Masters degrees in Language, Linguistics & Cultural Studies
Are you looking for a language or linguistics masters course? Perhaps a masters degree in American Studies, European culture or creative writing? Read on...
This discipline encompasses the languages, literature, culture and history of countries to continents. You can improve your skills at speaking them, learn how to teach them to others, or perhaps analyse the societies in which they are spoken through a consideration of their literature and culture. Modern Languages includes both the study and teaching of modern languages from English to Mandarin. English Literature and Creative Writing focuses on Britain's tremendous literary output and includes instruction on how to add to it yourself. Linguistics deconstructs language and analyses its building blocks and structure in a scientific manner. Middle Eastern and African Culture and History,East and South Asian Culture and History, Celtic Studies and American Studies take a holistic approach to the nations, regions and ethnicities they study, analysing the political, historical and social background of the language and literature of each place. Gender Studies looks at the most primal division of all, that between man and woman, and asks how gender and sexuality are constructed and how gender roles are defined and transmitted between cultures and societies. Cultural Studies employs critical theory to analyse everything from literature and fashion to race relations and the role of the media in politics and society.
This is really a discipline for people who want to learn about different societies around the world through their language and culture. Even linguistics, which takes a much more scientific approach, consists of people with brains the size of the planet using them to analyse in microscopic detail the means by which humanity has evolved its multifarious systems of communication. What you can do with the results of your study is incredibly varied, from working as a critic on the Times Literary Supplement to studying endangered languages in Outer Mongolia. If you can speak a foreign language and have the get up and go to travel, the world, as they say, is your oyster.
Not just about the US of A, American Studies courses can cover the history, literature, culture and politics of both American continents from Canada to Chile and California to the Caribbean. (Studying places whose names do not begin with a C is also allowed.) So whether it is Latin American politics, Canadian literature, or the history and culture of the United States that you are interested in, American studies is where you should look. The University of Liverpool even runs an MA in Science Fiction studies – on the basis that this is an American literary genre, one hopes, not because they think Americans are imaginary aliens.
Most of the MAs, MScs, MPhils and MLitts on offer are interdisciplinary courses bringing together history, literature, sociology, cultural studies, politics, film studies and possibly modern languages. An undergraduate degree in a relevant arts, social science or modern languages will be necessary. Career paths from here include working for NGOs or governmental agencies in the countries you have been studying, continuing in academia to a research or lecturing post and working in film, television or the media.
This subject area takes an in-depth look at the culture, language, and history of Ireland and the fringe countries of the United Kingdom – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – that are normally overshadowed by its English centre. If you’ve been itching to embark on a study of medieval Welsh literature or research Celtic Christianity, here’s your chance.
With the exception of the University of Liverpool’s MA in Irish Studies, all the courses are offered by universities situated in the Celtic nations. So you can experience contemporary Celtic culture while studying for an MSc in Highland Studies, an MPhil in Old Irish or an MA in Welsh History. Welsh speakers will be particularly pleased to know that they can study for two of Cardiff University’s masters courses in Welsh. Non-Welsh speakers will be pleased to know that Swansea University offers the (oxmoronically titled) MA in Modern Welsh Writing in English. Career paths from here include further academic research and teaching, consultancies on heritage projects and museum work.
The subject area will be of interest to anyone hoping to break into the creative industries, or work in marketing, public relations or advertising. Those with their sights set on Hollywood will be interested in the screenwriting and filmmaking courses. Budding tabloid hacks can chose from a number of courses in print, broadcast and magazine journalism, some accredited by the National Council of Training for Journalists. Other courses titles include Games Design, Sound Engineering, Corporate Communications and International Creative Advertising. There is even an MA in Cult Film and TV.
The overwhelming majority of the masters are taught and result in an MA or MSc qualification, although postgraduate certificates and diplomas are also available. You will need a degree in a relevant subject and, for some courses, professional experience. Potential career paths are rather glamorous. You could become a government spin doctor; journalist; music video director; Hollywood scriptwriter; or perhaps a computer games designer. However, please be aware that there may be one or two other people competing for these jobs.
