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MSc Psycholinguistics

Investigate the cognitive science of language

Year of entry: 2024 (September)


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2024 (semester dates)

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Psycholinguistics is a vibrant and growing subfield of linguistics. Interested in the mechanisms that allow people to acquire, produce and comprehend language, our field spans an incredibly diverse set of topics. 

The MSc programme offers two pathways: Language Processing, and Language Acquisition and Development. Researchers in first and second language acquisition ask questions about what typical development looks like, such as 'how do infants move from producing isolated sounds to understanding whole conversations in the span of just a few years?' On the other hand, research in adult language processing asks questions about the "target state" of language development, such as 'what is it that fully-fledged language users are doing when they produce and perceive linguistic input?'

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

The structure of the programme is very flexible to adapt to your prior background, offering both introductory modules (for conversion students) and specialistic advanced modules if you have a background in linguistics and/or psychology.

You'll progress to specialist modules in the second semester within your psycholinguistics area of choice (Language Processing or Language Acquisition and Development), through which you deepen your subject knowledge while also developing your abilities in dealing with controversial proposals, weighing up the evidence, evaluating the quality of the arguments, and articulating your own conclusions.

In addition, both routes include practical training in experimental methods and quantitative methods in psycholinguistics. Finally, in collaboration with our staff, you will design and conduct your own psycholinguistic research for your dissertation, which closes the programme and allows you to apply the concepts and skills acquired during the MSc (including experimental design and statistical analysis).


Language Processing Pathway

Semester 1 (conversion route)

Core modules

Semester 1 (prior experience route)

You'll choose three modules in consultation with your programme leader.

Semester 2

Language Acquisition and Development Pathway

Semester 1 (for both conversion and prior experience route)

Semester 2

The options available to you will be confirmed after you begin your course. For further information please get in touch.

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 supervised by a member of staff. You'll submit your dissertation in September.

Topics have ranged from:

  • Non-word processing in dyslexia: the impact of phonological deficits in language processing 
  • Towards an accessible and operational measure of oral fluency within the context of second language learning & instruction    
  • Lexical access in the mental lexicon of third language learners 
  • Plural inflection processing by L1-Chinese speakers of 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, complex and unfamiliar psycholinguistic data, discern and analyse relevant patterns in real data sets, and convey their significance effectively and with appropriate technical conventions.
  • Select and deploy appropriate qualitative and quantitative research methods, including statistical analysis methods, to gain a holistic and multifaceted understanding of psycholinguistic phenomena.
  • Propose creative and principled solutions to psycholinguistic problems, appealing to linguistic and psycholinguistic theory where appropriate, and contribute them effectively to written reports and presentations.
  • Communicate clearly and effectively at an appropriate level for different audiences the nature and relevance of psycholinguistic questions and controversies, the pivotal significance of language for human cognition, and the ways in which knowledge of language influences behaviour.
    Apply advanced reasoning and critical perspectives on empirical and theoretical research in psycholinguistics by synthesising and critically engaging with arguments 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.
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 2024/25

Study modeUK (home)International and EU
Full-time (1 year) £11,110£25,080
Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.

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 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.

All modules 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.

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 exercises or short essays, or take examinations, for your Autumn Term modules.

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

On successful completion of the MSc in Psycholinguistics programme you will have gained a solid and detailed grounding in psycholinguistics, along with the practical and technical skills to carry out original research in this field, guided by some of the world’s foremost experts. You will develop your confidence, critical skills, problem-solving abilities, and other transferable skills including time-management and communication, equipping you to exercise independent learning in your future career. Our MSc provides excellent training for doctoral research. Graduates are also well-equipped to undertake careers in a range of sectors including marketing, publishing, education, government administration, and journalism.

Career opportunities

  • researcher in learning difficulties
  • clinical and forensic linguist
  • teacher of English
  • translator
  • marketing executive
  • 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
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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Contact us

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Department of Language and Linguistic Science

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