation in core areas of linguistics, such as phonetics and syntax, as well as intensive research training, so that I could embark within months on my own research project.
Theresa, MA Sociolinguistics

Read more on what our students say about us.

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.

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 formative assessments that do not contribute to your final mark. These provide a chance to practise 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.

Facilities

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

Our e-Lab gives you 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 essays, or take examinations, for your Autumn Term modules. You'll produce 5,000 word essays for your Spring Term modules, or complete a series of written assignments. 

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 of up to 15,000 words.

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

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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Next steps

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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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