Cultural studies seeks to analyse the politics of contemporary and historical culture and society through textual analysis and critical theory. It is highly theoretical and interdisciplinary, using elements of many different academic fields, for example, psychoanalytic theory, feminist studies, gender studies, literary criticism, film studies, sociology and postcolonial studies, to name but a few. The ability to create and comprehend long, impenetrably obscure words will be a definite advantage in this subject field.
Many of the taught and research masters on offer combine cultural studies with another subject, such as media or film. Some are more vocational, for example the MA in Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship and the MPrac in Art Museum and Gallery Practice. Others decidedly not: for example the MAs in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology and Utopian Studies. Career paths from here include continuing in academia, becoming a curator in a museum or art gallery, or commentating on culture for the TV and newspapers.
Calling all drama and dancing queens, this is your area. This subject section pretty much does what it says on the tin, offering practical training and theoretical study of all aspects of film, theatre, dance, TV and radio. If you love drama, film and dance but don’t actually want to be on the stage yourself, there are plenty of courses in behind the scenes roles, such as screenwriting, post-production film editing, costume design and theatre directing. If you are happier up front there are also MAs in Acting for Stage, Screen and Radio and Performance: Dance.
As well as various taught and research masters and postgraduate certificates and diplomas, you can also study for a PGCE specialising in drama. Not all courses will expect you to have a directly relevant first degree, for some relevant professional experience will be enough and for others you may have to audition. Possible career paths are many and exciting: how about becoming an animator for Aardman, a West End choreographer, a drama teacher or just settling for Hollywood superstardom.
Southern and Eastern Asia is home to both some of the world’s most ancient and venerable cultures and some of its most bullish modern economies. This subject area provides the opportunity to study the language, culture, history and literature of Japan, China or India in depth, or take a broader view through the MAs such as South Asian Studies and Contemporary Asian Studies. Also worthy of note is the MSc in Arabic-English Translating and Conference Interpreting.
Taught MAs and MSc and research MPhils are available. A degree of proficiency in the relevant language is also required for many of the courses, although some include language training as part of the degree programme. Future career paths include working in the Southern and Eastern Asian offices of multinational companies; or in the British offices of Japanese, Chinese and Indian companies; working as a translator or perhaps helping with the post-Tsunami and earthquake reconstruction of Japan.
If words are your passion and Shakespeare your idol, then this is the section for you. Bookworms and aspiring writers look no further: whether you want to study an aspect of literature in depth, analyse language itself, or learn to write in a specific medium or genre, there is something here for you. There are creative writing courses both taught and by research; courses for aspiring professional writers, such as Travel Writing, Writing for Children and Play Writing; degrees in Linguistics and its subcategories; and numerous masters in Literature – either broad or specialised (Arthurian Literature, Highlands and Islands Literature). "Teaching English as a Foreign Language" (TEFL) and "Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages" (TESOL) qualifications are also included here.
A first degree in English Literature won’t go amiss (although any Arts or Social Science degree may be acceptable) and some courses will require you to provide a provide a portfolio of written work. Both research (MRes, MPhil) and taught (MLitt, MLang, MA, MSc) masters are available as well as postgraduate certificates and diplomas. Career paths from here include playwright, novelist, journalist and teacher.
Spanning many arts and social science disciplines, these courses examine the history, culture, politics, languages, ethnicities, art, literature and philosophy within the changing boundaries of Europe from its time as part of the Roman Empire to today. Some of these courses single out specific time periods (MLitt Medieval Studies), ethnic groups (MLitt Jewish Studies) or places (MA London Studies; MLitt German; MSc Welsh Government and Politics). Others analyse themes within a European setting (MAs in Modern European Philosophy; European Urban Cultures; Screening/Staging Europe) or the history and development of the continent and its cultures from its days as part of the Roman Empire to the present day (European Studies; European Culture; European Society).
