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Course content

With a strong emphasis on developing skills and knowledge that can be applied in professional settings, this intensive programme draws on knowledge about language, how it works and how it affects real-life issues.

We were the first in the UK to offer a programme in applied linguistics, so you will benefit from a long-established tradition of teaching in this area, much of which is delivered by world-leading experts.

The programme offers a linguistic perspective on real-world problems of language in use, with relevance to a wide range of professional interests. You will explore how language is used in a variety of social settings, compare language variability with social diversity and examine how knowledge about language as it is actually used can impact on people’s lives.

Note that, unlike other programmes in Applied Linguistics, one topic that we do not concentrate on is teaching pedagogy. If you are more interested in the teaching side of Applied Linguistics, please see:

Programme structure

This programme comprises two semesters of taught courses, followed by a dissertation. Four compulsory core courses provide a solid foundation in the fundamentals of Applied Linguistics, while the optional courses offer you the opportunity to explore your areas of interest.

Compulsory courses:

  • Sociolinguistic Research Design
  • Introduction to Discourse Analysis
  • Issues in Applied Linguistics
  • Introduction to Language Research

Optional courses may include:

  • Special Topics in Sociolinguistics
  • Language and Identity in Bilingual Settings
  • Discourse Studies
  • Second Language Acquisition
  • Introduction to Phonology and Phonetics
  • Global Englishes
  • Introduction to Syntax
  • Language Variation and Change MSc

Learning outcomes

The programme aims to:

  • develop your relevant critical and analytical skills
  • prepare you for employment in the various spheres of social life where linguistics knowledge and skills play a significant part
  • help you develop interest in working at the interface between linguistics and other disciplines
  • prepare you for further study (PhD) in Applied Linguistic

At the end of the programme, you will be able to discuss issues of language description and use the knowledge you have acquired to address real-life problems, such as the teaching of languages and the use of language in specific institutional contexts.

Career opportunities

This programme has been designed to help progress your career as a linguist in academia or as a language expert in a variety of industries such as artificial intelligence.

Scholarships and funding

Find out more about scholarships and funding opportunities:


Visit the Applied Linguistics (MSc) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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