There are several research masters on offer, leading to MLitt or MPhil qualifications as well as taught masters and postgraduate certificates and diplomas. Courses focusing on non-Anglophone countries may require foreign language skills. Career paths from here might include being a policy advisor to the European Parliament or Council of Europe; a translator or interpreter; an MEP or a researcher for one of many Britain’s many Europe-focused think-tanks.
This subject draws on social science, history and critical theory to examine the meaning of masculinity, femininity and sexuality in contemporary culture, society and politics as well as in history. Although there are only a limited number of courses on offer, many of them offer fascinating subject matter, for example Gender and Identity in the Middle East, Queer Studies in Arts and culture and Gender Studies and International relations. Not for the faint of heart is the postgraduate certificate in Child Abuse which investigates the theory, policy and prevention of violence against women and children.
Both research and taught masters are available as well as postgraduate certificates and diplomas. Most courses accept candidates with a first degree in any discipline, but an open mind is certainly required. Having a nuanced understanding of gender and its meaning is a transferable skill that could enhance any number of careers, especially in fields like advertising and marketing. Other career paths from here might include working for anti-domestic abuse or discrimination charities like Refuge or Stonewall.
Linguistics is the study of human languages: how languages are formed, gain their meaning and are expressed. Sometimes known as ‘the science of language’, it analyses – among other things –grammar, syntax and phonetics, as well as why languages die out and the processes by which infants learn to communicate. As well as pure and applied linguistics, this subject area also includes more vocational language-related courses like translation, interpretation, and language teaching such as Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).
Both taught and research masters are available, as well as postgraduate certificates and diplomas. A first degree in Linguistics or a related topic such as English Language or Literature, Modern Languages, Sociology, Psychology or Speech Therapy will be required. Career paths from here include working as a speech therapist, a proof reader for a publisher, or teaching languages. Or you could stay in academia and attempt to write an even more ground-breaking and impenetrable book on linguistics than the world’s most famous academic linguist Noam Chomsky.
Given the incredible importance of the Middle East to modern world politics, it is perhaps surprising that this subject area contains relatively few courses. Even more surprising is how few courses there are on African Culture and History: clue, you can count them on two hands. In terms of the Middle East, many of the courses take a broad look at the history, politics or culture of the region as a whole; others focus on the region’s major religions, with MAs in Islamic Studies or Hebrew and Jewish Studies. Individual countries or ethnicities are covered in MAs such as Kurdish, Iranian or Turkish Studies. Those wanting to understand the context, culture, religion and history of both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict have the most choice of courses; for example Palestine Studies and Holy Land Studies. African Studies also encompasses the African diaspora with an MLitt in Caribbean Literature.
Both taught and research masters are available, as well as postgraduate certificates and diplomas. Career paths from here could include working as a political or aid and development advisor in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or perhaps the United Nations. Alternatively you could become a researcher in Middle Eastern or African art and culture in a museum or arts organisation.
This subject area includes advanced language courses on various modern languages (French, German, Welsh, Greek, Arabic, Mandarin, English Language, Italian, Spanish and Dutch to name a few); several qualifications in translation and interpreting and a number of foreign language teaching courses that will qualify you to become a teacher in schools and language schools. Other courses examine the cultural, political and historical context of a specific country or language-speaking region, for example the MA in Slavonic Language and Cultures or the French and Francophone Studies: Language, Culture and History MA. Yet others take a more philosophical approach, for example, the MAs in Language and Cultural Diversity and Rhetoric, Argumentation Theory and Philosophy.
Qualifications on offer include PGCEs, TEFL and TESOL teaching qualifications, as well as the usual research and taught masters, postgraduate certificates and diplomas. Advanced language skills and a relevant first degree will be an entry requirement for most of these. Career paths from here include becoming a modern languages teacher in a secondary school, a translator of overseas manuscripts for a publishing company or an interpreter at the United Nations. Alternatively, advancing your foreign languages skills equips you to emigrate and go native, working in all sorts of jobs in the country whose language you speak. Exciting!